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Friday, July 27, 2018

Your Daily Pesuk July 27, 2018

 Vaetchanan /  ואתחנן

  • Fri, 27 July 2018 = 15th of Av, 5778
  • ט״ו בְּאָב תשע״ח


Today, Yom Hashishi (the 6th day), our Pesukim contains the only known "creed" of Judaism, simply called, THE SHEMA שׁמע meaning "Hear" or "Listen".  It has become the central liturgical prayer of all Jews universally.  The entire Shema prayer, Devarim 6:4-9 is recited no less than twice a day.  First, in the morning Shacarit service, and then again in the evening during the Ma'ariv Service at sundown.  Both are recited with customary blessings before and after the Shema.  The prayer/confession is regarded as so Holy, that Jews endeavor for these to be the last words on our lips before our death.  

I've chosen Rashi's commentary today to elucidate the Shema for us:

"And you shall love [the Lord]: Perform His commandments out of love. The one who acts out of love cannot be compared to the one who acts out of fear. If one serves his master out of fear, when the master sets a great burden upon him, this servant will leave him and go away [whereas if out of love he will serve him even under great burden] (Sifrei 6:5).
ואהבת: עשה דבריו מאהבה אינו דומה עושה מאהבה לעושה מיראה. העושה אצל רבו מיראה כשהוא מטריח עליו מניחו והולך לו:
with all your heart: Heb. בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ [The double “veth” in לְבָבְךָ, instead of the usual form לִבְּךָ, suggests:] Love Him with your two inclinations [the good and the evil]. (Sifrei; Ber. 54a) Another explanation; “with all your heart,” is that your heart should not be divided [i.e., at variance] with the Omnipresent (Sifrei).
בכל לבבך: בשני יצריך. דבר אחר בכל לבבך, שלא יהיה לבך חלוק על המקום:
and with all your soul: Even if He takes your soul (Sifrei; Ber. 54a, 61a).
ובכל נפשך: אפילו הוא נוטל את נפשך:
and with all your means: Heb. וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ, with all your possessions. There are people whose possessions are more precious to them than their own bodies. Therefore, it says, “and with all your means.” (Sifrei) Another explanation of וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ is: You shall love God with whatever measure (מִדָּה) He metes out to you, whether it be the measure of good or the measure of retribution. Thus also did David say: “I will lift up the cup of salvations [and I will call upon the name of the Lord]” (Ps. 116:12-13); “I found trouble and grief [and I called out in the name of the Lord]” (Ps. 116:3-4).
ובכל מאדך: בכל ממונך יש לך אדם שממונו חביב עליו מגופו לכך נאמר ובכל מאדך. דבר אחר ובכל מאדך בכל מדה ומדה שמודד לך בין במדה טובה בין במדת פורענות וכן דוד הוא אומר (תהלים קטז, יג) כוס ישועות אשא וגו' (שם קטז, יג) צרה ויגון אמצא וגו':

I appreciate Rashi's first point on serving our God out of pure "Love" (wholeheartedness) not fear.  His final point about "all your means/possessions" also explains why Jews "DAVEN" while we prayer.  Davening is the bowing motion that is customarily performed during prayer.  It is a swaying of the body symbolizing worshiping with our "whole being". Body soul and spirit. 

What is most significant of this commentary is how we see the same principles in the Brit Chadasha:

John 13:34-35 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
34 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 - מִצְוָה חֲדָשָׁה אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם אֲשֶׁר תְּאֵהֲבוּ אִטשׁ אֶת־אָחִיו כַּאֲשֶׁר אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם כֵּן גַּם־אַתֶּם אִישׁ אֶת־אָחִיו תֶּאֱהָבוּן׃[35] בָּזֹאת יֵדְעוּ כֻלָם כִּי תַלְמִידִים אַתֶּם לִי תִּשְׁכֹּן אַהֲבָה בֵּינֵיכֶם׃

Just as Messiah gave us this "New" Chadash.  Mitzvah Chadash (New Commandment), it really is nothing "different" from what the Torah is telling us.  What is new or different is "HOW" we obey and keep the commandments.  Not because we are afraid, but because we are so IN LOVE with Adonai.  This is even what Rashi was saying!

However, the Brit Chadasha really brings this home in 1 Yochanan...

1 John 4:7 Loved ones, let us love one another, for love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 The love of God was revealed among us by this—that God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 This is love—not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atonement for our sins.

11 Loved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is made perfect in us. 13 We know that we abide in Him and He in us by this—because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son as Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Yeshua is Ben-Elohim, God abides in him and he abides in God. 16 So we have come to know and trust in the love that God has for us. God is love. Now whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

God’s Fulfilling Love
17 In this way, love is made perfect among us, so that we should have boldness on the Day of Judgment. For just as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us.

Love God—Love God’s Family
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother.

May you all have a blessed Erev Shabbat tonight.


R' Eric

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