Vaera

The vision and understanding of people of what Hashem says, does or asks of us can be totally different from what reality would prescribe. When Moshe is asked by the Lord to assist in the redemption of Israel Moshe acts and then he perceives the situation as worse than before. So he concludes that G-d made a mistake by sending him to Pharaoh. And he makes his complaint known to G-d. The response of the Lord is not easy for Moshe.

The Lord compares him to the Patriarchs Awraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov and states that they behaved better. They did not complain in their situation of just hearing G-d’s promises of redeeming Israel but not seeing them fulfilled. And they kept their trust and faith in the Lord. Moshe was able to see the promises coming to fulfillment, but he complained that it did not go fast enough: the horrible situation Israel still had to go through could not stop soon enough for Moshe. Nice of him to say, but this was human thinking, not divine insight. So G-d speaks to Moshe in a harsh way. This is leadership training at the highest level.

In the parashat Va’era the Lord mentions the four famous expressions connected to His redemption, which we translated into four cups with wine in our Haggada shel Pesach. One of these cups, the third one to be precise, became the famous cup Yeshua used for His last Pesach on earth before His great sacrifice as described in Yeshaya (Isaiah) chapter 53, verses 1-10. Before these four expressions are given G-d reveals Himself to Moshe with His name.

We know that the names G-d uses for Himself represent the different ways in which He reveals Himself. Yeshua, to use that name again, is one of these ways. To the Patriarchs G-d had revealed Himself as El Shaddai and that was enough – dai – for them. And when G-d used His Name Hashem (tetragrammaton, four letter name) to the Patriarchs they did not have the same level of spiritual insight as Moshe to understand.

In chapter 6, verses 6 and 7 Hashem gives four expressions for redemption (please install font Hadassah Light in order to see the Hebrew letters): h,tmuvu (v’hotzeti, I shall take you out); h,kmvu (v’hitzalti, I shall rescue you); h,ktdu (v’ga’alti, I shall redeem you); h,jeku (v’lakachti, I shall take or marry you). These four expressions are the roadmap to eternal life. It will take Israel the rest of its existence on earth to fully accomplish what G-d sets in motion by these four divine actions.

When somebody not Jewish wants to participate in this great redemption he can, just like Israel does, practice by celebrating Pesach. Not as the Church did by changing the name, the date, the form and the essence of this divine practice, but by doing it as Israel, Yeshua of course included, has done for ages. In Shemot (Exodus) 12:48 we read that a non-Jewish man will have to be circumcised in order to participate in this Pesach practice. This is for him to legally be acceptable in G-d’s eyes and not a stranger to the covenants, as Shaul (New Testament author Paul) writes in Ephesians 2:12.

Paul had circumcised Timothy, a Jew with a Greek father, see Acts 16:1-3. Of course Paul himself was circumcised, read Philippians 3:4-5; and he kept the law as he literally states: “For to be circumcised profits someone, if he keeps the Law (Torah). But if you trespass the Law your circumcision it is as if your circumcision has been undone” (Romans 2:25). So the main author of the New Testament is Torah observant Jew as he himself writes: “For not the hearers of the Law are righteous before Hashem, but those who do the Law shall be justified” (Romans 2:13). It was part of the redemption process the Lord was helping Paul through. Are you allowing G-d to assist you through that wonderful process of redemption?

Shabbat shalom,
Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehilla of Beth Yeshua,
Amsterdam, Holland