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Parashah 45 VaEtchanan

Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted.   

Torah Readings:

  1. 3:23 – 4:4

  2. 4:5-40

  3. 4:41-49

  4. 5:1-21(18 Heb.)

  5. 5:22(19) – 6:3

  6. 6:4-25

  7. 7:1-11

  8. Maftir: 7:9-11

Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26


Means “and I prayed”


The First Aliyah, 3:23 – 4:4

3:23 “I begged HaShem at that time, saying”(HNV revised) – The word va-etchanan, “begged”, “prayed”, has the numeric value of 515. Midrash literature has concluded from this, that Moshe prayed 515 times to the Eternal that He would allow him to enter the Land. His prayer was not answered before he died. When Yeshua the Messiah came, however, it is said that Moshe was with him on one of the mountains of Israel (possibly Tavor) together with Eliyahu, see Matthew 17. But it was not a physical experience since Moshe’s body has not been resurrected yet. Rather, I believe that it was a revelation of his spirit in a heavenly dimension.

3:25 “Please let me go over and see the good land that is beyond the Yarden, that goodly mountain, and Levanon.”(HNV) – According to Rashi, the “good mountain” is referring to Yerushalayim and “Levanon” is the temple. The word “Levanon” comes from lavan, “white”. The temple is called “Levanon” because it makes the sins of Israel white. According to Gur Ariye, the name “Levanon” is given to mountains that produce many trees and even the trees themselves are called “Levanon”. According to him, the temple is called this, not only because it made the sins of Israel white, but because it was on a fruitful mountain that had many trees.

3:26 “But HaShem was angry with me for your sakes, and didn’t listen to me; and HaShem said to me, Let it suffice you; speak no more to me of this matter.”(HNV revised) – The expression in Hebrew that is translated as “let it suffice you” is the Hebrew rav-lach, “much for you”, which, according to Rashi, can be understood in two ways. On the one hand it means, “it is enough”, and on the other hand, “much is waiting for you”. Moshe already had a great inheritance waiting for him at the resurrection of the dead. Therefore he did not need to mind very much about not entering the land at this occasion, for he had a very glorious future waiting for him in the olam habah, the coming world.

The Scriptures teach that the inheritance that we receive from our heavenly Father is given in two ages; in this present age and in the future age; in the olam hazeh and in the olam habah. Moshe did not receive an inheritance at this time, but he will in the future after the resurrection of the dead at the second coming of Mashiach Yeshua.

4:1    “Now, Yisra'el, listen to the statutes and to the ordinances, which I teach you, to do them; that you may live, and go in and possess the land which HaShem, the God of your fathers, gives you.”(HNV revised) – The Hebrew word for “listen” is shamah,[1] which means “listen”, “hear”, “hearken”, “be attentive to”, “care about”, “obey”, “understand”. This word occurs more that 90 times in the book of Deuteronomy. This teaches us that when the Eternal tells us through his prophet that we must listen, it means more than just hearing what he is saying. The meaning of the word shemah, “listen!”, also means to care about and obey. Shaliach Yaakov also speaks about this in his letter to the Jews, where it is written in James 1:22-25,

“But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a mirror; for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.”(HNV)

In Romans 10:17, it is written,

“So faith comes by hearing (shamah), and hearing by the word of God.”(HNV revised)

Faith is not only the result of having heard, but of having listened with an attitude of willingness to obey what it said. Faith does not develop in a person who only reads the Scriptures not bothering to practice what is taught. Trust comes as a result of obedience to the Torah.

“Now, Yisra'el, listen to the statutes (chukim) and to the ordinances (mishpatim), which I teach you, to do them; that you may live…” – The purpose of the commandments is to give life. If the result of our obedience to a commandment is that we die, then we have not fulfilled the purpose of the commandment. It is therefore permitted to break all but three commandments, if it should serve to save a human life. However, it is better to die than to break one of the following three commandments:

1.      Not to blaspheme or practice idolatry.

2.      Not to murder.

3.      Not to commit adultery.

The commandments were given to bring life, both in this age and in the coming age. If anyone keeps these three commandments and loses his life because of it, he will receive a higher life in the olam habah, as it is written in Hebrews 11:35,

“Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”(HNV)

One who keeps the Eternal’s commandments, that were given through Moshe, will have a long life, as it is written in Deuteronomy 4:40; 5:33 and 6:2,

“You shall keep his statutes, and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land, which HaShem your God gives you, forever… You shall walk in all the way which HaShem your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess… that you might fear HaShem your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you and your son, and your son’s son, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.”(HNV revised)

In Deuteronomy 32:46-47, it is written,

“He said to them, Set your heart to all the words which I testify to you this day, which you shall command your children to observe to do, even all the words of this law. For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land, where you go over the Yarden to possess it.”(HNV)

The commandments were not given to limit man, but to prolong his life and give him privileges, both in this life and in the next. A person who wants to make himself free from the Torah will die, as it is written in Romans 8:6-7, 13,

“For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and shalom; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s Torah, neither indeed can it be… For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”(HNV revised)

A branch that is in the tree is free. If it is broken off, it will die. Freedom is not found outside of obedience to the commandments, but in a relationship with Him who gives life, and in submission to the norms that rule life, as it is written in John 8:34-36,

“Yeshua answered them, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is the bondservant of sin. A bondservant doesn’t live in the house forever. A son remains forever. If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’”(HNV)

In Deuteronomy 5:29, it is written,

“Oh that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!”(HNV revised)

In Deuteronomy 6:3, it is written,

“Hear therefore, Yisra'el, and observe to do it; that it may be well with you, and that you may increase mightily, as HaShem, the God of your fathers, has promised to you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”(HNV revised)

These texts teach that one who keeps the commandments will prosper, as will his children. Do you want success in your life? Keep the commandments which apply to you!

4:2    “You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that you may keep the commandments of HaShem your God which I command you.”(HNV revised) – It is strictly forbidden to add anything to the revelation that was given from heaven through Moshe Rabenu, our teacher. The same prohibition is found in 12:32, (13:1 in the Hebrew version), where it is written,

“Whatever thing I command you, that shall you observe to do: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”(HNV)

This teaches us that the revealed literature called the Chumash, the Pentateuch, or the Torah of Moshe, was finished once and for all with the final words of Deuteronomy chapter 34. It means that none of the books, which God inspired later, can add another commandment to those already given. Neither can they introduce new concepts or new revelations other than those already revealed to Moshe. The section of the Scriptures called the “New Testament”, which we call the Apostolic or Messianic Writings, cannot bring in any new concepts or commandments and neither can it take away any of the commandments that were once given through Moshe. If that were the case, it would be a false and reprehensible collection of writings. Maimonides wrote,[2]

  1. It is clearly and expressly said in the Torah that these laws, which are eternally applicable, cannot be changed, minimized, or extended, for it is written, “All that I command you, keep it so that it is fulfilled, neither add nor take away from anything.”(Deuteronomy XIII, 1 [Christian version 12:32]) This means that no prophet has the right to introduce anything new to the Torah. If then, any Jew or non-Jew, who, through signs and wonders, claims that the Eternal has sent him to add to or take away from any commandment, to give an interpretation of a commandment that contradicts what we have heard from Moshe, or to say that the commandments that were given to Israel do not apply forever and for all generations, but only for a certain time, then he is a false prophet since he comes to explain away the prophecy of Moshe. He is deserving of the death penalty by strangling, since he has spoken in the Eternal’s name when He did not command him to. He, blessed be his Name, commanded Moshe that this Torah should be for us and for our children for eternity, and God is not a man who can lie.

  2. Why is it written in the Torah, “I shall let a prophet rise up for you from among your brothers, like you” (Deuteronomy XVIII, 18)? Because the prophet that this is referring to would not come to establish a new religion, but to confirm the words of the Torah and to warn the people not to break it, as the last of the prophets said, “Remember the Torah of my servant Moshe” (Malachi III, 22 [Christian version 4:4])

This lines up well with the words that the Messiah Yeshua spoke in Matthew 5:17-19, where it is written,

“Don’t think that I came to destroy the Torah or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. For most assuredly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the Torah, until all things are accomplished. Whoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and teach others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”(HNV revised)

“the commandments of HaShem your God which I command you” – Moshe received authority to convey the commandments of the Eternal under heavenly inspiration, with the words that were dictated by the Eternal in the first four books of the Chumash as the point of reference. Therefore Moshe can say that it is the commandments of HaShem, which he commands. These are explanations and confirmations, expressed in commandments, of what had already been revealed. In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moshe gives a commandment, as it is written,

“HaShem your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me; to him you shall listen”(HNV revised)

This is one of the 613 commandments in the Torah. There is, therefore, a commandment which commands us to listen to and obey the prophet like Moshe, whom HaShem would raise up among his people Israel. This prophet spoke in the same way that Moshe did, as it is written in John 5:24,

“Most assuredly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”(HNV)

In John 8:51, it is written,

“Most assuredly, I tell you, if a person keeps my word, he will never see death.”(HNV)

In John 14:23, it is written,

“Yeshua answered him, ‘If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.’”(HNV)

Furthermore, we find the expression “I tell you” coming from our Rabbi’s mouth more than 80 times in the Messianic Writings. This shows us that he came as the prophet whom Moshe announced, and who has authority from the Father to interpret Moshe in a true and final way.

In Deuteronomy 18:18-19, it is written,

“I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. It shall happen, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”(HNV)

In Acts 3:23, it is written,

“It will be, that every soul that will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.”(HNV)

4:4    “But you who did cleave to HaShem your God are alive everyone of you this day.”(HNV revised) – So far we have seen that fulfilling the commandments gives life, both in this world and in the world to come. This verse teaches us another aspect of the same thing. The Hebrew word that is translated as “cleave” is davek,[3] which means “cling to”, “glue to”, “unite with”, “be stuck to”. To cleave to the Eternal is the same thing as being faithful to him and not uniting oneself with other gods and their customs. This union with the Eternal is what gives life. All who had cleaved to the Eternal, had been kept alive up until the day called hayom,[4] “this day”, “today”, which in the drash level can be understood as the eternal present and also as the last day. The one who glues himself firmly to the Eternal will always have a “today”, an existence in the present. One who pulls away from him, will one day loose the right to experience the day that will be called “today”. The Hebrew word hayom, which is literally translated as “the day”, and which has been translated as “today”, occurs 75 times in the book of Deuteronomy; more than twice per chapter. This teaches us that we cannot leave the fulfillment of the commandments until tomorrow. Today, we must fulfill them. You cannot fulfill the commandments yesterday or tomorrow – only today. If HaShem speaks to you today, do not leave it for another day, as it is written in Psalm 95:7b-11,

“Today, oh that you would hear his voice! Don’t harden your heart, as at Merivah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers tempted me, tested me, and saw my work. Forty long years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people that errs in their heart. They have not known my ways.’ Therefore I swore in my wrath, ‘They won’t enter into my rest.’”(HNV)

Today is your day, dear reader. Today it is time to cling to the Eternal and to fulfill his commandments. Today is the day to be faithful to him. Whoever is faithful today, will also be faithful tomorrow, when it is called “today”.

In Hebrews 3:12-13, it is written,

“Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called ‘today’ lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”(HNV)

The Second Aliyah, 4:5-40

4:5, 14 “Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as HaShem my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go in to possess it… HaShem commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances, that you might do them in the land where you go over to possess it.”(HNV revised) – Here the Torah speaks of two types of commandments, chukim and mishpatim, which are translated as “statutes” and “ordinances”. The chuk-commandments are commandments that do not have a logical explanation as to why they must be fulfilled. The mishpat-commandments are social rules and it is easy to understand why they exist.

It is also written that the commandments are to be fulfilled in the land. The land of Israel is the first land where one is to keep HaShem’s Torah. The Torah was given primarily to be kept in the land of Israel. There are several commandments that do not apply outside of the land. This makes the land a consecrated and different land, a land on a higher spiritual level.

This also teaches us that the Torah was not given to the nations to be fulfilled entirely by them, but to the children of Israel to be fulfilled entirely in the land, which the Eternal gave them.

4:6    “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”(HNV) – In this text, the Torah reveals the best way to reach the nations with the message from the Eternal. To keep the commandments is the best way to make an impression among the nations. The second thing is found in verses 9-10, where it talks about passing the Torah on to the children. This lines up well with the teaching that our Rabbi Yeshua gave us in Matthew 28:18-20, where it is written,[5]

“Yeshua came to them and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations in my name, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”(HNV revised)

In John 13:35, it is written,

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(HNV revised)

Love for one another is the innermost essence of the Torah. If we, therefore, fulfill the Torah by loving one another, all will learn to know Yeshua. The worst thing that can happen is when those who claim to be believers in Yeshua and who preach the good news of salvation do not live according to the norms established by the Torah. The Spirit was given to the disciples of the Messiah, not so that they could witness, but so that they could be witnesses, as it is written in Acts 1:8,

“But you will receive power when the Ruach HaKodesh has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Yerushalayim, in all Yehudah and Shomron, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.”(HNV revised)

To be a witness is not the same thing as witnessing. One who does not live according to the norms of the Torah but still witnesses about Yeshua is doing more harm than good. The bad testimony of those who call themselves the people of God is what causes the most damage in the world. It causes hearts to be closed to the salvation of God. Thus, only those who live according to the Torah can make an impression on the world and bring about foundational changes to the help of the nations.

“Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding” – Hebrew wisdom and understanding does not entail knowing with the mind while having a lifestyle that does not fulfill the commandments that were given through Moshe and confirmed by the Messiah Yeshua.

“in the sight of the peoples” – In what way can the Jews make an impression on the nations so that they will believe their God and draw near to the blessings that they have received through their father Avraham and which also are for the peoples? This text gives us the answer. “Who shall hear all these statutes (chukim)”. According to the Torah, it is the chuk-commandments, the commandments without a logical explanation, which HaShem uses to make an impression on the Gentiles. This is very wondrous, since normally it is the chuk-commandments that are the most exposed to scorn from those on the outside seeing as they cannot be explained easily. What impression are we making on the Gentiles when the Jews obey the chuk and mishpat commandments?

  • They will see their obedience, which reflects their love for the Eternal, even though they do not understand the reason for fulfilling certain commandments.

  • They will acknowledge that they are a great people.

  • They will acknowledge that they are wise.

  • They will acknowledge that they have understanding.

There is, therefore, wisdom and understanding in the commandments. Modern science has proven that those who keep the chuk-commandments, which include the kashrut rules (biblical diet), circumcision, abstinence during the woman’s menstruation, rules regarding birth etc., have less diseases than others and live healthier lives. The lifestyle is what makes an impression on the nations, not so much the words. Furthermore, when ones lifestyle is right, ones words will be backed up by power.

4:8    “What great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this Torah, which I set before you this day?”(HNV) – All the commandments are righteous, as it is written in Psalm 119:160,

“All of your words are truth. Every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.”(HNV)

In Psalm 119:62, 106, 164, it is written,

“At midnight I will rise to give thanks to you, because of your righteous ordinances… I have sworn, and have confirmed it, that I will obey your righteous ordinances… Seven times a day, I praise you, because of your righteous ordinances.”(HNV)

In Romans 7:12, it is written,

“Therefore the Torah indeed is sacred, and the commandments consecrated, and righteous, and good.”(HNV revised)

4:9    “Only take heed to yourself, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes saw, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your children and your children’s children”(HNV) – This text teaches us that we are not only to speak of the commandments with those who are on the outside. There is something even more important; to pass on personal experiences and the words of the Torah to one’s own children. Parents and grandparents have a great responsibility of conveying the revelation to their children and grandchildren.

4:10 “the day that you stood before HaShem your God in Chorev, when HaShem said to me, Assemble me the people, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.”(HNV revised) – The parents are the ones who have the responsibility of teaching their children the Torah of the Eternal, not others. The parents are responsible to make sure that their children learn the Torah. In order to fulfill this commandment, they can also ask others for help.

4:12 “HaShem spoke to you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of words, but you saw no form; only you heard a voice.”(HNV revised) – The word “fire” occurs 14 times in this Parashah. Ten of them are written in the context of the giving of the words of the Torah, as it is written in 4:15, 24, 33, 36; 5:4, 5, 22, 24, 26,

“Take therefore good heed to yourselves; for you saw no manner of form on the day that HaShem spoke to you in Chorev out of the midst of the fire… For HaShem your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God… Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?... Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice, that he might instruct you: and on earth he made you to see his great fire; and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire… HaShem spoke with you face to face on the mountain out of the midst of the fire… I stood between HaShem and you at that time, to show you the word of HaShem: for you were afraid because of the fire, and didn’t go up onto the mountain; saying… These words HaShem spoke to all your assembly on the mountain out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice that made no interruptions. He wrote them on two tables of stone, and gave them to me… and you said, Behold, HaShem our God has shown us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God does speak with man, and he lives… For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?”(HNV revised)

In Deuteronomy 9:10, it is written,

“HaShem delivered to me the two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which HaShem spoke with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.”(HNV revised)

In Deuteronomy 10:4, it is written,

“He wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten words, which HaShem spoke to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and HaShem gave them to me.”(HNV revised)

In Deuteronomy 33:2b, it is written,

“At his right hand was a fiery Torah for them.”(HNV revised)

In Jeremiah 23:29, it is written,

“Isn’t my word like fire? says HaShem; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”(HNV revised)

When the Messiah Yeshua taught from the Scriptures, he did it with fire, as it is written in Luke 24:32,

“They said one to another, ‘Weren’t our hearts burning within us, while he spoke to us along the way, and while he opened the Scriptures to us?’”(HNV)

When Shaliach Shaul preached, he did it with fire, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5,

“My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith wouldn’t stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”(HNV revised)

In 1 Corinthians 4:20, it is written,

“For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”(HNV revised)

This teaches us two things. First of all, the Torah must become a fire in our hearts in order for it to be effective.

In Psalm 39:4, it is written,

“My heart was hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned: I spoke with my tongue”(HNV)

The way to get a hold of that fire is by meditating. The Hebrew word that is translated “meditate”,[6] hagig, means “whisper”, “utter”, “groan”, “meditate”. Hebrew meditation does not only consist of using the mind, but also the mouth. It means to repeat the words of the Torah in a spirit of prayer. Torah studies combined with prayer in the Spirit is the only thing that can produce heavenly fire in our hearts.

Secondly, these texts teach us that we ought to convey the Torah to others with fire, so that it makes an impression on them. In order for this to happen, we need to be immersed in and filled with the Spirit of Sanctity and fire and allow the Torah to become fire inside us. We cannot give something we do not have. Make sure that your heart is burning so that you can teach others the Torah with fire.

“you heard the voice of words, but you saw no form” – The Hebrew word that is translated “form” is temunah,[7] which means “picture”, “figure”, “image”, “silhouette”, “impression”. This teaches us that HaShem does not have a form, or at least that he has not revealed any shape to the children of Israel, so that they would not be tempted to make an image of the divinity.

4:13 “He declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even the ten words; and he wrote them on two tables of stone.”(HNV revised) – In Hebrew it is not written, “the ten commandments”, but “the ten words”, aseret ha-devarim.

4:18 “the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth”(HNV) – This teaches us that it is forbidden to make an image of the Messiah with a fish. The origin of the fish symbol, which is called IXTUS, is the idolatrous cult of the Philistine fish god, Dagon, which infiltrated the faith of the Christians during the third century after the Messiah. Instead of leaving their idols and serving the only true God, they brought their pagan customs with them and mixed them in with Messianic Judaism. Thus Christianity was formed as a mixture of Judaism and popular pagan customs that existed all over the Roman Empire.

4:23-24 “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of HaShem your God, which he made with you, and make you an engraved image in the form of anything which HaShem your God has forbidden you. For HaShem your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.”(HNV revised) – The name El Kanah, “jealous God”, occurs three times in this Parashah, 4:24; 5:9; 6:15.

The Eternal created the emotional relationship between spouses so that we might understand something of his love for us. In the same way, he also created feelings of jealousy to rise up whenever someone stops being faithful to their spouse and joins with another. The jealousy that a man feels when his wife begins to flirt with another man is a small reflection of how the Eternal acts when we seek other sources of life.

4:25-26 “When you shall father children, and children’s children, and you shall have been long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make an engraved image in the form of anything, and shall do that which is evil in the sight of HaShem your God, to provoke him to anger; I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over the Yarden to possess it; you shall not prolong your days on it, but shall utterly be destroyed.”(HNV revised) – Here is a prophecy about what would happen to the people of Israel. After having been long in the land, they fell away and made engraved images. The result of this idolatry was they were taken away into exile, the ten tribes in the north were taken to Assyria and the two tribes in the south were taken to Babylon. Rashi comments that the word “you shall have been long”, in Hebrew ve-noshatem, has the numeric value of 852, which is a reference to the exile that would happen after 852 years. However, since the text says that they would utterly perish from the land, which did not happen since a small remnant was permitted to stay, the exile came two years early and actually happened 850 years after the conquering of the land, see Daniel 9:14. Talmud[8] mentions that HaShem treated the people with generosity, in Hebrew tzedakah, and allowed the exile to come two years before the determined time. That way the people did not completely perish.

4:29 “But from there you shall seek HaShem your God, and you shall find him, when you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”(HNV revised) – Every time the prophecies speak of judgment on account of Israel’s sin, there is also a promise of restoration. We can see this here as well. Here the promise that they will find the Eternal is given to the descendants of the Israelites among the nations. The condition for being able to find the Eternal is that they seek him with all their heart and all their soul. How does one do this? The answer is found in verse 30, “return to HaShem your God, and listen to his voice”. The way to seek the Eternal is by listening to his voice. His voice is found in Moshe’s Torah and in the rest of the inspired Scriptures.

4:30 “When you are in oppression, and all these things are come on you, in the latter days you shall return to HaShem your God, and listen to his voice”(HNV revised) – The expression “in the latter days” is referring to the time prior to the coming of the Messianic reign on the earth, in other words, our days. Both Midrash literature[9] and Rambam[10] relate this Parashah with the final redemption. Ramban, however, considers this to be a reference to the Babylonian exile and that the final redemption is announced in the Parashah Nitzavim, (Deuteronomy 30:3-4) and Haazinu (Deuteronomy 32).

4:31 “for HaShem your God is a merciful God; he will not fail you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which he swore to them.”(HNV revised) –  In the last days, when the descendants of Israel turn to the Eternal and listen and obey the words of the Torah they will experience his compassion and faithfulness in bringing them into the covenant that was sworn with their forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.

The Midrash[11] teaches that there are five reasons for the coming of the final redemption, according to these verses and according to what happened in the first redemption from Egypt:

·         The people of Israel are in distress.

·         The people of Israel make teshuvah (repent and turn to HaShem).

·         The covenant with the forefathers still applies.

·         HaShem’s compassion is revealed.

·         The set time for the final redemption has come.

4:32 “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and from the one end of the sky to the other, whether there has been any such thing as this great thing is, or has been heard like it?”(HNV revised) – The Torah urges us to study human history from Adam and Chavah and on. It also urges us to study the geography and cultures of the world so that we may be assured that what happened at the exodus from Egypt and when the Torah was given at Sinai was something extraordinary and has not been experienced by any other human. This is the proof that HaShem is the only God in heaven and on earth.

