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The Whole Commandment: Further thoughts on Eikev...

The Whole Commandment...

Further thoughts on Parashat Eikev

by John J. Parsons
www.hebrew4christians.com

From our Torah portion for this week (i.e., parashat Eikev) we read: "The whole commandment that I command you today you shall observe and do, so that you may live..." (Deut. 8:1). The Hebrew phrase kol ha'mitzvah (כָּל־הַמִּצְוָה), here translated as "the whole commandment," refers to the heart attitude, or the inner passion of the soul. Some have linked the word "commandment" (מִצְוָה) with the word "connection" (צוותא), suggesting that God's commandments are the means by which we cleave to Him, as is written: "this is the love of God (אַהֲבַת אֱלהִים), that we keep his commandments" (1 John 5:3). The commandments are "for life" (Lev. 18:5), which means they serve as the call of the Beloved to rise to something far greater... The "Whole Commandment," then, is the path of God's love.  As it is written, tamim yiyeh im Adonai Elohekha: "You shall be wholehearted with the LORD your God" (Deut. 18:13), and "fear God and keep his commandments - ki zeh kol-ha'adam - כִּי־זֶה כָּל־הָאָדָם - for this is the whole man" (Eccl. 12:13).

The Kotzker once said, "The prohibition against making idols includes the prohibition against making idols out of the commandments. We should never imagine that the whole purpose of the Torah is its outer form, but rather the inward meaning." Indeed, sacrificial blood was placed over the tablets of the law (i.e., the blood sprinkled on the kapporet, or the "crown" of the Ark) that represented God's forgiveness and atonement for sin. The life is "in the blood," which represents God's passion, the deepest truth of Torah. And this is the message of the gospel itself, of course, since the blood of Yeshua passionately shed for our sake has opened up a new and everlasting way for us to be rightly related to God (Heb. 9:12).
 

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