The Weekly D'rash and the Scriptures that we will be reading this Shabbat for Re'eh from Rabbi Howard Silverman:
TORAH ~ Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17
HAFTARAH ~ Isaiah 54:11-55:5 BRIT CHADASHA ~ Luke 24:33-49
This week, our Torah portion begins the long section of Deuteronomy that outlines the specific way of life that the people are to live if they are demonstrating their love and fidelity to God and their love and dignity toward others. This Torah portion covers many laws having to do with proper worship and approach to God. For example, we read about the proper place of worship, warnings against idolatry, dietary laws in the context of holiness, sabbatical years, and holy days. In Deut 12:32 (13:1 if you have a traditional Jewish Bible) we read, "Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it". This is the second time that we read this admonition of not adding or subtracting anything from the Torah. It is also found in Deut 4:2, "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you". The traditional interpretation of 12:31 (and 4:2) is that there is no private interpretation of the Torah and that nothing should be added or subtracted that lead to sinfulness and idolatry. One important observation about these two similar verses about neither adding nor subtracting is that they are both situated in the context of laws regarding proper worship. May I suggest that the point of not adding or subtracting anything from the Torah has to do with ethics, morality, and the worship of the God of Israel. Moses is emphasizing that there is only one kind of way to live—one Torah way of life. Some of the laws were temporal and some transcend culture and time. But what always remains the same is the absolute devotion to God alone as well as the ethical and moral treatment of others. Clearly there were other laws that Israel lived by, as the laws in the Biblical text could not cover every kind of law necessary to govern a people. According to Jeffrey Tigay in the JPS Commentary on Deuteronomy, "The laws presented in Deuteronomy—indeed, the laws of the Torah as a whole—are not a complete, systematic code that could have sufficed to govern the entire life of ancient Israel . . . one gains the impression that only a part of the existing laws have been selected, perhaps to illustrate certain ideal principles of social justice and religious devotion. Yeshua makes a similar point as Moses in Matt 5:17–20. Yeshua has just said that we should let our "good works" shine before humanity (Matt 5:16). When He says that He has not come to abolish the Torah, but to fulfill it, He is saying that the "good works" are the Torah way of life. He has not come to do away with the Torah way of life. There is not a new ethic or morality. We are still to worship the God of Israel alone. He makes the point rhetorically by saying that not one letter is taken away from the Torah and anyone who teaches a way of life that is not the Torah way of life is least in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:18–19). The key is in verse 20 when Yeshua says, "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven". No one was more meticulous about keeping the laws of Torah than the scribes and Pharisees! But Yeshua is saying that something more is required. In other words, obedience to Torah is not a legalistic set of laws but rather a way of life that extends from the heart. Yeshua provided this in His death and resurrection and the pouring out of the Ruach HaKodesh—but He also taught the Torah to help us understand how to apply the Torah to our lives. Our testimony as Messiah followers is to live in such a way that we display the ethics and morality that have always been in the Torah, that is to say the "good works" of Matt 5:16. It means that we show deference and love to the stranger and the poor and disenfranchised. It means loving our neighbor as ourselves. It means showing dignity and kindness to each other. What an opportunity we have in these days to maximize every opportunity to demonstrate life in Messiah through the way we treat our family, friends, and strangers. Yeshua has empowered us to live this way and our righteousness is only found in Him. This week, may we find opportunities to let our "good works" shine before others to bring encouragement and hope in Messiah Yeshua! Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Howard  Jeffrey H. Tigay, Deuteronomy: The JPS Torah Commentary (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996), xvi. TORAH READING: DEUTERONOMY 11:26 – 16:17 11:26 "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the L-RD your G-d, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the L-RD your G-d, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known. 29 "It shall come about, when the L-RD your G-d brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30 "Are they not across the Jordan, west of the way toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? 31 "For you are about to cross the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you, and you shall possess it and live in it, 32 and you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the judgments which I am setting before you today. 12:1 "These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the L-RD, the G-d of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. 2 "You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 "You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. 4 "You shall not act like this toward the L-RD your G-d. 5 "But you shall seek the L-RD at the place which the L-RD your G-d will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 6 "There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7 "There also you and your households shall eat before the L-RD your G-d, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the L-RD your G-d has blessed you. 8 "You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; 9 for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the L-RD your G-d is giving you. 10 "When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security, 11 then it shall come about that the place in which the L-RD your G-d will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the L-RD. 12 "And you shall rejoice before the L-RD your G-d, you and your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion or inheritance with you. 13 "Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every cultic place you see, 14 but in the place which the L-RD chooses in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you. 15 "However, you may slaughter and eat meat within any of your gates, whatever you desire, according to the blessing of the L-RD your G-d which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, as of the gazelle and the deer. 16 "Only you shall not eat the blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 17 "You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the contribution of your hand. 18 "But you shall eat them before the L-RD your G-d in the place which the L-RD your G-d will choose, you and your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the L-RD your G-d in all your undertakings. 19 "Be careful that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land. 20 "When the L-RD your G-d extends your border as He has promised you, and you say, 'I will eat meat,' because you desire to eat meat, then you may eat meat, whatever you desire. 21 "If the place which the L-RD your G-d chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter of your herd and flock which the L-RD has given you, as I have commanded you; and you may eat within your gates whatever you desire. 22 "Just as a gazelle or a deer is eaten, so you will eat it; the unclean and the clean alike may eat of it. 23 "Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. 24 "You shall not eat it; you shall pour it out on the ground like water. 25 "You shall not eat it, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of the L-RD. 26 "Only your holy things which you may have and your votive offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the L-RD chooses. 27 "And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the L-RD your G-d; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the L-RD your G-d, and you shall eat the flesh. 28 "Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the L-RD your G-d. 29 "When the L-RD your G-d cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?' 31 "You shall not behave thus toward the L-RD your G-d, for every abominable act which the L-RD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 "Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. 13:1 "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the L-RD your G-d is testing you to find out if you love the L-RD your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 "You shall follow the L-RD your G-d and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5 "But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the L-RD your G-d who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the L-RD your G-d commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. 6 "If your brother, your mother's son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods ' (whom neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end), 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. 