In our first Blog-Style Bible Study, I present Part 1 of a subject that will undergird virtually every other torah topic we will discuss and investigate in our studies.

When I first heard this unforgettable expression in the study of torah, it truly resonated with me, and I’ve been intrigued with it ever since.

Being that this is our inaugural lesson, I am compelled to share a message dearest to my heart.

“In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.”

-Rabbi Hillel, (110 B.C.E. – 10 C.E)

This is really what we want, isn’t it? When little girls hear that, I’m sure they think of their fathers. When married women hear this, they reflect on the character of their fathers, husbands or brothers. When unmarried women hear this, I expect that they too, reflect on their fathers, brothers, friends and consider the characteristics and qualities they desire in the man of their future. When a nation hears this, do they hear a longing for the resurgence of the soul of a most excellent man?

When I hear this, I feel like a critical moment of decision is at hand. Hillel cries out with a sense of urgency. This is a call to action. Something wicked has reared its head and the circumstances thrust a man forward who will challenge evil. In a place where there are no men, is there a mighty man of valor? A man of courage? Someone who will arise, and do more than it is his duty to do?

The word picture evokes the image of a hero, someone with character, integrity, courage, bravery, fearlessness. Hillel makes the observation that, though we may be in the presence of 20, 50 or even 100 men, none of them measure up to the stature and majesty of one man.

Hillel says, “strive to be a man.” Who is this man who will press his way through? This man, must be able to summon all his strength, all of his potential. He has to arise, into the image and likeness of his better self.

Clearly, all of the above are suitable, when we think of a man who stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Why did Hillel call out so eloquently for men, to be a man? What are the qualities of a good man?

We could slap some verses together, hold ’em, pin ’em down, and grab some sticky stuff and squeeze them all together…and call it a day.

Not so fast! This is torah study. We have to throw in some due diligence. There’s some lesson plans and homework required.

We will apply a meticulous 5 step approach as follows:

You are all at different levels of torah study. For the benefit of the newbies, I will walk you through the terminology in detail, so that you will own this knowledge once were done.

#1. What is Torah?

# 2. We will do and we will hear. Summary: Torah is Obedience in Action.

#3. Hebrew is a very meticulous language.

#4. Concordance Research on the Hebrew Definition of –Man.

#5. Conclusion

The question we are considering is:

There are 12 different words in the Hebrew Language that GOD can use to say, ‘man’. Which one does He use, to call forth a man among men? In which one do you see the attributes of, a mighty man of valor?

Lets set aside the question of “man” for moment, and first be sure we understand what torah means…

Studying torah is a completely different matter than studying scripture. Torah and scripture are two different subject matters from the perspective of our Christian roots. (If you feel differently, I understand why. However, allow me to work this out for a few other students who are new to these concepts).

Basic Definition of torah:

Traditionally speaking, when we say torah- we are speaking of the 5 Books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy.

Today, what we understand as torah has gravitated to include ALL the Books of the Hebrew Scriptures, Genesis through Malachi. (Notice: I deliberately did not say Old Testament).

Torah means teaching/instruction. Teaching, is the most accurate interpretation of the word. Our ancient Christian ancestors, trained up the body of Christ in a tradition that taught us to translate the word, torah, as the word, law (and we have diligently done so, for at least the last 400 years, minimum). Our ancestral translators, and the majority of some of our translators of this present age, still persist in translating torah as law. Despite the fact that, we have more accurate information than we had in past decades.

When your going in the wrong direction, do you just keep going?, Forever?

Or Do You Course Correct?

A rough guess would put us at approx. 95% of the times that we see the word law in scripture, it is due to translating the Hebrew word, torah into the English word, law. In reality, the word torah means teaching.

This is an essential, foundational part of understanding torah. Hillel was a Rabbi, a Hebrew Scholar. In order to establish a connection with a Hebraic mindset, we need a fundamental understanding of terms.

Let’s continue working to untangle this:

If you go back into your bibles and locate the word– law, scratch it out and write in the word –teaching. Already you will have gained for yourself, valuable insight into the original conversations in scripture.

See the example below:

In Christian Bible studies, we have learned to study scripture in a completely different manner. We will begin to make a few adjustments to that process in this class.

For now, go to biblegateway.com and enter the word “law” into the search box. Hit enter. 529 hits will be returned on your query. The first 9 are not applicable. (they include either, daughter-in-law or father in-law – completely different topic). Next you will see the following:

Gen 47:26 and Joseph made it a law (choqmah) over the land of Egypt unto this day.
H2706 choqmah in Hebrew means statute or law. [the best approximation of the pronunciation of, “choqmah” that I can give you is ‘hoke-mah’].

