Torah Portion KI TAVO – Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:1-29:8
Month of Elul, the Month of Mercy
His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” John 9:2 TLV
There is a large portion of the believing population that is not able to fit into “normal churches”. The reason being is that their lives are challenged with tragedies and difficulties and they do not feel safe in a religious environment that will most probably judge them or dismiss their struggles as “trifle”. People that are going through painful times in their life need to feel love and supported by the rest of the Body and not feel judged. When a person is heavy with grief, they have no strength to “pretend that all is ok”. The Congregations of Messiah should be safe havens where people can be comforted and also confronted, when needed. But we cannot confront people before we comfort them. Because of the magnitude of their pain and grief they need to trust first before they can be confronted.
The Ruach of Adonai Elohim is on me, because Adonai has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. Isaiah 61:1TLV
As a Veteran Minister and a Daughter of the Most-High, I have tried to create an atmosphere void of condemnation and yet with Truth in Love so that we can become a real, organic Spiritual Family. The way that I have endeavored to create this atmosphere is by being transparent and by allowing my disciples to see my struggles. Then they will know how to go through theirs. The Apostle Paul called on his sons and daughters in the faith to imitate him as he imitated the Messiah – and he did not hide his struggles from his followers.
For it seems to me that God has put us, the apostles, on display last of all—like men sentenced to death. For we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people. We are fools for Messiah’s sake, but you are wise in Messiah! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are dishonored! To this very hour we are both hungry and thirsty, dressed in rags and mistreated and homeless. We toil, working with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure. When we are slandered, we speak kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the dregs of all things—even to this moment. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to warn you as my dearly loved children. For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Messiah, yet you do not have many fathers. For in Messiah Yeshua, I became your father through the Good News. I urge you therefore—be imitators of me. 1 Corinthians 4:9-16
Religion is based on hypocrisy and pretense while the Gospel Made in Zion (or the Faith handed to us by the Jewish Apostles of the First Century) is based on Honest Faith. Honest Faith means being transparent with our struggles and yet choosing to believe and trust Yah in spite of them. Occasionally when I go through a difficult time, a family tragedy or any other hardship as most of us go through, I find that it bothers people that I am not perfect and not everything is perfect in my life. People that get bothered by this are still sick with what I call The Cancer of Religion.
For I delight in loyalty and not sacrifice, knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
Very often when I go through difficulties and challenging times it is easier to speak to unbelievers than to believers. Unbelievers do not put up airs of “holier than thou” or of self-righteousness. Because of this they may be more honest and will be able to empathize more with those who suffer. This is something that needs to be remedied in the Body of Messiah. You see, Yeshua became a man and identified with humanity all the way to The Execution Stake (The Cross). He never spoke to people in a condescending manner – He found a way into the hearts of the hurting without condemnation and without compromising Truth or His Walk. He forgave a woman caught in adultery – even though she should have been stoned to death – but notice He also warned her to stop sinning.
Straightening up, Yeshua said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” “No one, Sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Yeshua said. “Go, and sin no more.” John 8:10, 11
We must follow The Master who showed us The Way. The Way is the manner that we minister to humanity and form a spiritual family where only “the one that has no sin” can cast the first stone. This does not mean to condone sin or to leave it remain without confronting it. This Way only means that we need to learn to rejoice with them that rejoice and to weep with those who weep and not to be so aloof and judgmental that the hurting want to run away from us.
For we do not have a kohen gadol (High Priest) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all the same ways—yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
While talking about “the hurting”, know that this includes you and I: we ALL hurt at times, we all go through various valleys of suffering. Why would we think that we are above it?
Therefore, since Messiah suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same attitude. For the one who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin. As a result, he lives the rest of his time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. 1 Peter 4:1,2
We are living in a fallen world and we are not an island unto ourselves. What happens to others can affect us and what happens to us can affect others. If instead of creating a “plastic fake atmosphere” of “supposed faith” we create an atmosphere of love and acceptance (where we can empathize with the suffering), then we can help show them The Way into wholeness. In my case, when I go through my own valley of tears, the last thing that I need is “Job’s comforters” – those uncalled-for “preachers” that have no idea what I am going through. The last thing that I need around me is self-righteous people that will try to find “where did you sin, to deserve such a curse in your life”.
