Developing Awe and Reverence for the Creator, פרשת ואתחנן, Parashat Va’etchanan, Bits of Torah Truths

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In this week’s Torah portion, we read the following according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:1-3, א וְזֹאת הַמִּצְוָה הַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לְלַמֵּד אֶתְכֶם לַעֲשֹוֹת בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם עֹבְרִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ: ב לְמַעַן תִּירָא אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר אֶת-כָּל-חֻקֹּתָיו וּמִצְוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּךָ אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבֶן-בִּנְךָ כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ וּלְמַעַן יַאֲרִכֻן יָמֶיךָ: ג וְשָׁמַעְתָּ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְשָׁמַרְתָּ לַעֲשֹוֹת אֲשֶׁר יִיטַב לְךָ וַאֲשֶׁר תִּרְבּוּן מְאֹד כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֶיךָ לָךְ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ: 6:1 ‘Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, 6:2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 6:3 ‘O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. (NASB) Notice how the opening verses to Devarim / Deuteronomy 6 speak about the command which were given to benefit us as it says, 6:2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. (NASB) The purpose of the command is so that it goes well for us and that we will multiply in אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ “a land flowing with milk and honey.” The very next verse is the Shema (שמע ישראל, 6:4) followed by וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, “these words” are meant to remind us that our dwelling in the land the Lord God has given us is not simply for our enjoyment, or the fulfillment of His promises, but for the purpose of enabling us to keep God’s mitzvot (commands). The idea here is found in the joy of doing what is right, obeying the Lord, and the peace given by the Spirit that dwells within us (His Holy Spirit that He gives us), this peace dwells within when we remain faithful. The rabbis say, “The enlarged letter ד in the word אחד alludes to both the goodwill of God which is the source of Mercy as well as to the attribute of Justice. The whiteness of the milk in the word חלב in our verse as well as redness of the honey respectively also point at the attribute of Mercy and Justice respectively. This same thought is alluded to also in Devarim / Deuteronomy 8,8 אֶרֶץ חִטָּה וּשְֹעֹרָה “a land producing wheat and barley.” In that latter verse wheat is the “white” and the word דבש appears there also to depict the attribute of Justice.” (Rabbeinu Bahya on Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:3 Part 1) Another purpose for the commands that is coupled to the narratives found in the Torah is to teach us to fear the Lord, לְמַעַן תִּירָא אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, “so that you will fear the Lord your God.” This does not mean that we will be fearful, but that these things teach us a degree of awe and reverence for the Creator, the Lord our God. Nachmanides states that he does not believe these things are meant to inspire awe and reverence or to enjoy long life, but that they are meant to teach us to perform the command which leads to reward. (Tur HaAroch on Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:2 Part 1) The Lord God’s overriding interest is to help us to live righteous lives by His influence and then to reap the benefits thereof. This draws us back to what is written in the text of things going well for us and being multiplied. (6:2-3) Sforno’s commentary on these verses describe the reason for the goodness of God in His legislating the commands, it was because of His great kindness. (Sforno on Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:3 Part 1-2) The idea is the performance of the commands is not meant for the sake of material reward, but לשמה (leshamah), for His name sake (for His honour) because acts of righteousness and justice are to be done in the purest sense from the purest intentions. Sforno goes on to say the following on Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:2.

Sforno on Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:2 Part 2
אתה, ובנך, ובן בנך. This is a reminder that even the generations who had not been eyewitnesses to G’ds powerful miracles will learn to revere Him when they accept the commandments, as you have seen.

This reminds us about what Yeshua said to Thomas saying blessed are those who have not seen but yet believe! (Believing in the Messiah of God.) The first and greatest command is to believe in the Creator God (the God of Israel) and this is alluded to in Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4 stating “Hear O Israel the Lord.” The intent was not for hearing but for having faith. For example, from Shemot / Exodus 24:7 the people having heard state “we will do and we will hear” and Moshe states in Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:3 “hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it.” The word Shema (שְׁמַע) means to hear or listen. Listening suggests that one has heard, listens, and then applies (takes or keeps) the word that was spoken. The word for hearing (Shema, שְׁמַע) has the intent to bring about faith and acceptance of the Lord God our Father in heaven, of His Messiah, and of His Word which is meant to be applied to our lives! Because of this, the study of God’s Word causes us to draw nearer to God in love and piety as we devote our lives in faithfulness to that which He has set our hand to accomplish. The rabbis describe this “as means for carrying out your mission of blessing, and in order to be able independently to establish a house, as a temple in which shall be reared young scions of Adam’s race as ideal human beings, ideal Israelites. For such purpose, to grace such a house, take a wife and bring her into your home. Next follows the first task of your blessed mission of love, the first and the highest; to be all in all to helpless human creatures without claim or demand upon you; even to sacrifice your own welfare in order that they shall be able to attain to both earthly well-being and spiritual ideal; that your child may become man-Israel.” (Nineteen Letters 12:2) The description that is being provided here within these verses from Devarim / Deuteronomy 6 is a very high calling that is connected to setting up one’s house as a holy place before God to rear our children to fear the Lord God in heaven so they become spiritually mature. This is the awesomeness of our God who calls us to these things as the Scriptures say, “God, who is our Lord, is one God” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4) in other words, He is absolutely unique where an uncountable number of things demonstrate God ’s uniqueness (Ibn Ezra on Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:3 Part 3) and most certainly in the way in which He calls us to live and how to raise our children for the Glory of God and for the betterment of mankind!

The Scriptures we are looking at for this week are from Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:1-25.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:1-25
6:1 ‘Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, 6:2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 6:3 ‘O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. 6:4 ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 6:5 ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6:6 ‘These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 6:8 ‘You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 6:9 ‘You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 6:10 ‘Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, 6:11 and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, 6:12 then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 6:13 ‘You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. 6:14 ‘You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, 6:15 for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth. 6:16 ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah. 6:17 ‘You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you. 6:18 ‘You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the Lord swore to give your fathers, 6:19 by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has spoken. 6:20 ‘When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the Lord our God commanded you?’ 6:21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. 6:22 ‘Moreover, the Lord showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; 6:23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’ 6:24 ‘So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 6:25 ‘It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us. (NASB)

א וְזֹאת הַמִּצְוָה הַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לְלַמֵּד אֶתְכֶם לַעֲשֹוֹת בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם עֹבְרִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ: ב לְמַעַן תִּירָא אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר אֶת-כָּל-חֻקֹּתָיו וּמִצְוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּךָ אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבֶן-בִּנְךָ כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ וּלְמַעַן יַאֲרִכֻן יָמֶיךָ: ג וְשָׁמַעְתָּ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְשָׁמַרְתָּ לַעֲשֹוֹת אֲשֶׁר יִיטַב לְךָ וַאֲשֶׁר תִּרְבּוּן מְאֹד כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֶיךָ לָךְ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ: פ [ששי] ד שְׁמַע יִשְֹרָאֵל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָֹה | אֶחָד: ה וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ: ו וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם עַל-לְבָבֶךָ: ז וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ: ח וּקְשַׁרְתָּם לְאוֹת עַל-יָדֶךָ וְהָיוּ לְטֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ: ט וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל-מְזֻזוֹת בֵּיתֶךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶיךָ: ס י וְהָיָה כִּי-יְבִיאֲךָ | יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֶת לָךְ עָרִים גְּדֹלֹת וְטֹבֹת אֲשֶׁר לֹא-בָנִיתָ: יא וּבָתִּים מְלֵאִים כָּל-טוּב אֲשֶׁר לֹא-מִלֵּאתָ וּבֹרֹת חֲצוּבִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא-חָצַבְתָּ כְּרָמִים וְזֵיתִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא-נָטָעְתָּ וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָֹבָעְתָּ: יב הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן-תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים: יג אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ תִּירָא וְאֹתוֹ תַעֲבֹד וּבִשְׁמוֹ תִּשָּׁבֵעַ: יד לֹא תֵלְכוּן אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים מֵאֱלֹהֵי הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבוֹתֵיכֶם: טו כִּי אֵל קַנָּא יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּקִרְבֶּךָ פֶּן-יֶחֱרֶה אַף-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּךְ וְהִשְׁמִידְךָ מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה: ס טז לֹא תְנַסּוּ אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר נִסִּיתֶם בַּמַּסָּה: יז שָׁמוֹר תִּשְׁמְרוּן אֶת-מִצְוֹת יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְעֵדֹתָיו וְחֻקָּיו אֲשֶׁר צִוָּךְ: יח וְעָשִֹיתָ הַיָּשָׁר וְהַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָֹה לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ וּבָאתָ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּבָה אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָֹה לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ: יט לַהֲדֹף אֶת-כָּל-אֹיְבֶיךָ מִפָּנֶיךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָֹה: ס כ כִּי-יִשְׁאָלְךָ בִנְךָ מָחָר לֵאמֹר מָה הָעֵדֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֶתְכֶם: כא וְאָמַרְתָּ לְבִנְךָ עֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם וַיֹּצִיאֵנוּ יְהוָֹה מִמִּצְרַיִם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה: כב וַיִּתֵּן יְהֹוָה אוֹתֹת וּמֹפְתִים גְּדֹלִים וְרָעִים | בְּמִצְרַיִם בְּפַרְעֹה וּבְכָל-בֵּיתוֹ לְעֵינֵינוּ: כג וְאוֹתָנוּ הוֹצִיא מִשָּׁם לְמַעַן הָבִיא אֹתָנוּ לָתֶת לָנוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ: כד וַיְצַוֵּנוּ יְהֹוָה לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-כָּל-הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה לְיִרְאָה אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְטוֹב לָנוּ כָּל-הַיָּמִים לְחַיֹּתֵנוּ כְּהַיּוֹם הַזֶּה: כה וּצְדָקָה תִּהְיֶה-לָּנוּ כִּי-נִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-כָּל-הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּנוּ:

The Scriptures say, “God, who is our Lord, is one God” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4, שְׁמַע יִשְֹרָאֵל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָֹה | אֶחָד) in other words, He is absolutely unique, awesome, and powerful and there is no other besides Him! Within this Scripture verse we read the ineffable, or incommunicable name of God which is written twice. This name of God is called the Tetragrammaton, from the Greek tetra (four), and gramma (letter), since this Name in Hebrew consists of the four letters YHVH. This name is known as the ineffable name because it was by tradition not to be pronounced, one was to use a circumlocution out of respect and honor for the powerful name of God. The rabbis say that everything our ancestors of blessed memory have transmitted concerning the Shema is true and needs no justification. This is how Yeshua understood it as he drew upon these Scriptures in his answering the question of the two greatest commandments. The glorious Name of God (YHVH) is followed by another name of God (אֱלֹהֵינוּ), this serves to illustrate a proper name as elsewhere the name may be description of multiple things, as is in the example of the name “adam” for man (Bereshit / Genesis 3:17, adam) and the word adam also describing the earth (Bereshit / Genesis 2:7, adamah). Here God’s name is proper, this name only describes the Lord God of Israel and nothing else. The YHVH is repeated in Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4 in order to describe His uniqueness. There is a particular significance to knowing a persons name. In the Hebrew bible, knowing a persons name allows us to know who they are since it is descriptive of who they are and their lives. When Samson’s father Manoach encountered the Angel in the book of Judges 13, he asked the Angel for his name. The Angel refused, saying that his name is hidden, beyond Manoach’s understanding. In the Torah, we read how Abraham, Sarah, and Joshua underwent name changes. The most significant of which was Jacob having his name changed to Israel, which changed his entire path in life, his encounter with God even led to his walking differently, as it should for all of us! (see Bereshit / Genesis 32:22-32) Note also something in the opening chapters of Shemot /Exodus (chapter 2) we read of an unnamed man from the tribe of Levi marrying an unnamed woman, having an unnamed son, with an unnamed sister. The Torah says Pharaoh’s daughter (unnamed) raises this baby boy from the water to raise him as her son and she calls him Moshe saying “For I drew him from the water.” (וַֽיְהִי־לָ֖הּ לְבֵ֑ן וַתִּקְרָ֤א שְׁמוֹ֙ משֶׁ֔ה וַתֹּ֕אמֶר כִּ֥י מִן־הַמַּ֖יִם מְשִׁיתִֽהוּ) The root of מְשִׁיתִֽהוּ is the verb למשות, meaning to fish out, to extricate or to rescue. Some Jewish commentaries use this analogy from Moshe’s name to make reference to Moshe rescuing Israel from death and drowning in the Sea of Reeds when Pharaoh’s chariots were intent upon destroying the people. It is interesting how some commentaries analyze the name of Moshe by providing the etymology of his name:

Open the pages of almost any recent Bible dictionary, Exodus commentary, or biblical reference work and you will likely find the name Moses linked to the Egyptian verb ms/msi (“to give birth”) or the related noun ms (“child,” “son”),various forms of which occur in Egyptian royal and non-royal names. The verb ms is incorporated into the royal birth names of New Kingdom pharaohs Ahmose (“the moon god is born”) and Thutmose (“Thoth is born”) as the suffix -mose. In the Greek forms of the names, the verb ms becomes -mosis: Amosis and Thutmosis. The name Ramesses follows a similar pattern: Re-mes-su (“Re is the one who bore him”). The verb is also found in non-royal personal names such as Ptahmose (“Ptah is born”) and Ramose (“Re is born”). All of the above names feature what scholars call a divine or theophoric element, but the Hebrew name Moses stands alone in the biblical text; it has no god’s name attached to it. Scholars have debated whether it may have once included a god’s name that was later dropped. (https://www.bibleodyssey.org)

In Moshe’s birth story, we read how Pharaoh commanded to kill all the Jewish baby boys and two Jewish midwives (Shiphra and Puah) feared God and allowed the boys to live. As Moshe is growing up, he knows his birth right, and defends the Jewish people killing an Egyptian taskmaster and then fleeing to Midian. He marries a gentile woman (Tziporah) the daughter of Yitro, and has two children (both boys). (Note an allusion here to the Annointed One of God also calling the nations to the truth of Torah and the God of Israel.) While tending the sheep, the Lord God appears to him in a bush that burned but was not consumed. HaShem Called to Moshe by name (Shemot / Exodus 3:1-6) and the Lord God introduces Himself as YHVH saying, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The Lord God calls Moshe to a new way of life, to lead His people Israel out from Egypt. Moses asks the Lord when “I come to the children of Israel, and I say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Shemot / Exodus 3:13) “God said to Moses, I will be what I will be, and He said, ‘So shall you say to the children of Israel, I will be has sent me to you.’”

