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God's Appointed Times


Torah Portion: Parashat Emor ("Say, Speak!")

Shabbat: May 6, 2023 Iyyar 15, 5783

New Covenant: 1 Pet. 2:4-10


The Shema

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength”. Deut. 6:4-5


Our Torah portion for this week (parashat Emor) lists the eight main holidays revealed in the Jewish Scriptures. In the Torah, these "holidays" are called "appointed times" (i.e., mo'edim:מוֹעֲדִים), a word which comes from the Hebrew root meaning witness (עֵד). Other words formed from this root include edah (עֵדָה), a congregation, edut (עֵדוּת), a testimony, and so on. The related verb ya'ad (יָעַד) means to meet, assemble, or even to betroth. The significance of the holy days, then, is for the covenant people of the LORD to bear witness to God's love and faithfulness.

"Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, 'These are the appointed times of the LORD (מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה) that you shall proclaim as holy convocations (מִקְרָאֵי קדֶשׁ); they are My appointed times'" (Lev. 23:2). Note that these hallowed times - the very first of which is the weekly Sabbath - are "of the LORD," and that means they should be regarded as appointments given by God Himself to help draw us closer to Him, to reveal His prophetic truth, and to remind ourselves of His great plan for our lives. God did not give us the Torah in vain, friends, neither does He speak out of two sides of his his mouth... Yeshua was the Voice of the LORD speaking the words of Torah to Israel at Sinai, and therefore every "jot and tittle" (קוֹצוֹ שֶׁל יוֹד) is indeed relevant to our lives as his followers (Matt. 5:18-19).

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