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Weekly Drash - Behar

Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
reprinted by permission of FFOZ

Behar : בהר - “On Mount Sinai”
Torah : Leviticus 25:1–26:2
Haftarah : Jeremiah 32:6–27
Gospel : Luke 21-22

Thought for the Week:
(An excerpt from Torah Club)

The Torah says, “You shall then sound a ram's horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.” (Leviticus 25:9-10) The Jubilee trumpet is an eternal call to freedom and an enduring hope for the future. We long to hear the Jubilee trumpet of Messiah.

The Torah Mirror
(Based on Torah Club)

Just as at Mt. Sinai the trumpet blast called the redeemed community to the mountain and to the Torah which was given there, so the trumpet of the Jubilee Year also calls us back to our roots of freedom. In the Jubilee, slaves are released. The slave is free to be who he really is—a man who serves only His God. The land is also free to be identified with its rightful owner, the Lord God of Israel.

This helps us to understand the words of James. He encourages us to remember to follow the Torah. He compares the Torah to a mirror. If a person reads the Torah and does not do what it says it is like one who looks into a mirror, walks away and forgets what he looks like. (James 1:22–25)

The Torah is actually a description of what the righteousness of God looks like on planet earth. We also know that we who are a New Creation in Messiah have been made the righteousness of God in Him. Therefore, the Torah is said to be a mirror in which we can see what the new “me” looks like. I need to know what I look like in order to know how to behave in order to be consistent with who I now am.

In this analogy, James refers to the Torah as the “perfect Torah that gives freedom,” freedom to be who we are now. Why does he refer to the Torah as that which gives “freedom?” Many people teach that anyone who follows the Torah is in bondage! If we import our knowledge of Leviticus 25 and its teaching about the Jubilee Year into James chapter one, the answer is clear. If Torah is followed with the proper motives and in the power of the Spirit of God, it enables us to walk a walk of freedom! It gives us the freedom to be who we now are as new creations, as redeemed people, as servants of the Holy One of Israel! (See also Galatians 2:20 and II Corinthians 5:17.)

Shall we take this even one step further? James does. He says in James 2:12, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the Torah that gives freedom.”

He is exhorting us to follow the Torah, as he and his followers all did. He tells us that the Torah may function like a judge for us. It will ask us, “Did you believe the Good News of the Living Torah, Yeshua the Messiah, and therefore live it out?” Did you believe the “mirror?” Did you remember what you looked like in the mirror, or forget and live like something other than what you really are—a new creation child of God?

Shavuah Tov!
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FFOZ's Weekly e-Drash is based on our popular Torah Study Program,
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