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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaYechi 12-6

And (he) lived

Genesis 49:27 – 50:20

When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

Gen. 49:33 ESV

What is a commandment?

The Torah says that Yaakov finished commanding his sons and then he drew up his feet into the bed and expired. The word translated as "commanding" is letsavot לצות which has the same root as mitsvah מצוה commandment in singular and mitsvot - מצות commandments in plural. The meaning of the root tsavah צוה – is: to constitute, to enjoin, to give a charge.

This teaches us that when Yaakov pronounced all these wonderful blessings upon his sons he did so with authority and with the power of the Spirit of the Eternal. The words that came out of his mouth had, and still have, power to mark the destiny of each one of the twelve tribes.

It also teaches us that the commandments of the Eternal shouldn't be understood as forcing orders that are impossible to follow. When the Eternal gives a commandment, He also sends His Spirit so that men receive strength to live that commandment correctly. Within each one of the 613 commandments the power of the divine gentle blow is there to assist those who are willing to obey them.

The commandments should also be looked upon as assignments. The one who receives a commandment has an important assignment. The more commandments we have, the more important the assignment is. In this way, men can feel fulfilled from having a task in life.

The one who can relate with the commandments in a correct way, will not fall in the trap of legalism, but will be able to live in the freedom of obedience by love, doing it with joy. The Messiah was sent to us for that purpose.

May the Eternal clearly reveal to us the difference between an assignment and legalism.

With love,


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