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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Re'eh 47-7


Deuteronomy 15:19 – 16:17 

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees.

Deut. 16:12 NIV

Why is it necessary to remember the time of slavery?

Time after time the Torah reminds the people of Israel the fact that they were slaves in Egypt and that the Eternal delivered them miraculously. The experience in Egypt is an important part in the memory and identity of the chosen people. Not only did the miraculous deliverance mark the formation of this priestly nation but also their long time of bondage.

Rashi comments that the Eternal freed them on the condition that they kept His decrees. It is like saying: You were slaves of the Pharaoh but I have delivered you so you can become my servants. Before, you served the Pharaoh, now you will serve Me. Before, you served out of obligation, now you will serve Me voluntarily. If you don't want to serve Me you will have to serve a Gentile dictator.

Another aspect that we could bring forth from this verse is that the one who remembers from where the Eternal brought him out when He called him will be filled with gratitude and praise. If it wasn't for the Eternal, what would be of me! The Eternal has truly been good to me. This gratitude inspires us to obey Him and it's better to obey out of love and gratitude that out of fear and obligation.

The Hebrew word translated as statutes is chukimחקים– and it talks about the commandments that are hard to understand because there's no logical explanation for the reason to keep them. They are the most difficult because we have to obey them without understanding why. The chukim are not obeyed out of logic but out of faithfulness. If you don't understand why you must obey, you just obey because the Eternal said so.

In order to keep this kind of commandments it's good to remember that we used to be slaves in Egypt in this world's evil system but that now the Eternal has set us free from there to serve Him with joy and gratitude.

Since the Eternal has been so good to me bringing me out of the bondage of sin and death through the suffering Messiah I am going to serve Him with all my heart, and obey His commandments even though I might not understand them; simply because He said I should.

Shabbat shalom,


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