The Third Aliyah, 4:41-49

4:45 “these are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which Moshe spoke to the children of Yisra'el, when they came forth out of Egypt”(HNV) – Here a new concept is brought in along with the terms chukim and mishpatim, which we mentioned earlier. This is the Hebrew word edah,[12] plural edot, which is translated as “testimonies”. This is referring to the commandments that give the Jews a special identity as a people, such as for instance the tzitzit, mezuzah, tefillin, Shabbats, and feasts. These commandments are called edot, “testimonies”, because they testify of the fact that they are a people different from the other nations, chosen to serve the Eternal in a special way. These commandments also give us reason to testify to the nations about the commandments of the Eternal. The use of the tzitzit is increasingly going to become a means for the nations to learn the Torah of the Eternal, according to what is written in Zechariah 8:23

“Thus says HaShem of Hosts: ‘In those days, ten men will take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they will take hold of the mantle hem of him who is a Jew, saying, "We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."’”(HNV revised)

The Fourth Aliyah, 5:1-21 (18 Heb.)

5:6    “I am HaShem your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”(HNV revised) – As we mentioned earlier, the Hebrew text does not speak of ten commandments, but of ten words. In the texts found in Exodus 20:1-17 (verse 14 in the Hebrew version) and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 (verse 10 Hebrew), there are 15 different commandments. They are commandments number 25-38 and 424.

The numbering of these ten words has been distorted by the Catholic Church and later by the reformer Luther. According to the Torah and Jewish tradition, the correct numbering of the ten words is as follows:

1.      I am the Eternal your God…

2.      You shall have no other gods…

3.      You shall not misuse…

4.      Remember and keep the Shabbat…

5.      Honor your father and mother…

6.      You shall not murder…

7.      You shall not commit adultery…

8.      You shall not steal…

9.      You shall not bear false testimony against your neighbor.

10.  You shall not covet…

According to tradition, there were five sentences on each stone tablet. The first five sentences speak of the relationship between the Eternal and man, and the last five speak of the relationship between people. The relationship between parents and their children reflects the relationship between the Eternal and people. Therefore this commandment is included on the first tablet. There is a commandment that summarizes the five words on the first tablet, “you shall love HaShem your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”, see 6:5. Love for the Eternal is expressed through obedience to the commandments, see 5:10. There is also a commandment that summarizes the five words on the second tablet, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, see Leviticus 19:18.

5:7    “You shall have no other gods before me.”(HNV) – We can ask ourselves some questions to see wether we have any other gods in our lives:

·         Who rules my life?

·         Who is my source?

·         Who do I place my trust in?

·         Where is my passion?

·         Whom do I praise?

5:12 “Observe the day of Shabbat, to keep it consecrated, as HaShem your God commanded you.”(HNV revised) – If we compare Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, we can find several differences, especially when it is talking about the Shabbat. Was Moshe not able to quote the Eternal correctly? How can we explain this contradiction?

When man speaks, he can only utter one word at a time, but this is not the case with the Eternal. He can utter several words at once. That is why there are differences in the first and second description of the ten words that were heard by all the people from the top of the mountain. So when the Eternal spoke of the Shabbat, there are two truths included in that word, and both are written in the passages that we are comparing. Rashi says that both expressions were spoken simultaneously and with one word. They were also heard in one listening experience.

According to Exodus 20, the Shabbat is connected with the creation of the world, but here in Devarim 5, it is written that the Shabbat has to do with the exodus from Egypt. In Exodus it speaks about remembering the Shabbat, and here it speaks about keeping the Shabbat. Remembering is not the same thing as keeping. Both of these are necessary and they complement each other.

The Shabbat was given for us to remember two important things in history, the creation of the world and the exodus from Egypt. This teaches us that the Shabbat is also for those who did not go out from Egypt, but who are the children of Adam. They ought also to remember the Shabbat. The Shabbat has existed since creation and it applies to everyone. But the sons of Adam and Noach are not obligated to keep the Shabbat because they did not leave Egypt.

 Furthermore, the Shabbat was given in a special way to the children of Israel, in order to be kept as a sign of the covenant that was made after the exodus from Egypt, as it is written in Exodus 31:13,

“Speak also to the children of Yisra'el, saying, ‘Most assuredly you shall keep my Shabbatot: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am HaShem who sanctifies you.’”(HNV revised)

  1. The commandment binds us to remember the Shabbat. This means that we carry out intellectual activity. “Work” with the mind, through studying, reading, praying, and thinking on the ways of the Eternal–especially the deliverance from slavery–as well as on one’s own ways, is therefore permitted on the Shabbat. With this activity we consecrate the Shabbat in the way that we make it a different day and we dedicate it to the Eternal. Rashi mentions, on the other hand, that remembering the Shabbat also means that one ought to think about the Shabbat during the other days of the week. If we buy something beautiful during the week, it is in order to honor the coming Shabbat.

  2. It is also written that the people who left Egypt ought to keep the Shabbat. To keep entails having an attitude of watchfulness. To keep has to do with not doing anything that the Torah forbids for the Shabbat. Jews are watchful not to make any melachah[13], labor, on Shabbat. In this way they can keep the Shabbat and be careful not to profane it, so it will be consecrated.

To consecrate means to set it apart from the others in order to dedicate it for the exclusive use of the Eternal. In Leviticus 23:2-3, it also speaks of the necessity of having a consecrated gathering of the congregation before the Eternal during the Shabbat.

The Shabbat was created primarily for man to refrain from intervening in creation just as the Eternal did after creating everything. However, we can also see that this text speaks of resting on the Shabbat. Even though the word “shabbat” does not mean rest, but “ceasing creative activities” the word “rest”, in Hebrew “nuach”,[14] is also related to the Shabbat, as it is written in 5:14b,

“that your man-servant and your maid-servant may rest as well as you.”(HNV)

The concept of rest is, however, not the most important one for the Shabbat. The primary thing is to refrain from creative and productive activity.

“as HaShem your God commanded you” – According to Talmud,[15] the commandment about the Shabbat was not given to Israel at Sinai for the first time, but at Marah, where he gave them some commandments, see Exodus 15:25.

5:15 “You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and HaShem your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm: therefore HaShem your God commanded you to do the day of Shabbat.”(HNV revised) – The people of Israel must remember that they were slaves in Egypt. Because they were delivered from Egypt HaShem has commanded them to keep the Shabbat. This teaches us that they did not keep the Shabbat in Egypt. Now they are free to keep the commandments of the Eternal, not with slavery or threats, but with gratefulness and love. This also teaches us that one who does not rest on Shabbat, or one who is forced to work on Shabbat, is still a slave to this world’s system.

Here it is written that we must “do”, in Hebrew laasot, the Shabbat day. Sadly it has not been translated this way. To “do the Shabbat day” means doing something special so that the Shabbat becomes “the Sabbath” in relation to the other days of the week. This is why many of the traditions for the Shabbat have arisen, for example lighting the two Shabbat candles several minutes before the Shabbat (as a sign that now the last work is done before the day of refraining begins), we drink a cup of wine in order to begin the Shabbat (as a sign of the joy because of the blessing that this feast entails), we place a white tablecloth on the table (in memory of the protective covering that was under the manna in the wilderness), we have two large loafs of bread baked especially for the Shabbat (in memory of the double amount of manna that was given in the wilderness on the sixth day of every week), we cover the bread with a white cloth (in memory of the white protective covering that was over the manna in the wilderness), we bless our wives and children in a special way, we eat a lot and different kinds of food compared to what we eat on other weekdays, we wear elegant clothes to honor the Shabbat, we pray special prayers that were written for that day, we call up seven men to read from the Torah scroll in the synagogue, we make kidush over the wine before we eat in the late morning, and so on. All these things are different ways to “do the Shabbat day” in order to fulfill this commandment.

So, we can summarize the Shabbat obligations in the following way:

  • To remember – think about the work of creation and the deliverance from slavery, Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:15.

  • To keep – be careful with the Shabbat so that we do not do anything that is forbidden, Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:12; Isaiah 58:13-14.

  • To consecrate – to occupy oneself with the Eternal and his Torah in a special way, Deuteronomy 5:12, in verse 14 it says, “for the Eternal”. This is done in the family, Deuteronomy 5:14, and in the congregation, Leviticus 23:3.

