Thursday, December 22, 2016

Is the Almighty Creator a Sadist? (Heaven Forbid)

Over many years, for as long as I can remember, I have come across many people, as all of you
would have too, who show contempt and even disgust toward the Creator of the heavens and the earth. They refuse to accept the faith of the Scriptures because they cannot accept such a ruler to be fair, because of what He has done to humanity, as written in the Scriptures. What is the grief that these people have with the Scriptures?

Some examples sound as follows:

“I have a big problem with the idea of a god that kills someone for picking up a few sticks because it’s a certain day of the week.”

“How can a merciful God destroy all humanity, including women and children, in a flood?”

“How can a loving and forgiving god command people to be put to death?”

There are many more examples that people use, but they are all the same concept as these given above. There are also many people who think this way and cannot accept why a loving Creator could do these things.

There are a few things that we need to grasp before we can ever understand any of these things. (Please note that this is a very simple and basic list)

The Almighty Creator created us for Himself, and not the other way around. Everything was created by Him for Him. He is the Supreme and only Creator and the only One who continues to maintain everything created. We serve Him and follow His Will.

The Almighty Creator and His Word (the Torah) are perfect without any deficiency. If there is something that we are unable to grasp or understand, or there seems to be a contradiction of some sort, then we must realize that the problem is with our own understanding and NOT a problem with the Scriptures or with HASHEM.

We were created with a free will agent. We have a free will and can choose to do what the Almighty Creator commanded us to, or we may choose not to do His commandments.
All actions and choices have consequences. When we choose to do something, we cannot blame anyone else for the effects or consequences of that choice. For example, if someone had the choice of having either vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream, that person cannot be upset with anyone else but himself if he chose vanilla if he rather wanted chocolate. We determine our own future by how we act and how we treat others.

The Almighty desires good for everyone, that we would choose good and right and would want to serve Him by our own will. The Almighty did not create everything so that He can hate and punish His creation. He does desire that everyone turn to Him and be saved. Every single action is one of love and mercy.
The Almighty is Love. Everything that the Almighty Creator does is love. It is the purest truest love that exists. It is not the love of Humanism, which is mostly detrimental disguised as caring. True love means tough love sometimes. Things that seem harsh is actually merciful and loving.

Now we have enough information to start understanding why so many people were killed and that it really was an act of mercy.

When we start to look at the statements and questions, like those above, that people have, we need to realize that it is very humanistic. That is that it is from the view of humans, who never created the heavens or the earth or anything that is in them and who do not maintain any of them at all. How can we as mere mortals who have no power at all, know what is right or wrong, or what just punishment for actions must be?

Whenever we read of a fatal punishment of a person or group of people, we can be assured that it is the result of the choices of that person or group of people.

When we look at the people who died in the flood, they died because they were wicked and chose to turn away from the Creator and become wicked by following their fleshly lusts. It was only Noah and his family that found favor in the eyes of the Almighty and were saved.

In the case of murderers, adulterers, idol worshipers etc. being put to death, it is purely because they made a choice to reject the Instructions of the Almighty and follow their base humanistic passions and lusts. The Torah gives very clear instructions and explains the consequences of not adhering to these instructions too.

Now to understand the mercy behind this, We need to remember that we are all going to be judged for every single thing we do and say. 
To choose against evil is to protect others and also to bring an end to the evil they do.  Not stopping them from committing such heinous evils is an act of creating the opportunity for them to continue to do the evils they choose to do.  This makes those who give right to such people responsible for whatever evils are committed to others. Would you rather be judged for one count of murder than ten counts of murder? What if a murderer is not punished and kills one of your loved ones? How would you feel about that person then? People who commit adultery are following their fleshly lusts and will continue to do so in the future if not stopped. Would you rather be judged for one count of adultery or ten counts instead? By putting such transgressors to death is nothing more than being merciful to the transgressor and the rest of the people of the nation. It eradicates the evil from among their midst’s so that the presence of the Almighty can remain among them. 

In the case of the man being put to death because he was gathering wood on the Sabbath, we need to remember that that person stood, on Shavuot, and made an oath that he would accept and do the Torah that was given to Yisra’el from Mount Sinai. After he made this oath, he then went and, knowingly, did his own will instead of the Will of the Almighty as given to him. He knowingly transgressed the Word of the Almighty. If this man was not punished, he would continued to do so and would have created the idea for the other people that it was okay to do such work on the Shabbat without consequences.

It is the same as raising children. If you love your child, you will discipline him so that he can learn from his mistakes and become a much better person. If you do not discipline your child then you hate him. He will continue in his bad ways thinking that it is good and even digress to become a terrible person. We see many such terrible people lately because humanism has become the preferred over religion. Parents are not allowed to discipline their children anymore as it seems cruel in the eyes of the humanist. This is in fact hatred and evil.

And know that everything is according to a reckoning. And do not let your evil inclination assure you that the grave is a refuge for you -- for against your will were you created, against your will were you born, against your will do you live, against your will will you die, and against your will will you stand in judgment before the King of kings, the Set Apart One, blessed be He." (Can’t remember where I got this reference) We should not live according to our own will, we should deny our will and live according to the Will of the Almighty if we desire life.

“The born will die, the dead will be resurrected, and the living will be judged -- [so that] they know, make known, and become aware that He is G-d, He is the Fashioner, He is the Creator, He is the One who understands, He is the Judge, He is the Witness, He is the Litigant, and He will eventually judge. Blessed is He for there is not before Him wrongdoing, forgetfulness, favoritism, or the acceptance of bribes -- for all is His. (Can’t remember where I got this reference)

We are the possession of the Almighty Creator. He created us and everything in the heavens and the earth. We can either be smart and follow His Word, or we can be stupid and do things our own way.

Those who love the Almighty will come to love what He loves and hate the things He hates. If He says something is good, then it is good, and if He says it is bad, then it is bad. If we say otherwise, then we are fools. Unfortunately, there are many fools running around today and even governing our lives and countries.

The ways of the Almighty are loving kindness and merciful in every way and any deviation from it are hateful cruelty. May we live as a light by walking in the way of Torah and making the name of the Almighty great, even in an evil generation as this one we live in today.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

To pray or not to pray?

This is an article that I have been wanting to write for a very long time now. This article is inspired by a portion (why pray?) of a book called, “Living a Joyous Life” by Rav David Aaron. He has a great gift of explaining things that are quite complex in a way that simple people, like me, can understand them. I would really recommend reading this book to anyone living (or wanting to live) a Jewish life. A good friend of mine and a mentor has also been a great inspiration to this article too.

There is no question that if we want a relationship with HASHEM, then we need to communicate with Him. But the understanding of prayer in Christianity is far different than that of what it is in Judaism. Even the English word “pray” comes from the Latin word “precari” which means, “to beg” which is what many people think about prayer. Because of this western concept of prayer, there has been many confusions regarding the topic, even in the Jewish culture.

The Jewish “L’hitpallel” has nothing to do with begging HASHEM to change His mind. L’hitpallel is a reflexive verb, and it means to do something to yourself, not to HASHEM. When you are praying, your question should not be, is HASHEM listening to my prayers?” Rather, you should ask yourself, “am I listening to my prayers?” Does what I hear impact me? Have I changed? (Living a Joyous Life pg 114)

Basically, we do not demand that HASHEM move from where He is to come to where we are. Rather, we need to pick ourselves up and move to where HASHEM is, to be in line with His instructions.

Just like a radio works, there are many different radio stations with different frequencies. All the different frequencies are there floating around by the radio, but what station plays is the one who’s frequency the radio is tuned into. If you are in tune with HASHEM, then that is what you are going to “hear” so to speak. But if you tuned into a different frequency, then you are going to “hear” something else. L’hitpallel is how we tune into HASHEM.

We do not demand from HASHEM, just as a radio cannot demand what the radio station must play, but rather tunes into the radio station so that it can broadcast what is already being played. What station are you tuning into?

The Jewish faith is a faith of actions based on the Torah. It is not a passive faith of just believing something to be true, but rather it is actively living in truth, DOING what is right.

So to come back to the title of this article, “to pray or not to pray,” or correctly translated, “to beg or not to beg,” we should not beg. Rather, we should search within ourselves and change whatever needs to be changed so that we can be in line with the Will of HASHEM. May we all actively seek to be perfectly in tune with the frequency of HASHEM.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Tongue - Weapon or Healer?


How great is the obligation on us to use our tongues, not only to avoid slander, insult, and abuse, but to influence positively and encourage those around us. And in truth, this obligation is perhaps more than any other type of chesed – kindness – that we could do, because the easier and more available something is, the greater will be the punishment if we ignore it.

Our tongues are ready for action at any moment and we are surrounded by people thirsty for a boost. It’s a wonder we’re not doing this all the time. There is one question that makes this a particularly hard mission: what if you have nothing to compliment? Now, this is hopefully not too much of an issue, as everyone should be able to find something to compliment in another person. Failing that, however, Chazal tell us that at a wedding, you can tell the groom good things about his bride, even if they aren’t true. They also say that at a funeral, you can exaggerate the praises of the deceased during the eulogies. Now this seems peculiar.

The deceased is in the world of truth; he knows you’re lying! Nevertheless, his soul experiences happiness through the words, despite the embellishments. Giving someone encouragement doesn’t always mean strictly telling the truth. We steer as far away from lies as possible, but when the words are meant to build someone, we are allowed to say things that deviate from the strict lines of truth. An overcooked meal can be “delicious” when your wife’s feelings are at stake. A messy scribble can be “amazing” if your child worked hard to draw it. This habitual encouragement that we should be giving is not just a “nice thing” to do. This is an obligation that the Torah describes as “walking in Hashem’s ways”. (This I do not agree with as we are not to lie at all. It is one of the Ten Commandments, NOT to give a false report)

King David writes in more than one place in Psalms (146, 147) that Hashem encourages the humble and the widowed, and we say these verses every day in our morning prayers. We aren’t just becoming decent people, or even popular people through this work, but we are becoming G-dly. Every single aspect of this world which provides enjoyment and happiness, be it a beautiful child or even a sweet apple, are all examples of how Hashem is constantly encouraging us so that we can serve Him with happiness and confidence. Our tongue is the vehicle for this, and a few words at the right time can be the healing tree of life that blossoms and blooms without limits.

In Pirkei Avos, we are told, “Who is honourable? One who honours others.” This is not limited to honouring those who deserve honour, but honouring everyone. For the basic fact that they are created in the image of G-d, and have potential for tremendous greatness, that alone is a cause for honour. And in reward for this outlook, Hashem honours us.

Rav Saadiyah Gaon even explains that the whole reason why we experience the feelings of honour and arrogance are so that we can have a mild example of the great feeling of satiation and self-worth in the world to come. Obviously, we have to avoid the pitfalls that such emotions can have, but to offer them to your fellow so that he can experience an element of life that is reminiscent of the world to come, that is a truly valuable gift.

To train ourselves to do this is hard work, but the opportunities are endless. A pat on the back, an honest “thank you”, and a well-timed compliment will all mould us into G-dly people. It will be hard, and sometimes even unnatural, to go beyond ourselves and give to other people, but they need it, and so do we.

As with all of our obligations between our fellow, the primary realm is at home. Husband, wife, parents, children and siblings, they are the first address when it comes to chesed, and they are the ladder to greatness. The closeness will test us, but this is the boot-camp in working on our middos. From there, we can spread out to a neighbour in shul, a colleague at work, and a complete stranger, just because!

If we set a goal to provide words of encouragement to people three times a day, with the intention of internalising and habituating ourselves in this type of behaviour, we will be feeding people from a tree of life and providing the needy with the most valuable commodity: self-worth. But, above all, we will be following in our Master’s footsteps. JL

Based on a series of lectures by Rabbi Avigdor
Miller zt”l.
(Article from Jewish Life Magazine Jan 2015 edition pg22)

(This statement in brackets is not in the article, but rather, they are my words)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Purim – Recognizing Miracles

We are now in the moon of Adar (the 12th moon) where our joy is increased. But we are living in the galut (dispersion, exile) among the very anti-Semitic goy who try and make life for us Jews very difficult. Here in South Africa, our government is instituting a boycott of any Israeli products, persecuting us Jews and having many marches against us because they claim that we live according to an apartheid regime and that we are villains and evil. But is that really true?

