I think the writer of the Gospel of Matthew wrote a delightful midrash in his account of Yeshua's birth. The writer cleverly weaves several verses of Scripture together in one quotation and gives us a rich meditation on the Mission and calling of Yeshua to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven. First a little story … Continue reading They Will Call His Name Immanuel
This Mishnah teaches that natiylat-yadayim (ritual hand-washing) and table fellowship are of great importance. This post will discuss how tzedakah (charitable disposition in deeds) is essential for table fellowship. Mishnah Yadayim 2:4 states: "Concerning the case for "the uncertain ritual purity status of hands at table fellowship", do they transmit uncleanness (tamei', or unclean) or … Continue reading Mishnah Yadayim 2.4: Table Fellowship And Yeshua’s Doctrine.
Having discussed נשמה, neshamah in part 1, now I will move to the other two Hebrew words for "soul": נפש, nefesh and רוח, ruach. In the Mussar book, "The Ways of the Righteous", the nefesh and ruach are likened as two masters of our soul. These two, however, are subordinate to the neshamah. This can … Continue reading 3 Hebrew Words For A Human Soul: Neshamah, Nefesh, Ruach. Part 2: Nefesh and Ruach.
The essential nature of every human is that we are an incarnate soul. The soul is a profound aspect of the human condition. Even in Hebrew, one word was not sufficient to describe all the attributes of the human soul. Three words for soul are used in Hebrew: נשמה, נפש, רוח. In this post, I … Continue reading 3 Hebrew Words for A Human “Soul”: Neshamah, Nefesh and Ruach. Part 1, Neshamah.
The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad (hereafter, TKGB) were created by HaShem for human free-will. Eating from the TKGB did not tarnish Mankind with absolute immoral depravity. The TKGB was a tragic choice, but it is morally pure for mankind. Once chosen, mankind began a journey to … Continue reading Becoming Like HaShem: The Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Bad. Genesis 3:1-8.
Parable: A king had a palace. Beneath his palace, he dug caverns and tunnels in case he and his family should be attacked by an evil army. The evil army does come, but they are soon routed, and they try to hide in the caverns and tunnels beneath the palace. Quickly and easily the king … Continue reading Zohar 68a: Genesis 7:7, “Communities, Repent! And The Shekhinah Will Guard You From The Evil Eye”
A Sonnet based on Mark 9:30-32. 1 “Tell none whence we came this hour today, 2 Still I must teach you my suff'ring to death, 3 The Son of Man's soon extinguished breath 4 That will be all your trouble on that Day." 5 How could He, the most holy Son of Man 6 … Continue reading “Tell None Whence We Came This Hour Today”
The stories in the book of Genesis present life or death choices for the patriarchs and matriarchs, but HaShem orchestrates their choices and delivers them from evil. Famine is one life or death scenario. Jacob's sons had sent Joseph into slavery in Egypt and honestly had no idea if he was still alive. But HaShem … Continue reading Genesis 37-50: Grain And Hope Are Found In Egypt
What is free will when HaShem is all knowing and powerful? I came across a story in the Talmud that gave an entrance to discuss the idea. Page 93a is at large discussing the resurrection of the dead and specifically talking about the righteous who cover for the sins of the less righteous. When Daniel, … Continue reading Bavli Sanhedrin 93a: Where Did Daniel Go?
Some might say, "Brian, you interpret the conversation as an allegory!" Rather, I think it was a staged conversation. Whether the actual conversation happened is not the point. Rabbis often recited staged conversations to illustrate a point (e.g. B. Sanhedrin 91a, Geviha ben Pesisa stories). I think John's Jewish audience would be familiar with the … Continue reading John 4:4-26: Part 2. Worship In Spirit And Truth