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The Obligations

The Obligations of the Student - Part 7


The Obligations of the Student - Part 7

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The Obligation not to Waste Time

The Obligations of the Student Part 7


(Slide) The faith of Yahweh is very confronting. Sacred names and the Torah aside, it isn’t easy for one who wants to keep their relationship with the Father at arm’s length, to truly walk in His ways. His counsel should continue to challenge and provoke us at every turn. 

This walk constantly calls us from our comfort zone and puts us at odds with the masses. Speaking frankly, if I may, it ruins your life. What does that mean?
It means it ruins ruined living! Walking in truth ruins ruined living! It puts us to death! We crucify our former selves.
Crucifixion is a painful death. 

Today we have a very limited idea of crucifixion. There was no official, regularly-practiced method. 


Few victims were crucified with nails through their palms. A victim’s whole weight on this relatively delicate area would cause the hand to tear enough that the person could pull the nail through the whole hand and free their upper bodies. People were crucified through the wrists, which were harder to tear loose. Anatomists know that the wrist and the hand are included together when describing the general area of the hand. 

Nailing a person's feet to the upright section of the cross wasn't an afterthought. Precisely how the lower body was treated could affect how long a person lived. Most victims simply had their feet nailed into the wood so that their knees were bent at forty-five degree angles. Some had their legs broken. Whether this was an act of cruelty or mercy depends on one's perspective.


Hanging from the arms for any considerable length of time is painful. Once the muscles give out it is excruciating. Shoulders separate from the sockets and the overall arm can lengthen by inches. Most people would try to support themselves by putting pressure on their injured feet, but with their legs bent and their feet nailed through it was only a matter of time before their leg strength gave way as well. Breaking their legs was horrible, but on the other hand, allowing them to support themselves prolonged their suffering.


What part of their suffering lead to death is debatable. One doctor believed that crucified people, after much torment, died via a "voluntary surrender of life." Some think that the wounds elsewhere in the body sent a blood clot to the heart. One expert in forensic medicine, Frederick Zugibe, actually tied himself and volunteers to a cross to monitor what physically takes place during a crucifixion. He concluded that victims died from "hypovolemic shock." This condition sets in when a body has lost so much blood and fluid that the heart can't continue to function.


Most experts agree, though, that what ultimately kills a crucified person is suffocation. Either the body loses so much oxygen that the person smothers, or the carbon dioxide level in the body goes up so much that the body tissues turn acidic and destroy their own cells. How fast it happens depends on a lot of factors.


To be crucified was the greatest shame imaginable, and we are commanded to own that shame as having been our own. “Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore. (Hebrews 13:13)” In crucifixion there was no dignity afforded the victim. 



(Slide) Such a one was not given the dignity of being clothed or was he able to repel flies of birds of prey. Leading up to the impaling was a heaving flogging, which was designed to wear down the victim. Once hung it would be impossible to retain control over bodily functions. It causes the body to distort and become covered in blood, sweat, urine and faeces. 

In Jewish Halacha there is a law concerning inflicting discipline on a minor that is interesting. If a father strikes his child with a rod to discipline him and he raises the rod and the child wets himself there is a curious ruling. If this happens, the father cannot strike the child. Why? Because shame is considered worse punishment than the pain he was about to inflict.

Anyone who tells you that walking this walk will relieve you of the need to put in time and effort and even suffering, they haven’t read the Word they purport to follow. On the contrary, the word tells us to weigh up the cost. 


"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their gallows and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish.' "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won't he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? (Luke 14:26-35)” If one is reluctant to give time, effort and even resources toward the kingdom, why should they think that if the time arises they would give up their very life?

What type of a religion’s catch-cry is “Join with us and suffer?” Ours. 


“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Yahshua HaMoshiach. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for Yahweh will give you insight into all this. Remember Yahshua HaMoshiach, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is the full measure of my good news, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But Elohim’s word is not chained. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Yahshua HaMoshiach, with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. Know that we, in this life are beset upon by many things, but in just a little while we shall receive a crown of life. (2 Timothy 2:1-13)” Our walk is not dissimilar to that of a soldier. In fact, it’s exactly the same. Nothing’s different!