But do we live by apartheid? And if so what kind of apartheid are we talking about?  If we are evil then how is this evil defined?  And then, would such opinions not depend on others point of view?  Looking at a torah life as the only way of life and survival may indeed seem stupid or evil from the outside. The Torah makes it very clear that Yisra’el is a kadosh nation. The question is, what does it mean to be kadosh?

Kadosh simply means, “separate” or, “set apart.” The Christian bible translates this Hebrew word, “kadosh” as “holy.” HASHEM made it very clear that we are not allowed to be like the other nations. Are we not to follow the commands and precepts found in the Torah, no matter where we are? To do this, we must separate ourselves in a torah life and culture, not so? Anti-Apartheid (Anti-Kadosh) literally means, “forced conversion,” which is a very wicked act. It is exactly what happened during the Spanish Inquisition where many Jews we killed. Anti-Kadosh, in this sense, is Anti-Semitic.

Now I need to make it very clear that the kadosh'ness' of the Jews is in no way the same as that of the other apartheid regimes, like what happened in South Africa. Us Jews do not hate or mistreat people from other nations or cultures. In fact, Although we are one of the smallest nations in the world, we are the second largest financial, humanitarian aid contributor among all nations. We have a deep love for people and live to be a light to the world bringing morality and righteousness, no matter where we may be.

Unfortunately, because we have not stayed kadosh, and most times, not been able to do so, there is a great amount of Jews that have assimilated into other cultures and religions. This has always been viewed as a great crisis among religious Jews. We have seen throughout history that Jews have been forced to assimilate and convert to other cultures and religions or face the penalty of being kicked out of the community, country or even killed. This is still happening at this moment all around the world to some degree or another, whether it be terrorist attacks, pressure from the governments, boycotts or simple hate speech against us.

So how are we to increase our joy? We could even be justified in being angry at the injustice and clear violation of our human and religious rights that our own governments show us. But no, we are not angry at all. In fact, we rejoice and really do increase our joy. But how is this even possible? There is one simple word that explains how it is possible, “Emuna.”

Through all this tribulation that we are going through, it is fitting that Purim is being celebrated now. Purim is the remembrance and celebration of the great miracles and protection that the Almighty grants us, His nation, Yisra’el. We read the story Esther on this day, which has so many lessons for us.

The story of Esther is about how we were exiled and were living under the Persian King. One of the King’s generals, Hamman, was an evil man and convinced the King to make a decree that all the Jews must be killed because they live by a different set of laws and separate themselves from the people among whom they live (the Persians). So the Jews were to be destroyed because they were living in apartheid.
But HASHEM had His hand over the situation at every single moment. HASHEM caused this to happen, even though it seemed bad. And As Jews we so many times feel that HASHEM has departed from us, and in worldly terms we may even have every right to moan about being persecuted. But this is not what we do. Such events caused us to fast and repent and turn to HASHEM for their salvation. Everything happened as it should have and at the right moments too. In the end, the evil Hamman and his sons were hanged on the very gallows that Hamman built for the hanging of the righteous Jew called Mordechai. At the end we Jews were not only saved then, we also gained all the respect of the King, something we did not have before.

Emuna teaches that there is only One being that is in control of everything and that everything that happens is from Him. And that everything that He does is for the good, even if it may seem bad.

The Name of the Almighty does not appear even once in the entire book of Esther. In fact it is the only book in the entire Tanakh that does not contain the Name at all. This teaches us, among other things too, that even though it seems that HASHEM has hidden Himself from us, that He is still actually in control and watching over us.

The ultimate goal in life is “tikkun” (soul correction) and everything that happens to us happens for the sake of tikkun, because HASHEM loves us.

