One of the many biblical topics that has caused controversy and division is the concept of a covenant. I lack the time and wisdom to conclusively state the correct interpretations of the many mentions of covenants throughout the Bible but I would like to share a trend. The following verse is from this week’s portion:

 “And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant that the L-RD has made with you in accordance with all these words.’” Exodus 24:8

The trend I see throughout scripture is consistent with Hebrews 9 which speaks scrupulously about blood and its connection to covenants. The trend is that almost every covenant between G-d and man requires blood. This may be obvious to you and if so please ignore my intentional attempts to incite suspense. With Noah, many wicked died (blood) before the covenant was made. (Gen. 7:23) With Abraham, the sign of the covenant was circumcision (blood). (Gen. 17:11) Now with Moses, the sign is the blood of the offering and the Torah. If this is the trend then why would we expect the New Covenant to be any different? As it says in Hebrews 9:

“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22

Yeshua’s sacrifice was required to establish the New Covenant and secure our eternal redemption.  In the Torah the covenantal pattern is arranged and later in Jeremiah 31 the revelation of the New Covenant is detailed. Also, the Apostolic Scriptures expound upon the New Covenant and Yeshua’s involvement. Most error in regard to covenants originates from the attempt to define the biblical concept through one section or even a couple verses of Scripture. Without considering the whole Bible it is difficult to understand numerous aspects of Scripture including covenants. There are many other covenants and details to study but my intention is to equip you with a response to those who doubt the necessity for the blood of Messiah.

Speaking of doubts, I once heard someone say that the only concept in the Apostolic Scriptures they could not find in the Talmud or the Torah was “Love your enemies.”

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:27-28

I had never thought to research this statement until this individual mentioned this apparent inconsistency. Since then I have been on the lookout for a clear reference to loving our enemies somewhere in the Torah. In this week’s portion I believe there is a straightforward verse that is consistent with Yeshua’s words.

“If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.”  Exodus 23:5

It is commanded to help one who hates us! What does the L-RD command in Leviticus 19:18? Love our neighbor as ourselves. If our donkey had collapsed and we were striving for punctuality we certainly would not turn down a helpful hand even if it was someone we hated. So helping our neighbor as we would want to be helped is an act of love. Who is an enemy? Someone who hates us or seeks our destruction! Exodus 23 records a loving commandment to help rescue our enemies’ donkey and in so doing we are demonstrating love for our enemy.  We can rapidly dissipate ill feelings towards us by behaving sincerely with kindness and love. This is not easy but it is what G-d requires. Do you know of other references in the Tanach that implore us to love our enemies?

In conclusion, I have managed to distance myself from dissertating on the ambiguous topic of politics. The politics of today offer little benefit for selecting a candidate. Our own individual research is necessary. However, I can no longer resist because, right here in Parasha Mishpatim, there is a convicting commandment that is often disregarded.

 “You shall not revile G-d, nor curse a ruler of your people.”  Exodus 22:28

The Hebrew word for “ruler” in this verse is nasiy which means “one lifted up, chief, prince, captain, leader.” There is no question about whom this refers. The verse refers to our Commander and Chief and the fact that this commandment is juxtaposed with “you shall not revile G-d” further stresses the significance. Context reveals there are no exceptions or stipulations for this commandment. It is simply unacceptable and disobedient to curse our ruler. Practically speaking I believe Scripture is clear about praying for our leaders (1Tim. 2:1-3), voting for a man of knowledge and understanding (Prov. 28:2), and strengthening our community (Rom. 12:4-8). If, despite our efforts, a poor leader still manages to be elected then we should be even more mindful of the commandment not to curse him. In our society today, cursing, slander, judgment, and gossip have become commonplace and this is especially true for a public figure. Our duty is difficult but we must resist participating in any form of cursing toward our President. He is our leader and we will gain more if we treat him with respect. (Rom. 13:3)