9 "But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 "So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the L-RD your G-d who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11 "Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you. 12 "If you hear in one of your cities, which the L-RD your G-d is giving you to live in, anyone saying that 13 some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods ' (whom you have not known), 14 then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword. 16 "Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the L-RD your G-d; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt. 17 "Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the L-RD may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers, 18 if you will listen to the voice of the L-RD your G-d, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the L-RD your G-d. 14:1 "You are the sons of the L-RD your G-d; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. 2 "For you are a holy people to the L-RD your G-d, and the L-RD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 3 "You shall not eat any detestable thing. 4 "These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. 6 "Any animal that divides the hoof and has the hoof split in two and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat. 7 "Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these among those which chew the cud, or among those that divide the hoof in two: the camel and the rabbit and the shaphan, for though they chew the cud, they do not divide the hoof; they are unclean for you. 8 "The pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses. 9 "These you may eat of all that are in water: anything that has fins and scales you may eat, 10 but anything that does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you. 11 "You may eat any clean bird. 12 "But these are the ones which you shall not eat: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, 13 and the red kite, the falcon, and the kite in their kinds, 14 and every raven in its kind, 15 and the ostrich, the owl, the sea gull, and the hawk in their kinds, 16 the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, 17 the pelican, the carrion vulture, the cormorant, 18 the stork, and the heron in their kinds, and the hoopoe and the bat. 19 "And all the teeming life with wings are unclean to you; they shall not be eaten. 20 "You may eat any clean bird. 21 "You shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the L-RD your G-d. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. 22 "You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. 23 "You shall eat in the presence of the L-RD your G-d, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the L-RD your G-d always. 24 "If the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the L-RD your G-d chooses to set His name is too far away from you when the L-RD your G-d blesses you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the L-RD your G-d chooses. 26 "You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the L-RD your G-d and rejoice, you and your household. 27 "Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is in your town, for he has no portion or inheritance among you. 28 "At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. 29 "The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the L-RD your G-d may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. 15:1 "At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. 2 "This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the L-RD'S remission has been proclaimed. 3 "From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother. 4 "However, there will be no poor among you, since the L-RD will surely bless you in the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you as an inheritance to possess, 5 if only you listen obediently to the voice of the L-RD your G-d, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. 6 "For the L-RD your G-d will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. 7 "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; 8 but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. 9 "Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the L-RD against you, and it will be a sin in you. 10 "You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the L-RD your G-d will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. 11 "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.' 12 "If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. 13 "When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. 14 "You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the L-RD your G-d has blessed you. 15 "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the L-RD your G-d redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. 16 "It shall come about if he says to you, 'I will not go out from you,' because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; 17 then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant. 18 "It shall not seem hard to you when you set him free, for he has given you six years with double the service of a hired man; so the L-RD your G-d will bless you in whatever you do. 19 "You shall consecrate to the L-RD your G-d all the firstborn males that are born of your herd and of your flock; you shall not work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock. 20 "You and your household shall eat it every year before the L-RD your G-d in the place which the L-RD chooses. 21 "But if it has any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the L-RD your G-d. 22 "You shall eat it within your gates; the unclean and the clean alike may eat it, as a gazelle or a deer. 23 "Only you shall not eat its blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 16:1 "Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the L-RD your G-d, for in the month of Abib the L-RD your G-d brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 "You shall sacrifice the Passover to the L-RD your G-d from the flock and the herd, in the place where the L-RD chooses to establish His name. 3 "You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. 4 "For seven days no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory, and none of the flesh which you sacrifice on the evening of the first day shall remain overnight until morning. 5 "You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which the L-RD your G-d is giving you; 6 but at the place where the L-RD your G-d chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt. 7 "You shall cook and eat it in the place which the L-RD your G-d chooses. In the morning you are to return to your tents. 8 "Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the L-RD your G-d; you shall do no work on it. 9 "You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 "Then you shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the L-RD your G-d with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the L-RD your G-d blesses you; 11 and you shall rejoice before the L-RD your G-d, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the L-RD your G-d chooses to establish His name. 12 "You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. 13 "You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths seven days after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and your wine vat; 14 and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns. 15 "Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the L-RD your G-d in the place which the L-RD chooses, because the L-RD your G-d will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. 16 "Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the L-RD your G-d in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the L-RD empty-handed. 17 "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the L-RD your G-d which He has given you. HAFTARAH READING: ISAIAH 54:11 – 55:5 54:11 "O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, And your foundations I will lay in sapphires. 12 "Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies, And your gates of crystal, And your entire wall of precious stones. 13 "All your sons will be taught of the L-RD; And the well-being of your sons will be great. 14 "In righteousness you will be established; You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear; And from terror, for it will not come near you. 15 "If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me. Whoever assails you will fall because of you. 16 "Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals And brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin. 17 "No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the L-RD, And their vindication is from Me," declares the L-RD. 55:1 "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. 2 "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. 3 "Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. 4 "Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader and commander for the peoples. 5 "Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the L-RD your G-d, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you." B’RIT CHADASHAH READING: LUKE 24:33-49 24:33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, "The L-rd has really risen and has appeared to Simon." 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. 36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be to you." 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate it before them. 44 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 "You are witnesses of these things. 49 "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."