That is why us Jews can be happy and Joyful at all times, no matter what our circumstances are at any time. We know that everything is for the good.

May we all continue to do teshuva (repentance) and grow closer to HASHEM, by the study and obedience to His Torah so that we may continue to joyfully say: BARUCH HASHEM no matter what our circumstance. To be kadosh (set-apart) is to be satisfied with being different, as we prefer to be what HASHEM wants us to be, no matter where we are or what the circumstances.
Purim Same'ach

Monday, December 22, 2014

Are we to celebrate Hanukkah?

At the time of the writing of this article, it is deep into the Hanukkah celebration. When I logged on to Facebook this morning, which I have not done for a long time, the most talked about topic was about Hanukkah. I mostly saw arguments from Messianics and "Believers" who mostly claimed that Hanukkah is not to be celebrated as it is not found in the Torah or anywhere in the rest of the Scriptures. They even go as far as to say that because it is called a festival of lights, that it is pagan and evil. But is this really the case? Let us have a look at Hanukkah a little through the eyes of a Jew who lives by the Torah and honors the Almighty, blessed be He.

Is Hanukkah not found in Torah?
Yes it is true; we cannot find the celebration of Hanukkah as a mo'ed (appointed time) anywhere in the Torah at all. Does that mean that we may not celebrate it at all? Well, the celebration of Hanukkah (dedication) wholly revolves around the re-capture of Yerushalayim by the Hasmonians (who were Levites and Kohanim (Priests)), from the Greeks, and the re-dedication of the Temple of HaShem, blessed be He. This event happened around 500BCE, which is LONG after Torah had been written and completed. So for this reason, there would be no way that Hanukkah would be found in the Torah. 
None of us as Jews observe Chanukah as if it is compulsory or as if it is a mo-ed declared by torah.
It is purely a cultural celebration, where we celebrate the many wonderful miracles that HaShem, blessed be He, did for the Jews during the re-dedication (Hanukkah) of the kadosh temple,including the events leading up to it.

But then, again, what we look for and how we look will determine either what we will find (or not find). If we really look carefully, then we will find Hanukkah in the Torah. When the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was erected for the first time, it had to be "Hanukkah" (dedicated) first before it came into service. We read about this event in Bamidbar (Numbers) chapter seven. Anything which was to be used for ‘sacred purpose’ had to be dedicated (Hanukkah).

Festival of lights
Yes, Hanukkah is called a festival of lights. Does this automatically mean that it is pagan in nature, just because there are other religions that have their own festivals with the same name? That idea is really an absurdity. If we had to use that same logic, then the term "El," which we use to refer to HaShem, blessed be He, is also pagan because that is also the name of the ancient Cananite deity. The Cananite 'el' was the "father of the gods." But in reality, the Hebrew word 'el' simply means, "mighty one." The Hebrew word 'el' was a fitting name for the deity that the Cananite people created for themselves and for whom they had to find a name. The fact is, that the word "El" long preceded the Ca'ananite deity. Also the term "ba'al" is not pagan at all, but rather the deity which was given that name by its creators is. The term ba'al simply means "master or husband." I am my wife's ba'al.

So just because Hanukkah is referred to as the festival of lights does by no means mean that it is in any way associated with any pagan practice at all or with any other religions festival of lights. Why then is Hanukkah called the festival of lights?

There is a commandment in the Torah that the kohen gadol (high priest) must daily clean and light the Menorah in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) or Beit Mikdash (Temple). See, even lighting candles and even incense, is found in the Torah and is not of pagan origin. Now during the time of the Maccabee's when the temple was abominated by the Greeks slaughtering pigs on the alter and many other abominations, the Hasmonians (Maccabee's) re-captured the city and the Temple too. They then did a full cleans of the temple and then re-dedicated (Hanukkah) it. But during this time, they needed pure oil for the lighting of the menorah. They needed enough oil for at least eight days, but could only find enough for one day. When they used that oil, a miracle happened and it lasted the full eight days long instead of only one day.

