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Friday, 30 August 2019
Is it optional?

I want to write something about Shabbat, as today is Friday.

Jeremiah 17:21-22 "Thus says Adonai, 'Guard your souls! Carry no burden on the day of Shabbat or bring it in through the gates of Jerusalem. Nor should you carry a burden out of your houses on Yom Shabbat or do any work, but keep Yom Shabbat holy - as I commanded your fathers.'" (TLV)

What? Keeping the Shabbat is commanded in the words of Jeremiah as "guard your souls?" Actually, yes. This same connection (between the Shabbat and a soul) is made at the end of Exodus 31:16-17 "So Bnei-Yisrael is to keep the Shabbat, to observe the Shabbat throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and Bnei-Yisrael forever, for in six days Adonai made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested." (TLV)

What, you don't see it? That's because the translation doesn't match up with the Hebrew. The last Hebrew word (translated "rested") is Vayinafash. God ceased from His work and gave the world a soul (a nefesh) by resting on the Shabbat.

The Shabbat is a sign of covenant (it's in black and white in verse 16). God makes a big deal out of it. We also read about it here in Isaiah 58.

Isaiah 58:13-14 "If you turn back your foot from Shabbat, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call Shabbat a delight, the holy day of Adonai honorable, If you honor it, not going your own ways, not seeking your own pleasure, nor speaking your usual speech, then You will delight yourself in Adonai, and I will let you ride over the heights of the earth, I will feed you with the heritage of your father Jacob. For the mouth of Adonai has spoken."

Such a blessing! Begs the question, "How much of obeying God is optional?" Answer: Actually, all of it; and the blessings that accompany obedience are also optional. Can we really say we are followers of the Messiah if we don't really follow Him? In His words, John 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." Food for thought, with a dose of Jewish guilt.

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Michael

Posted By Rabbi Michael Weiner, 10:06am Comment Comments: 0