  • Rest – not doing things that make you tired or cause disturbances, to sleep more than usual, Deuteronomy 5:14.

  • To do the Shabbat day – performing certain rituals that make that day different in comparison to the rest of the days of the week, Deuteronomy 5:15b.

  • Enjoy the Shabbat – eating good food and doing other activities which give pleasure, Isaiah 56:14.

The Shabbat is also a day when we remember the deliverance from slavery to sin through the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah. The exodus from Egypt is a prophetic shadow of the exodus from the real slavery, slavery to sin and satan, John 8:32-36.

Since Yeshua was dead for three days, including the Shabbat, and thus paid for our sins, we have been able to experience deliverance from slavery to sin, from death and satan. This gives us even more reason to celebrate the Shabbat. Blessed be the Eternal for the Messiah who gave us the eternal Shabbat!

5:16 “Honor your father and your mother, as HaShem your God commanded you; that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you, in the land which HaShem your God gives you.”(HNV revised) – This word teaches us that the commandment about honoring one’s father and mother was also given before the Torah was given at Sinai. According to Talmud[16], this happened at Marah.

The Fifth Aliyah, 5:22(19) – 6:3

5:22(19) “These words HaShem spoke to all your assembly on the mountain out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice that did not make any interruptions. He wrote them on two tables of stone, and gave them to me.”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, when it says that it was a great voice that did not make any interruptions, it means that he did not need to stop and breathe in order to keep speaking, like humans do.

6:1    “Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances, which HaShem your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you go over to possess it”(HNV revised) – Here we come to what is considered to be Judaism’s confession of faith, the Shema. In this verse, it is written that this is “the commandment”, singular. When our Rabbi Yeshua was asked which commandment is the most important, he answered with the words of the Shema, see Mark 12:29.

The Sixth Aliyah, 6:4-25

6:4-9 “Hear, Yisra'el: HaShem is our God; HaShem is one: and you shall love HaShem your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your ability and these words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for symbols between your eyes. You shall write them on the door-posts of your house, and on your gates.”(HNV revised)

The key to being able to continually live near the Eternal is found in these words, called the Shema.

Shema – The first thing that man must do, in order to be near the Eternal, is to listen and obey. The Eternal takes the initiative to come near us and we only need to take him seriously in order to partake of his grace. Draw near to the Eternal every morning and take a few minutes to listen, without doing anything else, and allow the Spirit of HaShem to speak to you through the words of the Torah which you have read. Do not be so quick in your prayers so that you only speak without listening. It is better to listen to HaShem than to speak to him. The Shema prayer teaches us to put listening as the highest priority in our lives.

Israel – The second thing that is brought out is our identity as a people. A Gentile who has made conversion to the God of Israel through the Messiah Yeshua is a part of the heavenly Israel, but he is not a Jew, and he can identify with the people, see Ephesians 2:19.

HaShem is our God – Those who belong to Israel make this confession. Those who have other gods are not a part of Israel. Rashi brings up the fact that this verse says that HaShem is presently only the God of Israel, but that in the future he will be the God of all mankind, as it is written in Zephaniah 3:9,

“For then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call on the name of HaShem, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.”(HNV revised)

In Zechariah 14:9, it is written,

“HaShem will be King over all the earth. In that day HaShem will be one, and his name one.”(HNV revised)

HaShem is one – The word that is translated as “one”, echad,[17] entails unity and singularity. There are times when the Scriptures use this word to describe the unity of different elements or people. However, when this word is used in relation to the Eternal, it cannot have this meaning, since there is only one person in the Divinity. That is why the word echad, in this context, has the two following meanings: HaShem is not plural and there is no other. He is the only God that exists and this aloneness, this singularity, has been revealed to Israel.

Eternal life means knowing – by experience – the only true God and the one he has sent, Yeshua the Messiah, as it is written in John 17:3,

“This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah.”(HNV revised)

This verse teaches us that the only true God does not include Yeshua the Messiah. The only true God is only the Father, HaShem, as it also is written in 1 Corinthians 8:6-7a,

“yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah, through whom are all things, and we live through him. However, that knowledge isn’t in all men…”(HNV revised)

And you shall love – Since he is the Only One for us, the consequence becomes that we love him. That is why the Hebrew uses the word “and”. According to Rashi, loving him means to fulfill his words out of love and not out of fear.

With all your heart – This is speaking of our innermost being, which must not be divided in its dedication to the Eternal, as it is written in James 4:8,

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”(HNV revised)

With all your soul – This means being willing to give one’s life in love for him and to live only for him.

With all your ability – The Hebrew word that is normally translated as “might” is meodecha, which not only means “your might”, but also “your ability”, “your possessions”, and it comes from the word meod,[18] “much”. This word is not primarily speaking of physical strength, but of all that we are and have, which also includes material possessions. Love for the Eternal is also expressed in the way we administer our material possessions, but love always begins on the inside and works its way out.

And these words, which I command you this day – This is referring to the words of Moshe’s Torah, which always ought to be considered to have been given “this day”, in other words, they are current and apply right now.

Shall be on your heart – Each one of us has the responsibility to make sure that the words of the Torah are on our hearts, as it is written in 11:18,

“Therefore shall you lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul; and you shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for symbols between your eyes.”(HNV)

Having the words in the mind is not the same thing as having them in the heart. The heart is the core of the personality, the innermost part of us where there is normally only room for one thing. In the mind, there is room for many ideas and opinions, but not in the heart. There is only room for one thing or opinion, and that thing is what determines the decisions we make at crucial moments.

There are some differences between the two tefillin boxes, which are bound on the left arm and on the head. In the tefillin that is placed on the head, there are four small compartments containing four parchments with four different texts from the Torah. In the tefillin that is placed on the arm, however, which is near the heart, there is only one compartment with the four texts. This teaches us that when the words of the Torah are in the mind, they can be interpreted and understood in many different ways, but when they are in the heart, there is only unity among them, and only one thing exists.

When the Torah enters the heart, it will determine the decisions we make. When we must choose between one thing and another, it is what is in our heart that will determine which we choose. It is our responsibility to make sure that the words of the Torah come into our hearts. First we hear them with our mind, but then we must meditate on them until they are in our heart. Then what was there before will vanish, because there is only room for one thing in the heart. When you are in love, there is only room for one person in your heart. It is the same with HaShem and his Torah. Make sure that the Torah is in your heart so that you make decisions that are in line with it at the crucial moments of your life when you must choose between obedience and disobedience. If you do not put the words of the Torah in your heart, you will be deceived in the time of crisis, for there is nothing that is as deceitful as the heart of man.

In Mark 4, the Messiah gives us the key to understanding the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven. In verse 11, it speaks of the mystery of God’s Kingdom. This means that there is a mystery that is considered the most important and that is called the “mystery of the Kingdom of God”. What is it?

In Mark 4:3-20, it is written,

“’Listen! Behold, the farmer went out to sow, and it happened, as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and devoured it. Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil. When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some brought forth thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much.’ He said, ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.’ When he was alone, those who were around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. He said to them, ‘To you is given the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, that “seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them.”’ He said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How will you understand all of the parables? The farmer sows the word. These are the ones by the road, where the word is sown; and when they have heard, immediately Satan comes, and takes away the word which has been sown in them. These in like manner are those who are sown on the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with joy. They have no root in themselves, but are short-lived. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they stumble. Others are those who are sown among the thorns. These are those who have heard the word, and the cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. These are those which were sown on the good ground: such as hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, some thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times.’”(HNV)

In verse 3, the Messiah says, “Listen!”, which hails from the Shema, and then he continues to speak about the parable that is the prototype for all parables, as we can see in verse 13, where it says,

“Don’t you understand this parable? How will you understand all of the parables?”(HNV)

This parable about the farmer who sowed seeds contains the key to understanding all the other parables. Whoever understands this parable has understood a great mystery in the Kingdom of God. What does it teach us?

