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Here we are. The last book of the Torah. Deuteronomy could have been strictly a continuation of the story in the wilderness and the eventual entrance to the land. Though HaShem used the last book of the Torah to summarize the previous four books and emphasize the importance of the Law. There were many instances of miraculous occurrences and benevolent blessings experienced by the Children of Israel. Although time and time again, the Children of Israel forgot G-d and slipped into sin. To avoid participation in similar mistakes take note of the excellent principle found in the first chapter of this week’s parasha.

“after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei. Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying” Deuteronomy 1:3-4

Notice the sequence of the previous verse. The Children of Israel defeated a formidable foe through G-d’s intervention and “had no survivor left.” (Deut. 3:3) Then Moses “explained this law” and recounted the marvelous acts of HaShem. Why in this order? Because we are most vulnerable to fleshly seduction and pride when we are satisfied. Skipping ahead to Deuteronomy 8, G-d warned of this temptation:

“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.” Deuteronomy 8:11-19

Following the example of Moses and deliberately remembering G-d’s magnificent works after receiving a blessing will help prevent sin. The Torah shared several tactics to avoid forgetting the L-rd our G-d. One notable tactic is the commandment to “bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” (Deut. 8:10) after a meal. Also, wearing tzitzit on the four corners of a garment, placing His words on the doorpost, binding His words to our arm and head, and teaching our children. Deuteronomy contains many references to remembering the L-rd and commandments not to forget certain occurrences. Ultimately, Deuteronomy is a revelation of G-d’s grace. An entire generation passed away in the wilderness due to sin and turning away from G-d. Therefore Deuteronomy serves as an entreaty to learn from the mistakes and strive to walk uprightly before G-d. In several passages the tone is almost that of pleading with the reader to follow G-d and G-d alone. What a gracious Father that He would instruct the repetition of “this law” and key events of the wilderness journey.

In addition, Moses foreshadowed Messiah Yeshua. Moses explained the Law, recounted important events, and called for repentance before he died just as Yeshua eventually did when He dwelled on earth.

“Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.” John 18:20

“Therefore, holy brothers,you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.” Hebrews 3:1-2

Come quickly L-rd Yeshua!

by tzadikguy

“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is like your own soul will entice you secretly, saying, “Let us go and worship the gods of others” – that you did not know, you or your forefathers, from the gods of the peoples that are all around you, those near to you or those far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth – you shall not accede to him and not hearken to him; your eye shall not take pity on him, you shall not be compassionate nor conceal him. Rather, you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be the first against him to kill him, and the hand of the entire people afterwards.” Deuteronomy 13:7-10

G-d is a Holy G-d. He is the one and only. Serving other gods is a sin worthy of death. HaShem commands us to literally kill the person that commits such a heinous sin. Although, there is something interesting about this passage. Notice in the list of potential seducers there is no mention of a father and/or mother. The reason is the mitzvah [command] “honor your father and mother” takes precedence in this situation. A father and mother are to be honored and respected forever. According to this verse a child is never allowed to kill or even strike his/her mother or father even if the parents force the child to serve other gods. HaShem states in Exodus 21:

15“Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

17“Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

In verse 17, the word “curses” in the Septuagint is reviles which Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines as “to subject to verbal abuse”. Dishonor and disrespect occur through our attitudes, our actions, and even our words. We are called to always bring honor to our parents even when it is difficult; even when our parents force us to serve other gods. Why is this so? I believe the relationship between parents and children is an earthly reflection of the relationship between us and G-d. The Bible describes G-d as “Father” in several instances. “So now, HaShem, You are our Father. We are the clay and You are our Potter, and we are all Your handiwork.” Isaiah 64:8 Just as G-d created man, a husband and wife create a child. In a Biblical marriage, G-d is a crucial part of the relationship, and when we dishonor our father and mother, we are dishonoring G-d.

In the extreme case where a person’s parents actually force them to worship foreign gods an appeal can be made in a respectful and honorable way. A great guide to presenting wise appeals is found in Dr. Gothard’s The Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar: Seminar Workbook.

  1. Check out attitudes
  2. Clear our consciences
  3. Discern basic intentions
  4. Design a creative alternative
  5. Appeal to our authority
  6. Give G-d time to change their minds

If the parents still enforce idol worship after the appeal then the child is obligated to honor his/her parents’ demand. HaShem spoke and said, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the L-RD your G-d is giving you.”1 When we honor and respect our parents HaShem promises a long life. This is one of the few mitzvot [commandments] that is accompanied by a promise. We should not do what is right in our own eyes and dishonor our parents through disobedience. Who are we to say to G-d, “I don’t think that is right so I am not going to do that.”? Our mortal minds cannot understand HaShem’s plan or purpose. Therefore we must be obedient to His Torah. Similarly, we do not understand why our parents would force us to disobey HaShem but we must honor and respect them as our authority. Parents will be accountable one day for all actions, but it is not our place to dishonor or curse our parents.

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1Exodus 20:12

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