In a letter to a Jewish army Chaplin in 1976, Rebbe Menachem Schneerson wrote this:  

“Every Jew is always a ‘soldier’ in the service of Gd, including the duty of spreading Gdliness among fellow-Jews, with emphasis on the actual deed, namely, fulfillment of Gd's commands, the Mitzvos, in the daily life…“The whole military establishment is based on discipline and obedience to orders. A soldier receiving an order from his commanding officer must carry it out promptly, even if it may seem irrational to him. No soldier can claim that his conduct is his personal affair, and he is prepared to take the consequences, for the consequences would not be confined to him, but to the entire sector, with far-reaching consequences in a time of emergency for the entire front and the country. A further point is that it is quite irrelevant if in civilian life the private was superior to his commanding officer in other areas, in physics, astronomy, and the like; in the military, he must bow to the superiority of his commander, who is the expert.

All these points and the whole military training and environment make the Jewish serviceman particularly responsive to Yiddishkeit (Judaism).” 

Now this is talking about Judaism, but it is no different to our faith in this regard. In fact, this letter attests that Judaism is the same faith in this aspect as the one being spoken about in 2 Timothy 2

You are different. Like a soldier is different. A Soldier thinks differently to a civilian. He dressing differently, he maintains his surroundings differently, he even sleeps and eats differently. There’s regimentation to what he does. He is always alert and ready. 

A soldier is willing to get his hands dirty for a cause. 


“You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of Elohim, you will receive what he has promised. For, in just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay. And, but my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. (Hebrews 10:34-39)”

In other words, work hard, because slackers don’t make it. 

Now we’ve got that out of the way. 

Okay, there’s a good chance that most of us haven’t been walking the correct work before we came to know about the Torah, the Sabbaths and the Covenant, truth be told even now, some things need to be rectified. So we’ve largely squandered our time in loose living. So how do we fix that? Is lost time simply lost time that we are never destined to get back. Certainly being “born again” doesn’t reset back to the beginning of our lives. 


“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of Adonai is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is Yahweh’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15) Time seems to slip away from us so easily, seemingly out of our control. There are only so many hours in a day, a week, and a year. However, Yahweh created time and gave it to us to manage. 

“Show me, Yahweh, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. "Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. "But now, Yahweh, what do I look for? My hope is in you. (Psalm 39:4-7)” 

Our days are numbered by Yahweh. Time or the counting of our numbered days is the most precious resource we have, which is why we need to regularly evaluate and manage our time according to Yahweh’s purpose for your life.

“My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and they come to an end without hope.” (Job 7:6) When a person thinks they are dying, they immediately reflect on their life, what they spent their time doing and if they felt that they wasted it, this is the biggest regret as they take their last breath. 


“The steps of a good man are ordered by Yahweh: and he delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)

“Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. (Job 14:5)”

“Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)”

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)”

In other words, By Yahweh’s Torah I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark road.

The more effort we put into Yahweh, the more effort He puts into us. So to, the more people we have who are committed in all areas of their walk, the more opportunity leaders and teachers have to focus on the message. How so? If we have enough regular funds and resources then we can have people in leadership that can withdraw from secular life and focus 100% on nurturing and feeding people.  


“…the laborer is worthy of his hire.” (Luke 10:7)

“The elders who direct the affairs of the congregation are well worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ (Deuteronomy 25:4) and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’ (Luke 10:7)” (1Timothy 5:17, 18)

“If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the full message of Messiah. Don't you know that those who work in the Temple get their food from the Temple, and those who serve at the Altar share in what is offered on the Altar? In the same way, Yahweh has commanded that those who preach the full message should receive their living from the message.” (1 Corinthians 9:11-14) 


The word used in Ephesians 5 for “redeem” is the Greek word ἐξαγοράζω eksägorä'zōmeaningto redeem or to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity.” It is translated from the Hebrew phrase דִּי עִדָּנָא “di iydänä” meaning “to make the most of.” So, in this passage we are commanded to “make the most of our time, or the days will work against us.”

If you do not manage your time life becomes disorganised. You become “governed by the tyranny of the urgent.” (“Parkinson’s Law,” by Cyril Northcote Parkinson, The Economist, 1955)


“For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of Yahweh are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of Yahweh is against those who do evil.’ (Psalm 34:12-16)” (1 Peter 3:10-12) 

That takes time management. 