“the farmer sows the word” – this is the great mystery.

Our great Rabbi begins his parable by saying, “Shema!” and he ends with the words, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear”. He points out the importance of listening, just as Moshe Rabbenu does in the Shema text.

In verse 20, it is written,

“These are those which were sown on the good ground: such as hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, some thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times.”(HNV)

What can we learn from this? The great mystery in the Kingdom is to receive the seed that the farmer sows. The ground is man, who was once made from the dust of the earth. Depending on how the seed enters the ground, it will bear fruit. The great mystery of the Kingdom is to make sure that the Torah enters into the depths of the heart. According to this parable, there are four kinds of people:

  1. Those who are like the road – who are hard around their hearts so that the seed cannot enter. The roads that existed at that time had been made by people walking on them many times. The more people walked on the road, the harder it became. The traditions of men are, therefore, the first hindrance to receiving the seed into the heart. We are used to walking where everyone walks and we do not want to make the changes that the Torah demands, so satan comes and removes the precious rye seed that was sown.

  2. Those who have rocks – who have a positive, receptive attitude in their minds, but in their innermost being, their hearts are hard and not willing to change its lifestyle. They like to listen and they receive the word with great emotion, but when the moment of truth comes and there is persecution because of the Torah, they pull back since they are only looking for pleasure and do not want to suffer for the sake of the Kingdom.

  3. Those who have thorns – who have heard and obeyed the Torah, but are more interested in the things of this world than the Kingdom. They seek to fulfill their own desires rather than the desires of the heavenly Father. With time they loose the zeal for the Kingdom because they are more interested in what will bring short-term pleasure than in obeying the commandments, which will produce greater long-term pleasure.

  4. Those who are good soil – who hear the Torah and receive it with all of its consequences, with inner conflicts and persecution from the outside. They allow the Torah to penetrate deep into their hearts and adapt their lives according to its teaching, in spite of the pain that comes because of it. They are not temporary, but they last and with time there will be a lovely result because of their faithfulness to the Word that was sown inside of them. They give harvest on three different levels, which shows us that there are three different kinds of people who are faithful to the Kingdom.

In Mark 4:24, it is written,

“Take heed what you hear.”(HNV)

It is very important to make sure that the Torah that comes into our heart is from heaven and not a false Torah. The secret of the Kingdom is to put the Torah in our hearts. We can find the same thing in Mark 4:26-28, where it is written,

“He said, ‘The Kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed on the earth, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn’t know how. For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.”(HNV revised)

You are responsible before Heaven to make sure that the seeds of the Torah enter your heart. When you have succeeded in getting the seed down into your heart, you will have a unique experience. The seed will bear fruit on its own. You are not the one who must produce fruit in your life; the Torah will produce fruit on its own. Your worry is not whether or not you will bear fruit, but how you will get the seed down into your heart. The rest will come by itself.

How much fruit do you want in your life? Thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold? It depends on the measure of seed you manage to put into your heart, as it is written in Mark 4:24b,

“With whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you, and more will be given to you who hear.”(HNV)

“these words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart” – This is the great mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven. How are we to deposit the seeds into our hearts? The Shema text answers this question:

“you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

What is the first thing one must do with the Torah in order for it to enter the heart? It is to repeat it to the children, which also includes spiritual children.

The second thing is to speak about it while sitting in one’s home. What ought we to talk about when we sit at the table to eat? What ought we to talk about when we sit on the couch or chair? What is the best button on the TV? It is the red button, so you can turn it off and talk about the Torah, instead of watching a lot of trash that does nothing but quench the divine standards of the Scriptures.

The third thing is to speak the words of the Torah on the road. What are we to talk to our children about when we travel with them?

The fourth thing is to speak the words of the Torah when we go to bed. The last thing you ought to have in your mind before you fall asleep is the words of the Eternal. Sleep was created in order for the Eternal to be able to speak to our inner being during the night. Therefore it is very important that we have the words of the Tanach in our minds before we fall asleep. Then the Eternal can cause the words to sink down into our hearts while we sleep. Never fall asleep by the TV, by listening to music, or after arguing with your family. Go to bed with words from heaven and you will have a heart full of seeds that will bear fruit, as it is written in Mark 4:27,

“and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn’t know how.”(HNV)

Read the Shema prayer before you fall asleep in order to acknowledge that the Eternal is the only God for you and thus dedicate yourself to His protective and molding hands.

The fifth thing is to speak the words of the Torah when you get up. The first thing that a Jew ought to do when he wakes up is to say, “I give you thanks, the living and eternal King, for with compassion you have returned my soul within me. Great is your faithfulness.” After that he goes to the bathroom and then washes his hands according to Jewish custom. And before he nourishes his body with food, he continues to exalt the Eternal with the help of blessings that are based on the Scriptures, until he comes to the Shema prayer and other scriptural prayers. Then he reads and meditates on the Tanach. In this way he fulfills the commandment to speak the word of the Eternal when he gets up.

You shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for symbols between your eyes – During the morning prayer, a Jewish man puts on his tallit, the prayer mantel that has tassels in the corners, as commanded in Numbers 15:37-41. Then he puts on the tefillin, in order to fulfill the commandment about binding the word on the arm and between the eyes.

There are several different levels of understanding when it comes to the use of tefillin. First of all, you have the pshat-level (the simple level), which is fulfilled literally, by binding the words on the arm and on the head on the straight line that is between the eyes, above the hairline on the forehead.

From the remez-level (the allegorical level), which does not replace the simple level, we can understand the commandment in the way that it is talking about fulfilling the commandments with the hand, in other words, it is a question of living out, in a practical way, all that the Eternal has commanded in his Torah. It also means to keep the Torah in mind as a point of view for our eyes. The vision of a true son of God is that the Word of the Eternal is fulfilled in his life.

You shall write them on the door-posts of your house – This is fulfilled by writing the words of the Torah on a small piece of parchment which is put in a canister that is fixed on the door post, “mezuzah”.[19] It is obligatory for a Jew to put the words of the Torah on the doorframe of every door to the different rooms of the house where he lives. This commandment was given so that the Torah would be present in our homes. When we have a part of the Scriptures on our doors, we are reminded that those words are our lifestyle and the foundation for the conversations we have in the home. In a house where the Torah is on the doors, you cannot live any way you please. Neither can you speak any way you please or about anything you please in that house. You cannot allow just anything to enter that house through the doors, the TV, or the Internet. A house with a mezuzah on each door is a house that is consecrated to serving the purposes of God.

And on your gates – This is referring to the places where the elders met in the city to deal with the concerns of the community, in other words, it was something similar to the modern municipality. At that time, the gate was the place where the authorities gathered. This commandment was given so that those in authority would remember that they ought always to gather and deal with the concerns of the city within the framework of Moshe’s Torah. This way the Torah becomes the only rule for the people in authority in the land.

6:10-12 “It shall be, when HaShem your God shall bring you into the land which he swore to your fathers, to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya`akov, to give you, great and goodly cities, which you didn’t build, and houses full of all good things, which you didn’t fill, and cisterns dug out, which you didn’t dig, vineyards and olive trees, which you didn’t plant, and you shall eat and be full; then beware lest you forget HaShem, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”(HNV revised) – When things go well and material goods increase, it is easy to forget the Eternal. Beware of this!

6:13a “You shall fear HaShem your God; and him shall you serve…”(HNV revised) – This was the text that Yeshua quoted when he stood face to face with satan, who demanded that Yeshua fall down to worship before him, as it is written in Matthew 4:9-10,

“He said to him, ‘I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Yeshua said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship HaShem your God, and him only shall you serve.”’”(HNV revised)

The Hebrew word that means “fear” is translated into Greek as “worship”. Here we see that there is a connection between bowing before HaShem and fearing him. This teaches us that our ministry before the Eternal must be with reverent fear. Our Rabbi said, on several occasions, that we ought to fear the One who holds the true power, see Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:5; and also Hebrews 10:31; 12:28. Lack of fear of the Eternal is the reason for the majority of the sins that are committed. One who does not fear HaShem when he is ministering unto Him, will not minister correctly.

