Dear Friend…

Dear friend, there’s a story goin’ round
says you’re gonna be married soon
But you’ve been sayin’ that for years,
and there can be no wedding without a groom
You said he’s gone away to make a place for you and Him
Oh you know He’s gonna come back,
but you just don’t know when

Dear friends He is not slow in keeping His promises
As some understand slowness to be
Keep a watch out, don’t lose faith,
He said He would come for you
He’s gonna come for you, you wait and see

Dear friend, people joke, they laugh and they make fun
When you tell ’em all about the groom who’s gonna come
He’s been gone a long long time, are there any doubts to confess
Do you wonder if you’re ever gonna wear that wedding dress

(Dear Friend by Charlie Peacock)

Last night at our Torah Club study we were discussing how it is easy to get lulled into complacency regarding the return of our righteous Mashiach. Daniel (Lancaster) reminds us, via the words of the Chofetz Chaim, that we cannot afford to be nonchalant in expressing our belief in the return of Yeshua in the way we live each day of our lives. If we truly believe his pending, immanent return, we will live lives that reflect this belief. We will live with enthusiasm, excitement, joy, hope, graciousness and anticipation.

In our congregation, in the reading following the Haftarah, we have changed one word to remind us of the down-payment on the promise of Hashem that he has given us in relationship to Mashiach. It reads:

Gladden us, Adonai, our God, with Elijah the prophet, Your servant, and with the kingdom of the House of David, Your anointed, may he return speedily and cause our heart to exalt. On his throne let no stranger sit nor let others continue to inherit his honor, for by Your holy Name You swore to him that his lamp will not be extinguished forever and ever. Blessed are You, Adonai, Shield of David.

Let us continually hold on to Rambam’s expression of hope, found in the Ani Ma’amin, which says:

I believe with complete faith
In the coming of the Messiah, I believe
And even though he may tarry
Nonetheless I will wait for him
I will wait every day for him to come

C.S. Lewis & The Talmud

Do C.S. Lewis and the Talmud have anything in common? Recently, my wife and I have been reading The Chronicles of Narnia to our children. We are on the third book in the series, The Horse and His Boy. Over the course of a few days I read the first half of the book (of which I never could get into) and then let my wife take over in reading the second half of the book. Since I had lost interest in the book, they finished it up without me. When they were nearly finished with the book my wife said that while reading she had found a Talmudic inference by Lewis (my wife is very cool).

As Shasta (the main character of the book) has just reached what he believes to be his haven and resting place after narrowly escaping death and saving his companion’s life, he is told there is no time to rest and he must press on to warn King Lune of an impending attack. Lewis tells us:

Shasta’s heart fainted at these words for he felt he had no strength left. And he writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of the demand. He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.

Although I’m sure Lewis didn’t intend on citing a Talmudic principle (as he was generally smug in the Christian “superiority” to Judaism), he nevertheless was able to deduce the same conclusion as Rabbi Azzai of the Talmudic era:

Ben Azzai said: Be eager to fulfill the smallest mitzvah and flee from transgression; for one mitzvah induces another and one transgression leads to another transgression. The reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah, the reward of one transgression is another transgression.
Avot 4:2

Easy Commenting?

Ok- For a long time now, I’ve had my blog set up where people had to be registered and logged in, in order to comment because of horendous spam problem (most of which were pornographic in nature). I’ve turned this option off, since my spam filter seems to be doing a pretty good job now. I know several people have had trouble logging in, and haven’t been able to comment, so I’m going ot try this a while and see how it works. If you’ve been wanting to comment and haven’t been able to, now’s your chance. Looking forward to hearing from you…

Talmud, Gentiles & Torah – Part 2

“Rabbi Meir said: From where do we know that even a non-Jew who engages in the study of Torah is like a High Priest? For the verse states (Leviticus 18:5): ‘And you shall keep my statutes, and my judgments, which if a man does, he shall live in them.’ The verse does not speak of ‘priests, Levites and Israelites,’ but rather says, ‘a man,’ which includes non-Jews. Thus you learn from here that even a non-Jew who engages in the study of Torah is like a High Priest.”
b. Sanhedrin 59a, Steinsaltz translation

Talmud, Gentiles & Torah

“The verse referring to the commandments in general (Leviticus 18:5): “And you shall keep my statutes and my judgments,” should be understood in similar fashion: And you shall keep the statutes which I have already ordained for the descendants of Noah. Thus it should follow that non-Jews are bound by all of the Torah’s commandments, just like Jews!”
b. Sanhedrin 60a, Steinsaltz translation