Weekly Parashah

Parashah Shavuot

7 Sivan, 5780 / May 30, 2020

By Rabbi Matthew Gliebe


This Weeks Readings:          
Exodus 19:1-20:23; Numbers 28:16-31

Haftarah: Ezekiel 1:1-28; 3:12
Brit Chadashah: Acts 9:1-22


G-D chooses people. Let me repeat that --- G-D chooses people. However, a key problem in our modern views on religion and G-D today begins when we sit on our hands and wait for him to choose us. When I was in High School I used to run track – especially distance. I had to train and work hard to be able to run in the meets in order to run my best. My coaches didn’t just enter a classroom and pull anyone into the lineup; the athlete had to prepare on their own, so that when they were recruited they would be prepared to run.


In the Torah Portion, we see how G-D has stepped before the Israelites and made a covenant with them. But do we truly understand how awesome this is? There’s a Talmudic story that states when G-D was declaring the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel, he picked up the mountain and hovered it over their heads saying “I AM The L-RD YOUR G-D” and all the people responded with fear. G-D didn’t just make a covenant with the people of Israel, and therefore with us, he chose us. Even more so, he demands that we uphold our part of the deal --- this would mean keeping his instructions and his commandments, starting with the first ten. The Torah portion demonstrates G-D’s calling of the people of Israel to be his. G-D chooses people and he chose Israel.


The Haftarah portion is the beginning of Ezekiel’s prophesies. He describes his “induction” into G-D’s services. Ezekiel was by the K’far River when suddenly G-D reached into his life and in a very awesome way, set Ezekiel up for some work he needed to do. In fact, G-D’s method of reaching into Ezekiel’s life is very awesome --- “the brilliance around him looked like a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day” (verse 28). G-D had a purpose for Ezekiel, and he magnificently reached into Ezekiel’s life. Because of this, Ezekiel had some work to do.


In the Brit Chadashah, Sha’ul is another example of a man picked by G-D. While he had been persecuting believers and killing them, G-D radically intervened. Yeshua opens up the heavens and chastises Sha’ul for his actions. On top of that, Yeshua removes Sha’ul’s sight. Sometimes, when G-D reaches into our lives, it will not only radically change us, but it will also hurt. It is always better to be alert to following G-D’s commands rather than let G-D catch us and appropriately discipline us.


While G-D is certainly in the business of intervening in a person’s life, his intervention requires our absolute submission. When G-D chooses us, we have critical responsibilities to uphold. When I joined the track team, I had practices to go to and workouts to complete. G-D has given us his commandments and granted us a covenant which we all struggle to keep. He has chosen us to be radical and that’s what we need to be!