How can you know if you’re not managing your time effectively? There are some traits: clutter in your house, car, desk, or any horizontal surfaces you have dominion over; series of undone, forgotten tasks and appointments; you would rather spend energy in satisfying but unproductive tasks; feeling poorly about your work; your life comes under the influence of dominant people around you; you surrender to the demands of the emergency; and you no longer enjoy intimacy, even with Yahweh. If you have any of these symptoms, you need to learn to redeem your time. Your life is out of control.


The Scottish preacher Alexander MacLaren (1826–1910) once said: "No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us. Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with [Yahweh]. If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it."


Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are just big travel journals of King Messiah YahShua’s life and mission. For instance, in Luke 9:51 King Messiah YahShua announced that it was time to make their way to Jerusalem. However, instead of just going up to Jerusalem, a lot of other things happened. Here are some highlights: Luke 10, the Messiah takes time to send out 70 of His followers on training mission; Luke 10-13 we see the Messiah taking out time to visit people in their homes; Luke 13 the Messiah stops and teaches in each of the villages He passes along the way from Galilee to Judea; He was interrupted constantly on His way by lepers calling out to Him and He took the time to heal them (Luke 17:11-19), a blind man called out to Him and again He took the time to heal him (Luke 18:31-43), and when He sees the tax collector Zacheus He takes time out to go and stay at his house (Luke 19:1-8). It seems that by the time of the blind man showed up the disciples were getting awfully impatient.


Was King Messiah YahShua managing His time well? Well, let’s look for any symptoms. With all of these so-called interruptions along the way YahShua stops but never seems frantic or stressed; never seems to have to play "catch up"; never do we get the sense that He’s "behind schedule"; He even manages to spend time alone time regularly in prayer. King Messiah YahShua was redeeming the time.

King Messiah Yahshua’s mission was not just to go to Jerusalem; there was something way bigger.

“I was sent only to the Lost Sheep of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)

King Messiah YahShua had a clear sense of mission. “YahShua said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. (Luke 19:9, 10)’”

He ordered his time according to his sense of mission. Everything He did was to express His mission to gather up Israel, wherever they may be found and to join them with Judah and reform the Kingdom of Yahweh.


Do you understand your mission? 

“Do not go the way of the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the Lost Sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is near.’” (Matthew 10:5-7)

Everything in your life should go to support that mission. 

Every successful business has a clear mission statement. Do you know what ours is?

It is our single purpose to be a Community of Yahweh, which strives to proclaim the saving full message of YahShua the Messiah as revealed in the Scriptures, by which alone man can know the true Elohim and the way to eternal life. This our purpose and commitment rests upon the following statements of the Scriptures: 

“All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father by authority of the Son through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

This is our responsibility; this is our commandment; this is our commission; and this is our message: “And this Full Messianic Message of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Can you articulate your mission in life?

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

Time is the most precious resource that we have stewardship of. Just as you budget your money, you should budget your time.

    How does one budget their time? 

  • Recognize your strengths and limitations. When are you at your strongest or weakest? Are you a morning person, a noonday person or a night person? Whatever kind of person you are your time with prayer – communication with Yahweh. Just as knowing what kind of day person you are, you must ask what part of the week, month or year is your strongest? Once you know that you know when your when and how to harvest your time.
  • Prioritize your time. Identify the non-negotiables. Your secular job demands a certain amount of your time. However, remember family is more important than job. So, make sure you reserve quality time for them.  Yahweh commands a certain amount of your time: prayer time during the day, Sabbath Days, and New Moons. These are non-negotiables. Your job may be more demanding and urgent, but it is not as important as serving Yahweh. Now you may be treating Yahweh’s time as optional and if you are then you are a time bandit. Over time, time stealing will take its toll. Time with Yahweh is sacred and unapologetic.
  • Have a workable criteria for managing your time. Identify what is important and allocate time for it. Identify what is not important and treat it as such. Identify what is killing your time and avoid it.
  • All time has to be managed and all of your activities must be noted.
  • Make time to work your mission.

Based on the teachings of the ROM. 

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The Obligations of the Student – Part 6


The Obligations of the Student – Part 6

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The Obligations of the Student – Part 6

The Obligation to Endure Suffering


How does a righteous man live? Scripture is replete with holy men and women. We see many aspects of their lives, their conduct is open for scrutiny. Scripture does not whitewash these standout individuals. We see them in a multitude of situations, at their best and at their worst. 


