Monday, April 30, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 3:10-11


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 3:10-11
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“Rabbi Dusta'i the son of Rabbi Yannai would say in the name of Rabbi Meir: Anyone who forgets even a single word of this learning, the Torah considers it as if he had forfeited his life. As is stated, "Just be careful, and verily guard your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen" (Deuteronomy 4:9). One might think that this applies also to one who [has forgotten because] his studies proved too difficult for him; but the verse goes on to tell us "and lest they be removed from your heart, throughout the days of your life." Hence, one does not forfeit his life unless he deliberately removes them from his heart.

Rabbi Chanina the son of Dosa would say: One whose fear of sin takes precedence to his wisdom, his wisdom endures. But one whose wisdom takes precedence to his fear of sin, his wisdom does not endure.”

The only way not to forget is to “Shema”, the same word that is in Deut. 6:4 for “Hear of Israel ADONAI our God, ADONAI is One” not only means “Hear” but “Hear AND Obey.” You have to practice it, Use it or lose it, so to speak. Like a mattress, you have to sleep on it every night over a period of time before your imprint is permanently left on it; similar with Torah.

The first passage we looked at the theme is “Hear and Obey”, the second passage’s theme would be, “Fear and Obey;” as in a healthy, respectful fear. Just as we fear power lines, not that the power line would just lash out and zap us for no reason, but only if we are foolish enough to trespass against it, by climbing the power poll and grabbing the line.

Specifically what is sin?

I John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Disobedience to the Torah is sin.

So make it a priority to Study Torah, Know Torah, Practice Torah and Obey Torah, for the Torah are the very words of the Almighty God.

Shalom,
-- Rabbi Yehudah



Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 3:9


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 3:9
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“Rabbi Yaakov would say: One who walks along a road and studies, and interrupts his studying to say, "How beautiful is this tree!", "How beautiful is this ploughed field!"---the Torah considers it as if he had forfeited his life.”

Matt. 10:37-39 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.


Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.


Sound’s a lot like Yeshua’s words. Maybe this is what he had in mind when he said these things.

The main point is stay focused and not get distracted in the Work of ADONAI.

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 3:8


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 3:8
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“Rabbi Elazar of Bartosa would say: Give Him what is His, for you, and whatever is yours, are His. As David says: "For everything comes from You, and from Your own hand we give to You" (I Chronicles 29:14).”


This passage deals with generosity and being selfless. Knowing that we are all the family called the human race and we need to be charitable and lookout for one another. Even our enemies.


Prov. 25:21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:


Matt. 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


Here is what the commentary says in the Perkei Avot:

“An inspiring exhortation to be generous in dispensing charity. Man should withhold neither himself nor his wealth from the wishes of Heaven. All that he is and has belongs to God, and he should be ready to dedicate all his faculties in fulfillment to God’s will. {For R. Elazar’s own lavish generosity in alms giving, see Taanis 24a]

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr


Friday, April 27, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 3:2-4, 7


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 3:2-4, 7
By: Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr


“Rabbi Chanina, deputy to the kohanim, would say: Pray for the integrity of the government; for were it not for the fear of its authority, a man would swallow his neighbor alive.”


Especially in exile, especially in a pagan, non-Torah, non-theocratic government! Just as recorded in the Tanak, so goes the king, so goes the people, EVERYTIME! Good kings brought revival, bad kings brought idolatry and ruin.


“Rabbi Chanina son of Tradyon would say: Two who sit and no words of Torah pass between them, this is a session of scorners, as is stated, "And in a session of scorners he did not sit" (Psalms 1:1). But two who sit and exchange words of Torah, the Divine Presence rests amongst them, as is stated, "Then the G-d-fearing conversed with one another, and G-d listened and heard; and it was inscribed before Him in a book of remembrance for those who fear G-d and give thought to His name" (Malachi 3:16). From this, I know only concerning two individuals; how do I know that even a single individual who sits and occupies himself with the Torah, G-d designates reward for him? From the verse, "He sits alone in meditative stillness; indeed, he receives [reward] for it" (Lamentations 3:28).


Rabbi Shimon would say: Three who eat at one table and do not speak words of Torah, it is as if they have eaten of idolatrous sacrifices; as is stated, "Indeed, all tables are filled with vomit and filth, devoid of the Omnipresent" (Isaiah 28:8). But three who eat at one table and speak words of Torah, it is as if they have eaten at G-d's table, as is stated, "And he said to me: This is the table that is before G-d" (Ezekiel 41:22).


Rabbi Chalafta the son of Dosa of the village of Chanania would say: Ten who sit together and occupy themselves with Torah, the Divine Presence rests amongst them, as is stated: "The Almighty stands in the congregation of G-d" (Psalms 82:1). And from where do we know that such is also the case with five? From the verse, "He established his band on earth" (Amos 9:6). And three? From the verse, "He renders judgement in the midst of the tribunal" (Psalms 82:1). And two? From the verse, "Then the G-d-fearing conversed with one another, and G-d listened and heard" (Malachi 3:16). And from where do we know that such is the case even with a single individual? From the verse, "Every place where I have My name mentioned, I shall come to you and bless you" (Exodus 20:21).”


This one is pretty much self explanatory and has Scripture references to it. But allow me to add a verse from the Brit Chadasha. Rav Sha’ul said:


1Cor. 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.


We should even seek God and the things of God even in our “down time” and casual encounters with others. All time is sacred and holy. God created it and should be acknowledged in it, whether we actually talk about God and Torah, or whether we are engaged in doing something the Torah commands or that is noble and holy, like complimenting or encouraging others. This too brings glory to God.


Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr










Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 3:1


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 3:1
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


3:1. Akavia the son of Mahalalel would say: Reflect upon three things and you will not come to the hands of transgression. Know from where you came, where you are going, and before whom you are destined to give a judgment and accounting. From where you came--from a putrid drop; where you are going--to a place of dust, maggots and worms; and before whom you are destined to give a judgment and accounting--before the supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.

Numbers 16:1-3 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?


·       From where you came--from a putrid drop;


The putrid drop obviously alluding to the seed of the man.


Korach (Korah), acted just as Miriam and Aharon (Aaron) did at one time; “Aren’t we prophets too? Does God only speak to Moshe (Moses)? Doesn’t He speak to us too?”

·       Where you are going--to a place of dust, maggots and worms;


Numbers 16: 28-35And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.


·       And before whom you are destined to give a judgment and accounting--before the supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.


Numbers 16:20-21 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.


 Revelation 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


·       Whence you came – Mankind
·       Whither you go – The grave, to the Great White Throne, to the Lake of Fire if not right with God
·       Before whom you will give justification and reckoning – Before ADONAI on Judgment Day.

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:17-21


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:17-21
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


v.17c “Let all your deeds be for the sake of Heaven.


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


v.18a “Be diligent in the study of Torah and know what to answer a heretic.”


I Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:


Titus 3:9-11 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;  Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.



v.20 “Rabbi Tarfon would say: The day is short, the work is much, the workers are lazy, the reward is great, and the Master is pressing.”

Matt. 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

v.21a (Rabbi Tarfon) He would also say: It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it.


Heb. 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Luke 9:62 And Jesus (YESHUA) said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.


Much of what we do in life we will never see the end result, for it is really for the ones who come after us. Like the oak tree you planted a few years back; you may never see it as the mighty oak it will be 50 years, but your children and grandchildren will. Much of what we do here and now paves the way for the coming generations. It’s the whole “Olympic passing the torch” thing; run like you are the one who will/must finish it.

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr




Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:10-13


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:10-13
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

"Rabban Yochanan the son of Zakkai had five disciples: Rabbi Eliezer the son of Hurkenus, Rabbi Joshua the son of Chananya, Rabbi Yossei the Kohen, Rabbi Shimon the son of Nethanel, and Rabbi Elazar the son of Arach. He would recount their praises: Rabbi Eliezer the son of Hurkenus is a cemented cistern that loses not a drop; Rabbi Joshua the son of Chananya---fortunate is she who gave birth to him; Rabbi Yossei the Kohen---a chassid (pious one); Rabbi Shimon the son of Nethanel fears sin; Rabbi Elazar ben Arach is as an ever-increasing wellspring.[Rabbi Yochanan] used to say: If all the sages of Israel were to be in one cup of a balance-scale, and Eliezer the son of Hurkenus were in the other, he would outweigh them all. Abba Shaul said in his name: If all the sages of Israel were to be in one cup of a balance-scale, Eliezer the son of Hurkenus included, and Elazar the son of Arach were in the other, he would outweigh them all.[Rabbi Yochanan] said to them: Go and see which is the best trait for a person to acquire. Said Rabbi Eliezer: A good eye. Said Rabbi Joshua: A good friend. Said Rabbi Yossei: A good neighbor. Said Rabbi Shimon: To see what is born [out of ones actions]. Said Rabbi Elazar: A good heart. Said He to them: I prefer the words of Elazar the son of Arach to yours, for his words include all of yours.He said to them: Go and see which is the worst trait, the one that a person should most distance himself from. Said Rabbi Eliezer: An evil eye. Said Rabbi Joshua: An evil friend. Said Rabbi Yossei: An evil neighbor. Said Rabbi Shimon: To borrow and not to repay; for one who borrows from man is as one who borrows from the Almighty, as is stated, ``The wicked man borrows and does not repay; but the righteous one is benevolent and gives'' (Psalms 37:21). Said Rabbi Elazar: An evil heart. Said He to them: I prefer the word of Elazar the son of Arach to yours, for his words include all of yours."

Yeshua had talmidim too and praise them for their traits and encouraged them to admire and strive for the traits others have mastered for themselves.


John 1:47   Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

Matt. 16:16-20   And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living GodAnd Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.


Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr



Monday, April 23, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:8-9


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:8-9
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


2:8. Rabban Yochanan the son of Zakkai received the tradition from Hillel and Shammai. He would say: If you have learned much Torah, do not take credit for yourself---it is for this that you have been formed.


Our obedience to God does not deserve any special accolades. It is what we were created to do.  Rabbi Yochannan ben Zachai said, “If you have learned much Torah, do not claim credit for yourself, because for such a purpose you were created.”


There is a tradition that states that when you were conceived that and Angel was assigned to you in the womb to teach your Torah for 9 months. And then it was time for you to be born the angel put his finger on your lips and said “Shhh.” Hence the indentation under our nose that helps form our lips. This is why we enter the world screaming because we immediately forgot the Torah we were taught in the womb. So the meaning and purpose for our life is to re-discover, re-learn what we already know. It’s one thing to know it in your head, and it is another to learn it and have it in your heart.


Here is the answer to the age old question; “What is the meaning of Life?”


Ecc.12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.


 James 2:14-18 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.


People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.


I Cor. 8:1b Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.


Much Torah knowledge without living it out, applying it in daily life will make one prideful.


You may know the cure for a deadly disease, but if you don’t transfer it from the realm of thought to the realm of action it means nothing, it is worthless.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:


Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr



Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 2:6-7


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 2:6-7
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr


“He would also say: A boor cannot be sin-fearing, an ignoramus cannot be pious, a bashful one cannot learn, a short-tempered person cannot teach, nor does anyone who does much business grow wise. In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.”


Much of this is pretty self explanatory. The thrust of this passage is to be diligent in Torah study and be ready to apply what you have learned and do not be afraid to ask questions for this is how we learn.


I love the last sentence. It is EVERY Jews responsibility to be a leader when called upon or when the situation demands it. There is no such thing as a sideline, bench warming Jew. Jew is a VERB. It’s more than what we are; it’s what we do that defines us in the eyes of the world.


“He also saw a skull floating upon the water. Said he to it: Because you drowned others, you were drowned; and those who drowned you, will themselves be drowned.”



Matt. 26:52   Then said Yeshua unto him (Kefa/Peter), Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.



Yes, there is such a thing as Jewish Karma:


“Do to others as you would have them do to you” – Yeshua, Matthew 7:1


Matt. 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.


Watch out, they way you judge someone else will come back to bite you in the tuchas, so be careful what you say about others.


Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

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



Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 1:16


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 1:16
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

 “Rabban Gamliel would say: Assume for yourself a master; stay away from doubt; and do not accustom yourself to tithe by estimation.”

First of all we don’t know it all. When in doubt consult the professionals so to speak. Not to say that Rabbi’s know it all, but that is partly what they are there for is to help out when we have question about the Torah. I am sick of this Christian lame excuse saying, “We don’t need Rabbi’s, we have the Holy Spirit which guides us in all truth.” Yeah, so what, we have the Ruach HaKodesh too, who guides us into all truth. But when we do not consult a Rabbi or others, we disconnect from the Body of Messiah, the Body of worldwide Jewry and we take on a lone ranger mentality. This is a sly tactic of the evil one to separate us from the flock and set us up for a fall. Rav Sha’ul said that we are a body, all members of the same body who need to work with and rely on each other.

Rabbis have loads of academic, traditional and life experience to totally evaluate the issue at hand and give you a solid answer. If you get lazy and say, “I’ll let the Spirit tell me.” You set yourself up for problems truly discerning the Spirit and another spirit may take advantage of your naivety and whisper an answer to you that is not of God and one ends up relying on their own feelings and calling it the Word of God. May we never tread so close to hypocrisy and blasphemy as such! God, from the time of Moshe (Moses) till now, gave us leaders to help us along. The Ruach comes in, in a pinch to help us with snap decisions we must make, but when we are working out a Torah or halachic issue, please consult a trusted Rabbi if at all possible.


Shalom,
--Yehudah ben Shomeyr




Friday, April 13, 2018

So, it's Friday the 13th huh? Big Deal!


13
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Deuteronomy 4:19

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars--all the heavenly array--do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

Deuteronomy 18:9-14

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.

I have never had a problem with the number 13. Actually I have found 13 to be a very agreeable number. As I can recall most Friday the 13th’s I remember have been good and pleasant ones. I fear not the number 13, I embrace it, as the Torah commands us not to heed or fear the things others do. Matter of fact, whenever I was involved in sports teams I purposely chose the number 13 because I knew no one else wanted it.

The number 13 has found a favorable spot in Judaism. Here are some examples of the number 13.

·       There are Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith, sort of Jewish version of the Apostles Creed.
·       Rabbi Ishmael came up with 13 Rules of Interpretation, when it comes to the Scriptures.
·       In Kabbalah there is something that is called the 13 Perfections of the Beard, referring to attributes of God.
·       And of course there are 13 tribes, with the addition of Yosef’s (Joseph’s) sons Efrayim (Ephraim) and Manasseh brings the total tribes to thirteen not just twelve. Often Levi is not counted among the tribes because they have are the priestly tribe and have no inheritance in the Land. God Himself is their inheritance (Num. 18).
·       There are six hundred and 13 Commandments in the Torah.
·       13 is: 12 Talmidim (Disciples) and the Rabbi Yeshua the Messiah.
·       In a Hebraic leap year Adar II would be the 13th month.
·       13 is the age of a boy’s Bar Mitzvah.

I am sure there are more Judaic allusions to the number 13 that I have overlooked or have not listed.

13, embrace it!



Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 1:15


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 1:15
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Shammai would say: Make your Torah study a permanent fixture of your life. Say little and do much. And receive every man with a pleasant countenance.”

“Make your Torah study a permanent fixture of your life.”

Routine is so important! Not to be a slave to it, because sometimes things come up and you have to tweak it and just go with the flow. But if you do not make time for Torah study it will never come or happen on its own. Something will just keep coming up, or you’ll find yourself too busy and other lame excuses that hold no water such as these.

“Say little and do much.”

As the saying we all know goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” And “No one cares to hear how much you care and until they see and know how much you care.”
“And receive every man with a pleasant countenance.”

Not to say your feelings are not important, but at the same time we should do our best not to wear them on our sleeve, especially if they are negative feelings. Being obsessed with one’s own feelings is a form of selfishness and idolatry. Honestly, do you know what a difference a smile, even from a stranger, makes? This is a virtual effortless way of blessing someone else from afar and helping them to have a little bit of a brighter day. As a result it is a small way we can continue to “Tikkun Olam” fix our world, assist God in its maintenance and repair.

