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Weekly D'rash and Parsha Ki Teitsei

Over the past month we have been engaged in the journey to the High Holy Days. We are taking stock of our lives based on the way of life described in the Torah. While we want God to search our hearts and bring to light our transgressions (Ps 139:23–24), it can be a painful process. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed with shame over secret (or not so secret) sins. Sometimes we have a difficult time approaching God with our sins or even thinking about our past. Israel went into captivity because of great disobedience. Imagine the shame of being dispossessed from the land and profaning the name of God. This week the Haftarah portion is a continuation of passages from Isaiah meant to bring consolation to the people. Just as the Torah portion may bring conviction of sinful thoughts and actions, the Haftarah portion is meant to encourage us to come to God. In Isaiah 54:4 we read “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more”. This is a promise to Israel that all the present and past failures will not be remembered because their sins have not only been forgiven, but as we read in Isaiah 53:6, the Messiah has taken the transgressions of the people upon himself. He is the guilt offering (Isaiah 53:12). As a result of his suffering, death and resurrection, Israel will be forgiven and cleansed. In the Haftarah portion for this week, we read that Israel will be restored. There will be no shame, humiliation, or disgrace. Rather there will be blessing and restored relationship with God. When you read the Torah and the prophets, it seems unbelievable that God would show such grace and mercy to such a sinful people! Now that the Messiah has come, we get to experience this forgiveness and cleansing. We can experience the release from the bondage of shame, humiliation, and disgrace. The result is confidence! We can pray with confidence, hope with confidence, and—most importantly at this time of year—move forward in life with confidence! Even if we feel that we have blown our testimony through sinful activity, it is never too late to return and be restored! Perhaps we are ashamed of ourselves. Remember that when you confess your sins, you are forgiven and cleansed (1 John 1:9). Yeshua is our King and High Priest. In Hebrews 10:19–22, the author encourages those Messianic Jews to keep moving forward and encourage one another. The passage states, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water”. There is no shame, humiliation, or disgrace here! There is acceptance, unconditional love, and vindication. In Messiah Yeshua, you are a new creation in Messiah. Old things have passed away (2 Cor 5:17). This year may we enter the High Holy Days in confession and repentance, forsaking our sinful ways, and walk forward with the confidence that we are forgiven and cleansed from our sins. May we move forward in our service to the Lord and others. Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Howard

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