Shabbat shalom, mishpocah/family/friends! As always, a synopsis of this week's Torah portion (Parashah 18: Mishpatim (Rulings) Exodus 21:1 through 24:18) can be found on our website.
For those who have been Torah observant for awhile, they know that THEY, as grafted in believers, constitute "Israel" - halleluyah! Anyone who has accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is spiritually part of Israel! And that means what? Same God, same rules....
But the question remains: Are we really "set apart" today? Are the Jews "set apart"? No, because many (if not most) seem to be secular, not really serious about being Torah observant, and refusing to accept Yeshua as their Final Sin Offering. Many even participate in eating "unclean" things and are celebrating Christmas and Easter along with the rest of the world.
And as for Christians, many pastors teach that Torah (which they erroneously call "the law") is a curse and that all one has to do to be "saved" is to "believe in Jesus." Somehow, it has totally slipped past most that the death of Jesus never negated the need to obey God's "forever" commands!
Moving on to ourparashah, we find many things very hard to understand, and we at The Refiner's Fire can tell you from experience that atheists and the "lukewarm/half-hearted" have a field day with the chapters we have been reading lately! Even some believers have a hard time with some of the commands YHWH gave to Moshe - such as, Exodus 21:7, which says: "If a man sells his daughter as a slave, she is not to go free like the men-slaves." Or 22:1-2 which says: "If a thief caught in the act of breaking in is beaten to death, it is not murder; unless it happens after sunrise, in which case it is murder. Exodus 21:10 says: If he marries another wife, he is not to reduce her food, clothing or marital rights.
Some men have jumped on this particular bandwagon to prove that YHWH condones polygyny. Unbelievers scoff and laugh at the idea of God because commands such as the above sound "crazy" and therefore, God and the Bible must surely "be a myth." Either that, or (as many atheists like to put it), "Your God is pure evil"....
But most believers recognize that customs some 3,000 years ago were a lot different from our customs today and that YHWH was providing many commands pertinent to that particular era - an era when selling one's self into slavery was common because it was the only way some were able to earn their living, and YHWH was forced to hand down certain rules to ensure fair treatment (even though they might sound very strange to our modern understanding).
Be that as it may, YHWH was adamant in handing down His Torah rules to mankind, and poor Moshe was caught in the middle, trying to please YHWH while dealing with approximately two million unruly people!
For more educational reading about this parashah, please click on the “parashah” link above.