Friday, September 28, 2018

Sukkot Reading for the 8th Day

RaYBaSH’s Torah Thoughts
Sukkot Day 8
1. Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17
    Numbers 29:35-30:1
    I Kings 8:54-66
    Luke 2:21-40
By Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17

Deut.14:22-29 These verse are speaking of the tithing of the grain and wine annually and trilinearly at the Tabernacle/Temple, as well as the sacrifice of the firstlings of the flock and herd.

“From here, we derive [the ruling] that one may not give tithes from the new [crop] for the old [i.e., from this year’s crop for last year’s].” — [Sifrei]” – Chumash with Rashi
“Thou shalt truly tithe] Meaning the second tithe which themselves were to eat, ver. 23, for there was a first tithe that was given to the Levites, out of which they paid a tenth part to the priests, Num. xviii. 24-28; Neh. x. 37, 38. Then of that which remained, the owners separated a second tithe, which they ate before the Lord the first and second year; and in the third year it was given to the Levites and to the poor, ver. 28, 29. In the fourth and fifth years it was eaten again by the owners, and in the sixth year was given to the poor. The seventh year was a Sabbath to the land, and then all things were common, Exodus xxiii. 10, 11, where see the notes, See "Exod. xxiii. 11", and see Ainsworth on this verse.
“The Israelite set aside the second tithe throughout the year and consumed it at the annual holy festivals of God for whatever his heart desired. This means that he spent the tithe on things that enhanced his glorifying of God or added joy to the feast.” – Martin G. Collins

If one could not sacrifice at the Temple because the animals may die or the foodstuffs spoil in transit it was permitted to take the monetary valued equivalent established by the priests and use the money as tithes as well as to spend it on expenses in a celebration Feast to the LORD.

Verse 26. Or for strong drink] What the sikera or strong drink of the Hebrews was, see in the note on "Lev. x. 9". This one verse sufficiently shows that the Mosaic law made ample provision for the comfort and happiness of the people.” – Adam Clarke’s Commentary

It should be noted here that fermented drink is not a sin to consume, only getting drunk is where the sin lies and thus one must take great care in knowing their limitations. If one cannot do this it is best to abstain from alcoholic drinks altogether.
It was important to give the Levites their rightful God ordained share seeing as this was their inheritance, the service of Adonai and they had no land or wealth inheritance and was solely dependant on the sacrifices of Israel. This is precisely why the sacrifices have not been done away with, but only suspended due to the destruction of the Temple and will once again resume when Messiah returns, the Temple is rebuilt and the sacrificial services reinstated under the supervision of the Melchezideckian Priest of Messiah Yeshua.

Deuteronomy 15
V.1-11 Speaks of sacrifices and the releasing debts among Israelites and converts during the Sabbatical (Shemita) and Jubilees years. The forgiveness of debts incurred by Gentiles is not required due to the fact they do not follow Hebraic Torah Law.
The main thrust here is to keep ones heart open, soft and receptive to fellow believer’s plights and when we openly give when needed and forgive when needed, it will insure ones own prosperity and security.
A Son of Belial is a selfish, fleshing sort of person who has self serving ulterior motives to whatever he does. We are commanded not to be like that.
“Where are we in the Sabbatical and Jubilee Year Cycle???

The Sabbatical (Shmitta) Cycle

Rosh HaShonah will be upon us in about 3 weeks, and lately I've been asked - where are we in the Sabbatical cycle? We are presently in the 5th year of the 7 year cycle, and about to start a 6th year this Rosh HaShanah. How do we know this?

For one, Modern Jewish tradition teaches us this. History also bears witness to this from several sources. Josephus said Herod invaded Jerusalem during a Shabbat Year (Antiquties 14:16:2), and said his 7th years was the Battle of Actium (Ant 15:5:2, Wars 1:19:3). So that sounds like Tishri 38BC - 37BC, Tishri 31BC - 30BC, etc., were Sabbatical Years, since a Sabbath Year was in progress when he attacked that spring, so 6 years later would have been the 6th year of the 7 year cycle in Spring of 31BC. Also, 1Maccabees 6:20,49 records one for the 150th Seleucid period (164-163 BC) which comes out to an integer multiple of 7 from the record by Josephus. So Maccabees and Joseph agree.

Translating this to modern times, we get...

