Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot Chapter 4:29

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:29
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“He would also say: Those who are born will die, and the dead will live. 
The living will be judged, to learn, to teach and to comprehend that 
He is God, He is the former, He is the creator, He is the comprehender, 
He is the judge, He is the witness, He is the plaintiff, and He will judge. 
Blessed is He, for before Him there is no wrong, no forgetting, no 
favoritism, and no taking of bribes; know, that everything is according 
to the reckoning. Let not your heart convince you that the grave 
is your escape; for against your will you are formed, against your 
will you are born, against your will you live, against your will you die, 
and against your will you are destined to give a judgment and 
accounting before the king, king of all kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.”
This pretty much stands on it’s own with little or no commentary needed. God is the only supreme, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, righteously fair judge. Period.

Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Oft times, God doesn’t even have to judge or send us a verdict, we do a 
good job of it ourselves.

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:28

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:28
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Elazar HaKapor would say: Envy, lust and honor drive a man from 
the world.”
There is a spiritual drug worse than any Meth or Heroine addiction. It’s called LSD = Lust, Sin and Death.

James 1:15-16 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.

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

To truly be happy one must accept their lot given to them by the Father and not envy or lust after another’s honor, position or possessions; for these obsessions will drive one from this world and into ones own world, or worse yet, the world of ha satan. This is a subtle form of idolatry. Know that God has placed you where you are the way you are for a reason and worry not about things you cannot do or change. Focus on what you can do and change for Him and His glory by abiding by His Torah as lived out by the Messiah.

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:27

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:27
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Said Rabbi Meir: Look not at the vessel, but at what it contains. 
There are new vessels that are filled with old wine, and old vessels 
that do not even contain new wine.”
Just as the old adage goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Let us Remember our Messiah’s teaching on this matter:
Matt. 9:14-17 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we 
and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto 
them, Can the children of the bride chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom 
is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from 
them, and then shall they fast. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old 
garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the 
rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the 
bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they 
put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
On another level, a young Rabbi can be filled with old wine, wine 
that is rich and good to drink. In other words a young Rabbi can be 
filled with meaty knowledge of the Torah and it is good to sit under him. 
Just the same just because a Rabbi is old doesn’t mean he is wise, he 
may be spent and has wine at all to give.
1Tim. 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, 
in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr


Monday, May 28, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:25-26

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:25-26
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Elisha the son of Avuyah would say: One who learns Torah in his childhood, what is this comparable to? To ink inscribed on fresh paper. One who learns Torah in his old age, what is this comparable to? To ink inscribed on erased paper.

Rabbi Yossei the son of Judah of Kfar HaBavli would say: One who learns Torah from youngsters, whom is he comparable to? To one who eats unripe grapes and drinks [unfermented] wine from the press. One who learns Torah from the old, whom is he comparable to? To one who eats ripened grapes and drinks aged wine.”

Education, especially religious education is of the utmost importance. For a child 
comes forth from the womb as a sponge, ready and eager to learn, 
somewhat out of necessity, and it is our responsibility to be that gate 
deciding on what we allow to pass to get through to educate our children. 
A child is never too young to begin a Torah education. In Moshe and 
Ezra’s time it wasn’t just the adults who where called to hear the Torah, 
but the sucklings as well. Just like air, it benefits us even though we may 
not fully understand it; it is good simply to be exposed to it! 
At the same time air can be polluted and can harm us, even so 
we must be conscious of the air we breathe; we must be conscious of who 
we learn Torah from. It does make all the difference.
In short, for best results educate young and learn from the old.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Friday, May 25, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:23-24

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:23-24
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Shimon the son of Elazar would say: Do not appease your friend at the height of his anger; do not comfort him while his dead still lies before him; do not ask him about his vow the moment he makes it; and do not endeavor to see him at the time of his degradation.

Samuel the Small would say: "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice; when he stumbles, let your heart not be gladdened. Lest God see, and it will displeasing in His eyes, and He will turn His wrath from him [to you]" (Proverbs 24:17-18).”

Tact is one of the greatest allies you can have in life for dealing with family, friends and enemies. Do not be self righteous and spout off Torah when one falls, but place yourself in the others shoes and ask yourself how would you want to be approached? Just being there in silence is enough to comfort a mourner. Helping another while keeping their dignity in tact is one of the greatest things you can do to show love to another. We can be glad and rejoice that an enemy has not overcome us, but we are to pity an enemy when he falls, this is also an act of great love, for God is no respecter of person and He loves your enemy just as much as He loves you. So we too, as imitators of God as dear children (Eph. 5:1) we too ought to show love and compassion towards our enemies. 

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot Thoughts 4:22

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot Thoughts
Chapter 4:22
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“He would also say: A single moment of repentance and good deeds in this world is greater than all of the World to Come. And a single moment of bliss in the World to Come is greater than all of the present world.”

Psalm 84:10 For a day in thy courts [is] better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

“The Mishnah deals with two different concepts. Only in This World can one elevate himself spiritually; in the World to Come he can only enjoy the reward for his accomplishments here. On the other hand, all the bliss of all the generations in the history of the world cannot equal an hour of bliss in the World to Come.” – Perkei Avot Art Scroll Commentary

Isa. 64:4 For since the beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, [what] he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

1Peter 1:7-8 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

As the saying goes, “The best is yet to come.”

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:20-21

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:20-21
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Matya the son of Charash would say: Be first to greet every man. Be a tail to lions, rather than a head to foxes.
Rabbi Yaakov would say: This world is comparable to the antechamber before the World to Come. Prepare yourself in the antechamber, so that you may enter the banquet hall.”

Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Not only for the reason stated in the above verse, but also to recognize that every human being is somehow connected to each other and that whether we like it or not we are all one big Mischpocha (Family) and by greeting everyone you see, even stranger and the so called “undesirables” you recognize that fact and instantly give that person value and worth and a healthy shot of self esteem.

Prov. 18:24 A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.

Something as small as a smile, a tip of the hat, a simple, “hello” can go a long way. When you bless someone like that in turn you may be blessed by them when you really need it. Just pulling a scenario out of my head; but lets say your car breaks down and your without a cell phone, a stranger you may greet everyday may see you and say, “Hey, there’s that nice guy who always says ‘hello’ to me, I’m going to stop and help him.”

In this way you become a leader of sorts in promoting peace and kindness to all. This small positive act you do can be contagious in a good way.

Regarding verse 21, all we do here prepares us for eternity, the world to come.

“This world is like the eve of Sabbath, and the World to Come is like Sabbath. He who prepares on the eve of the Sabbath will have food to eat on the Sabbath.” – Talmud, Avodah, Zarah 3a)

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:19

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:19
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Yannai said: It is not in our power to explain either the 
tranquility of the wicked or the suffering of the righteous.”
Nonetheless Rabbi’s and Sages have attempted it.
However, I think the point Rabbi Yannai was trying to make 
is that no matter what explanation or reasoning we come up 
with it will fall short and seem unfair because we are finite and 
God is infinite and who are we to try and comprehend the ways 
of an Infinite God?
However to those who struggle over this issue I will give some classic 
reasons of the Rabbi’s and Sages.
1.    God is being merciful to the wicked knowing they will have and 
eternity to suffer and hoping His goodness upon them will soften 
their heart and realize it is God’s doing and turn to Him. In the same 
token the righteous will be rewarded and at rest for all eternity so 
a little bit of suffering down here is really insignificant in the 
whole scheme of things. In some way suffering builds character 
and brings us closer to God. It has also been suggested that the 
suffering of the righteous somehow atones for the wicked.
2.    Kabbalah suggests that time is an illusion and therefore 
reward and punishment doesn’t come when we think it should. 
So a prosperous wicked person may actually be rewarded in 
the present for a good deed done years ago. And a righteous 
person may be suffering some “injustice” on account of a sin 
committed in the forgotten past.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Monday, May 21, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot Chapter 4:18

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:18
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Nehora'i would say: Exile yourself to a place of Torah; 
do not say that it will come after you, that your colleagues will help 
you retain it. Rely not on your own understanding.”
Another passage says that it is so important to have a fixed time to study Torah, 
you have to make time. You can’t excuse your self and say, 
“when I have time I will study”, for then you may never have it.
You schedule appointments with VIP’s and nothing can alter that time. 
How much more so in regards to the Torah? Not only set a time and keep it, 
but Exile yourself. Lock the door and throw away the key until you have served 
your allotted time daily with the Torah. Exile yourself from all distractions 
and interruptions, just as you would if you were entertaining and important client. 
Our focus text not only tells us to study Torah but to study it with friends. 
If you are in a place with no friends then get commentaries. 
Rashi and the Rambam are sometimes called a Torah students best friends.
It’s so important to have other opinions and interpretations to consider and 
someone to bounce your own thoughts off of. Not only to expand your 
knowledge but to keep your thought from going way off track, way into 
left field in regards to your interpretation.
Notice that Israel has never been closer to God but in exile. 
Notice that Prophets have received their most powerful revelation 
while in exile. So exile is not always a bad thing,
especially when we exile ourselves with Torah as our

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:17

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:17
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Shimon would say: There are three crowns--the crown of Torah, 
the crown of priesthood and the crown of sovereignty
--but the crown of good name surmounts them all.”
Pro 22:1 A [good] name [is] rather to be chosen than great riches, [and] loving 
favour rather than silver and gold.
Now who holds and wears all these crowns? Yeshua Ha Moshiach, 
after all He is the Living Torah, Prophet, and 
Priest after the order of Melchezidek, and is the Sovereign King.
But ultimately to have a good name ones deeds, ones heart in action, 
must outstrip so to speak his head, his knowledge. 
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot Chapter 4:16

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:16
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Yehudah said: Be meticulous in study, for a careless 
misinterpretation is considered tantamount to willful transgression."

No one likes being lied to whether by commission or omission and no one 
likes to be mislead whether intentionally or unintentionally. 
In so doing one could get seriously hurt by their actions taken in 
ignorance and yet on the supposed good word of someone.
I have been in situations where this has happened to me and I have also 
been on the other end where I would have to publicly correct something 
I have previously taught. We are all connected my actions effect you and 
visa versa.
“A misinterpretation is judged so harshly only if it was due to the 
student’s failure to apply himself according to his capacity. 
A sincere mistake is regarded as an unintentional error.” 
– Perkei Avot Commentary
The Scriptures tell us that a teacher is held more accountable:
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive 
the greater condemnation. 
Messiah warns us of being blind and teaching:
Matt. 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. 
And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot Chapter 4:14-15

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:14
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“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.”
He was right and this was reiterated in the Brit Chadasha. If it’s is not for Heaven 
(Sometimes an idiom for God) it’s all worthless and in vain.

Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

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

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot

Chapter 4:15
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Eliezer the son of Shamua would say: The dignity of your student should be as 
precious to you as your own; the dignity of your colleague, as your awe of your master; 
and your awe of your master as your awe of Heaven.”
“Rendering honor to others is so important that one should always treat them as though 
they are on a higher level than they really are.” – Perkei Avot commentary.  
When someone sticks up for you, you never forget it and visa versa, so when ever you 
fall into trouble you will always have someone in your corner and who knows who you 
help may be as a mouse, but tomorrow they may be as a lion. This is not strange in 
regards to the Torah, for a student that is as a mouse can become a great lion of a 
Torah Scholar. Also, even if they are small, so what, what is the mouse in Aesop's Fable 
that chewed through the net that trapped the mighty lion? Was it not a mouse that removed 
the painful thorn in the lions foot? Never underestimate ones ability to help. 

Honor others and that honor will return to you when needed.
In the relationship to Rabbi’s and Students, it is very important to note that what the 
student does reflects upon the Rabbi. Just as our actions in the world whether we 
like it or not renders a type of commentary upon the God we serve in the eyes of others. 
So everyone’s reputation is somewhat connected and what I do ultimately in some way 
will reflect on you.
In this world of prejudice and racism what do many people foolishly think when they 
see one of another ethnicity apprehended and jailed? They falsely think everyone of 
that race must be like that. So to when we do something wrong, whether good or evil 
will reflect on other Jews and what people think of them.
Honor can be as simple as a smile and a polite nod to one you pass on the street to say, 
hey you are important, I acknowledge you. Or it can be as complex as assisting 
someone in clearing their name.
This kind of goes back to the golden rule of doing to others as you would have them 
do to you.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:11-13

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:11-13
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Jonathan would say: Whoever fulfills the Torah in poverty, will ultimately fulfill it in wealth; and whoever neglects the Torah in wealth, will ultimately neglect it in poverty.

Rabbi Meir would say: Engage minimally in business, and occupy yourself with Torah. Be humble before every man. If you neglect the Torah, there will be many more causes for neglect before you; if you toil much in Torah, there is much reward to give to you.

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.”

These are reminiscent of what it says in 2:1

“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.”

There is no excuse for one not to keep the Torah. Here is an article I wrote which applies to these passages:

Rabbi, is Homemade Judaica “Kosher”?

Being a Netzari Jewish Rabbi who follows the Halacha of Rebbe Yeshua and who follows the halacha of the Rabbi and Sages of the Talmud as long as it lines up with Torah and with the Halacha of Yeshua Messiah, I get asked if homemade religious articles are “kosher” or not.

For instance, is a homemade Mezuzah, Tallit or Tefillin acceptable? As long as they do not violate any prohibitions of Torah; for example a linen tallit with wool tzitzit wouldn’t be kosher because it violates the commandment of mixing wool with linen (Lev.19:19), I don’t have a problem with it.

I know and realize that articles of Judaica can be very expensive and hard to come by especially if you do not live in a Jewish community where you have access to a Judaica shop, or if you do not have access to the internet.

In that case if you have the zeal and desire to fulfill the commandment of tzitzit or donning tefillin and you don’t have the money to by a “certified kosher” set, then by all means make them! I remember making my own set of tefillin until I saved up enough money to buy a “kosher” set.

I used to minister at a local prison and these guys were so zealous for HaShem and His Torah that they make their own tefillin out of belts, leather from old bible covers and popsicle sticks; and they made one for me which I wear during prayer every morning. I wear my “kosher” set on weekends. I am proud to wear this homemade set of tefillin that was made by my precious brothers behind bars. It reminds me to pray for them.

Well, what do I think God thinks of it? Let me ask you this? Would you rather your child buy a card for you, or make you a card? Which one means more, which one is more precious to you? Which one shows more love? Which one do you hang on your fridge? The homemade one obviously, because it was not bought with money, but made with love by the child’s own hand. So too with God, I feel He must beam with pride when His children are so zealous to fulfill His commandments that despite their financial limitations they nonetheless find a way to fulfill His Torah. They may not be able to buy a “kosher” set of tefillin at the moment but they are not letting that stop them from keeping His Torah. 

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:9-10

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:9-10
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“His son, Rabbi Ishmael would say: One who refrains from serving as a judge avoids hatred, thievery and false oaths. One who frivolously hands down rulings is a fool, wicked and arrogant.

He would also say: Do not judge on your own, for there is none qualified to judge alone, only the One. And do not say, "You must accept my view," for this is their [the majority's] right, not yours.”

Being on a Beyt Din (House of Judgment) regarding congregational matters is a serious thing not to be taken lightly and is said not to be desired. For the power of life and death is essentially in your hands and if you make a wrong verdict, blood will be on your hands.

This passage gives a whole new meaning to the saying “Two heads are better than one.” The Scriptures say in reference to making communal religious decisions that there needs to be at least two witnesses.

Deut. 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; [but] at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

Deut. 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Matt. 18:15-20 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

1Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Heb. 10:28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:8

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:8
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

4:8. He would also say: Do not judge on your own, for there is none qualified to judge alone, only the One.

Exd. 18:13-23 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What [is] this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make [them] know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest [is] not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that [is] with thee: for this thing [is] too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must doMoreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place [such] over them, [to be] rulers of thousands, [and] rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tensAnd let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, [that] every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear [the burden] with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee [so], then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.