How do we respond to holy men and women of Scripture who sin? There are so many mistakes recorded right from the first humans, all the way to the seven congregations in Asia in the Book of Revelations.  Hava erred in her encounter with the serpent, Adam gave in when he too ate the forbidden fruit, Cain slew Havel, Noach got drunk on wine, Avraham insisted on bringing Lot and acquiesced in laying with Hagar, Ya’akov deceived Yitzchak, Yehuda threw Yoseph into a pit and sold him into slavery, Yoseph begged the Cupbearer to put in a good word for him, Moshe murdered and struck the rock, A’aron orchestrated the Golden Calf, Sampson chased Philistine women, King Saul succumbed to jealousy, David sinned with Beth Sheva and committed murder, Solomon submitted to his desires taking many foreign women as wives, which led to him building pagan places of worship, Thomas wouldn’t believe unless he saw the wounds, Kepha denied Messiah three times and the list goes on.  No-one accept one is free of having their shortcomings and weakness clearly shown in the Sacred Writings.  

Mankind learns from seeing the consequences of error much better than he learns from seeing the consequences of success. This is evident the ratio of blessing and curses in the Book of Leviticus. 


Parshat Bechukotai (by my decrees) contains a series of blessings and curses. Surprisingly, only 11 verses are dedicated to blessings or which there are 13 (Leviticus 26:3-13), while a full 36 verses are dedicated to curses making a total of 98 curses (Leviticus 26:14-46). The contrast is absolutely striking.

"The one whom Elohim desires is smitten with illness. (Isaiah 53:10)” We also find a support to this idea in Proverbs; "Elohim chastises the one He loves, like a parent who desires the child. (Proverbs 3:12)” and in Psalms; "Fortunate is the one whom Elohim afflicts with pains and suffering (Psalms 94:10)”

When the doctor addresses a patient he is not personally invested. Of course he wants the patient to be healthy and will work to ensure it, but if the patient falls ill the doctor’s world won’t shatter. When the doctor speaks to his own child he is personally invested; he doesn’t only inform; he pleads and begs. Remember, the doctor says, if you keep up your health you will be healthy and my world will be complete, but if you don’t you will fall ill and my world will shatter. He’ll even describe the horrific consequences to his own child so that the child will pay special attention to him.  

So is Yahweh trying to scare us into following Him? If it works, sure He is!! “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moshe, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have Elohim speak to us or we will die. (Exodus 20:18)’” 

Generally speaking, people who are rich in life feel as though they are less in need of a Creator, whereas a poor person generally speaking feels more of a need. So I ask you, which station is better, generally speaking? 

There are more righteous men among the poor and downtrodden than among the rich. Wickedness flourishes more in the home of a rich man than a poor man.  Why, because the distractions of wealth rob him of his life’s true mission. 

During Job’s travails he says the following: (Slide) “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of Elohim is not on them. Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre; they make merry to the sound of the pipe. They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. Yet they say to Elohim, 'Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?' But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. ‘Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate Elohim allots in his anger? How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale? (Job 21:7-18)” 

From David’s Levitical Music Director, Asaf, we read the same theme carried through.


“…But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.  They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore, pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore, their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How would Elohim know? Does the Most High know anything?” This is what the wicked are like—always free of care, they go on amassing wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments. If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of Elohim; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Adonai, you will despise them as fantasies. When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but Elohim is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near Elohim. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. (Psalm 73:2-28)” 

Yahweh rewards the wicked with prosperity in this world for any good deeds they may have done, but this is so they will be removed from their share in the World to Come. (Slide) “Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever (Psalm 92:6-7)”

In many ways success can be likened to a full stomach after a fine meal. The body is sated of its hunger and satisfied. The mind is happy and the desire to acquire and eat food is gone. The conquest has been achieved and there is nothing like success to cause one’s guard to lower.


“…when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember Yahweh your Elohim, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. (Deuteronomy 8:12-18)”


In the Shema we read, “So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today--to love Yahweh your Elohim and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other Elohim and bow down to them. Then Yahweh’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land Yahweh is giving you. (Deuteronomy 11:13-17)” 

We have to be warned how we handle success more than we need to be warned how to handle failure. In the midst of failure, hardship, pain, exile, torment or loss, we are immediately drawn to how we might remedy the situation. We look for a solution. We are on a mission. We don’t finish the mission when we have our heart’s desires met. We finish the mission when we are dead. A Yeshiva student observed a Rabbi studying Gemara for three days straight. At the end of the three days he went over and asked the Rabbi for a bracha. The Rabbi said, ‘What type of bracha do you want?” and the Yeshiva student said, ‘I’d like to become a Torah scholar and I’d like you to bless that it will be easy.’ The Rabbi said ‘No!’ ‘Why?’ replied the student. ‘Because it’s supposed to be difficult. If it’s not difficult, it’s not worth it.’ 