The commentary to the texts calls these three things, “Three Spiritual Goals” we all need to strive to adhere to.

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr



Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 1:14


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 1:14
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I?” 1:14

Yes, God is Omnipotent, yes, God still performs miracles, but we shouldn’t depend on them. Many people use God as a magic genie in the lamp and they give Him a rub whenever they want out of a pinch. But it doesn’t work that way. God is not a maid who cleans up after our messes. God is not a dog who fetches us our slippers at our command. God is a loving parent who will let us sober up a night in jail if we get thrown in the slammer for DUI. He will let us get punched in the jaw by a bully for allowing our mouth to run while the brain is not engaged. Some scrapes He will not let us out of because there is a priceless lesson to be learned that we wouldn’t learn any other way. God is that loving parent that if we slip and fall into the deep end of the pull He will jump in after us without a second thought. He is the one who will jump in front of an oncoming car we are oblivious to knock us out of the way.

However, many make the mistake in thinking God will drop a miracle from the sky into our lap and when He doesn’t we get mad and blame Him for our predicament.  This is an old saying that people often mistake for Scripture, but it is nonetheless true; “God helps those who help themselves.” If one reads the Torah carefully one will see how often God expects Israel to do things on their own before He will move. He made them build the Tabernacle before He promised to dwell in their midst. He told them to sanctify themselves before He would meet with them. He didn’t do those things for them as many expect God to do today. If we have a splitting headache and cry out to God for a healing, do you think He will do it when you have Advil sitting in your medicine cabinet? If our community is suddenly being persecuted as in the days of the pogroms, or even like unto the conflict between Tibet and China, are we to sit passively back and wait for Messiah to come down on a white horse and slay our oppressors? What if Israel did this instead of fought during the Six Day War, or the Yom Kippur War? If they didn’t fight, Israel may not be here today.

We must work within the confines of our physical limitations, yet at the same time reach beyond and believe (have faith) through ADONAI that we can obtain it. A good verse to remember that accents this passage well is, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Sadly, the value of one’s word, a promise of a family member or a friend doesn’t mean what it once did; it isn’t as strong and dependable as it once was. In ministry I have learned the hard way to have a backup plan when someone fails to follow through. I have learned that people will break a commitment and to be prepared when it does happen. So few nowadays are truly dependable; I am just thankful that there are still a few left. The point being, “If I am not for myself, who is for me?” This is not saying we should be selfish and only look out for number one, but we shouldn’t confuse weakness for meekness either. We have to stand up for ourselves. The last half of the passage balances this out, “And if I am only for myself, what am I?”

While we stand up for ourselves we must never forget those who are helpless and have no voice of their own and be that voice for them. The unborn baby, the government oppressed minority, the abused wife or child, the mentally handicapped, the elderly, the orphan, etc. You see, Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) basically answers this question in I Corinthians 13. “If I am only for myself what am I?” Read it for yourself, but basically he answers, “You are nothing.”

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 1:12-13


RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 1:12-13
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“12. Hillel and Shammai received from them. Hillel would say: Be of the disciples of Aaron--a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and draws them close to Torah.”
There is a Jewish Tradition that says because Aaron was a peace maker and saved many marriages on the rocks, during the wilderness era by the time of Aaron’s death there were myriads named after him on account of all the marriages he saved.
13. He would also say: One who advances his name, destroys his name. One who does not increase, diminishes. One who does not learn is deserving of death. And one who make personal use of the crown of Torah shall perish.”
“One who does not learn is deserving of death.” One translation of this verse says, “He who refuses to teach Torah deserves death.”

What does 1st John 3:4 say?
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law (Torah): for sin is the transgression of the law.
What else does the Brit Chadasha say?


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


In other words the price (wages) of sin (Torahlessness) is death.

And what did Yeshua Ha Moshiach Himself say?


Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


Now let’s bring it back around. As the texts says:
“He who refuses to teach Torah deserves death.”

Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr