Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:5


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:5
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


“Hillel would say: Do not separate yourself from the community. Do not believe in yourself until the day you die. Do not judge your fellow until you have stood in his place. Do not say something that is not readily understood in the belief that it will ultimately be understood [or: Do not say something that ought not to be heard even in the strictest confidence, for ultimately it will be heard]. And do not say "When I free myself of my concerns, I will study,'' for perhaps you will never free yourself.”


Maybe this is where the famous saying comes from, “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” And maybe this was partially what Yeshua was thinking when He said:


Matt. 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.


This was further reiterated by His half-brother Ya’akov (James):


James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.


Lastly excuses and procrastination is dealt with. Just as one has a fixed time to eat, sleep, shower, and work, even moreso one must have fixed time to study Torah. There are no excuses for not doing so. If you say you are to busy, then you are to busy and you need to let something in your life go so as to fit in Torah study. Torah study is like our food and sleep combined! It is of the utmost importance to the soul.


Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Friday, April 20, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:4, 15, 17


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:4, 15, 17
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


He (Rav Gamliel) would also say: Make that His will should be your will, so that He should make your will to be as His will. Nullify your will before His will, so that He should nullify the will of others before your will.”


“Rabbi Eliezer would say: The honor of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own...”


“Rabbi Yossei would say: The property of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own. Perfect yourself for the study of Torah, for it is not an inheritance to you. And all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven.”


This reminds me of Yeshua when we told us to deny ourselves take up our mode execution (cross) of self and follow Him (Matt. 16:24), meaning His Halacha (way of living) of the Torah.


Rav Sha’ul, Rav Gamliel’s star pupil had this to say:


1Cor. 10:31-33 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.”


The Rabbi’s say of 2:4 “Devote as much time and money to mitzvot as to your own loves. In return, God will you beyond all expectations.”


We all have dreams, righteous dreams and when we sacrifice them for the universal, overall will of God he will raise our dreams like a phoenix from the ashes of our sacrificed dreams. When they resurrect we will find our righteous dream has been intensified and blessed by God. When we make Torah Study, Prayers, and Selfless Chesed (Loving-kindness) to others, when we make God’s will our own, He will make our will His own, such as a dream of doing something great for God. We have plans for God, imperfect plans for God and when we give them up for God HE will give them back to us perfected and ready to be fulfilled in His time.


Shalom,
- Yehudah ben Shomeyr



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:3


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:3
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


“Beware of rulers, for they befriend someone only for their own benefit; they act friendly when it benefits them, but they do not stand by someone in need.”


FEMA, Social Services, Welfare, Medicare, Insurance companies, Petroleum and Pharmaceutical industries, former Communism, the former Nazi regime, Radical Islamic governments …. Need I say more to back up the truth of this verse? Another verse that goes well with this text is one we covered in chapter one.


1:10 “…avoid intimacy with the government.”


Now maybe one reason it says:


“…and avoid intimacy with the government.”

Because the Sadducees did and it corrupted the Priesthood and Temple Mount.


“…and avoid intimacy with the government.”


Lest you learn their ways and you become corrupt like them, or they learn your ways and find ways to trap and control you.


“…and avoid intimacy with the government.”


Lest they regulate your faith and church and eventually tell you what to teach or else.


Maybe this is why Yeshua said:


Mat. 22:21 “…Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”

Mark 12:17 adds, “And they marveled at him.”


So when in Diaspora, I am for separation of Church and State!


Only in Israel, when Messiah comes will “Church and State” be properly merged.


 “Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Judah HaNassi would say: Beautiful is the study of Torah with the way of the world, for the toil of them both causes sin to be forgotten. Ultimately, all Torah study that is not accompanied with work is destined to cease and to cause sin.”


Ah, the words of Rav Sha’ul’s teacher. Let’s see if Rav Sha’ul took his Mentors advice.



ACTS 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.


Like a good and faithful student it seems so, a wise man. Not only was Rav Sha’ul a Rabbi, but he made tents on the side to supplement his income. This is thought by some to mean he didn’t make tents to live in, but “tents” to pray in. A tent is a Hebraic slang term for a Tallit, a Prayer Shawl. So some say he made prayer shawls and being a well trained, educated Rabbi, he would know all the halacha (rules) that goes into making a Tallit. He didn’t expect to live off the people, nor did he expect to make a living on being a Tallit maker alone.


It is rare that a Rabbi is a full time Rabbi, in that that’s all he does. If so, he is fortunate but in danger unless he has a tight and full schedule with plenty of accountability so he has no time or room or privacy enough to fall.


Case in point: How many Fulltime Christian Preachers have we seen fall in some sexual scandal?  Don’t know about you but I’ve lost count. We’ve heard that idle hands are the devils workshop, and though it doesn’t come from canonical Scripture, it is an all but true.