The Scriptures show us all the difficulties and failures of holy people. You would think that it would be better to show it in a bit more of a positive way, glossed over way, but no! We need to see how difficult it was for our ancestors to acquire righteousness. The Torah is easy, in that it is equally acquirable from any station in life, but to become great in it, one has to experience challenges. The Creator wants to see how much you want it. 


“For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all immersed into Moshe in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food. and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Messiah. Nevertheless, Elohim was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.’ We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did--and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Messiah, as some of them did--and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! (1 Corinthians 10:1-12)”  

Prosperity is a by-product of living for Messiah, working each day on a new angle of your relationship. Even so, prosperity is a big responsibility, so few people can really handle it long term, so the best state to be in is to have enough. 


The Sage Hillel writes, “[Hillel] used to say: The more flesh, the more worms; the more property the more worry; the more wives the more witchcraft; the more maidservants the more lewdness; the more slaves the more thievery….…The more Torah the more life; the more study the more wisdom; the more advice the more understanding; the more charity the more peace. One who acquires a good name acquires it for himself; one who acquires words of Torah has acquired himself a share in the World to Come.” 

Without struggles, without strife, without pain, and without hardship there is no true appreciation. Suffering is about constraint. What is the Hebrew word for restriction? In Hebrew, Egypt is called Mitzrayim derived from m’tzarim, meaning “narrow straits” (mi, “from,” tzar, “narrow” or “tight”). Egypt was a restraining existence. So suffering is the same as tzar, which means narrow place. However, if we rearrange the letters we get Zohar which means “splendour.” Also, we can only receive salvation if we enter into the Narrow Gate!


“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. (Matthew 7:13)” 

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Messiah not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Messiah, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Messiah Yahshua: Who, being in the very nature of Elohim, did not consider equality with Elohim something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 1:29-2:1-7)” 

A righteous man deals with suffering by alleviating the suffering of others. The greater the suffering a person has experienced, the greater the rescuer of others he will be.   


There is an orphanage in Israel. It’s called the Rubin-Zeffren Children’s Home in Netanya, and was founded in 1961 by the late revered Rebbe of Sanz-Klausenburg when one evening, a desperate widower abandoned his five small children at the Rebbe's doorstep.

The Founding Father of the Children’s Home was a “Father” to orphaned girls many years before even thinking about establishing an orphanage in Israel. The late revered Grand Rebbe of Sanz-Klausenberg, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, was still reeling from the horrific losses of his wife and 11 children in the Holocaust on the Eve of Yom Kippur, 1946 when a newly-orphaned young girl ran up to him crying “Rabbi, who will bless me this Yom Kippur?!”

On this holiest day of the Jewish year, in the holiest moments of the Kol Nidrei service, when the Rebbe was normally enveloped in such fear of the Almighty that people were afraid to approach him, the Rebbi dropped everything to hear the pleas of this young orphan. He turned to her lovingly and said “don’t cry, my child, I will be your Father and bless you this Yom Kippur!”

With tears streaming down his face, the Rebbe proceeded to place his hands atop a scarf upon the head of the girl and gave her a most heartfelt and sincere blessing for the coming New Year, in memory of the holy souls who had perished in the Holocaust. After the girl dried her own tears and thanked the Rebbe, she went back to her room and whispered her good fortune to her friends. In turn, they lined up to receive their own blessing and the Rebbe calmly blessed every girl who came to him that Yom Kippur Eve. 

Thus, were the seeds of the Children’s Home planted that Yom Kippur Eve, of 1946.


The living Torah, King Messiah Yahshua, lived a life of suffering. He was betrayed, deserted, mocked, tortured and murdered.  “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:3, 5).”

