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Regular Forum Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)
Contrary to the way we are accustomed to think, the word “shemot” does not mean “exodus” in Hebrew. The word Exodus is a transliteration of a Greek term which means “departure” and was given as a title for the Septuigent (Greek translation of the Hebrew Tanakh). The Hebrew title traditionally comes from the first words of the writing: in this case, “the names”. Such is a nutshell of the difference between Adonai looks at communication and the perspectives He finds important and ours. We want to know the what: the concrete evidences and specific occurrences of the story. He wants to tell us the who: and is keenly focused on how we should understand the people and their relationships to Him. We want to start with the highlights: get the big picture of what the story is about, establish what we are supposed to be looking for first, then hear about it. He wants to start from the beginning.
a name Jan 14 2012, 07:04 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 33 Replies: 2
Regular Forum VaEra (Exodus 6:2-9:35)
Moses was a pretty sophisticated fellow. Maybe more so, as a slave-born, king-raised, Bedouin shepherd, than we might be inclined to give him credit. Maybe he was a bit more savvy about what makes this world of ours tic than even we presume to be in our modern, enlightened, giga/tera-byte generation. The Most High God “appeared” or, “made Himself known” (va-eira) to Moses differently than how He had to the Fathers: To Abraham, Isaac and Israel. The Patriarchs had known Him is El Shaddai (the Mighty God); but Moses was the first to know Him according to the Yod-Hay-Vav-Hay: the Self-Existent or Eternal One. Sages believe that this may because Moses had the audacity to question Adonai, whereas the Patriarchs accepted the character of their God without having to understand Him. It was Moses who asked, “What is Your Name?” so as to identify Him before the people of Israel. It was Moses who wondered how His people could be left in slavery. It’s important to distinguish between arrogant condemnation and seeking to understand. Moses wasn’t questioning God according to his own moral standard. He just really wanted to know. Without any sense of reproof or impropriety, God responded to him with all the understanding he could take. I wonder if we know so little about the God we serve simply because we’re not interested enough to ask of Him the questions He is so longing to answer.
A Paradigm shift in theology: God taking m… Jan 21 2012, 08:39 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 11 Replies: 7
Regular Forum Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)
The Hebrew word “bo” means “go.” And that pretty well sums up the Exodus story, or at least, the way that we typically understand it. Exodus is (to most of us) the idea of getting out: separating us from the idolatry and evil inclinations that surround us. But, “bo” also means to “come.” Failure to balance these two ideas may have caused more damage to the pursuit of righteousness and obedience than any other. Too often our focus is upon the negative commands or the failures in understanding, not leaving those we’ve converted with anywhere to turn. They have only been convinced that the way they were going must be wrong. Their only recourse is to snatch on to any passing doctrine that has a right sound to it. This is what our Messiah referred to when he taught the parable of the house that was cleaned but left empty (Matthew 12:43-45). It’s important that we don’t leave our spiritual houses empty or condemn the error of another without being able to fill the void left with a solid truth: to not be overcome by evil (or try to overcome evil with evil) but overcome evil with good.
Overview of Exodus 12 Jan 28 2012, 08:15 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 15 Replies: 1
Regular Forum BeShalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16)
The phrase b’shalach is best translated , “to go out” but it’s not simply about leaving. It carries with it the ideas of identity and purpose. The Hebrew noun “shaliach” is often translated in the Greek Septuagint “apostalos”, commonly rendered in English “apostle.” The focus of the Exodus story, then, as in our own identity, is never upon what we have left but what we have become (or the Identity that is growing in us). Equally, we must understand that the one who is sent only retains that status as “the sent one” (the apostle or the shaliach) while he is engaged in that mission. Once he has arrived at his destination and completed his mission, he is no longer employed in his apostleship. This present life of faith, then, while identified in the person of Messiah, must not be understood as having arrived but having embarked on our shalacha (our journey). Let us therefore press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Messiah Yeshua.
Two Understandings of the Red Sea Division Feb 4 2012, 08:05 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 31 Replies: 4
Regular Forum Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)
Jethro is described for us as Moses’ father-in-law, the priest of Midian… but that likely was not his name. He is called Reuel in Exodus 2:18 and Numbers 10:29 which means "friend of God." It is possible that this Reuel is the son of Esau through his second wife Bashemath (Genesis 36:4). This would make him around 250 to 300 years old. While the longevity recorded to this date allows for this as possibility (Jacob lived 147 years) it is more likely that he is a descendant. It is the natural thing, when coming out from under authority, to express at least some measure contempt for all authority. "Since Pharaoh can’t tell me what to do anymore, no one can tell me what to do." There is a air of anarchy that tantalizes us in our deliverance from any sort of oppression. The title "Yitro" means "his excellence", thus by implication, rules of civility still apply. We will continue to give do honor and reverence to those in positions of honor. Christianity, by and large, overstepped this principle when freed from the bondage of sin and death. "We are now free (to do as we please)." The sense of general anarchy has prevailed since we are "not under the Law but under grace." Rules of civility are replaced with personal standards of ethics "each man doing that which is right in his own eyes". The result is schism and dysfunction within the community of Christ. Today there are more than 30,000 distinguishable Christian denominations choosing to separate themselves from one another on principles of theology or practice. The interpretation of being "under grace" is re-defined as being under no one at all. The principle of Yitro teaches us that right and wrong are not established by external forces that prevail upon us, determining our conduct. We do what is right and good because it is the right and good thing to do: because of His excellency. We define the principles of right and wrong, not based upon our own principles or by our experiences or agendas but according to His excellency, because we are His: bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb. It was vital for Jethro to enter into this community and be treated with the honor and dignity that his position merited. It was important for the people to see that they weren't moving in the political direction of casting off authority and civility for the sake of contempt. It is important for us to see our freedom in Messiah’s deliverance not as an opportunity to fragment into competing tribes of ideology; but to show reverence and respect for all authority, according to His excellency.
Moses listened to the voice of his father-… Feb 11 2012, 06:25 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 31 Replies: 0
Regular Forum Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)
The "mishpatim" are what are called "the judgments" or may be better understood as the process of Law. The Talmud, which is the Jewish encyclopedia of theological reasoning, dedicates a greater portion of text of discussion to this portion than any other Parashah. It is divided into three segments: the "First Gate" which discusses violent criminal behavior, the "Second Gate" discusses non-malicious conflict, and the "Final Gate" which establishes guidelines for cooperation and unity in our community. The Ten Commandments are heralded by the entire religious and ethical world as being the substance of justice and equity; yet, for so many, the mishpatim which follows is utterly dismissed. The phrase "ve’eileh mishpatim", "and theses are the judgments", implies a progression of the same thought as was previously stated in Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments). This is interpreted in two different ways: that the continuation of Adonai’s giving of the Law is in addition to the Ten Words spoken to all of the people from the cloud- that their dismay and trembling interrupted Him, causing Him to pause, then continue, only to the ears of Moses. The second interpretation is that the Ten Words are complete, containing the entire Law of God. The mishpatim goes on to explain a layer of detail as how the Law is to be applied in practical life.
A Platform for economic stability Feb 9 2013, 07:20 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 27 Replies: 1
Regular Forum Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)
What do you give to the fella who has everything? My kids befriended the kids of this other family who they met in Church. Seemed like nice enough folks. The kids hit it off great and the man found me, well, interesting. We invited them over to our house for lunch one afternoon after lunch. At this point in our lives, we were trying to make Sunday as restful and a day of worship as we could so we served off of paper plates, I dunno, peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches or something. A couple of weeks later, they returned the invitation and gave us directions to their house (which lay several miles out into the country). Lunch was some kind of unpronounceable (but tasty) pasta dish, served on gold-laced china with two forks and real crystal glasses all laid out on cloth table-linens (I think that’s what they are called). I mean, everything was posh, elegant and beautiful. As I got to know the man, he owned a software business (this was during the mid-nineties when that was generally prosperous). He probably spent more on his personal hobbies than I did on my mortgage. Of course, the inevitable came when one of their children had a birthday and my kids were invited to the party. My family has always been poor. I only have three articles of clothing (excluding underwear) that were bought new and those were gifts. I’m not sure any of my children even have that! I was trapped and embarrassed, not having any idea at all what to do. It then hit me, quite as an epiphany, that what these kids loved each other for was not in the financially quantified; but in what is relational- in the experience of sharing and enjoying together. I think what I settled on was an all-time winner, something that I had wanted all my life as a boy: a slinky. It was a profound hit , so much so that the party agenda came to a screeching stop as the kids squealed and followed this funky spring down the hill for hours. The Hebrew word "terumah" is most often translated as "offering". It is a gift or a present. The Most High God of all creation has just given us the keys to life and happiness, access to His throne-room as children, full and intimate relationship within His inner chambers, as He has given us His Torah. Now He asks for something in return. He asks that we give to Him a gift. What can we give Him that He doesn’t already have? All the earth is His and everything that is in it! The material object is not so much the important element as is that which is stamped and chosen by us. It is not the very best. We can’t afford that. The very best is totally out of our reach. Yet, all that we have that is of value, simply because of the value that we place upon it, is absolutely precious in His sight. He is pleased to receive it, simply because it is from us, and we can share the afternoon together, chasing the silly thing down the hill.
Taking Responsibility for ourselves Feb 25 2012, 08:38 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 23 Replies: 4
Regular Forum Tetsaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)
Lots of folks are surprised to learn that the Ten Commandments are not the Ten commandments but the Ten Words. The Hebrew word "dabar" which is translated "commandments" in Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13, and Deuteronomy 10:4, which described the writings inscribed on tablets of stone given in Exodus 20, is the word "words". So, maybe they really are the Ten Suggestions? The Hebrew word "Tetzaveh" is a bit more direct: "this which I say you will do." There isn’t any room for latitude or discussion: He speaks, we obey. The two idea are brought together early in the context of Scripture in how Adonai describes His servant, Abraham. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (Genesis 18:17-19 KJV) In this passage, these two ideas are brought together: Abraham will "command" (tetzaveh) his children all that Adonai has "spoken" (dabar). The idea supports a proverb that is common for successful businessmen, "What interests my boss (or client) fascinates me." The "words" of Adonai, become respectively the "commands" that dictate the way of His people. "Tetzaveh" carries the idea of being bound. Immediately, the old compliment comes to mind, "His word is his bond." Always, such a statement had been considered admirable. Here there is solid evidence that it is also biblical. Yet, why would the Most High choose these different terms in dispensing different aspects of His Torah? Are some commands more binding than others? Is it more important to squeeze fresh olives for oil than it is to honor one’s father and mother? Quite the contrary, we tend to find the word "tetzaveh" directed at specific individuals for specific duties or purposes while "dabar" in being more general, is directed toward all of us. This doesn’t lessen the authority of Adonai’s words. It rather dissolves the argument that "some commands are impossible for us therefore all the commands can not still be binding." How tragic it is for those with the greatest resources for knowledge and understanding of the Bible at their disposal cling to archaic arguments that absolve them from responsibilities of obedience. The stakes of accountability have gone up for us and we have gotten no better.
The Clothing of the Kohen Jul 24 2013, 04:31 AM, By 99thin
Topics: 14 Replies: 5
Regular Forum Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)
The Hebrew word "ki" means "when". It assumes that specific events will occur and is followed by obedience. The word "tisa" means to take, to hold up or lift up or evaluate, to consider. I shouldn’t try to count the number of times people, often without ever having in their lives cracked the pages of Scripture, are able to quote to me, "Judge not lest ye be judged…" knowing that these words were spoken by our Messiah and Lord. While the statement has a legitimate context, most often, it is misapplied to "tisa", taking note, making evaluation, exposing to light elements of our society or culture that would prefer not be brought into consideration. It’s part of our chemical make-up to make evaluation, to lift up and inspect: to "tisa". The smallest child who is follows you with his or her eyes, intrinsically understands and applies the process of "tisa". Messiah’s words are used against us in an attempt to prevent us from doing what we are designed to do. Messiah said, "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24). Adonai understands that within our created design, we evaluate those things around us. We can’t help it. And those who are offended that with us for it are not offended with the process ut rather with the standard set for the application. Torah sets a standard of righteousness whereby we are to evaluate. Too many people are offended by this, thinking that by setting such a standard (recognizing the validity of sucha standard) we think ourselves better than everyone else. Nothing could be farther from the truth because we realize that it is a standard that not even we are able to fully measure up to. We all therefore stand together as equals, depending upon the mercy of our Father in heaven, and the extension of His grace through Yeshua haMashiakh. Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5 KJV) Torah does not place us in a position of condemning others for not meeting our standard or expectation. Torah sets us all together in the same condition, leveling the playing field, condemned for sin or saved by grace. Beyond that is personally walking in obedience and love.
We are half-shekels Mar 10 2012, 07:49 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 18 Replies: 0
Regular Forum VaYakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)
The vah-yak’heil is the assembling of the people. In a less formal context, He might have said, “Get the whole gang together.” Directly related to this word is “kehilat” (assembly) which is the Hebrew equivalent to the Greek word ekklesia, translated into most English Bibles as “Church”. There is a blindness to 20/20 hind-sight. We often fail to recognize that the writers of our New Testament already had definitions for the terms that they used. The ekklesia, as Paul would have understood it, could not have been a reference to the distinctly gentile Christian faith. Until (at the very earliest) Acts 19, the faith in the Messiah of the prophesied in the Bible was a distinctly Jewish religion. It was referred to as a Jewish sect as late as the 2nd Century AD. This is why Paul invites the gentiles of Ephesus to join in as part of the “commonwealth of Israel” (Ephesians 2:12). The kehilat of God, the ekklesia or the Church, is not any group of people who get together and somehow identify with a theology that involves One dying on the cross for their sins. Biblically, it is a specific term which refers to the people called by God and separated for His purpose: the nation and people of Israel, regardless where they may reside;and those on-Jews who identify with this special relationship and are willing to join among them.
The Tabernacle and the Sabbath Mar 17 2012, 08:11 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 22 Replies: 2
Regular Forum Pekudey (Exodus 38:21-40:38)
Pekuday means, in its most basic understanding, to give an accounting. It is a demonstration of what the people of Israel did in response to God's command to build the Tabernacle. Too often it is labored over in a tedious manner, simply to read the portion out of a sense of obligation, simply because it is there. Why is this portion, the last in the book of Exodus, often treated with such disregard? It is because there is no new information about the Tabernacle given, thus we find the reading to be tedious, even boring. But, the importance of this passage has possibly the greatest relevance concerning our relationship with God and His expectation that we should live in obedience to Him. Here it is recorded that the people got it right. They did exactly what they were told. This was so profoundly important that the Most High should command that every detail should be recorded and remembered in the holiest of all books.
The Stamp of the Matriarchs according to J… Mar 17 2012, 07:05 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 6 Replies: 0
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