Torah for today?

There is a perception among many believers that Torah, particularly the do’s and don’ts of the first 5 books of Scriptures, cannot be viewed as normative for our lives today. Torah has served its purpose and is outdated, they say, and should not be used as a guideline for people’s conduct and behaviour in this modern age of ours.  Some of the readers may have heard the tongue in the cheek (but most likely, true) story of Dr. Laura Schlesinger, an observant Orthodox Jew, who stated in her Radio show that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.  In response to this, a US resident (who turns out to be an Emeritus Professor at the University of Virginia) wrote an open letter to Dr Laura in which he thanked her for “doing so much to educate people” regarding the law of the Almighty, but stated that he needed some advice regarding a number of other aspects of the Law and how to follow this Law in today’s life.  Here are some of the specific questions that he had asked, almost with a sarcastic undertone, in a humoristically naive manner: 

  1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
  2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of “menstrual uncleanliness” (Lev.15: 19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
  4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Almighty (Lev.1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
  5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
  6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there “degrees” of abomination?
  7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
  8. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton and polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16.) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14.)

He then concluded by saying: “I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.” He finally thanked her for reminding people that these laws are “eternal and unchanging” and said he was an “adoring fan” of hers.

Clearly, the idea behind this open letter is that it is ridiculous to keep a certain portion of Torah while everyone realises that there are certain (other) aspects of Torah that are impossible to keep in a changed world. 

But is this reasoning correct? Do we have Scriptural support for such a conclusion? Should we not acknowledge wisely that there are certain aspects of Torah that are not meant to be performed literally in our day, but still keep those commandments that we can – not as a means to earn our salvation, but as a recognition of the fact that the One who gave the Torah in the first place, had done so with abundant wisdom and perfect knowledge of such principles as compassion, righteousness, faithfulness and truth? 

What do you think? 

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Matt Hendrik Heyns

1. What does Yahweh approve and what does He not approve if He says that:
a. sin is the transgression of the law; and
b. we earn a penalty if we break the law.
4. Shalom!

Robert

John
Ek hou daarvan om op forums aan Christene uit te wys dat ons wat vanuit die heidene aangesluit het eintlik…>Act 15:21 For from the earliest times, Moshe has had in every city those who proclaim him, with his words being read in the synagogues every Shabbat.”
Dus ons is/was veronderstel om in Sinagoges en nie kerke nie te vergader om so Moses[eerste 5 boeke] aan te leer.
Shalom

Robert

“..homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22..”
Ja, dit is so, maar ek vind vanoggend ‘n “snaakse” bybelvers….>
(KJV-1611) I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shal be taken, the other shall be left.
Twee mans in een bed ?
Wil iemand my help hier asseblief.
Shalom
Robert

Koos du Plessis

It is so sad when people make comments like those in the article. Nobody cares anymore for the Living Words, that Stephen referred to in Acts 7 as the Torah. These Words are Spirit and they are Life. And sadly most of us do not really know the Scriptures as the Messiah reminded us. We also do not know the power of Elohim. “Jy mag nie die vleis van die lammetjie in sy ma se melk kook nie” (geparafraseer) Nou wat de dinges beteken dit eintlik? Nou onlangs eers het ek verneem dat die eenvoudigste skaapwagters van vroeër geweet het wat dit beteken. Nehemiah Gordon beduie dat dit dood gewoon beteken het dat jy nie jou kinders aan afgode moes offer of hulle deur die vuur laat gaan het nie. Something to that effect. There are many instructions in Torah which we do not understand. But those we do understand, or think we understand, I believe that we have to do them to the best of our ability. The King has given them for a reason and one of these days we will find out why. The world reject His Torah, because the doers of the Torah are set apart from other nations and from the rest of the world. To do Torah is to be free to show your love to Yahshua, that you love Him with all of your being. It is so true! Sin is the transgression of the Torah and when I personally keep the Torah to the best of my ability, I do not sin. But if somehow I do break Torah, I have 1 John 1:9 that ensures me that Yahshua our Messiah cleanses me from my transgression. Forgive the longwindedness.

Koos du Plessis

Allow me another comment. To wear or not to wear tzitzit. Why do I want to wear these tazzles? Num. 15:37-41. In summer time it can be embarrassing. Everyone sees you as a freak. In winter time the tazzles are mostly covered by a jersey or jacket. YHWH instructs Mosheh to tell the children of Israel that they are to wear these tzitzit on the 4 corners of their garments – why? so that they would look upon it and remember all the instructions of YHWH, and do them: and “that you seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, which you used to go whoring!!! That you may remember and do all My commandments and be kadosh to your Elohim.” You might probably disagree with me, but I feel that this particular instruction is left for the individual’s own personal choice. There is no obligation on any believer to literally follow this command BUT why would one not follow it? These tzitzits are wonderful means to open up ways to testify to unbelievers or Ephraimites (christians). Sadly our experience in the past has been that many so-called believers blame one as having become too “Jewish” and then they fall away and leave the congregation. I have met an 87 year old gentleman last weekend and when he saw our tzitzit he begged my wife to make him long ones for everyone to see so that he would have ample opportunity to witness. This aged man has come to the truths of Torah and Yahshua late in his life – Torah is not only for a younger generation – even really old people start to repent/teshuvah. I know of a 97 year old lady in an old age home who has recently started to call the Father and also His Son on His Set Apart Hebrew Name. Her comment to one of her grand children was that she wished she were younger to really have been able to DO Torah, contrary to her previous oulook that Torah was a burden. Torah is the Living Words of YHWH and our Messiah Yahshua was and is the Living Torah. Ps.103:20 tells me that the heavenly messengers in heaven do His commandments and listen to the voice of His word (Yahshua). But apart from using them to witness to others, THEY REMIND us to keep and do His commandments, not to go whoring after our own fleshly lusts!! Praise YHWH our Father and Messiah Yahshua, for they knew exactly why each and every mitzvoth/ commandment was given to our fore-fathers.

Robert

Dankie John