“But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Messiah, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:13)”

If every moment you suffer, you don’t think you will be getting more reward than millions of dollars for each moment of it, then you’re wasting your suffering, you’re wasting your life. “I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)”

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The Obligations of the Student – Part 5


The Obligations of the Student – Part 5

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The Obligations of the Student – Part 5


INTRO: With anything in our lives, the key to success in it is consistency. Constancy is the quality of being faithful and dependable. It is the quality of being unchanging or unwavering, as in purpose, love, or loyalty. It is firmness of mind and faithfulness. 


“Messiah Yahshua is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)” 

 “…You remain the same, and Your years will never end. (Hebrews 1:12)” (Click) “I Yahweh do not change. So you, the descendants of Ya’akov, are not destroyed. (Malachi 3:6)” (Click) “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. (102:27)” (Click) “Elohim is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil? (Numbers 23:19)”


The Word is telling us that the Creator and the manifestation of his Saving Right Arm (Yahshua) is a constant, forward moving entity. This is good, because in theory it makes Him easy to follow. This eliminates second guessing as he clearly presents His nature in the Torah like a measured pattern of movement. As man climbs his way back into relationship with him he revealed Himself in the form of seven covenants –
The Edenic (Gen. 1:26-31;2:16-17),
Adamic (Genesis 3:16-19),
Noachide (Genesis 9:1-18),
Abrahamic (Genesis 12:1-4;13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8),
Sinai (Exodus 20:1 - 31:18; Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28),
Davidic (2 Samuel 7:4-16; 1 Chronicles 17:3-15; Isaiah 9:6-7; Psalm 89:3-4, 89.35-37; Daniel 7:14) and
ew Covenant (Deuteronomy 29-30; Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:6-13, Matthew 24:4). Each covenant is a slow forecast, progressive reveal of His desire for mankind’s destiny. 

So the sign of whether we are succeeding in our faith is not prosperity. Anyone can be cheerfully observant in times of plenty. Rather the sign of our success is a steady attachment to Yahweh Elohim in any life situation, whether in times of prosperity or hardship. You’ll know if someone is wavering. They’ll be steady in their observance and as soon there is a bump in the road they fall off the wagon. Religion is futile, if you only do it when you’re in a good mood, are getting your own way or it’s convenient. Yahweh never said He offers you convenience. His yoke is easy, but like anything, the initial stages are hard and even when it gets easier, it’s still a yoke. This means it’s still something you have to choose to carry and it’s still defined as work or effort. The name of this effort is called avodah shebalev, which means “service of the heart.”


In Hebrew, the concept of someone or something that is consistent – that is, behaving in a reliable or predictable manner (i.e., taking steady footsteps) is: עִקְבִי (eek-VEE) in the masculine and עִקְבִית (eek-VEET) in the feminine.

The Hebrew word for heel (the back of the foot) is עֵקֶב (EH-kev). It’s the root of the name Ya’akov – יַעֲקֹב (yah-ah-KOHV), who was born holding onto the עקב of his twin brother, Esau – עֵשָׂו (eh-SAHV).

We learn from this that consistency is the following in the footsteps of someone ahead of you. The act of walking requires consistently measured movements. If the movement isn’t consistent and measured movement is slow and awkward.  “Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. (Psalm 119:133)” 


Rabbi Akiva, originally a poor unlearned son of a convert who didn’t begin to become observant until the age of 40, became one of the foremost Sages of Judaism. How? 

One day he was walking past a waterfall and noticed a rock with a hole right through it. He noted that the hole had been caused by the steady drip of water that was falling exactly where the hole was. Seeing that he thought to himself “if water which is soft, can make a hole in a rock, which is hard, then all the more so Torah which is fire can make a hole in the heart of man, which is soft”. He goes to Yeshiva, enrolls into the equivalent of primary school, learns the Aleph Beit, and twenty-four years later returns home with 24,000 thousand students.

What did he see? The drops of water only made a hole in the rock because they feel in the exact same place over and over again.

The obligation of the student of the Torah or of Messiah (both terms are interchangeable because they are one and the same) is to develop and maintain consistency. 

It’s become apparent that some students who have been listening to my teachings for quite a few years are still lacking in basic of the Torah. Some think that by just not attending their place of employment, they are keeping Shabbat. 

Imagine your child’s birthday is coming up and you throw him a party. Only problem is you do the absolute bare minimum. No balloons, no clown, no presents, no decorations and no friends. Just a cupcake in the middle of a table with one candle stuck in it. Do you think your kid will be happy with that? No some impoverished children in the world would, but why would you not try and make the day as special as is within your means? 


