Weekly Scripture Reading
Parashah Re'eh

Moshe begins this sidra by putting the commandments of Yehovah into perspective: the choice of whether or not to accept the commandments of the Torah is nothing less than the choice between blessing and curse. Man has free choice to accept or reject God's commandments ; there is no gray area in the kingdom of God. “See, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. A blessing, if you hearken the commandments of Yehovah your God, which I command you this day. And a curse, if you will not hearken the commandments of Yehovah your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which you have not known” Devarim 11:26.

The Parashah starts with the word "see" (re'eh), implying that the blessing and the curse are not simply abstract promises but something that people could actually see in their own lives. Most people are satisfied with mediocrity, but God urges His people to strive for great heights and should feel that the alternative is nothing less than a curse. It will come a time – it seems like we are already living in that time – when the society will move so far from God that only very few will not hunger for bread nor thirst for water – the materialistic world – but hunger to hear the word of God. The blessing will come to us on the condition that we hearken to the commandments of God. “Hearken,” in this context, is a metaphor for blessing, because the only way a person can attain God’s blessing is if he has the ability to "hear" spiritually and to assimilate what the Torah wants of him. Thus, the "blessing" will consist of mere the ability to pick out and hear the word of God from the flurry of competing messages with which people are inundated from the world - Internet, TV, i-Phone, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

When God made the covenant with Avraham - the Avrahamic covenant, He made it unconditional. In the midst of the unconditional promise which God will never take back, however, for a blessed life, God put conditional portions. “The continuance of the blessings depends upon your keeping My commandments." We must remember that God's commands are His propositional statements about His character. They are not arbitrary. God has a character, and His character is the law of the universe. Torah is grace in that it reveals what the fulfilling of His character is. God was telling His people that if they lived in the light of His character, His commandments, then would come the blessing. If they failed to do this, then the blessing would stop and that it will seem like a curse, even though God will never forget the covenant made with Avraham. We see in God’s commandments a continuity of the authority of the written Scriptures, and an emphasis on the fact that bare knowledge is not enough. It was not that the Torah gave these people knowledge, and that was the end of it. This knowledge demanded action. Similarly, once we have become believers, we have entered, by faith, by the grace of God, into the spiritual portion of the Avrahamic covenant; and the unconditional promise applies to us – we will never be lost again. While this is true, the Brit Chadashah makes it clear that for the believer there is also a conditional aspect. The moral aspect of the commandments is the expression of God's character, and we are not to set it aside when we become believers. Our obedience to it will make a difference in what happens to us both in this present life and in the believers' judgment in the future.

After warning against the temptation of idolatry and its practices, God introduces a phenomenon that could lead Israel to indulge in such practices, a false prophet. Therefore, He establishes the criteria to judge a prophet. If someone has been acknowledged as a prophet by doing signs and wanders, he is proven to be a false prophet if he advocates any form of idolatry, or any teaching contrary to the teachings of the Torah. “If there arises among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder, comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, for Yehovah your God tests you, to know whether you love Yehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after Yehovah your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him, and hold fast to Him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken to turn you away from Yehovah your God... So shall you purge the evil away from the midst of you" Devarim 13:2.

In the Brit Chadashah, not only to show the validity and the continuation of God’s instructions, but also to reveal the specificity of the fulfillment of God’s commandments, the apostle John wrote: “Chaverim (friends), do not believe every spirit. But test the spirits, if they be of Yehovah, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this we have knowledge of the Ruach HaKodesh of Yehovah: every spirit which acknowledges that Yeshua HaMoshiach came as a human being is of Yehovah, and every spirit which does not acknowledge Yeshua is not of Yehovah. And this is the spirit of the Anti-Moshiach, which you have heard that it is coming; and now it already is in the world. Yeladim (children), you are of Yehovah, and you have overcome them, because greater is the One in you than the one in the world. They are of the world; therefore, they speak of the world, and the world pays heed to them. We are of Yehovah; the one who knows Yehovah pays heed to us; he who is not of Yehovah does not pay heed to us. This is how we distinguish the Ruach HaKodesh of truth from the spirit of delusion” 1 John 4:1-6. Anyone who denies the complete duality of Yeshua’s deity and humanity is of the Anti-Moshiach’s spirit. Anything apart from this truth is idolatry. Only through the Ruach HaKodesh we can declare that Yeshua HaMoshiach is Lord (Philippians 2:11).