That is why we light candles for a period of eight days during Hanukkah in commemoration of the miracle of the oil lasting the full eight days needed during the re-dedication (Hanukkah) of the temple. That is also why we call it the festival of lights which is the celebration of the miracle of the menorah and NOT from pagan origins at all. A Jewish home can be identified during the time of Hanukkah by the sight of lights from the hanukkia (Hanukkah candles) radiating light in the window.

For those who do not wish to celebrate Hanukkah and all the miracles that HaShem, did for His people and His Temple, then don't. This is in any event a Jewish practice and not for people of other religions. For those who belong to the Hebrew faith, we celebrate such amazing miracles that HaShem, blessed be He, did for us as a nation. It is our culture and as a nation, we celebrate it all together, which brings unity among us. Such commemoration also brings hope and strength in times of trouble, hardship and persecution. Such traditions have brought joy in times when it seemed impossible and even gives a reason for living to many. It is safe to say that many Jewish traditions, such as Hanukkah, are the reason that many Jews lived when it was easier to just give up and die. Unity is of the utmost importance to the Hebrew nation, when one Jew hurts, then all Jews hurt together. As the saying, that comes from the movie "The Three Musketeers” says, "All for one and one for all." This is how the Jews have survived throughout history, and this is why we celebrate Hanukkah.

Every single Jew who awaits the coming of the Messiah, looks forward to the one who will bring peace to this world and rebuild the Beit Mikdash (Temple) and then Hanukkah (Dedicate) it. And yes, there will be a festival that day, and yes, there will be lights as there will also be a dedication (Hanukkah).

For those who live a life of Hanukkah, may you be filled with the light and joy of Hanukkah!!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Your Word is a lamp to my feet

It still often amazes me how people can take a verse here and there and use it so out of context that the original writers of the verses would never recognize the way it is being used in today’s times. And then they believe that it is truthful and build an entire teaching that is foreign to the teachings of the Scriptures because the basis of the teachings are way out of context to start off with. But at the same time I know how these people are so deceived, because I too was in my earlier years. It was only when I started noticing contradictions within the churches teachings, that are universal to all the churches that I had attended, that I started doing a lot of reading, studying and research for myself. (This happened many years ago)

What I found is that a lot of what the church teaches is pure superstition based on the incorrect context of many verses in the bible and the opinions of the teachers themselves. This is why there are many thousands of different Church denominations, each teaching their own opinions. In fact, the fundamental church doctrines are not based on the Scriptures but rather upon the anti-Semitic Jew hating early church fathers and their personal teachings. The problem is that the church goers trust the pastors and priests way too much without actually testing any of what they teach. What we land up with is a lot of buzz words and phrases, but do not really have a proper understanding of what they mean.

Psalm 119:105 is one verse that is used a lot within the Christian church and is even one of their favorite hymns to sing. But do they really believe this to be true in the correct context, or is it a superstitious buzz phrase to keep themselves happy and satisfied? Let us then read this verse and understand it in its correct context for once. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The subject of this verse is the Word of the Almighty. King David, the author of this Psalm, is making it clear that what guided his actions and every step he took, was the Word of the Almighty. Can this fact be changed over time? The answer is a definite NO. This man, David, who was called, “a man after My own heart” by the Almighty Himself, authored many Psalms praising the wonderful Word of YHWH.

So what was king David referring to as the Word of YHWH that is a lamp and a light that illuminates his walk? Who better to turn to than the person who was considered to be the wisest of all men, and who was entrusted to build the house for the Shechina (presence of the Almighty), the Temple, and who is the son of the author of Psalm 119. King Sh’lomo wrote the following, “For the command is a lamp, And the Torah a light, And reproofs of discipline a way of life” (Proverbs 6:23). Here Sh’lomo makes it very clear that the Commandments are a lamp and that the Torah is a light. The term, “Commandments” is a simile for the term, “Torah” as it is the Torah that holds all the Commandments. Just as a ‘lamp’ is a simile for ‘light’ as the function of a lamp is to give light.

