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Rabbi Yosi said: Let the property of your fellow man be as dear to you as your own. Prepare yourself for the study of the Torah, for the knowledge of it is not yours by inheritance. Let all your deeds be done for the sake of Heaven. (m.Avot 2:17)

Rabbi Shimon said … When you pray do not make your prayer a form of routine but a plea for mercy and supplications before G-d, for it is written (Joel 2:13), "For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing." (m.Avot 2:18)

Rabbi Elazar said: Be diligent in the study of Torah, and know how to respond to a heretic. (m.Avot 2:19)

Do you really believe in your faith? Do you really believe in Messianic Judaism? Because if we truly believe in Messianic Judaism, then we would do just exactly as this mishnah directs us: we would study the Scriptures diligently to know it like we know the back of our hands. There are so many competing voices who claim to have the corner on truth. Messianic Judaism is just one voice in a sea of many. What makes it unique? What makes it authentic? Why does it give us hope?

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16)

If you grew up anything like I did, then this teaching of Yeshua is forever engrained into your psyche. When you grow up singing, “This Little Light of Mine,” and doing all of the hand motions associated with it, passages like these quickly embed themselves into your longterm memory. But as a child, I never fully understood what this passage meant. What is the light I am supposed to be shining, and how do I let other people see it?

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." (John 2:3-4)

In our culture, to begin a response to one's mother with "Woman," is extremely disrespectful. Why would Yeshua respond to his mother this way? In ancient Middle Eastern terms, this expression was not as harsh as it sounds to us today. It would actually have been an affectionate term of endearment. This is why several translations render it as "Dear woman" or simply as "Mother."

But what did Yeshua mean when he said, "What does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come"? Didn't he come to reveal himself to the world? Didn't he begin doing miracles from this point forward? Why, then, did he seem to imply that he wasn't interested in helping out? Why did he say that his hour had not yet come?

Repentance, Prayer, & Tzedakah annul the evil decree.1

Yesterday began the month of Elul, the sixth month on the Biblical calendar. It is the month just prior to the onset of the High Holy Days of the Fall. Here are some ways to understand this holy month from a Messianic perspective.



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