6:16a “You shall not tempt HaShem your God…”(HNV revised) – These words were also spoken by our Rabbi when he stood before an important decision in the wilderness, see Matthew 4:7.

During the second temple period, when Yeshua came to preach, they were not observing the annual one year reading of the Chumash in the synagogues in the land of Israel, but the three year reading. This cycle began on the first month of the year, which is called Aviv or Nissan, and it continued for three years to end on the twelfth month (of the third year), which is called Adar. Therefore they needed three years in order to read through the five books of Moshe in the synagogues during the second temple period. Since Yeshua is the living Torah, he had to go through the entire Chumash reading during his three and a half year ministry.

With all probability, we can suppose that Yochanan ben Zecharyah, (John the Baptist), began his ministry during the teshuvah month (the month of repentance), which is the sixth month of the Jewish year, called Elul (which occurs during the summer season in Israel). When this month begins, the people begin forty days of preparation in order to stand before the Eternal on the great Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which is on the tenth day of the seventh month, called Tishri. By this we learn that Yeshua must have been immersed in the Yarden River during that time of the year. Since he then was led into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by satan it is possible that they were the same forty days as the days of preparation for Yom Kippur, or at least a great part of them.

Months of the 3rd Year
Torah Readings of the 3rd Year

Prophetic Readings of the 3rd Year

Tishri (7th month)

Deuteronomy 5:1 - 6:3

There is none


Deuteronomy 6:4 - 7:26 (6:13,16 quoted in Luke 4:8, 12)

1 Kings 10:39


Deuteronomy 8:1-20 (8:3 quoted by Yeshua in Luke 4:4)

Jeremiah 9:22-24


Deuteronomy 9:1-29

Jeremiah 2:1, 2 Kings 8:30

Cheshvan (8th)

Deuteronomy 10:1 - 11:25

2 Kings 13:23


Deuteronomy 11:26 - 12:19

Isaiah 54:11 - 55:6  


Deuteronomy 12:20 - 15:6

Jeremiah 23:9  


Deuteronomy 15:7 - 16:17

Isaiah 61:1-2 (read by Yeshua)

Kislev (9th)

Deuteronomy 16:18 - 17:13 (the text that was read in Luke 4:31f)

1 Samuel 8:1


Deuteronomy 17:14-20 (the text that was read in Luke 4:31f)

1 Samuel 10:24


Deuteronomy 18:1 - 20:9 (probable text in Luke 4:33ff)

Jeremiah 29:8


Deuteronomy 20:10 - 21:9

Joshua 24:1

According to this reading plan for the synagogue, we can see when the texts were read that Yeshua quoted in the enemy’s face when he was tempted. The texts are found in Deuteronomy 6:13, 16 and 8:3. According to the three year Parashah reading, the two first texts were read in second week of the seventh month, which is the week of Yom Kippur. The third text that the Master quoted was read on the third week of the same month, one week later. This hints to us that Yeshua began his ministry at the end of the three year Chumash reading, so that the next year, before Pesach, he would begin a new period of reading and thus go through the whole Torah during the last three years of his life on earth, before he was exalted. And, since he was the living Torah, he had to live out the five books of Moshe during his public ministry.

Furthermore, Luke 4 speaks of how he read the Haftarah text, from Isaiah 62:1-2, when he was called upon to read in the synagogue in Natzeret. This text was read on the last Shabbat of Cheshvan, the eighth month, five Shabbats after the texts were read that he quoted in the wilderness. Before the reading from Isaiah, they had, on that Shabbat, read the Torah passage from Deuteronomy 15:7 – 16:17. In that text, it speaks of the Shabbat year and the three annual feasts.

In Luke 4:31, it is written,

“He came down to Kafar-Nachum, a city of the Galil. He was teaching them on the day of Shabbat”(HNV)

Here we see that the Messiah, after having read the Haftarah text in the synagogue that he grew up in, taught several Shabbats in the synagogue in Kfar-Nachum, which was on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. Through the three-year Torah reading plan, we can find out which texts that he taught from when he taught them on those Shabbats. It is quite possible that on the Shabbat that they read from Deuteronomy 18:1 – 20:9 he taught against all occult practices. This is why there was such a strong reaction from the demon that was in a man who was listening to his teaching, see Luke 4:33ff.

6:20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which HaShem our God has commanded you?”(HNV revised) – This is the fourth son mentioned during the Pesach meal. The three first are mentioned in Exodus 12:26; 13:8 and 14.

The Seventh Aliyah, 7:1-11

7:1    “When HaShem your God shall bring you into the land where you go to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before you, the Chittite, and the Girgashi, and the Amori, and the Kana`ani, and the Perizzi, and the Chivvi, and the Yevusi, seven nations greater and mightier than you”(HNV revised) – The sages teach,[20] “One who is compassionate when God desires sternness, will in the end be cruel when God demands compassion.” King Shaul did not destroy all the Amalekites as HaShem commanded him to, see 1 Samuel 15. Therefore he sinned later on, when he killed all the priests in Nov, see 1 Samuel 22:21. The reason that Israel had to destroy all the people of the seven nations who lived in the Promised Land, was because they had reached such a high level of sin and spiritual pollution that, on the one hand, they no longer had the right to live, and on the other hand, they could pollute the children of the chosen people if they continued to live and they would then also constitute a danger for the other nations of the world.

7:3-4 “neither shall you make marriages with them; your daughter you shall not give to his son, nor his daughter shall you take to your son. For he will turn away your son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of HaShem be kindled against you, and he will destroy you quickly.”(HNV revised) – This text says that when the son of a Gentile marries the daughter of a Jew, he will cause the grandchild, born of the Jewish daughter, to leave HaShem. This teaches us that the son of a daughter is called a “son”, see 4, even though he was born of a Gentile father. Talmud,[21] therefore teaches, that if the Torah had said, “she will turn away your son from following me”, it would mean that the grandchild, who was born of a Jewish father and a Gentile mother, would be considered “your son”, in other words a Jew. However, since it is not written in the feminine form, but in the masculine form, “he will turn away your son…”, it means that only a grandchild that is born of a Jewish woman and a Gentile father would be considered to be a Jew, as if he were “your son”.

7:5    “But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their engraved images with fire.”(HNV) – This is better than announcing these places as cultural highlights for tourists and turning these polluted objects into museums. This is what they ought to do with the cultic places of the Maya Indians, the Aztec Indians, the Inca Indians and the other nations where they worshipped horrible gods, instead of advertising them for national and international tourism. Because of the idolatry of these people, HaShem sent destruction over them.

7:7-8 “HaShem didn’t set his love on you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all peoples: but because HaShem loves you, and because he would keep the oath which he swore to your fathers, has HaShem brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Par`oh king of Egypt.”(HNV revised) – The reason HaShem chose Israel was not that they were a great people but because he made a decision to love them, not on account of their merits, but through his immense compassion and because of the oath that he had sworn with the patriarchs. Here we see the unconditional love that the Eternal has for the people of Israel.

7:9    “Know therefore that HaShem your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations”(HNV revised) – If you have a forefather within the people of Israel, even if it should be just one, who was faithful to the Eternal, and who lived a thousand generations ago, (which actually has not passed since the time of Adam), then the compassion of the Eternal will reach you because of that forefather. This teaches us that if there is a descendant of the assimilated children of Israel among the nations, he will make his way back to his Israelite or Jewish identity in the last days, and will return to the Torah of Moshe and the Messiah of Israel.

 It is impossible to love the Eternal without keeping his commandments. Whoever does not keep the commandments, does not love HaShem. Love for Him reveals itself in obedience to the commandments.

7:10 “and repays those who hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him who hates him, he will repay him to his face.”(HNV) – God will give to each one according to his own actions. Whoever hates HaShem, will pay for it sooner or later. Sometimes HaShem waits with punishing the wicked. He does this for three reasons:

·         So that he will have time to repent, see 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 2:4.