A Nazarene Israelite should put into practice what he gleans from his rabbi or teacher. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the Elohim of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)”

The key is to maintain consistent observance. 

Children thrive on consistency, and appreciate uniformity and stability in their lives. They will intuitively discern which standards and values we regard as essential and immutable, and which can be challenged and negated.

The basis of successful parenting is establishing matot--firm, unbending principles through which to guide our children. Matot means “tribes” but it also means “a firm rod.” A rod is straight and can be used as a disciplining tool.  

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:11-13)” 

King Solomon teaches in Proverbs, "chosech shivto, soneh benoh" which literally means, "he who withholds the rod, hates his child" (hence the popular adage, "spare the rod and spoil the child"). The message of this wisdom for our times is that a loving, caring parent must imbue his child with conceptual rods--firm and unyielding principles to guide him through the bewildering paths of life.

“…in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)”

We should not be content with just listening to straight things, but doing straight things. The gay community have a word for heterosexuals. You know what that word is? STRAIGHT! 



The most important aspect of our faith is the weekly Shabbat. It is one of the best known yet least understood observances within Judaism and the Netzarim faith. Shabbat is the only ritual observance instituted in the Ten Commandments. It is more holy than Yom Kippur, because congregants are called up to read from the Torah unlike Yom Kippur where the burden of the service is born by the Chazzan. The word "Shabbat" comes from the Hebrew root Shin-Beit-Tav, meaning to cease, to end, or to rest.

We are commanded to remember Shabbat; but remembering means much more than merely not forgetting to observe Shabbat. It also means to remember the significance of Shabbat, both as a commemoration of creation and as a commemoration of our freedom from slavery in Egypt. 


“Remember the Shabbat day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat to Yahweh your Elohim. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11)”

In Deuteronomy 5:15, while Moshe reiterates the Ten Commandments, he notes the second thing that we must remember on Shabbat: “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Yahweh your Elohim brought you forth from there with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm; therefore Yahweh your Elohim commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”

The problem today is that most people see the English word “work” and they immediately think that the Shabbat is about avoiding any physical effort to do anything. The Torah does not prohibit "work" in the 20th century English sense of the word. The Torah prohibits “melachah.” Melachah generally refers to the kind of work that is creative, or that exercises control or dominion over your environment. The word may be related to "melekh" king.

Going back to the analogy of a party. The idea is that when one throws a party, they prepare the party before the event. They buy food, decorations, presents, send out invites and do everything they can to sustain the events that are required to be held on that day. Generally, a person does not want to be setting up decorations after the guests have arrived or go out during the even to purchase more wine and spirits and leave their guests unattended. 

Shabbat is a weekly practice for the World to Come. In this current world we accrue provisions for our status in the World to Come, where we are rewarded according to our deeds. 


Why do we have to keep Shabbat? If we observe Shabbat, we please the Almighty and receive a blessing. “Blessed is the man… who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me… (Isaiah 56:2, 4)” It is also a sign. “I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. (Ezekiel 20:12)”

So how do we keep that Shabbat? 

At about 2PM or 3PM on Friday afternoon, Orthodox Jews and Netzarim leave their place of work to begin Shabbat preparations. The mood is much like preparing for the arrival of a special, beloved guest: the house is cleaned, the family bathes and dresses up, the best dishes and tableware are set, a festive meal is prepared. This is called Erev Shabbat (The Evening of Shabbat), because a Biblical day starts at Sundown, while the heathen day starts at midnight. 

The Erev (evening) Shabbat Service is extremely important. It is a weekly family orientated event in the home. Children will quickly learn that there is a unique nature to this day. The traditional activities associated with welcoming Shabbat will teach young minds the set-apart and sanctified nature of this time. No longer will it just be words in a book. The Shabbat will come alive. It will have a lasting audible, optical, touchable and ingestible effect on them. The shofar sounds, the candles are lit, wine is tasted and warm fresh Challah bread is shared. A family meal is followed, the Torah is shared and some households sing songs and even dance with their children.


The challenge for parents is to convey how all the “restrictions” actually open up an exciting new dimension of fun. With the right approach, Shabbat becomes the kids’ favorite day, which they anticipate with excitement all week long.

Shabbat should be looked upon as an anticipatory event. A day when the Creator imbues His children with a heightened spiritual awareness. 

