Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #49: Ki Tetze ( When you go out) D’varim (Deuteronomy) 12:10-25:19
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 52;13-54:1-10
B’rit Chadashah : 1 Corinthians 9:4-18
There is no better time than today to address women’s rights; even those of captive women according to G-d’s standards. No one cares more for human rights than the One who established them. The explanation and directives regarding women’s rights permeates into of delayed self- gratification which if followed, would have made the conversation and arguments concerning women’s rights and the erroneous belief that we are somehow “entitled” to whatever we want at the time a non-issue. There is no better pace to start this conversation that with the subject of sexual gratification in the context of women prisoners and the issue of providing for more than one wife or a previous wife. Keep in mind that at this time in history, G-d allowed this situation although it was and is not His intent for much more that needs to be addressed on this subject but is beyond the scope of this lesson. The point is that G-d provides for all of His creation. Women are not to be treated as any less than man; free, slave, captive, or otherwise.
We move on to instructions for dealing with a rebellious son. The law is to have the child stoned for continued rebellion. Flagrant and continuous rebellion is a capital offense consistent with anyone who rejects G-dly teaching and chooses to live according to an antinomian paradigm. This law teaches the importance of respect and honor of ones’ parents. This sounds reasonable when we assume that the parents are G-dly, but what about those who are abusive or who teach assimilation into the surrounding pagan culture? Looking at other translations of Deuteronomy 21:18 we get more detail on what being rebellious means. In The Jewish Study Bible, the sentence reads “ If a man has a wayward and defiant son…” and in verse 19 he is described as “disloyal and defiant.” In the Life Application and Study Bible the first sentence reads “ Suppose a man has a stubborn and rebellious son…’ and in 21:19 we read “ he is a glutton and a drunkard.” In the Complete Jewish Bible 21:20 reads in part “ he lives wildly, gets drunk.” So we know that the standards of behavior to which the son’s behavior is being compared are a few of G-d’s standards included in this case that we are not to get drunk, we are not to act wildly, and we are not to exhibit disloyalty of defiance against G-d’s standards. All of these behaviors are anti-Torah. That is each of them brings dishonor to the individual, the family, and G-d; completely consistent with an antinomian (against G-d’s Torah/laws/instructions) way of life. Recall that G-d makes Himself known to all humans in some way; not always ways or methods that we understand (Rom. 1:18-32).
Another frequent question is how defiant or disobedient daughters are supposed to be treated? Chapter 22 addresses issues related to daughters. G-d leaves no one out. Each of us will be held accountable for our sins (Deut. 24:16).
Laws addressing how we are to treat the property of another are described. We are not to adopt the practice of “finders keepers; losers weepers.” If we find something belonging to our neighbor/fellow man/brother, we are to either return it if we can identify the owner or take care of it until the owner comes for it. This narrative expands the previous command in Exodus 23:4-5 that describes the command to return property to an enemy or one who hates you. The order of these laws is interesting. The first mention regarding the property of another is in the context of an enemy. Only later is the command expanded to a fellow, neighbor, or brother. There is a lesson to be learned by the fact that returning the property of an enemy is described first. Let’s take this concept to the standards of behavior between humans taught by Yahshua in the context of enemies and fellows/brethren, neighbors. In Matthew 5:43-48 we a similar reversal of priorities contrary to what many have come to believe; that is to shun those who hate us in every way possible; ignore any lost property that may belong to those who persecute us or even keep it believing G-d is providing for us using “the enemy.” Matthew 5:43-48 reads “ You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Love your neighbor- and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Then you will become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and unrighteous alike. What reward do you get if you love lonely those who love you? Why, even tax-collectors do that! And if you are friendly only to your friends, are you doing anything out of the ordinary? Even the Goyim do that! Therefore, be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
This teaching is consistent with the entirety of G-d’s Torah; selflessness, self-nullification; decreasing in our egos in order to ascend in our relationship to YHVH/Yahshua. An attitude of servanthood in order to glorify G-d and make His Name known throughout the nations. As sad as it is to see how mankind is just starting to experience the consequences of generations of rebellion against G-d’s Torah in these end times, the increasing darkness and degradation associated with the Adversary and his followers provide a clearer contrast with the Light reflected in the lives of true believers for G-d’s glory.
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah 52:13-54:10)
This week’s haftarah is the fifth of a series of seven haftarot of consolation. Forsaken Jerusalem who is compared to a barren woman is encouraged by G-d to rejoice, for the time will come when she returns and proliferate. G-d assures the Israelites that he has not forsaken them and that although he turned his face against them for a time, he will regather them from their exile with mercy. Unfortunately, our Orthodox brethren do not address the all-important text in this haftarah that specifically identifies Yahshua as our Redeemer; G-d’s Servant which is a role YHVH manifested for mans’ benefit to understand the written Torah through the spiritual aspects. We learn that Yahshua was not blond-haired and blue-eyed with long hair. Rather, he was regarded as being punished, stricken, and afflicted by G-d. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him” (Isaiah 53:2-4).
Israel is identified as the bride of Yahshua in Isaiah 54:5-6. Israel is NOT the Church! Israel is all true believers defined by YHVH/Yahshua in the Tanakh, Romans 2-3; John:14, and in the seven-fold witness in Revelation. Let’s look at Isaiah 5-6: “You will forget the shame of your youth, no longer remember the dishonor of being widowed. For your husband is your Maker, Adonai-Tzva’ot is His name. The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer. He will be called the G-d of all the earth. For Adonai has called you back like a wife abandoned and grief-stricken; ‘A wife married in her youth cannot be rejected,’ says your G-d. ‘Briefly I abandoned you, but with great compassion I am taking you back.”
Our Orthodox Jewish brethren are blinded for a time, but those blinders will be removed when Yahshua sees fit, when they too will acknowledge Yahshua as Messiah ben Yosef AND Messiah ben David. In the book of Romans, Sha’ul is speaking about the fact that only a remnant of the Israelites who had been enlightened and accepted the Messiahship of Yahshua, that He is G-d, and his resurrection. Israel had not and has yet to attain the goal for which she is striving. There have been blinders placed on Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles is accomplished. The Tanakh reads “G-d has given them a spirit of dullness- eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear, right down to the present day.” So many have said that Israel has stumbled and permanently fallen away, and that Christianity (the Church) is the “new Israel.” Sha’ul states “Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the delive3rance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy. Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world- that is, if Israel’s being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter- how much greater riches will Israel in its fullness bring them!” Romans 11:25 repeats this status of having blinders placed on them for a time.
B’rit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 9:4-19
In this narrative, Sha’ul addressed the Messianic assembly in Corinth. He had received reports that the people were divisive and spiritually immature, asking about subjects that they should have understood from the Old Testament teachings, an example provided by comparing our parashah to this narrative. In chapter 9 Sha’ul focused on provision for G-d’s workers, or anyone for that matter. He uses information from our parashah for validation that even an ox should not be muzzled (kept from eating) while treading out the grain. Nevertheless, he told the assembly that he would go on to proclaim the Good News whether or not the people provide him with food and drink because he was compelled by the Spirit to carry out his task. His motivation, like ours should be, is to run the race to win the prize no matter the circumstances in which we must live and work for Yahshua. Sha’ul mentions this in verses 23-27. We should examine our motives at all times with all we do. If we don’t, we may rest assured that Yahshua will bring it to our attention when we stand before Him. May we examine ourselves continuously and closely, even more so as we prepare to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart