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I was recently asked a sincere question about the relationship of Yeshua to the Torah. Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5 seem to advocate changing the Torah’s principle of “eye for eye” with grace and mercy. The question was as follows:

God gave the people laws to obey, as recorded in Exodus 21 ("these are the laws you are to set before them..." v. 1) through 23. Among them is "an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth" (v. 24). Yeshua said "you have heard they were told 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' But what I tell you is this: do not resist those who wrong you..." (Mt. 5:38-42). If we are required to be fully Torah observant, and Yeshua was simply establishing a way for us to do so in practice but without making any actual change to the laws Moses communicated, then how could Yeshua establish a new law of mercy in their place as he told his followers here?

Parshat Yitro

(Exodus 18:1-20:23)

We are all familiar with what took place in Acts 2. After Yeshua’s resurrection he instructed his disciples to remain in Jerusalem so that they would be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4–8). Here’s the account of how it happened:

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1–4)

Parashat Beshalach

(Exodus 13:17-17:16)

What is it? This is what the Children of Israel asked when they saw the manna when it first appeared in the wilderness. Before it appeared they had been grumbling against Moses and Aaron because their bellies craved more than what they had at the time. They were so dissatisfied that they spoke about their time of slavery in Egypt as if it brought back nostalgic memories for them saying, “We sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full” (Exodus 16:3). Hashem heard their grumbling and told them He was going to put an end to it. He would give them quail in the evenings and manna in the mornings. They would have no more reason to complain.

Parashat Bo

Exodus 10:1-13:16

In Parashat Bo we learn about the final three plagues with the culmination being the death of the firstborn. This is the final act of God that released the Children of Israel from the grip of Egyptian slavery. But right before this final plague is poured out, the Children of Israel are given instructions for the Passover Lamb and all that went with it. They were to take a male lamb without blemish on the tenth day of the month and keep it until the fourteenth day when they would slaughter it. They would then smear some of its blood upon the doorframes of their houses so that the firstborn of the Israelites would not face the same fate as that of the Egyptians.

Parashat Va'era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

When it was time for the LORD to deliver the Children of Israel from Egypt, God poured out His judgments on Egypt to demonstrate His power and allow time for the Egyptians to repent. But before any of this took place, the LORD made multiple promises to the Children of Israel for what He was about to do:

Say therefore to the people of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 6:6–7)

In this passage, Hashem reveals four specific things He will do for the Children of Israel:

• Release them from harsh labor (physical release)

Parsashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

This week’s Torah portion not only begins the book of Shemot (Exodus) but also the calling of Moses to his all-important task of delivering the Children of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. We would think that since Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s royal house he would realize that he was the most qualified person to confront the King of Egypt and lead a group of slaves to their freedom. But when God confronted him at the burning bush, Moses replied with a lack of confidence, saying, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). In other words, “What qualifies me to lead these people out from under Pharaoh’s hand?” Moses didn’t feel that he had the ability to accomplish what God had called him to do.

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