Deut. 1:9-18 And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone: The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye [are] this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye [are], and bless you, as he hath promised you!) How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife? Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken [is] good [for us] to do. So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear [the causes] between your brethren, and judge righteously between [every] man and his brother, and the stranger [that is] with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; [but] ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment [is] God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring [it] unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.

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.


Matt. 16:19 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.

Matt. 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Yeshua Ha Moshiach was refereeing to the passages in the Torah quoted above, and he was telling his Talmidim that they are to rule and make judgments based on the Torah and that not just one man can make a halakhic (the way one should walk) ruling for the people but it must be a decision agreed upon by a panel of at least 2 or 3 elders. Halakah is almost like a Church or organizations bylaws. It is to address tradition or issues not specifically spelled out in the Torah Itself.

This issue of binding and loosing has been grossly misinterpreted in the Christian realm to mean loosing and binding things in the spirit, such as binding demons and loosing angels etc. This is NOT what the passage is referring to, but it is referring to the elders making halachic rulings for a person and or community and that their decisions stand as long as they have a solid foundation in Torah.

You need the perspective and insight of others. This is why in Judaism there is not just one person on the Beyt Din but many elders.

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr


Monday, May 14, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:7

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:7
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

“Rabbi Tzaddok would say: Do not separate yourself from the community. Do not act as a counselor-at-law (when serving as a judge). Do not make the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with, or a spade with which to dig. So would Hillel say: one who make personal use of the crown of Torah shall perish. Hence, one who benefits himself from the words of Torah, removes his life from the world.”

Humility is the key to greatness.

Motive will determine if you get there or not.

Matt. 19:30 But many [that are] first shall be last; and the last [shall be] first.

Matt. 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all.

One of the keys to Yeshua’s success was that HE was a Servant –Leader. He led by example and no task was beneath Him.

John 13:4-5 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Who are all the great people in history? They were the ones who were selfless and didn’t use their power of religion to achieve greatness, They were known more so for their love for and being a champion for the people. I think of Gandhi, Mother Teresa and others who were all about the people. And admit tingly, these figures attributed Yeshua the Messiah as one of their main influences and examples.

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:4-6

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:4-6
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Rabbi Levitas of Yavneh would say: Be very, very humble, for the hope of mortal man is worms.”

You put your pants on the same as everyone else, you bleed red blood like everyone else, your flatulence doesn’t smell like roses, so don’t think more highly of yourself than anyone else, we all have the same fate…. Worm food.

“Rabbi Yochanan the son of Berokah would say: Whoever desecrates the Divine Name covertly, is punished in public. Regarding the desecration of the Name, the malicious and the merely negligent are one and the same.”

Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

It is said, who you are in secret is the real you. The most moral you are is what you do when you thing no one is watching. But that fact is Someone (God) is always watching. A Jew should be Torah observant privately as well as publicly. How does one desecrate the Name? Not necessarily by saying, “God D*** it!” or such, although these are ways to desecrate the Name the worst way is being a hypocrite; claiming to be a good Jew and actually living like the devil on the side. You may think you can live a double life, by a double life takes only half as long and eventually you’ll screw up and you will be found out and in the end you will have given God and Judaism a bad name.

“Rabbi Ishmael the son of Rabbi Yossei would say: One who learns Torah in order to teach, is given the opportunity to learn and teach. One who learns in order to do, is given the opportunity to learn, teach, observe and do.”

There is no better commentary or illustration than from ones own life. Motive is everything. The ultimate reason for study is performance, not to show off ones teaching skills.

-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ponderings of the Perkei Avot 4:3

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 4:3
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr

4:3. He would also say: Do not scorn any man, and do not discount any thing. For there is no man who has not his hour, and no thing that has not its place.

Every person has a place and a purpose and a function in this world and in God’s plan. Rav Sha’ul said it well:

I Cor. 12:12-27 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

It takes the shamas (Servant/Caretaker) of the Shul (Synagogue) for us to see and hear the Rabbi on Shabbat when he speaks. It also takes the shamas to ensure that we are not wading in filth when we go to the restroom at Shul. It may seem like a lowly and dirty job and someone has to do it, and it’s usually a faithful shamas behind the scenes.

Shabbat Shalom,
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr