Latest Blog Posts

Posted September 8, 2017 - 7:30am

The Responsibility of Influence

Parashat Ki Tavo is so named because of its open verse, which says, “When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it …” (Deuteronomy 26:1). The words ki tavo mean “when you come.” Thus, this parashah is focused on the responsibility of the Children of Israel when they arrive in the land promised to them by Hashem. The first few paragraphs address bringing the bikkurim, the first fruits of the land to the LORD and the ceremony surrounding this procedure. After this Hashem gives Israel a reminder of their responsibility as a people who are consecrated to the LORD:

This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have declared today that the LORD is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice. (Deuteronomy 27:16–17)

Immediately following this, instructions are given to renew the covenant through a ritual which includes dividing up the tribes and set them onto two mountains: the Mount of Blessing (Mount Gerizim) and the Mount of Curses (Mount Ebal). The Levites are to command them from the valley between the two. The ones on Mount Gerizim are to bless the nation and the ones on Mount Ebal are to repeat a series of curses, to which all of the people will affirm, “Amen.” The specific curses that are to be recited are listed in verses 15-26. Two of these, however, are connected in a way that may not be obvious at first. Let’s look at these two curses and find the link between them:

“Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road.” And all the people shall say, “Amen.” (Deuteronomy 27:18)

Posted September 7, 2017 - 2:09pm

We are excited to announce that we are now taking pre-orders to help cover the printing expenses to publish our new book, 5 Minute Torah! If you would like to help support this project, we are offering a 25% DISCOUNT on all orders until we go to print. When the book is published the price will be $18.00. If you order now, however, it is only $13.50. Don't miss out on this limited offer! Your pre-purchase will also help us send this book to the press! Thank you in advance!

ORDER NOW »

Posted September 1, 2017 - 6:55am

Restoring The Lost

Parashat Ki Tetze contains a plethora of laws ranging from managing the spoils of war to sexual immorality to fulfilling vows and oaths. Our focus will be on the responsibility of guarding a lost object. At the beginning of chapter 22 we read:

You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him. And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother's, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it. (Deuteronomy 22:1–3)

At first this seems like a simple, straight-forward commandment of the Torah: If you find something that doesn’t belong to you, whether it is a living animal or an inanimate object, either find the owner and give it back or hold onto it until the owner comes looking for it. However, because this passage is brief without any details of how do deal with various possible scenarios, there are many implications, applications, and questions that are left unaddressed. 

Posted August 25, 2017 - 9:34am

Love And War, And Everything In Between

We’ve all heard the familiar expression, “All is fair in love and war.” But according to the Torah, this is not a true statement. According to the Torah, both love and war have parameters attached to them. The Torah specifically instructs us in the manner we are to “love the LORD your God” in multiple places. It tells us the “how” of loving a God who is beyond human logic. For instance, we are told that loving God includes: keeping His commandments (Deuteronomy 10:12–13; 11:1); teaching His instructions to our children (Deuteronomy 6:7); not heeding false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:3); loving and caring for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow (Exodus 22:21–22); bringing to the LORD the first fruits of our grain, wine, and oil within the land of Israel (Numbers 18:12); etc. Another expression of our love for God can be found in this week’s portion:

You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 17:1)

Sometimes we may be tempted to think that at least doing something is better than nothing, but this is our own feeble minds trying to impose our humanity on a holy and transcendent God. The LORD requires that everything we bring to Him be without blemish, calling anything less than this “an abomination.” And although this specifically is connected to animals that are offered in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, this principle can equally be applied to what we are able to bring to Him in a time when the Temple is not standing. When we bring to Him our prayers, our praises, our financial offerings, our Shabbat and festival meals, etc., we should bring them “without blemish.” In other words, we should bring our very best, rather than settling for less than our best.

Pages

Latest Book Review

The Magerman Edition

Author: Daniel Rose & Jay Goldmintz
Publisher: Koren Publishers
Year: 2014

The Koren Ani Tefilla Siddur is one of the latest in Koren’s growing collection of siddurim (prayer books) geared towards a specific demographic. Koren describes Ani Tefilla as “an engaging and thought-provoking siddur for the inquiring high school student and thoughtful adult.” Koren says that Ani Tefillah has been developed in order “to help the user create their own meaning and connection during the Tefilla [prayer] experience.” The name of the siddur is connected with its objective. Ani Tefilla means “I pray.” 

Welcome

Welcome to Emet HaTorah! We're blessed to have you here! We hope to be an online source for discipleship resources from a Messianic Jewish perspective. If you're new to Emet HaTorah have a look around and enjoy some of our online teaching resources and sign up for our monthly newsletter. You'll be blessed!