164-163 BC was a Sabbatical year.
38-37BC was a Sabbatical year
So was....
31-30 AD
24-23 BC
17-16 BC
10-9 BC
3-2 BC
5-6 AD
12-13 AD
19-20 AD
26-27 AD
33-34 AD
68-69 AD
1993-1994 AD
2000-2001 AD
2007-2008 AD will be a Sabbatical year, counting 7 years either from the book of Macabees or Josephus.

The Talmud (Gemara Taanis 29a) tells us the temple was destroyed the year after a Shmitta, which the majority of historians put at 70AD. This also lines up with Josephus and the book of Macabees. Se we have "checkpoints" in various places from....

164-163 BC from the book of Macabees
38-37 BC from Josephus
68-69 AD from the Talmud

And all of these line up in agreement on when the 7th year are celebrated. So what about the Jubilee Year???

The Jubilee (Yovel) Cycle

Unfortunately, history is a little hazier on this one. Multiple rabbinical sources disagree on when/how to count it, and even how to apply it. One thing that the rabbis are in agreement on is that the Jubilee Year cannot be celebrated unless all 12 tribes are in the Land - otherwise - the Land cannot be returned to the tribes, which is part of what the Jubilee requirements are all about.

So fuzzy problem #1 is how do you count the Jubilee year? Does the count suspend when the 12 tribes are not in the Land? Or does the count continue, but remains unobservable until they return? No one knows the correct interpretation to that question. So before I address the question of when was the last one and where is the count today, the other question is - Does it matter? Because G-d may not be going by the last count anyway. Would we start counting at year 1 if the 12 tribes were to return tomorrow? Or start counting at year 50? Or what? No one knows how G-d looks at this question.

And no one is quite sure of where we are in the count either. The last observed Jubilee was before the Assyrian invasion. In fact, maybe even since the death of Solomon, when the two kingdoms split for all we know.

Rabbenu Tam (a Tosafist) writes in Talmud Gittin page 36b that the Jubilee was observed during the Second Judean Commonwealth (ended 70 C.E.). Others disagree and say that the last Jubilee observed was near the end of the First Judean Commonwealth (around 440 B.C.E). Also, see Talmud Arachin page 32b and 33a. So no one really seems to know for sure when the last Jubilee really happened.

Rambam (Maimonedies) narrows the Talmudic idea down further by saying that the destruction of the second temple happened in the 15th year of the 9th Jubilee (yovel) period. This would have meant that 55-56 AD was a Jubilee year, going by the reckoning that the Jubilee year is always the 1st year in a 49 year cycle - that is - that the 50th year is also the 1st year of another 7 year cycle. Some people think it is an extra added year - so there's another point of differing interpretations. Using the majority reckoning, we'd conclude that if Rambam was right, the next Jubilee year would be in Tishri 2015 to Tishri 2016. Using the minority reckoning, we'd conclude that 2005-2006 is a Jubilee year - and we are in one now, which is almost ready to pass.

Some claim Josephus mentions a Jubilee in 27-28 AD based on a footnote that appears in book 15 chapter 9 of the writings of Josephus as published by Whiston. However, upon close inspection, Josephus did not write the footnote - it was added by the editor. So the footnote does NOT carry the weight of Josephus' ancient authority. Others have theological reasons for concluding that the first year of the Messiah's ministry must have been a Jubilee year due to the wording of the quote He read of Isaiah at the start of His ministry. While it is possible that the wording was suggesting that the first year of His ministry was a Jubilee year, it may not have been. The ambiguity of the text makes that a possible, but not required way to interpret it. If that was a Jubilee year, it would put the next one at 2036-2037 using the majority reckoning, 2027-2028 using the minority reckoning.

But again, I have yet to see a conclusive whether the count is suspended when the tribes are absent or merely unobserveable. So no one knows for sure, and the tabulation of the Jubilee year simply is not as easy as the tabulation of the Sabbatical year, based on historic evidence.”
Yoseph Viel,

Devarim 15:7-11 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the YHWH thy Elohim giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the YHWH against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the YHWH thy Elohim shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

This concerns the Mitzvah (Commandment) of Charity to the poor. As we reflect on this passage let us recall the words of the Messiah concerning doing this with the right motive and heart:

Matthew 6:2-4 ( KJV)Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

“Everybody is obligated to give charity; even one who himself is dependant on charity should give to those less fortunate than themselves.” (Gittin 7a)

“Death is stronger than anything on earth, but charity delivers from death.” (Talmud, Shabbat 156b)

So we see that Judaism places a great deal of value on the act of charity.
Rashi says, “The poor of your own city takes precedence over the poor of a different city.”