Another truth that is revealed in this Parashah is that God's intention in keeping these commandments are not for a burden but for rejoicing. “Make the Shabbat a delight,” Isaiah entreats us, a true prophet of Yehovah. All these commandments are for people's own good, thus God exhorts them to rejoice no fewer than six times in this Parashah:
— After establishing the place and practices of animal sacrifices, God wants to make sure that they enjoy the abundant result of their labor and rejoice in their offering: "You shall eat before Yehovah your God and you shall rejoice with your every undertaking" (12:7).
— They should rejoice in everything that they do, not only them, but everybody in their household: "You shall rejoice before Yehovah your God, you, your sons, your daughters, your slaves and your maidservants" (12:12).
— And just to make it clear God repeats the exhortation: "You shall rejoice before Yehovah your God in your every undertaking" (12:18).
— After establishing the laws of kashrut God tells them to rejoice in everything that He gave them to eat: "And you may spend the money for whatsoever your heart desires, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever your soul wishes: and you shall eat there before Yehovah your God, and you shall rejoice, you, and your household" (14:26).
— After establishing the three pilgrimage Holy Days – Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, God tells them to rejoice, not by themselves and not only with their household, but with the whole community, including the less fortunate, the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow: "And you shall rejoice before Yehovah your God, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite that is within your gates, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, that are among you" (16:11).
— And again God tells them to rejoice: "And you shall rejoice in your feast, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow that are within your gates" (16:14).

Is it any wonder that the apostles used this word frequently? “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” But this rejoicing can only come from having a personal relationship with the God who gave them time and time again sustenance in spite of their shortcomings. The God who gave them, and to us, the promise of a Redeemer, Yeshua HaMoshiach, who came and gave the ultimate gift, His life, for our shortcomings. Thus, an appropriate response for all the blessings that God bestows upon them, and upon us, is not to appear before Yehovah empty-handed (Devarim 16:16).

Let us rejoice in obeying God’s commandments and let us bring before Yehovah our freewill offerings and our tithes into the “storehouse,” the congregation, and "see" how God will pour out His blessings.

Sisterhood

Sisterhood Event

August 19 - Sisterhood Event:
with Audrey Bacon, Ph.D.
- After the service, at 1:00pm, all women are invited to join Sisterhood for the third part of the series Overcoming Trauma.
Reservation is required, please register on the "Calendar of Events" page - lunch is included.

Guest Speaker

September 9 - Guest SpeakerCohen
Service and Worship with Rabbi Bruce Cohen
Congregational Leader of Beth El, Manhattan, New York.
Followed by an Afternoon Seminar with Q & A.

Rosh HaShanah

Wednesday, September 20 - Erev Rosh HaShanah Messianic Service at 7:00pm.rosh
Rosh HaShanah, also known as the Jewish New Year, is called in the Bible, The Feast of Trumpets, or, in Hebrew, Zicharon Teruah, the Day of Memorial of Blowing.
Rosh HaShanan (literally, Head of the Year) occurs on the first day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, this year, on Thursday, September 21.
Please join us for the evening service on Wednesday, September 20, at 7:00pm and celebrate this Biblical Holy Day and its Messianic significance.

Yom Kippur

September 30 - Yom Kippur Messianic Serviceykippur
Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, occurs on the tenth of Tishrei, Saturday, September 30 this year.
Join us for this Messianic Service at 10:30am.

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