In the Christian religion, the problem arises when they claim this verse and sing it in hymns etc. but then in the same breath, they reject the Torah and the Commandments. The rejection of the Torah is literally the opposite action to what Psalm 119:105 teaches. If someone proclaims or sings this verse of Psalm 119:105, and then does not walk in the light of the Torah and the Commandments, then that person is a liar. Some people are even fooled into believing that the ‘New Testament’ is the Word of YHWH spoken of in Psalm 119. If you are one of these people, then ask yourself the question, Did the ‘New Testament’ exist at the time when King David wrote this Psalm? Or was David referring to the Torah? If the ‘New Testament’ is being referred to, then it must be the same context and contents as that of the Torah as it never existed at the time of the writing of the Psalms, but the Torah was.

We see the same thing when we read the prophets, “Grass shall wither, the flower shall fade, but the Word of our Elohim stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8). Did the ‘New Testament’ exist when Yeshayahu (Isaiah) wrote this? If the Torah was what Yeshayahu was speaking of, then it is the Torah that stands forever. So is the Word of YHWH that exists today different to that of the Word of YHWH that Yeshayahu knew and wrote about?

The author of Psalm 119:105 (quoted above) also wrote the following: “The Torah of יהוה (YHWH) is perfect, bringing back the being; The witness of יהוה (YHWH) is trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). So if the Torah is perfect and stands forever, then why is it necessary to change or do away with or even need something better? How can anything that is perfect be bettered?

Let us have a look at some references in the ‘New Testament’ regarding this topic. “So that the Torah truly is set-apart, and the command set-apart, and righteous, and good” (Rom 7:12). Sha’ul (Paul, as the Catholic Church calls him) is speaking of the Torah as good and righteous and set-apart, and not as a curse as many Christians claim. He also refers to the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament, as the Catholic Church calls it) as Scripture and that we need to use it for teaching, reproof, setting straight and the instruction in righteousness, “All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).

It is very clear that the Torah of YHWH is perfect and eternal. No person has the authority to decide otherwise. In fact, not even the Almighty can change His Word, however, this is irrelevant as His Word is already perfect and need not ever be changed. We do not have the choice of how we want to serve YHWH the Almighty. The only choice we do have is between serving Him or not. If we choose to serve YHWH, then we need to do it His way. That is however a good thing as He has given us the manual to do so, the Torah.

May we all study His Word and DO His Word so that we may walk on the derech tzedakah (way of righteousness)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Do you practice witchcraft?

Many people agree that witchcraft is evil and dangerous and should never be practiced or even attempted by any believers. But what these people are not as certain about is, “what witchcraft is.” Many believe witchcraft to be things like, casting spells, animal and human sacrifices, wearing evil pendants and talisman, voodoo, speaking to the dead or to spiritual beings etc. Yes these are all forms of witchcraft and are to be avoided at all costs. But there are other forms of witchcraft that seem to be innocent and even not recognizable as witchcraft practices, but are still just as evil as the other forms and is an abomination for the Almighty. Let us have a look at a few examples that Rambam gives on this subject:

a piece of bread dropped out of my mouth, my can fell from my hand, so I will not start out today… Since a fox ran past me on the right, I will not venture outside the door today… If a certain thing happens to me, I will follow this course of action… This house which I built has turned out lucky for me… From the moment I bought this animal I became rich… That is a lucky sign…

He concludes by saying that all these practices are false and deceptive, and that whoever believes in them us nothing but a fool (Yad, Avodah Zarah 11:16).

Yes, Superstitious beliefs and practices, are forms of divination and are wicked to the core. Many may seem to be innocent and even cute, but that is what makes it so deceptive. Witchcraft is condemned in the Torah as an abominable form of idolatry, being steeped in crime, immorality and deception. It is not in accord with Yisra’el’s belief in One Elohim. To think that any instance or event or action is out of the reach of the Almighty, is considered unbelief and a denial of YHWH.

So to all the believers who have a lucky coin or something similar, or scared of breaking a mirror, or worried if a black cat crosses your path, or any other superstitious belief, please consider the following verse found in the Torah:

Do not allow a practiser of witchcraft to live.” (Exo 22:18).

May we all seek the Almighty with all our heart, mind and strength and live by His Torah and leave all worldly beliefs and practices alone.