Boy, if only the American government heeded this! I’m glad we do give food to 3rd world countries and build up countries after we blow them up, but not when we have children and families right in our own neighborhoods that are hungry, homeless, jobless and cold.  This sounds like the rule of thumb for evangelism too.  Remember Acts 1:8:

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (KJV)

Deuteronomy 15:12-18
Allow me to quote from my commentary on Exodus chapter 21 which is a parallel passage to this one:

“The Parashah begins with laws some would say is obsolete. However they are not in effect only because we do not live in a Torah Observant Israel under rule of a Theocracy and because we do not practice slavery here nor in Israel. More than likely these verses are dealing with slavery to pay off a debt one incurred. Kind of like having to wash dishes at a restaurant to pay for your meal after your credit cards have been rejected and you forgot to bring cold hard cash. So it is not talking about the cruel kind of Pharaoh-like slavery with beatings and the cracking of whips one normally thinks of when the word slavery is comes up. Slave is an accurate term here and not Servant, because a servant gets paid, and a slave, in this context works for nothing or to pay of a debt.  The verses are very self explanatory.
V.2 Is talking about a Hebrew buying a Hebrew possibly to save him from being sold to a Gentile, or to pay off a debt he owes. He is treated more as a ranch hand or a butler and not as a slave as we think of a slave during the American Slave Trade era when slaves were treated as sub-human animals, like cattle.
Six Years represents Six days of Creation, Six days of labor. Six years was the maximum for a Hebrew to pay off a debt no matter how large.
The Seventh year he goes free, representing the Sabbath rest of Creation. He is treated as what he is; a human being, a fellow Hebrew, and one made in the image of G-d. G-d rested on the Sabbath, so should the Hebrew slave in the Seventh year.
V.3-4 He leaves what he came in with. To show that the debt was paid and that he owes him anything such as compensation.
V.5-6 This shows the Hebrew slave was treated at least like a hired hand and at the most a son and not as a work horse. This was to remind them of their common ancestry as Egyptian slaves. This was to show the nations that they were more humane and civil and had higher standards in treating slaves.
For before Yitzchak (Isaac) came along all of Avraham’s wealth would have gone to Eliazer of Damesek, his most loyal trusted servant. So trusted that he was given the task of arranging His masters son’s (and future heir’s) marriage, and took on the task with the greatest fear and sincerity (Gen. 15:1-2, Gen. 22:1-5, Gen.24).

And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl (21:6)
Why the ear? The ear that heard at Mount Sinai "For the children of Israel are My servants" -- -yet this person went and acquired a [human] master for himself -- -that ear should be pierced. -- Rashi

V. 6 Some traditions say that a leather strap, earring, or something similar was put through the ear to prevent the hole from closing. Kind of like with the youth culture today with plugs, stretchers and tunnels to keep large visible holes in their lobes.
By doing this (V.6) the slave would become a slave to his master for life because he loves his master so much, and his relationship with him went beyond slave and master, and he has it so good there. He has room and board, Job security, maybe even ran the estate like Yosef did for Potiphar, and Eleazar did Avraham. He has acquired a family being with his master, he now has a life. When before he may have been a vagabond of sorts or in debt about ready to be imprisoned or sold to a gentile, or he may have been the only one left of his family and had no one or nothing.
V.6 “Judges” the Strong’s Concordance #460 translates Elohim, meaning G-d or Judges. So if this took place in a city the master would bring his slave before the elders of the city as witnesses to witness the legally binding ceremonial act. However in cases life Avraham, he was a Bedouin and lived in the desert, the he would perform this before G-d and have the household servants witness the act, to show the other servants this mans loyalty to his master. This is probably so because the Torah always required 2-3 witnesses in any ceremonial or civil legal act.
Even though this commandment doesn’t address us literally, seeing as our society has outlawed slavery.
But we can also draw positive principles relevant to us today in our 21st century world, namely this principle can apply to fair treatment of Employees:
V. 1-6 Give a departing employee his due pay cheerfully without grudge or malice; part on good terms.
V.4 Let him leave with what is his, benefits, severance packages, perks, things won, etc. But if they are the companies or on loan by the employer, the departing employee must give back whatever belongs to the company such as car, computer, business cards, equipment, etc.
V. 5 If ones contract is up and wishes and has the opportunity to do so, and loves his company, employer, benefits etc. Let him sign on and stay.
V. 7-10 Insures provision and fair treatment of females slaves sold most likely in order to pay a debt. If she wasn’t treated as the Torah commands she would be an outcast and not cared or provided for, she would be viewed as “Bad luck and or damaged goods”.

V.8 suggests that there be a Kinsmen Redeemer; Let her father or a close relative buy her back. This mitzvah of redeeming a Hebrew handmaid is a positive (a Thou Shalt) commandment, to be preformed by family or a willing Hebrew man. Sort of, but not exactly like Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2:18-3:18). Because this commandment was preformed and obeyed, G-d graciously allowed a gentile Moabite woman into the linage which brought about King David and Messiah Yeshua (Matt. 1:5-16, Jer. 34:8-22).

V. 9-11 Treat people fairly with respect their position deserves not showing favoritism.”

Deuteronomy 15:19-23
This passage is contained in the daily prayer siddur, although the prayer siddur sites the parallel passage of Exodus 13:11-16. This is still speaking of the annual offerings presented during the three pilgrimage festivals which one is not to appear before HaShem empty handed (Duet. 16:16). By this passage we are to give G-d a cut off the top, the first and the best of everything we have and dedicate it to Him and His service. It also reminds us that our best is to be shared and benefited by all. We are finally reminded of the sacredness of blood and the prohibition to consume it. That life is in the blood and all life is to return back to the earth and thus also to G-d to whence it came.
Deuteronomy 16:1-17

Recaps the Three Pilgrimage Feasts of the LORD from Passover to Shavu’ot (Pentecost) to Sukkot (Tabernacles).

Numbers 29:35-30:1

The Sacrifices of Sukkot:

·       The Feast of (Sukkot) Tabernacles there were a total of 71 bullocks, one for each nation and one for Israel.
·       15 rams, the number fifteen symbolizes the Completion of God's Grace, 
     and His Kingdom. The Completion of God's Grace   3 x 5. 
     The fifteenth day of the first month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, 
     the symbol of the sinless body. The fifteenth day of the seventh month is 
     the Feast of Tabernacles.  The Feast of Tabernacles marks the end of the 
     sixth day of man and the beginning of the seventh day of the Kingdom.
·       105 lambs. The number 105 is make up of three Hebrew letters, Ayin, Lamed and Hey, and it creates the word meaning to rise or to go up. Going up is always referred to as going up to meet God on the Temple Mount to sacrifice and fellowship with Him. This speaks to us that ADONAI is King and we are created to serve and worship Him. This testifies to the obligation of the word to recognize and follow through with these facts.

·       8 goats offered during the feast, with accompanying meal and drink offerings. Eight is the number symbolizing new beginnings, speaking of a new week and a New Era, a New World, a Heavenly Divine Kingdom Age to Come. Goats also remind us of Yom Kippur and alludes to the fact that this new rule and world will be without sin and will be forever new.

I Kings 8:54-66

Luke 2:21-40

Speaks of the 8th day after Yeshua’s birth, which if indeed He was born on Sukkot would fall on the last day of Sukkot, which is now called Simchat Torah, His Torah Observant Parents took Him to enter into the Abrahamic Covenant via circumcision. Some may argue that the 8th day of Sukkot is like a Sabbath and no circumcisions were preformed on Sabbath, but they did not have all the Rabbinic rules they have today which some argue prohibits or discourages such activities. Yeshua proclaimed Himself that the tradition of His day was that it was permissible to circumcise on Sabbath (John 7:23).

It was here that the promise by ADONAI to the righteous elder Shim’on was fulfilled in that now that he seen the promised Messiah, the Savior of Jew and Gentile alike and held Him in his arms. Now he could die in peace and a fulfilled man.

The 84 year old Prophetess Hannah Bat-P’nu’el of the Tribe of Asher who after the death of he husband stayed at the Temple grounds worshiping, praying and fasting and once she saw Yosef (Joseph) and Miriam (Mary) with the Messianic Infant Yeshua, she thanked ADONAI for being able to see the one who would one day liberate Israel first Spiritually and later physically.

This concludes the commentary for the reading on the 8th day of Sukkot