Very Near

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Very Near

In Deuteronomy chapter 30 verses 11 thru 14 Moses reassures the Jewish people that the commandment which he has presented to them is not hidden nor is too far. Quite the opposite, it is very near to our mouths and our hearts to do it.

How is the commandment close to us? How close is it for us to fulfill every directive of God to perfection? King Solomon exclaims: Who can say that I have purified my heart I am cleansed from my sin? (Proverbs 20:9). In the book of Job we read of the imperfection of angels; certainly no human can be perfect (Job 4:18). How then can Moses tell us that the law that he is presenting to us is “close”? What is “close” about it?

Perhaps we can understand this by focusing on the words of verse 14. Moses says that it is “hadavar” –…

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Thou Shalt Not Steal

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Thou Shalt Not Steal
The narrowest definition of the word “steal” refers to an action of taking possession of someone else’s property through dishonest means. The spirit of the law goes on to include any deception or dishonesty which causes loss to another or brings us benefit. But the spirit of the law encompasses so much more. The spirit of the law encourages us to desire honesty and despise greed. Let us consider some of the applications of this commandment.

Public property belongs to everyone. And the individual’s right to use it is limited to the usage that the public designated this property for. Using public property for a use that was unintended by the agents of the public is a form of stealing.

Keeping money that was not justly earned is also stealing this includes charging for a service or a product and not delivering exactly what the customer…

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Fifth Response to Dalton Lifsey – Isaiah 9:5,6 (6,7)

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Fifth Response to Dalton Lifsey – Isaiah 9:5,6 (6,7)


I will be using the numbering of the verses from the Hebrew Bible.


I will first tell you that the verse can be read as follows: “The Mighty God, Father unto eternity and Prince of peace is planning a wonder”. In other words, the name of the child is a complete sentence describing the work of God. Just to help you with the Hebrew, I’ll do this word for word.

Pele – a wonder

Yoetz – He is planning (this is the key – this word can be a verb and is not necessarily a noun)

E – l – God

Gibbor – mighty

Avi – Father

Ad – until (generally translated as: “everlasting”)

Sar – minister

Shalom – Peace

The second thing I will tell you is that the verse does not necessarily say “Mighty God”…

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The Great Debate

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The Rabbinic Decree – Excerpt from The Council of My Nation

The power of the Rabbinic decree was employed by the nation’s leadership as part of the national effort to preserve the Law. In many situations, when the nation’s spiritual sensors realized that the people were losing touch with the spirit of a given law they implemented a Rabbinic decree to reinforce the nation’s hold on the Law. These decrees are psychological tools calculated to produce a specific effect in the minds of the people. The observance of the decrees in the context of a living society creates an atmosphere that enables the people to connect with the Law.



The three daily prayers stand as an illustration of the Rabbinic decree. God had enjoined the people to offer Him two lambs every day. The practical application of this commandment had the priests in the Temple acting on behalf of the nation at three specific points during the day (Numbers 28:4, Leviticus 6:2 [6:9 in the KJV]). If we look beyond the letter of the Law we see much more than the burning of two animals. We see the nation as a whole standing as one entity before God. Israel is directed by God to stand before Him and express her subservience to Him and total dependence upon Him. This commandment brings Israel’s special relationship with God into conscious focus, for it is in the Temple built by Israel and the offerings brought by Israel that God graciously accepts. The fact that the same offerings were repeated continuously since Sinai (Numbers 28:6), instilled in the nation a sense of standing before God together with their ancestors. These lofty concepts and many more are inherent in the daily offerings. When the spiritual leadership of the nation realized that many people are losing touch with these foundational impressions, they formulated the daily prayers. These prayers unite the Jewish people of all times in worship of God. By practicing this Rabbinic enactment the Jewish people preserved much of the holiness that was implicit in the daily offerings.



Another prominent Rabbinic decree is the hand-washing enactment. The purity laws take up many chapters in the Law of Moses. On a practical level these laws affect certain groups of people in specific situations. These laws pertain to all who partake of the offerings or who enter the Temple precincts, those who eat the second tithe in Jerusalem, and to the priests whose bread is holy. The impact that the purity laws had on these people was tremendous. Once one underwent the purification process it was necessary for them to maintain a much heightened sense of alertness. Any contact with an individual or with an object, no matter how slight is liable to negate the status of purity (depending on the status of the person or object). These laws had a powerful disciplinary effect for they forced the people to keep a high level of mental and physical consciousness and alacrity. Observance of these laws instilled in the people the sense that every action, no matter how slight, is significant before God. On a spiritual level, these laws inspired an awareness that the activity of eating with the appropriate frame of mind is an act of devotion towards God. Eating with the recognition that one is sitting at God’s table is an experience that is central to the Jew’s relationship with God. The laws of purity guided the people in the realization that the food they eat is holy. All of the moral discipline and the spiritual benefits of the purity laws were encapsulated by the Rabbis, in a miniature format, in the hand-washing decree. For more than 2000 years now, the hand-washing decree served to keep the nation in touch with the spirit of the biblical purity laws.


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“Deeper Understanding” – Excerpt from Supplement to CB

When Jesus presented his moral teachings to his audience, it was not enough for him to encourage his followers to aim for a higher moral standard. It was important for him to claim that his teaching was original, and that the teachers who preceded him failed to understand some basic moral insights. By doing so, Matthew’s Jesus set the stage for the subsequent teaching of John’s Jesus that the Jews are children of the devil. Eventually, the European people came to believe that the Jewish people are so intimately connected with evil that they fail to appreciate some of the most basic principles of morality.

Brown too is not satisfied to present Jesus’ moral teachings. He finds the need to paint a fictitious portrait of Judaism as a legalistic belief system with only the dimmest understanding of morality.

Brown points to Jesus teaching against anger as a “deeper” understanding of the Law. The fact is that Jesus taught the Jewish people nothing that they did not already know. The rabbis taught against anger, making sure to point to the Scriptural source for their teaching (b. Nedarim 22b, based on Ecclesiastes 7:9).

Brown points to Jesus’ teaching against lustful thoughts as another example of an “exclusive” moral insight of Jesus. The Rabbis also taught against lustful thoughts, making sure to attribute the moral insight to Scripture (b. Eruvin 18b, based on Proverbs 11:21, see also Job 31:1).

Jesus’ teaching “let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”, is also cited by Brown as an example of Jesus’ moral superiority over the teachers of Rabbinic Judaism. The problem with Brown’s assertion is that the Talmud records precisely the same teaching, again pointing to a Scriptural source for this concept (b. Bava Metzia 49a, based on Leviticus 19:36, see also Leviticus 19:11, Proverbs 12:22).

The famous teaching of “turning the other cheek”, which Brown interprets as “not seeking retaliation”, is explicitly stated in the Torah – Leviticus 19:18.

The philosophy of “loving your enemies”, is also echoed in Rabbinic literature (b. Bava Metzia 32b, based on Exodus 23:5, see also Leviticus 19:17).

Brown speaks of Jesus’ advice to perform acts of righteousness in secret as another example of Jesus’ “original” insights. Again, this is a well known Rabbinic teaching based on Scripture (b. Succah 49b, based on Micah 6:8).

The teaching “forgive others so that we may be forgiven” is also not a “Jesus original” as Brown seems to assume. The Talmud presents the same teaching (b. Rosh Hashana 17a, based on Micah 7:18).

Jesus’ warning not to store up treasures on earth is found in the Talmud as well (b. Bava Batra 11a, with various Scriptural quotations including Isaiah 3:10).

The warnings against greed and love of money are also found in the Rabbinic writings (Avot 4:21, Kohelet Raba 1), and these concepts are found in the books of Scripture especially in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes (e.g. Proverbs 15:27, Ecclesiastes 2:11).

The concept of trusting on our Father’s goodness is a prevalent theme in both the Rabbinic writings and in the Jewish Scriptures (e.g. Jeremiah 17:7, Psalm 55:23).

Jesus’ teaching against being judgmental, and his encouragement for self-examination are also paralleled in the Rabbinic sources (b. Bava Kama 93a, Bava Batra 60b based on Zephaniah 2:1).

(At this point, one might ask: How did Jesus provide an example for self-examination? By teaching that he could do no wrong, his followers could not fathom why he died such an ignominious death. In sharp contrast to Jesus, when two of the Pharisee leaders were being executed by the Romans they provided an incredible example for self-examination. One said to the other: “in an instant you will be together with the righteous, why then do you cry?” The response was: “I am crying because we are dying like those who have murdered and violated the Sabbath.” The former comforted his companion: “perhaps you were eating or sleeping and a woman came to ask you a question concerning the Law and your students turned her away. Does not the verse say “if you oppress them (the widow and the orphan) I will smite you by the sword?” It is these people who Jesus slandered when he taught the world that the Pharisees ignore the commandment of caring for the widow and the orphan (Matthew 23:14).)

Brown concludes that traditional Jews might find these concepts: “profound but vague”. Brown warns that traditional Jews will need “some level of reorientation” to implement these moral teachings (page 217). I find this simply amazing. Brown seems to be under the impression that no traditional Jew ever heard of these concepts. Just to get an idea as to how skewed Brown’s view of reality actually is, please consider the following. A Messianic teacher decided to try to implement Jesus’ moral teachings. He created a website that focuses on the ethical and moral teachings of Jesus and he elaborates and expands on each one. He draws most of his sources from rabbinic literature! (Here is the link to his site –

Brown seems to be locked into an “either or” world view. Either one follows a religious legal code, or one follows a moral code. The Scriptures teach and the respective histories of the Church and the Synagogue confirm that it is “both or neither”.

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Tower of Truth

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Tower of Truth
Man’s need for self-validation is very deep. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. The deeper the need – the more powerful the desire to invent and to fabricate.
Not that there is a true need to fabricate. The Creator who so lovingly designed us also provided for all of our needs. We have air to breath, water to drink and food to eat. Surely God also provided for our basic emotional needs as well.
There seems to be a pattern in the way God provides for our needs. The availability of the item that satisfies our need seems to be directly correlated to the level of requirement that we have for the particular item. Air is the most essential material need that we have and it is all over the place. Water follows as our second most basic need and while it is not…

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