By greeting the Shabbat with a formal service in the home around the dining table before the evening meal, the children will begin to note that this is a very special day, different from all the other nights of the week. 

But how do we approach such a day with kids? Here are a few suggestions. 

  1. Buy special Shabbat clothes for the kids – Shabbat shoes, Shabbat hair ribbons, etc.
  2. Let the week lead into Shabbat remind the kids with comments like "Only three more days till Shabbat!"... "Tomorrow is Shabbat!"
  3. Get the kids involved in Shabbat preparations: cooking, setting the table, tidying, shopping. Let each child "help" make his favorite Shabbat dish and then let him bring it to the table. Or give each child the choice of pre-cutting things like pickles. Even the smallest child can place napkins at each place setting. Find what they like to do and give them a task within their means.
  4. If you are having guests, get the kids involved by having them make handmade place-setting cards, making up the guest room with fresh sheets, towels, flowers, etc. Tell the children who is coming and encourage them to learn the guests' names ahead of time so they can greet them properly.
  5. Offer to serve fresh challah on Thursday night or Friday, to give them a taste of Shabbat coming.
  6. Serve the kids special Shabbat-only treats – e.g. soda, ice cream. (Of course these are only special if they're "only on Shabbat.") Even if you don't normally let the kids eat sugary cereals or junk food during the week, on Shabbat let them have it all. (It’s a good way of avoiding it during the week – "Treats are for Shabbat!")
  7. Keep a collection of toys and games that are exclusive for Shabbat. Put away the ones they can't use on Shabbat (musical instruments, crayons, etc.) and take out the new ones.
  8. At candle-lighting, small children like to stand beside their mother to help say the blessing and enjoy the whole mitzvah.
  9. When you bless each individual child before Kiddush, don’t rush it. Especially if you don’t have guests, you can really take your time and spend a few precious minutes with each child.
  10. Children like to imitate by saying their own Kiddush. (They love getting a full cup of grape juice!) Have little inexpensive wine glasses for the kids, so they can feel special and grown-up.
  11. If you have guests, remember that your children and family come first. You are not expected to alter your normal Shabbat environment. More than anything, your guests will appreciate joining in the activities, and absorbing the family atmosphere.
  12. Encourage children’s involvement by assigning special Shabbat responsibilities. One child can be the "dessert waiter" and help serve the dessert; another can be the "towel person," handing the hand towels to the guests after they wash for bread, etc.
  13. Ask the kids if they’ve heard any new jokes. This gets everyone in a good mood.
  14. At the Friday night meal, tell personal stories of Divine providence (hashgacha). It adds a very powerful dimension. Guests can tell a story from their whole life, not just the past week. People routinely have amazing stories. Give candy incentives for those who participate. It forces everyone to pay attention during the week to see God’s hand in our lives.
  15. Let each child take a turn choosing another song. Sing at least one extra-fast song with rowdy singing, banging on the table, and circle dancing. Kids love it.
  16. When singing songs, hold the note at the end for as long as you can, and have a contest to see who can sing it the longest without taking a breath. It becomes a lot of fun and everyone joins in.
  17. Show off the any school projects they made that week in school. Each child really looks forward to his turn for “show and tell."
  18. Do things on Shabbat that you don't do during the week – play games, cuddle up, have uninterrupted talks.
  19. After the meal, tell a long story with a powerful message, either historical, contemporary, or an allegory. The most important part is the end where you discuss the message. 
  20. Read special Shabbat books or Bible stories.
  21. Ask questions about the parsha, targeted for each child’s specific age. Hand out candies (chocolate chips, jelly beans) for every correct answer.
  22. Arrange to have their friends stay over for Shabbat.
  23. When Shabbat is over plan a party – with hot cocoa, popcorn, milk shakes and music. Bring out the crayons they couldn't use on Shabbat and let them color to their heart's content. It will prolong your special family time even more.
  24. After Shabbat is over, when you're putting them into bed, review all the highlights of Shabbat. "Remember how yummy the challah tasted?"... "Oh, you were so quiet while Daddy made Kiddush!"... "Wasn't our Shabbat outing fun?"
  25. Most of all, set a good example. If they see you enjoying the preparation and fulfillment of Shabbat, that will be the greatest influence on them.

Remember, be consistent! 

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Thanking you.