·         To repay him in this age for the good deeds that he has done, see Psalm 73; Proverbs 11:31.

·         To give him an opportunity to give birth to righteous children, see Ezekiel 18:14-17.

The wicked person who is not punished for his evil deeds in this age, will most certainly be punished in the coming age, as it is written in Romans 2:5,

“But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God”(HNV revised)

7:11 “You shall therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day, to do them.”(HNV revised) – The commandments that were given through Moshe have not changed for the descendants of Israel. They are for today, as it is written in Malachi 4:4-5 (3:22 Heb.)

“Remember the Torah of Moshe my servant, which I commanded to him in Chorev for all Yisra'el, even statutes and ordinances. Behold, I will send you Eliyahu the prophet before the great and terrible day of HaShem comes.”(HNV revised)

When the Jews remember Moshe’s Torah, the prophet Eliyahu will be sent to them again, and thereafter the Messiah ben David, for the second time. If they do not remember the Torah of Moshe, they will not be sent, as it is written in Acts 3:19-21,

“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Messiah Yeshua, who was ordained for you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God spoke long ago by the mouth of his consecrated prophets.”(HNV revised)

Mashiach in this Parashah

3:28 “But charge Yehoshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you shall see.”(HNV) – As we have said earlier, Yehoshua represents Yeshua. He is the head of the people of Israel, and he will give back the twelve tribes their inheritance in the land when he comes the second time.

4:2    “You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that you may keep the commandments of HaShem your God which I command you.”(HNV revised) – Moshe is a prophetic foreshadow of the Mashiach. In the same way that he conveyed words from the Eternal, the Messiah did.

4:5 “Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as HaShem my God commanded me, that you should do so in the midst of the land where you go in to possess it.”(HNV revised) – Just as Moshe did, Yeshua taught the words that the Father commanded him to, see John 14:10.

5:5, 27 “I stood between HaShem and you at that time, to show you the word of HaShem: for you were afraid because of the fire, and didn’t go up onto the mountain; saying… Go you near, and hear all that HaShem our God shall say: and speak you to us all that HaShem our God shall speak to you; and we will hear it, and do it.”(HNV revised) – Moshe served as a mediator between the Eternal and the people. In the same way, Yeshua is a mediator, but his function is greater than Moshe’s, to the extent that without Yeshua as the mediator, no one will come to the Father, as it is written in John 14:6,

“Yeshua said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.’”(HNV)

In 1 Timothy 2:5, it is written,

“For there is one (echad) God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua”(HNV revised)

It is clear that Shaliach Shaul had the Shema text in mind when he said that God is one, see James 2:19. This word teaches us that just as there is only one God, there is only one mediator. If the word “one”, in Hebrew echad, were to mean that God is more than one, then the word “one” here, concerning the mediator, would also leave room for more mediators. Just as God is one, and not several, or one unit of several persons, so the mediator is only one and not several. This text also teaches us that the Messiah Yeshua is man and not God. If he was God, then he would be a mediator between the people and himself, and then he would no longer be a mediator. Yeshua, who is a man, is a mediator between man and God. Clearly he is not God himself.

This Parashah contains commandments number 416 – 427 of the 613 commandments.

  1. The command about God’s singularity, Deuteronomy 6:4.

  2. The command about loving God, Deuteronomy 6:5.

  3. The command about studying the Torah, Deuteronomy 6:7.

  4. The command about reading the Shema prayer in the morning and in the evening, Deuteronomy 6:4.

  5. The command about wearing the tefillin on the arm, Deuteronomy 6:8.

  6. The command about wearing the tefillin on the head, Deuteronomy 6:8.

  7. The command about putting the mezuzah on the door, Deuteronomy 6:9.

  8. The command about destroying the seven people of Kana’an, Deuteronomy 7:2.

  9. The prohibition of desiring something that belongs to one’s neighbor, Deuteronomy 5:21 (18 Heb).

  10. The prohibition of testing a true prophet too much, Deuteronomy 7:16.

  11. The prohibition of giving grace to an idolater, Deuteronomy 7:2.

  12. The prohibition of marrying an idolater, Deuteronomy 7:3.

[1]       Strong H8085 shâma‛, shaw-mah', A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively to tell, etc.): -  X attentively, call (gather) together, X carefully, X certainly, consent, consider, be content, declare, X diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear (-ken, tell), X indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim (-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, X surely, tell, understand, whosoever [heareth], witness.

[2]       Mishneh Torah, part “Founations of the Torah” chapter 9, translated from Spanish by the author of this article.

[3]       Strong H1695 dâbêq, daw-bake', From H1692; adhering: - cleave, joining, stick closer.

Strong H1692 dâbaq, daw-bak', A primitive root; properly to impinge, that is, cling or adhere; figuratively to catch by pursuit: - abide, fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard, after), be joined (together), keep (fast), overtake, pursue hard, stick, take.

[4]       Strong H3117 yôm, yome, From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially): - age, + always, + chronicles, continually (-ance), daily, ([birth-], each, to) day, (now a, two) days (agone), + elder, X end, + evening, + (for) ever (-lasting, -more), X full, life, as (so) long as (. . . live), (even) now, + old, + outlived, + perpetually, presently, + remaineth, X required, season, X since, space, then, (process of) time, + as at other times, + in trouble, weather, (as) when, (a, the, within a) while (that), X whole (+ age), (full) year (-ly), + younger.

[5]       According to a reconstruction of the older text that is quoted by the historical writer Eusebius in the 4th century.

[6]       Strong H1901 hâgîyg, haw-gheeg', From an unused root akin to H1897; properly a murmur, that is, complaint: - meditation, musing.

[7]       Strong H8544 temûnâh  temûnâh, tem-oo-naw', tem-oo-naw', From H4327; something portioned (that is, fashioned) out, as a shape, that is, (indefinitely) phantom, or (specifically) embodiment, or (figuratively) manifestation (of favor): - image, likeness, similitude.

Strong H4327 mîyn, meen, From an unused root meaning to portion out; a sort, that is, species: - kind. Compare H4480.

[8]       Sanhedrín 38a, Guittín 88a.

[9]       Devarim Rabbah 2:14.

[10]     Hilchot Teshuvah 7:5.

[11]     Devarim Rabbah 2:15, Maraz.

[12]     Strong H5713 ‛êdâh, ay-daw', Feminine of H5707 in its technical sense; testimony: - testimony, witness. Compare H5712.

[13]      See the commentary on Exodus 20

[14]     Strong H5117 nûach, noo'-akh, A primitive root; to rest, that is, settle down; used in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, intransitively, transitively and causatively (to dwell, stay, let fall, place, let alone, withdraw, give comfort, etc.): - cease, be confederate, lay, let down, (be) quiet, remain, (cause to, be at, give, have, make to) rest, set down. Compare H3241.

[15]     Sanhedrin 56b.

[16]     Sanhedrin 56b.

[17]     Strong H259 'echâd, ekh-awd', A numeral from H258; properly united, that is, one; or (as an ordinal) first: - a, alike, alone, altogether, and, any (-thing), apiece, a certain [dai-] ly, each (one), + eleven, every, few, first, + highway, a man, once, one, only, other, some, together.

[18]     Strong H3966 me'ôd, meh-ode', From the same as H181; properly vehemence, that is, (with or without preposition) vehemently; by implication wholly, speedily, etc. (often with other words as an intensive or superlative; especially when repeated): - diligently, especially, exceeding (-ly), far, fast, good, great (-ly), X louder and louder, might (-ily, -y), (so) much, quickly, (so) sore, utterly, very (+ much, sore), well.

[19]     Strong H4201 mezûzâh  mezûzâh, mez-oo-zaw', mez-oo-zaw', From the same as H2123; a door post (as prominent): - (door, side) post.

[20]     Kohelet Rabbah 7:33.

[21]     Jebamot 23a, Kidushín 68b.