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה
וַיֹּ֗אמֶר כֹּ֤ה תֹאמַר֙ לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה שְׁלָחַ֥נִי אֲלֵיכֶֽם

The Lord God Almighty has just revealed His name to Moshe and to the Children of Israel. This is the personal name of God, of who He is.

This is why we do not articulate the name of God when we read it, instead we say HaShem, Adonai, or Elohim (Note in our English bibles we find the words “Lord” and “God” representing the YHVH in the Hebrew text). According to the rabbinic literature, the only time the name of God was spoken was during Yom Kippur within the holy of holies. In addition to this, there are alternate interpretations on Shemot / Exodus 3:12 when the Lord introduces Himself to Moshe. According to the Metsudah Chumash (Metsudah Publications 2009) translates this verse in Shemot / Exodus 3:12 He [God] said, “Because I will be with you [My Word will be your support]… This will be the proof that I have sent you—when you bring the people out of Egypt—you will serve [before] Elohim on this mountain.” (MC) The interpretation here is that “I will be what I will be” should be interpreted as “I will be with you” in good times and I will be with you in bad times. Therefore in the revelation of God’s name to His people, we see the promise of His always being with us, we do not have to be afraid because our powerful God is by our side, in our midst! This then is consistent with what is written elsewhere in the Tanach.

Bereshit / Genesis 26:3
Stay temporarily in this land and I will be with you and bless you [My Word will be your support and I will bless you], for to you and your descendants I will give all these lands. (Metsudah Chumash, Metsudah Publications, 2009 [with Onkelos translation])

Shemot / Exodus 4:12
I [My Word] will be with your mouth, and teach you what to say.” (Metsudah Chumash, Metsudah Publications, 2009 [with Onkelos translation])

Bereshit / Genesis 31:3
And the LORD said to Jacob: ‘Return to the land of your fathers, and to your native land; and I will be with you.’ (Modernized Tanakh – Based on JPS 1917, Edited by Adam Cohn)

Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:23
And He charged Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and resolute: for you shall bring the Israelites into the land that I promised them on oath, and I will be with you.” (Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures, published by JPS)

Joshua 1:5
No one shall be able to resist you as long as you live. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. (Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures, published by JPS)

Rashi states that the phrase “Because I will be with you” is a response to both the first and last question of “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” saying to Moshe that it is not your [mission] but, rather, Mine, for I will be with you, and the vision that you saw in the thornbush is a sign to you that it is I who sent you and that you will succeed. (Rashi on Shemot / Exodus 3:12 Part 1) The point of the Torah command is in knowing God is with us, His Messiah has delivered us, and His Spirit empowers us! What we are being taught here is the power of the command, from the NT account from Paul to the Romans, it has the power to bring both death and life (read Romans 6-8) but that life comes only by the power of God working in our lives! This is consistent with what Moshe said in Devarim / Deuteronomy 6 of the purpose of the command is so that it goes well for us and that we will multiply in אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ “a land flowing with milk and honey.” This is also consistent with all of Scripture, such as in 1 Kings 11:38, וְהָיָ֗ה אִם־תִּשְׁמַע֮ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֲצַוֶּךָ֒ וְהָלַכְתָּ֣ בִדְרָכַ֗י וְעָשִׂ֨יתָ הַיָּשָׁ֤ר בְּעֵינַי֙ לִשְׁמ֤וֹר חֻקּוֹתַי֙ וּמִצְוֺתַ֔י כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה דָּוִ֣ד עַבְדִּ֑י וְהָיִ֣יתִי עִמָּ֗ךְ וּבָנִ֨יתִי לְךָ֤ בַֽיִת־נֶאֱמָן֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּנִ֣יתִי לְדָוִ֔ד וְנָתַתִּ֥י לְךָ֖ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ 11:38 If you heed all that I command you, and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, keeping My laws and commandments as My servant David did, then I will be with you and I will build for you a lasting dynasty as I did for David. I hereby give Israel to you; (Sefaria.org) These things speak of having faith, and to being faithful to the Lord God in heaven according to His Word! The rabbis even support this NT concept of “with regard to the mitzvot God assists the individual in their performance.” (Talmud Bavli Toma 39a) We need the Lord, and we need His deliverer (Yeshua) and most of all, we need His Holy Spirit in our lives! Without the presence of God dwelling in our midst (our hearts) we would have no hope. This is how the Torah and the Gospel Message go hand in hand, without the Torah, it would be with great difficulty to understand the NT text!

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!