The message is clear, be so busy with worthwhile things, balanced between secular and sacred activities so you won’t have time to sin.


Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr





Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:2


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:2
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Judah HaNassi would say: Beautiful is the study of Torah with the way of the world, for the toil of them both causes sin to be forgotten. Ultimately, all Torah study that is not accompanied with work is destined to cease and to cause sin.


They say idle hands are the devil’s workshop.


I say this is true, for Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul), Gamliel’s talmid (student) took his advice and was not only a Rabbi but a Tallit (Tent/Prayer Shawl) maker as well.



ACTS 18:3 And because he (Rav Sha’ul) was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.


The goal is two fold:

1.    BE so busy you haven’t the time to sin.
2.    A secular job will allow you to readily put into practice what you’ve learned in Torah.

Is it any wonder we see so many Christian “full time” ministers caught is money or sex scandals?


Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:1


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:1
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“Rabbi [Judah HaNassi]* would say: Which is the right path for man to choose for himself? Whatever is harmonious for the one who does it, and harmonious for mankind.

Be as careful with a minor mitzvah as with a major one, for you do not know the rewards of the mitzvot. Consider the cost of a mitzvah against its rewards, and the rewards of a transgression against its cost.

Contemplate three things, and you will not come to the hands of transgression: Know what is above from you: a seeing eye, a listening ear, and all your deeds being inscribed in a book.”

Let us first compare this Perkei Avot text with another to help bring out a fuller understanding.

4:2, 11 “Ben Azzai would say: Run to pursue a minor mitzvah, and flee from a transgression. For a mitzvah brings another mitzvah, and a transgression brings another transgression. For the reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah, and the reward of transgression is transgression.

“Rabbi Eliezer the son of Yaakov would say: He who fulfills one mitzvah, acquires for himself one angel-advocate; he who commits one transgression, acquires against himself one angel-accuser. Repentance and good deeds are as a shield against retribution.

Rabbi Yochanan the Sandal-Maker would say: Every gathering that is for the sake of Heaven, will endure; that is not for the sake of Heaven, will not endure.”

Keeping a commandment has its rewards as well as punishments (Deut. 26-28) And just as one sin usually leads to another, one good deed usually leads to another. The path of life and death lay before us. Choose life.

Duet. 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Not Death.

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Don’t keep the Torah as in a way to earn brownie points with God instead:

I Cor. 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Also consider the price of a Mitzvah (Commandment):

Luke 14:28-33 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Yes, a life of Torah Observance, walking in the footsteps of Moshiach is definitely worth it. The commentary of our focus text says:

“Disregard the cost in time or money in fulfilling a mitzvah. Likewise, do not be misled by the pleasure or profit of a sin. Instead, calculate the eternal reward for a mitzvah against the temporary loss it may cause; and the eternal cost of a sin against the temporary benefit it may bring.”

Yeshua Ha Moshiach said:

Matt. 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Let us not become desensitized to the very real fact that we have Someone above us, a “watchful Eye” an “attentive Ear” always on us and that our every action is put in the Heavenly Record Books. Let us fear God in reverence yes, but let us also fear in hurting Him by our sinful actions.  This will indeed, if done in all earnestness, will keep us from sin.
Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 1:18


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 1:18
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Rabbi Shimon the son of Gamliel would say: By three things is the world sustained: law, truth and peace. As is stated (Zachariah 8:16), "Truth, and a judgment of peace, you should administer at your [city] gates.''

Law, Torah keeps things civil and since Psalm 119 says Torah is Truth (among other things) no malcontention can rise when truth is present and therefore we have Shalom, Peace.

The Torah also known as the Chumash, meaning Five, representing the five books of Moshe has three Hebrew letters. Move the letters around and you get Moshiach! These same three Hebrew letters rearranged once more spell Simcha, Joy. So if you have no Chumash (Torah) you have no Messiah and with no Torah or Messiah you have no Joy.

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 1:17


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 1:17
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“His son, Shimon, would say: All my life I have been raised among the wise, and I have found nothing better for the body than silence. The essential thing is not study, but deed. And one who speaks excessively brings on sin.”

Silence is golden. Think before you speak. Engage your brain before you open your mouth. Don’t be dippling and dappling when you don’t know what’s happening. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. All these clich├ęs sum up verse 17. Learn and absorb all you can before you try and jump in the conversation. As another saying goes, it’s better to be a fool and be silent than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Proverbs tell us that even a fool is thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut.

Why does it lead one to sin? Because one usually ends up lying by being all talk and no action, or lying unknowingly because one talks about what they have no knowledge of.

Besides Torah is not just something you talk about, it’s something you do!

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr