Archive for the ‘Epistles’ Category

The Power of Paradigms (כ״ו בכסלו ה׳תשע״ו (December 8, 2015))

[This teaching was originally taught coinciding with Parashat KiTisa – Ex30:11-34:35.]   Paradigms shape: how we see the world; how we understand words; how we read and interpret texts (including, of course, the scriptures). Much of our language is paradigmatic; the words are given meaning by the paradigm in which they’re used. Change the paradigm […]

To Eat or Not To Eat, That Is The Question (כ״ה באב ה׳תשע״א (August 25, 2011))

Romans chapter 14 is often quoted as proof that Paul (Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus) taught and believed that the dietary laws and holy days of the Torah (especially Shabbat) have been done away with. This is very easy to do when we read those verses from a 21st century western Christian paradigm as if they […]

Acts 15 and Acts 10 – what do they really say about the Law? (כ״ב בתמוז ה׳תשע״א (July 24, 2011))

This article was born out of an extended “conversation” on facebook during which a number of New Testament scriptures were quoted in order to justify non-observance of “The Law” by non-Jewish believers. As is often the case, these scriptures were quoted out of context, as if they were written yesterday (or, at least, in our […]

A Living Sacrifice (ה׳ באדר ה׳תש״ע (February 19, 2010))

What does it mean to present oneself as a “living sacrifice”?

Under the substitutionary sacrificial system, when an animal is brought as a sacrifice, as a substitute for the one bringing the sacrifice, can it be sacrificed whilst still alive? Of course not.

The Torah is very specific about what is to happen when an animal is brought as a sacrifice:

* it must be from your own herd i.e. it must cost you something
* it is set apart (holy, sanctified) for God
* it must be inspected by the priest
* it must be killed in a specific way, by having its throat slit and its blood drained out.
* it must be lifted up onto the altar by the one bringing the sacrifice.

In other words, if it is still alive, it cannot be a sacrifice. It must be dead before it is placed onto the altar. You cannot present a “living” sacrifice.

So how can Paul write this to the believers (remember, both Jews and Proselytes meeting in the synagogues) in Rome?