Saturday 13th August 2022 16th Av 5782
PARASHAT VA'ETCHANAN Herschel
Deuteronomy 3:23 - 7:11; Isaiahh 40:1-26; Matthew 23:1-3,16-23
Our parasha this Shabbat is called ‘ve’etchanan’ which means ‘and I implored or I pleaded’. To ‘implore’ is one of the 10 forms of tefillah or prayer. Our Torah Portion continues the presentation of Moshe’s final address to B’nei Yisrael.
LINKS FOR THIS SHABBT'S SERVICES:
Erev Shabbat Service: Friday 12th August @ 18h15.
Speaker: Wayne Hilsden from Jerusalem
Shabbat morning Torah Service: Saturday 13th August @ 10h00
Shiur teacher: Arnold Salmonson
Moshe adds details regarding some mitzvot previously given but also, we find commandments that were not previously included. Then, he admonishes the nation to observe the commandments. He explains that the nation’s future will be determined by its faithfulness. Observance of the commandments will lead to blessings of abundance and success. Abandonment or neglect of the Torah will be punished with devastation and exile.
The Torah states: "And you shall do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 6:18). What does this verse come to teach us?
The Ramban, Nachmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman), cites the words of our Sage s who explain that this verse exhorts us to go beyond the dictates of the law in our dealings with our fellow human beings. The Ramban adds that this is a very great principle, since it is impossible for the Torah to actually list every last detail as to how a person should behave with his neighbours and friends. How challenging is this? I believe what this verse teaches us is to be gracious, kind, merciful and compassionate to others.
Messiah Yeshua taught that we must be willing to lay down our lives one for another.
John 15:9-17 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.
The Greek word for ‘life’ here is ψυχή (psuchē) 'soul' (psychology) and it infers ‘one’s will or rights’. We are instructed to speak the truth in love but here, we are also instructed to be willing to lay down our rights for the sake of another, while considering others better than ourselves. Such tensions exist throughout the Scriptures and we ought to adjust our thinking and conduct accordingly.
Deut 3: 23-26
23. I implored (va’etchanan) Hashem at that time, saying:
24. "My Lord, Hashem/Elohim, you have begun show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand, for what power is there in the heaven or on the earth that can perform according to Your deeds and according to Your mighty acts?
25. Let me now cross and see the good Land that is on the other side of the
Jordan, this good mountain and the Lebanon.":
26. But Hashem became angry with me because of you, and He did not listen to
me; Hashem said to me, "It is too much for you! Do not continue to speak to Me
further about this matter:
To implore is used when one seeks an undeserved favor, for truly righteous and humble people never feel that they have a claim on God's mercy (Rashi). A study from Genesis through to revelations reveals several additional forms of prayer:
Implore – va’etchanan Dev 3:23
1 Sam 1:17
17 Then Eli answered and said,"Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant
your petition which you have asked of Him."
Eph 6:18 – ‘With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit’,
supplication 2 Kings 19:4; Isa 37:4
1 I cry out to the LORD with my voice; With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication .
2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication , with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
9 Now Joshua said to Achan, "My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him,
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession , Yeshua
2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving , let your requests be made known to God;
18 But if they are prophets, and if the word of the LORD is with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, t
Rom 8:27 - Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Messiah Yeshua
to whisper in prayer Isa 26:16 (because of awareness of sin)
16 LORD, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them,
they could barely whisper a prayer.
17 As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O LORD.
1 Chron 23:32
32 and that they should attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, the needs of the holy place, and the needs of the sons of Aaron their brethren in the work of the house of the LORD.
1 Chron 28:9-10
9 "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and
serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the
LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the
thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake
him, he will reject you forever.
2 Cor 11:3-4
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning,
your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure
devotion to Messiah
So, observant Jews are constantly reminded of G-d'-s presence and of our relationship with G-d, because we are continually praying to Him. Prayer as a "service of the heart" is in principle a Torah-based commandment. Deut 11:13 – ‘You shall serve God with your whole heart’. In Hebrew, prayer is called tehillah which is the same name for the Psalms. It is derived from the root word ‘hithpael’ which means "to entreat grace".
Traditionally, since the Second Temple period, three prayer services are recited daily:
Morning prayer: Shacharit (שַחֲרִת), from the Hebrew shachar or shahar (שַחָר) "morning light,"
Afternoon prayer: Mincha (מִנְחָה), the afternoon prayers named for the flour offering that accompanied sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem,
Evening prayer: Arvit (עַרְבִית, "of the evening") or Maariv (מַעֲרִיב, "bringing on night"), from "nightfall."
In Psalms, David states: “Evening, morning, and noontime, I speak and moan, and He hearkened to my voice” (Psalm 55:18).
As in the Book of Daniel:
“And Daniel, when he knew that a writ had been inscribed, came to his house, where there were open windows in his upper chamber, opposite Jerusalem, and three times a day he kneeled on his knees and prayed and offered thanks before his God just as he had done prior to this” (Daniel 6:11).
The Talmud Bavli gives two reasons why there are three basic prayers de-rabbanan ("from our Rabbis") since the early Second Temple period on:
to recall the daily sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem, and/or
because each of the Patriarchs instituted one prayer:
Abraham the morning, Isaac the afternoon and Jacob the evening.
Maimonides (1135–1204 CE) relates that until the Babylonian exile (586 BCE), all Jews composed their own prayers, but thereafter, the sages of the Great Assembly in the early Second Temple period composed the main portions of the siddur.[ Mishneh Torah, Laws of Prayer 1:4].
And, because the new covenant is a Jewish book, written by Jews who were dedicated to their Jewish Saviour, it is not surprising to read that they continued in the tradition of reciting these self-same prayers in the Temple. For example, we read in Acts 2:42 that on that day of Shavuot that the new Jewish followers of Messiah “continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers”. Notice that it is a definite participle – THE PRAYERS – not any man-made prayers! Not spontaneous, personal prayers! This was carefully constructed liturgical prayers that was already practiced before the 2nd temple period!
This is why at Beit Ariel, we continue to follow the pattern of prayers common to the Jewish heritage which includes the Shema, the Amidah and other liturgical prayers. Yeshua prayed them in the Temple as did all the disciples. In fact, even after his ascension, they continued to pray ‘the prayers’ in the Temple. It was a vital aspect of their service to and worship of the Lord!
It should be ours also!