5764 / Jan 3, 2004
Tevet 9, 5767 /
Dec 30, 2006
Tevet 9, 5770 /
Dec 26, 2009
Tevet 9, 5773 /
Dec 22, 2012
Tevet 7, 5776 /
Dec 19, 2015
/ A Bird's Nest
SCRIPTURES should be read first
Constructive and safe behavior
(V.6-7) We are permitted to take
eggs or young animals, for food or for raising them. However, if we would like a
good life and a long life, we should not do things that would deplete a species
or family: we should let the mother go free to reproduce more.
(V.8) When we build a house
(with a patio rooftop) we must fence the roof for the safety of those who would
use it. This would also directly apply to a tall stairway, or an excavation
(such as a pool).
By extension, this is where we
get building codes. For safety, we must provide railings and clear exits, and
use materials with certain strengths. Houses must be attached to their
foundations so that they are not easily blown off by tornadoes, shaken of by
earthquakes, or knocked off by mudslides or errant vehicles. This is why we have
all lived through earthquakes of a magnitude that killed tens of thousands in
Iran this past week.
By further extension, this is
the basis for traffic laws. It is immoral for us to drive in a manner that
endangers others. Endangerment is not based on what we think we can handle, but
on laws formed partly through the study of accidents. While there is no specific
Torah command saying “You shall not exceed the posted speed limit,” it is sin
because it is missing the mark of glorifying God, and it violates the spirit of
the Torah that forbids endangerment. And it is not given to individuals to make
their own halachic judgments on such matters.
Though control of injury and
death is in God’s domain, He requires us to act in a manner that does not create
hazards for others.
(V.9-12) Mixing different kinds
of crops can destroy the harvest: some crops choke others out, some produce
inedible fruit that mix with the good fruit, or mimic it.
Plowing with an ox and a donkey
together represents working any two animals unequally, where the weaker animal
would be hurt.
Mixing of linen and wool
represents weaving two materials such that one would damage the other, such as
by cutting. Nevertheless, we must wear tzitzit (tassles) on the four
corners of our covering garment; though the garment was linen, the tzitzit
used to be wool having one strand colored with techeilet (a blue dye).
Here we see an example of a general rule: a positive commandment (adding
tzitzit) supersedes a negative commandment on the same subject (mixing
Betrothal, marriage, and
Today, we commonly have
engagement and marriage. Engagement is often taken lightly – easily broken.
Biblically, earthly marriage is a portrayal of the heavenly.
In Biblical setting, there is
betrothal (kiddushin - kidddush means to set apart) and marriage (nesuin).
A betrothal can only be broken by divorce, and only for certain causes. A
betrothed woman is called a wife, though cohabitation is not allowed until the
marriage. A betrothal is accompanied by a written covenant called a Shitre
Erusin; a marriage covenant is called a Ketubah.
Firstly, Yeshua redeemed a
slave-girl – purchased her from Egypt. The Passover seder is called “the Feast
of Freedom” – she is set free. A man may only marry a woman who is free to
Secondly, Yeshua betrothed the
freed girl at Pentecost – set her apart for future marriage (nesuin). His
contract is called the Torah. Earthly betrothal (kiddushin) means holy /
set apart, and it is binding. There is a betrothal contract (shitre erusin)
which spells out the bride’s responsibilities, and it is proffered with a
guarantee (a diamond commonly represents the stone tablets). Betrothal can be
broken only by divorce for the cause of fornication. While the terms husband and
wife are used here, consummation of the marriage is not yet permitted – they do
not yet live together. As Solomon said (Song of Solomon 2:7): “Do not arouse to
lovemaking until it’s time” (literal translation).
Thirdly, Yeshua will marry His
bride and take her to his home – as represented by the Feast of Tabernacles. In
an earthly marriage, there is a second contract, a marriage covenant, called a
ketubah, which spells out the groom’s responsibilities.
(V.13-19) If a man falsely
accuses his betrothed of fornication, in order to void the ketubah (which
guarantees the wife’s support) then he is to be chastised and fined, and he must
remain married to his wife as long as they both live. That is, he wanted to
falsely void his promise, so he must keep it all his life; may God deliver the
wife from his evil ways.
(V.20-21) If, upon the
consummation of the marriage, the husband finds his wife to be not a virgin,
then he may divorce her. If the man is a priest, he must divorce her, because a
priest is required to marry a virgin (Leviticus 21:14); otherwise, he may choose
to accept her. Yeshua’s statement, “Everyone
who divorces his wife, except for the cause of fornication, makes her commit
5:32), refers to betrothal: it does not make adultery grounds for divorce from a
marriage. The penalty for adultery is death (Leviticus 20:10), not divorce.
[Fornication here refers to an act before marriage, adultery to an act after
If the (betrothed) wife can be
convicted of fornication, she must be stoned to death as an example.
Thus we see in the case of
Joseph, to whom Mary was betrothed (Luke 1:27, Matthew 1:20): Mary was called
his wife, and he was contemplating divorcing her privately, rather than having
her publicly stoned for fornication. He would not have been concerned about her
pregnancy if they had been having marital relations during their betrothal.
Joseph was presumed to be the
father of Yeshua (Luke 3:23). Therefore, those who were seeking the death of
Yeshua, and trying to establish their own position as children of Abraham, said:
“We were not born of fornication,” implying that Yeshua was.
(V.22-30) Adultery requires
death for both parties. Herein we see the false motivation of the Pharisees in
bringing a woman only to Yeshua (John 8:3), claiming to have taken her in the
very act of adultery.
There is no penalty against a
woman who is raped.
A man who commits fornication
with an unbetrothed woman must marry her, and may never divorce her.
A man is forbidden to marry his
widowed aunt that his father is required to marry. The word “robe” (of his
father) symbolizes a requirement to marry – like the chupah, it
represents sheltering his bride and bringing her into the home.
War and peace
(V.23:9) “When you go out as
an army against your enemies, then you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.”
Micah 5: Yeshua, Whose goings
forth are from eternity, will come from Bethlehem, and “shepherd
His flock in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh His
God.” He will bring
peace to Israel when they are attacked.
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget her skill.” Tzitzit are for “remembering”.
Remember Jerusalem. Remember Torah. Remember Edom: “You shall not detest an
Edomite” (Deut. 23:7).
Matthew 22:7-9 “But
the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set
their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those
who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many
as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who chose us from among all peoples by
giving us Your Torah.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
Amen. 6 "If you happen to come upon a bird's nest along the
way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the mother
sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the
young; 7 you shall certainly let the mother go, but the young you may
take for yourself, in order that it may be well with you and that you may
prolong your days. 8 "When you build a new house, you shall make a
parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if
anyone falls from it.
Amen. 9 "You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or
all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard
will become defiled. 10 "You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey
together. 11 "You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen
together. 12 "You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of
your garment with which you cover yourself.
Amen. 13 "If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns
against her, 14 and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly
defames her, and says, 'I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not
find her a virgin,' 15 then the girl's father and her mother shall
take and bring out the evidence of the girl's virginity to the elders of the
city at the gate. 16 "The girl's father shall say to the elders, 'I
gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her; 17
and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, "I did not find your
daughter a virgin." But this is the evidence of my daughter's virginity.' And
they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. 18 "So
the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, 19 and
they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl's
father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his
wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.
Amen. 20 "But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a
virgin, 21 then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her
father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has
committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house;
thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 22 "If a man is found
lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with
the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. 23
"If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her
in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out
to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because
she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his
neighbor's wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
Amen. 25 "But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged,
and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her
shall die. 26 "But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin
in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and
murders him, so is this case. 27 "When he found her in the field, the
engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her. 28 "If a
man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies
with her and they are discovered, 29 then the man who lay with her
shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become
his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.
30 "A man shall not take his father's wife so that he will not uncover his
Amen. 23:1 "No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off
shall enter the assembly of Yahweh. 2 "No one of illegitimate birth
shall enter the assembly of Yahweh; none of his descendants, even to the tenth
generation, shall enter the assembly of Yahweh. 3 "No Ammonite or
Moabite shall enter the assembly of Yahweh; none of their descendants, even to
the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of Yahweh, 4
because they did not meet you with food and water on the way when you came out
of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor
of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 "Nevertheless, Yahweh your God was
not willing to listen to Balaam, but Yahweh your God turned the curse into a
blessing for you because Yahweh your God loves you. 6 "You shall
never seek their peace or their prosperity all your days.
Amen. 7 "You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you
shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. 8
"The sons of the third generation who are born to them may enter the assembly of
Yahweh. 9 "When you go out as an army against your enemies, you shall
keep yourself from every evil thing.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living
Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who selected good prophets, delighting
in their words which were spoken truthfully.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the
Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,
and the prophets of truth and
Amen. 1 "Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they
have laid siege against us; with a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on
the cheek. 2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be
among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in
Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." 3
Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne
a child. Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel.
4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of Yahweh,
in the majesty of the name of Yahweh His God. And they will remain, because at
that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. 5 This One will
be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, when he tramples on our
citadels, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight leaders of
men. 6 They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the
land of Nimrod at its entrances; and He will deliver us from the Assyrian when
he attacks our land and when he tramples our territory.
Psalm 137 (To be sung.)
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps. 3
For there our captors demanded of us songs, and our tormentors mirth, saying,
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion." 4 How can we sing Yahweh’s song
in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand
forget her skill. 6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I
do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. 7
Remember, O Yahweh, against the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who said,
"Raze it, raze it to its very foundation." 8 O daughter of Babylon,
you devastated one, how blessed will be the one who repays you with the
recompense with which you have repaid us. 9 How blessed will be the
one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock.
Amen. 1 Yeshua spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2
"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for
his son. 3 "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been
invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4
"Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited,
"Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all
butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."' 5
"But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to
his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them
and killed them.
Amen. 7 "But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and
destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 8 "Then he said
to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not
worthy. 9 'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find
there, invite to the wedding feast.' 10 "Those slaves went out into
the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the
wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. 11 "But when the king
came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed
in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come
in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. 13
"Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into
the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
"Blessed are You, Yahweh
our God, King of the Universe,
Rock of Ages, righteous
throughout all generations.
You are the faithful God,
promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,
for all Your words are true
Faithful are You, Yahweh
our God, and faithful are Your words,
for no word of Yours shall
You are a faithful and
merciful God and King.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our
God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."