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How To Become Rebellious And Love it

For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are. Behold, even today while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD. How much more after my death! (Deuteronomy 31:27)

This passage is written as a kal vachomer, an argument going from the light to the heavy: If A is true, then how much more so is B also true. Moses recognized that if the Children of Israel rebelled and strayed against the Torah’s instruction while he was with them to take them by the hand and guide them in its requirements, how much more would they stray from it after his death. But who rebels against God’s commands and why?

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:24–26)

Have you ever wondered why Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt? Why not a pillar of limestone, basalt or even ash? Why salt? When most people think of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, they think of sexual perversion. Although this was definitely a factor that contributed to its destruction, sexual misconduct was only a symptom of the greater problem. There was a root issue that led to this and other perverted indulgences. The prophet Ezekiel tell us the root was self-indulgence and inhospitality:

Rabbi Elazar said … Know before whom you toil; and know that your employer can be relied upon to pay you the wage of your labor. (m.Avot 2:19)

Before Whom you Toil

Life can sometimes take its toll on human beings. We often get caught up in the rat race of trying to stay afloat and miss out on life itself. There are so many distractions throughout our day that it is easy to lose site of what’s important. Sometimes the tug of social media pulls us away from our responsibilities and stifles our productivity. These distractions can easily steal our time, leaving us to wonder “What happened to my day?”

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Matthew 13:10–13)

They [the students of Rabbi Yochanan] each said three things. Rabbi Eliezer said: Let the honor of your fellow be as dear to you as your own and be not easily moved to anger. Repent one day before your death. Warm yourself before the fire of the sages … (m.Avot 2:15)

In this mishnah we begin learning the primary teachings of Rabbi Yochanan’s star pupils. According to our mishnah, they each taught three primary lessons. We begin with Rabbi Eliezer. Let’s examine each of his teachings and see how they compare to that of our Master, Yeshua.

Rabbi Joshua said: An evil eye, the evil inclination and hatred of his fellow creatures put a man out of the world. (m.Avot 2:16)

In our last mishnah we began learning the primary teachings of Rabbi Yochanan’s star pupils,  starting with Rabbi Eliezer. This time we will learn from Rabbi Joshua. Just as we did with Rabbi Eliezer's teachings, we will examine Rabbi Joshua's teachings and see how they compare to Yeshua's. Rabbi Joshua says that three things put a man out of the world: an evil eye, the evil inclination, and hatred of one’s fellowman. Things that “put a man out of the world” are essentially things that  destroy a person and  the world along with him. Our every action  works toward either the repair or the destruction of the world. Let’s work to understand each of these forces of destruction listed by Rabbi Joshua.



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