When your fellow brothers or sisters are facing a personal tragedy, humble your heart – for you are not in their shoes. And for goodness sake lend a shoulder, a listening ear, pray and comfort them and let the God of Job do His work. Lest He rebukes you for judging others in their condition.
After Adonai had spoken these words to Job, Adonai said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My anger is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken about Me what is right, like My servant Job has. Job 42:7 TLV
When someone is drowning in their sorrow and tears, you do not “preach at them”. Instead tenderly lend them a rope (a lifeline) and then give them something warm and sweet to drink. Wrap them in a blanket of love, often without words. And if you say anything its best that it would be “tell me more” so they can unburden their hearts. Sometimes the only thing we need to do is just “be there” for them.
We, the Jewish People, know how to mourn and also how to stand with those mourning. We have experienced so much tragedy that we have become proficient at handling tragedy. It is always painful, but it is easier to go through it when one is surrounded with love, comfort and people that simply lend a hand of practical help – rather than condescendingly analyze the situation you are in. We all need someone that makes you a cup of coffee or cooks a meal for you, helps you to wash your clothes when you are unable or simply listens, giving words of wisdom that bring shalom.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be proud, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Romans 12:15,16
As I said previously, Rabbi and I have endeavored to stay transparent before our Team and disciples in our imperfections and during times of difficulties and tragedies. It is a great test to them, for it is during these times that people are revealed in their true colors and if they are really our disciples or not. It is then that we know if they have put us in a pedestal or if they are true Sons and Daughters in the Faith. When I talk about our difficulties and tragedies I do not mean sin necessarily – I mean when life hits you or us with some things that you were not expecting (like the death of a loved one, the backsliding of a son, the adultery of your spouse, the suicide of a family member, the devastating addictions and ensuing abuses of those close to you, a divorce, mentally sick people in your family, a loved one that is in jail, terminal sickness, etc.). We all get “surprised’ and even shocked sometimes by terrible circumstances that are beyond our control. They may have not happened because of any known sin or “lukewarm condition” or any other mistakes from our part. They simply happened because we live in a fallen world and they provide a valuable test of our faith, trust and loyalty. The end result may be the Glory of Yah.
As Yeshua was passing by, He saw a man who had been blind since birth. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” Yeshua answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be brought to light in him. John 9:1-3
The Story of Ruth in the Bible gives us great insight into this. Her mother-in-law Naomi was hit by devastating tragedy: she lost her husband and her two sons. As a result, she was embittered with pain – such pain that probably would have never gone away. All of her men were dead and not because of her fault. Her daughter-in-law Ruth, though a widow, was not a mother and did not know the depth of pain of a bereaved mother – and yet she simply followed and supported her mother-in-law on the pathway to full health. She never judged her or ran away from her, but rather stayed with her faithfully and brought comfort and redemption to her life. Imagine if she would have “preached” to her at the time of her bereavement and imagine if she would try to find fault with her mother-in-law in asking “why did this happen to you?” or “where is the God you worship?” But Ruth did none of that. She shows an example for all generations of what true love is!
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her. Ruth 1:16-18
It was this kind of Ruth’s true love and faithfulness that brought forth the Godly lineage of Yeshua Ben David, the Jewish Messiah (Ruth was the great grandmother of King David).
May we all learn to follow her example and the example of Yeshua Himself, who spent all of His three and a half years of ministry with the “untouchables” that were hungry for Truth. Follow this same Yeshua who empathized with Miriam so much that HE WEPT when her brother Lazarus had an untimely death. He did not judge Lazarus for dying, but rather rose him from the dead!
“Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see, Master,” they tell Him. Yeshua wept. So the Judeans said, “See how He loved him!” John 11:34-36 TLV
Maybe you have grown disappointed and lonely when you did not find support inside of the Church as you went through your valley of tears. Maybe you felt like an “untouchable”. Please do not become a judgmental “victim”. I encourage you today to forgive those who failed you and to become a support and encouragement to someone else. You can start creating that atmosphere of transparency, of unconditional love and acceptance, warmth and support, faith and trust that you did not find. You can create a real spiritual Family when you truly know the Jewish Messiah Yeshua, The Gospel Made in Zion and when all the cancer of religion is eradicated from your life.
Your Loving Israeli Mentors and Friends
Archbishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman
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Eradicating the Cancer of Religion
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