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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Vezot HaBrachah 54-2

And this is the blessing

Deuteronomy 33:8-12

He said of his father and mother, 'I have no regard for them. 'He did not recognize his brothers or acknowledge his own children, but he watched over your word and guarded your covenant.

Deut. 33:9 NIV

How can one disregard his family to obey the Eternal?

This verse expresses the attitude of all the Levites who gathered with Moshe when the rest of the people sinned with the golden calf. The Eternal's calling for their lives was more important than any family commitment.

It's not that the Eternal wants that one disrespects his own parents, or to not recognize and love his brothers and sisters or stop acknowledging his own sons and daughters - on the contrary. The Eternal's Torah commands us to do all this. However, this text shows us that family ties cannot be more important than the commitment with the Eternal. When the Eternal speaks, He is the only one to obey and acknowledge.

This means that if one respects his parents it is because the Eternal has said we should, not because of the parents. If one loves and recognises his siblings it is because the Eternal wishes that we do so, not because we are splitting our loyalty between them and the Eternal. If one acknowledges his own children it is because the Eternal has commanded us to do it, not because there is a bond with one's children that is in turn detached from the Eternal.

When it is about the commitment of the heart there is only one important thing: to obey the Eternal's word and to be faithful to the covenant that one has with Him. Everything else is the outcome of that faithfulness to the only One deserving to be our Owner and Lord.

The Hebrew text literally says: כי שׁמרו אמרתך, ki shamru imartecha, because they kept your saying. The word davar דבר word, thing – was not used here, but a softer word for "word" אמרה, imrah – saying, wording. This teaches us that even if the message we receive from the Eternal comes in a soft way, like a soft whisper in our heart's ears, it is more important to respond to that soft whispering than to any commitment we may have with men, including the closest family members. The voice of the Eternal's Spirit is over all men. Our commitment is with the Eternal only, and that's why we can be also faithful with men, because of Him.

If there is a conflict between your relationship with your family and your relationship with the Eternal, please prioritize your relationship with the Eternal and be faithful to Him. You can't serve two masters. Be faithful to your relatives because of your faithfulness to the Eternal and not without Him. Don't accept doing anything that your father, mother, brother, wife, husband or children demand from you if it's not in line with what the Eternal demands from you. Your commitment is with Him, not with men.



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