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In this week’s portion a great mystery is present.

“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord. No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord. No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever,” Deuteronomy 23:1-3

Why are groups of people mentioned who would, by default, not enter the assembly of G-d? Have we all not fallen short? Aren’t we all, by default, unable to enter the assembly of G-d? Could this mean, by implication, that there are some who do enter the assembly of G-d by default? The correct reconciliation of this possible contradiction escapes my level of knowledge. If you have or have heard a biblical explanation of Deuteronomy 23 please post in the comment below. One thing we do know is that the previous passage cannot be referring to an impossibility of these unique (pun intended), condemned people from being eternally saved. Look at the following passages:

“For thus says the LORD: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant–’” Isaiah 56:4-6

“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return 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.’” Ruth 1:16

In addition, remember Judah and Tamar! According to Levitcus 18:15 it is a forbidden union to uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law. Judah’s son Perez is a descent of Messiah Yeshua! (Matt. 1:3)

I am certainly not qualified to give a definitive answer on such a major issue. However, I was fascinated after reading the passage containing those who may not enter the assembly of the L-rd because we have studied examples of when those people do enter the assembly of L-rd! Perhaps this week’s portion contains yet another marvelous example of G-d’s abundant grace. Even though it is just and appropriate to condemn these groups, still G-d has mercy. Even though we are deserving of G-d’s wrath He has shown mercy and saved us. That is incredible and beyond understanding.

“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!” Psalm 40:9-11

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“Seek the welfare of the city…and pray to G-d for it, for in its peace, you shall have peace.” – Jeremiah 29:7

This verse speaks to all of us across America. This verse is a call to action. In each city we live in, and in each town we have an obligation as citizens, Jew and Non-Jew alike, to heed the call. We should be asking several questions to ourselves and one another.

  1. What can we do to positively affect our community?
  2. How can we improve our local government?
  3. How can we increase support for Israel?
  4. How can we be a light of Torah and sanctify the name of HaShem in our community?

We must not let our society become passive. It is our responsibility as citizens to hold our government accountable and improve our standard of living. How have we come so far from our glorious beginnings? The answer may be summarized as laziness. I speak to myself as well as everyone else who expects to be taken care of, and expects the government to handle all our problems. Arise, you sleepers! Shake off your slumber. Start taking on an active role in the community and the local government. If you see a need, then fill a need. Do not expect the government to solve each problem. We all have special gifts and talents that we were graciously granted by HaShem for the purpose of glorifying His name and improving the world around us. Some may proclaim a lack of ability and creativity is what hinders his/her involvement. In this case, offer what you have. If you have hands and feet, then use them to volunteer time and strength for the good of the community. The simple act of cleaning up litter, planting trees, walking for charity can inspire and spark unity in your city/town. Some may claim a lack of time. Beware of time, as with money, becoming a primary focus and an idol. Remember who grants us time and seek to improve the community and government.

Local governments are equally as susceptible to corruption as state and national government. If accountability is not held by us then we leave the door of deviance wide open. Deviance from the Bible, from our Constitution, and ultimately from our well-being. A grave notion to consider is the absence of our political involvement equals a lack of troubles and trials. Does a tree produce fruit without working hands and the assistance of G-d? We cannot expect wholesome fruit from our government without individual participation of citizens and prayers for Divine wisdom. The inspiration of a nation begins with an individual.

To answer the initial question, “What can we do to positively affect our community?” Begin by supporting your community in various ways. Do not jump into politics without a thorough understanding of the community and solid knowledge of the city/town government system. Here are some ideas for becoming an active citizen.

  1. Planting trees.
  2. Walk for charity.
  3. Clean litter.
  4. Donate to non-profits.
  5. Host fund raising events.
  6. Educating yourself in local, state, and national politics. Know the views, intentions, and standing with Israel of key leaders.
  7. Voice your opinion. If you don’t agree with something than express it in writing, email, or by phone to the appropriate person.
  8. Host educational sessions to inform people of political situations.
  9. Begin educating your children and the youth in the community.

George Bush wrote to the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson : “Our nation’s moral tradition – indeed, the development of all Western civilization – has been deeply influenced by the laws and teachings contained in the Bible. It was a Biblical view of man, one affirming the dignity and worth of the human person made in the image of the Creator, that inspired the principles up on which the United States is founded.”

The inspired principles Former President Bush spoke of are disintegrating. The initial influence of the Bible on America is fading. Nevertheless, we are capable of individually reverting back to the morals and standards our nation was founded upon in hopes that communities, and local, state, and national governments will soon follow. The inspiration of a nation begins with an individual.

What are some other beneficial activities not listed?

What caused the divagation from America’s established principles?

Your thoughts are greatly encouraged.

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