Written by Mordecai Silver. Posted in Journey Through Torah.


Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
Ivrim-Hebrews 11:12-19


In its original Hebrew, Deuteronomy, a Greek word which means “second law,” was Devarim (words), lifted from Eleh hadevarim (words) asher diber Moshe, “These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel.”

Deuteronomy 1:1-14

1 These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. 2 It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. 3 In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them, 4 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. 5 Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this Torah, saying, 6 "The LORD our God said to us in Horeb, 'You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7 Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. 8 See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.' 9 "At that time I said to you, 'I am not able to bear you by myself. 10 The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven. 11 May the LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! 12 How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? 13 Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.' 14 And you answered me, 'The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.' (ESV)

<08451> torah (435d)
Meaning: direction, instruction, law

Moses spent the last forty years of his life explaining the Torah to the Children of Israel, and while some “got it” many did not, and this is very much the picture we see today where many do not understand the Torah, or if they do, they choose to disregard it unless they agree with it. To be part of God’s covenant people, one has to enter into the covenant. The covenant God made with Israel was the Torah, and in order to receive the promises He made, we have to enter into the covenant. There are those who say we cannot follow all of the Torah today, and I would agree,

but is that a valid reason for choosing to not follow what you can? They point out we cannot follow the sacrifices because there is no standing temple, so somehow, this means we can forget about following any other part of the Torah where we choose not to agree.

A prime example of this pertains to the instruction to wear the tzizit or fringe.

Numbers 15:38 "Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. 39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. (ESV)

Deuteronomy 22:12 "You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself. (ESV)

The stated purpose for wearing the tzizit is so we can look upon them and remember the commandments of the Lord given to Moses to teach to Israel. This is not a request, nor something that is open to discussion or debate, but is very straight forward and comes from the Lord. Yet, there are those who propose to disregard it by saying we don’t have to follow this commandment because there are other commandments we cannot follow either, or they put forward that you can only follow this commandment if you wear a tallit katan, which is a four cornered garment worn by Orthodox Jewish males either under their shirts or over their shirts with the tzizit on them. If you read the instruction as given in Deuteronomy 22:12, we are told to put tassels or twisted threads, another description for the tzizit, on the four corners of the garment which you cover yourself. It does not mention a tallit katan or special garment with which to fulfill this commandment, it only tells us to do it. There are many today who fulfill this commandment by wearing the fringes on the four corners of their outermost garment of clothing or on their belt loops. There are those who say this is not kosher because they are not wearing the tallit katan. There is no commandment to wear the tallit katan, only to place the fringes on the four corners of the garment you cover yourself. I put forward that any means you take to try to follow this commandment is what the Almighty’s intention was, not to make excuses about it.

If the reasoning is accepted that we need certain conditions in order to follow a straight forward commandment, like the wearing of tzizith, then the obvious rationale is we can justify disregarding any of the commandments we choose to in the same way. God gave us a covenant, that covenant is His Torah, and in the Torah He gives various instructions He expects us to follow. Part of the Torah has the festivals God wants us to honor, His Moedim or Appointed Times. If we follow the reasoning for the tzizit or any other commandment we disagree with, then it stands to reason we can simply say we do not have to follow any of the Torah where we do not agree. We are never told anything like this, and anyone who chooses to say this is placing themselves on a foundation built on the opinions of men and not on the Rock of Messiah, who was an Observant Jew who taught Torah. If one chooses to disregard the simplest of the commandments, what will you do with the ones that are more difficult to follow? What will you do with the dietary instructions that go all the way back to Noah and possibly before him?

The promise contained in the covenant as a reward is we become the people of God, and we will become as numerous as the stars of the heaven. This promise was first given to Abraham, then to his son Isaac, and to Jacob the Patriarchs of Israel. It is in them and through them our faith is counted as pleasing to our heavenly Father, but if we continue to walk contrary to Him and His Torah, will the blessings come from Him or from somewhere else?

Ivrim-Hebrews 11:12-19

12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE. [Gen. 15:5, 22:17, 32:12] 13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, "IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED." [Gen. 21:12] 19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. (NAU)

Genesis 15:5 And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." (ESV)

Genesis 22:17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies. (ESV)


Genesis 32:12 But you said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'" (ESV)

Genesis 21:12 But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. (NAU)

The blessings given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were contingent on their faith and just as important in their obedience to Torah.

Genesis 26:5 because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My Torahs." (NAU)

Let’s break this verse down piece by piece.

Obeyed=<08085> shama (1033b)
Meaning: to hear

Charge=<04931> mishmereth (1038b)
Meaning: a guard, watch, charge, function

Commandments=<04687> mitsvah (846b)
Meaning: commandment

Statutes=<02708> chuqqah (349d)
Meaning: something prescribed, an enactment, statute

Laws=<08451> torah (435d)
Meaning: direction, instruction, law

In this one verse where the Lord commends Abraham and gives the reason why Abraham is given the promise of numerous descendants, it was not simply because Abraham kept faith with his Creator, it was also because he listened and obeyed the voice of his Creator. Abraham had faith, but he also put that faith into action, and because of that one man’s faith and action, generation after generation have received the same promises as long as they keep faith with the covenant and do not try to get around it by reasoning it away. Reason comes from a Greek mindset, not a Hebrew or Jewish one. Jewish thinking is supposed to follow the Hebraic pattern of an action language, not a philosophical one like Greek thinking. Yet, when it comes to Messiah Yeshua, the Jewish reasoning is the same as the Greek where we think about it until we understand it, and then we reject it as being incompatible with our reasoning.

Deuteronomy 6:25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.' (ESV)

Don’t make excuses for not following Torah, do what you can!

Blessings in Messiah Yeshua,

Mordecai Silver

Torah Man says: “Deal with the faults of others as gently as your own.”

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