Tuesday, 23 March 2021
We have been reading Leviticus chapter 2 in our recent Torah reading. The entire chapter is devoted to grain offerings of various types. While this is generally confusing to me, one thing stands out. It is quite timely to the feast of Pesach which we are about to celebrate. Leviticus 2:11 "Every grain offering which you present to Adonai shall be made without hametz, for you are not to burn up as smoke any hametz nor any honey as a sacrifice made by fire to Adonai."
Rabbi Trail: Hametz (I spell the transliteration "Chametz" to get the "ch" - back of the throat clearing sound - in there. End RT.
Chametz is leavening. Leavening puffs up whatever it is in, and represents the pride of life. Whatever we offer up to God, cannot be offered up in or with pride. 1 John 2:16 "For everything in the world - the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the boasting of life - is not from the Father but from the world." We cannot offer the world to God, the world is polluted with sin. God is holy.
All sin is based in pride. Some like to say fear is separate and also a basis for sin, but I prefer to think of fear as a branch of the pride tree. There are only 3 possible protagonists (main characters) in the world, God, self, and satan. Satan is always the antagonist. Self is in the middle and open to influence from God, the righteous One, or satan, the evil one.
Rabbi Trail: There is a healthy fear, called "fear of the Lord." This is not the fear I'm talking about here. To fear God is to respect His authority. That is a good thing. You will see I'm talking about something quite different here. Fear (a healthy respect) of God should never be confused with being afraid to trust (unhealthy fear of) God. End RT.
Pride is preferring to trust self rather than trusting God. Fear is the lack of faith to trust God. Both pride and fear involve hardship in the area of trusting God, so you can see their connection. That's the problem. What's the solution?
The Bible warns us repeatedly against both pride and fear. (I chose these two verses from among hundreds of options.) Concerning pride, we read ... Romans 12:16 "Live in harmony with one another; do not be proud, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own eyes." Then, concerning fear ... Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
One last word of warning. At the end of the parable of the wheat and tares, the tares are standing tall (in pride) before the Lord makes this command ... Matthew 13:30 "Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time, I will tell the reapers, 'First, gather up the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
So, my friends, what's it going to be, "burn up" or into God's barn? Choose wisely.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,