Gen 49:10 the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver (chaqaq) from between his feet,
H2710 – chaqaq to decree or inscribe, to cut in. chaqaq is more of a law than torah. Notice that choqmah and chaqaq are based in the same root word—they are related. The lawgiver decrees the word of God – The lawgiver will be from the seed of Judah.

Ex 12:49 One law shall be to him that is home born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth with you.
H8451 torah – teaching, direction, instruction. (cross out the word, law)
One teaching shall be to him that is home born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth with you. [—note that God said, that those who take this journey with you are entitled to the same teachings].

Ex 13:9. …that the LORD’s law may be in thy mouth
H8451. torah – teaching, direction, instruction. (cross out the word, law)
…that the LORD’s teaching may be in thy mouth

Ex 16:4 …that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
H8451. torah – teaching, direction, instruction. (cross out the word, law)
…that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my teaching, or no.

Ex 16:28 …And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
H8451. torah – teaching, direction, instruction. (cross out the word, law)
…And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my teachings?

…And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my directions?

…And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my instructions?

Ex 24:12. …and I will give the tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written, that thou mayest teach them.
H8451. torah – teaching, direction, instruction. (cross out the word, law)
…and I will give the tables of stone, and a teaching, and commandments which I have written, that thou mayest teach them.

Of the remaining of 513 verses, the majority are interpreting torah as law, incorrectly.

Go back and review the verses thoroughly before continuing. Email me any questions you may have. Thank you.

Some have said, these are insignificant tiny little word-smith-ing issues, what’s the big deal?

Look Carefully:

We took the 1st 7 occurrences of the word– law in the Hebrew Scriptures and peeled back the onion, just a bit. We saw for ourselves that 5 of the 7 don’t mean law at all.

What proof do we have other than my word, that torah should not be translated as law?, other than my word for it?

Hebrew is the native language of the Jewish nation. We have to respect them as the authority on record with their native language. If the Rabbi’s tell us that Torah means teaching, that settles the dispute! It’s their language, they ought to know.

Here, in our native language, GOD has been accused of being brutal, heavy handed, legalistic, ritualistic… and everything else in the book, [because we lack even a modicum of torah centered knowledge and perspectives].

We put the word ‘law’ in His mouth when He is actually referring to His teachings, His instructions, His directions. We are the ones creating the confusion. It’s our western mindset. We have a fondness of expressing things in terms of laws, commandments, decrees, statutes, doctrines, etc., etc. It’s possible the early translators of the bible felt, “teachings”, was too soft of a word to use. Perhaps they underestimated the masses, and assumed we could not accept God’s Word without a little more Fire of God authority? …perhaps they did.

We have the opportunity to repair the portrait that we painted. We created this picture of an overbearing GOD that people don’t know how to relate to, and we as laity, continue to inadequately explain His teachings. Did you notice what I did right there? I did not blame the pastors, priest or any leadership from any denomination?

This is because I see those three little fingers pointing back at us (the people) when we put the blame on any one else. As the people of God, we can’t just sit in the pew forever and act like we bear no responsibility for the outcomes. If we love God like we say we do, then we have to take accountability for our own behavior, i.e. our own lack of knowledge, and our inability or trepidation to answer questions about our own faith. I’m not speaking of course of every single Christian being this way. My generalizations are specific to the Christians that know they lack understanding about the GOD they love, and they know they need to be snatched out of their sleep. [More on this subject in part 2 of this blog].

God wants to teach you something and I have the heart for teaching that He can use to communicate through. You are the YOU that knows… that He is talking to YOU. –Not everybody, YOU. Why You? It’s like I said in the very first blog. You Are An Answer God Sent Into The World and He is coming for YOU!

“In a place where there is no man, strive to be a man.” Before we can [ever] get to the heart of that matter, we have to get a lot of other stuff out of the way. Stuff, that is blocking you from progress. Not progress in the world system… this is more important than that. There is all this stuff, that is blocking you from making progress in the anointing! God wants you taught! And for some reason, He believes this blog is going to have a part in doing that.

The First Thing God wanted to do, when He brought His People out of Egypt…

In Ex 12:49, 13:9, 16:4, 16:28, God wanted to teach His people. Ex 24:12, states the sum of the matter beautifully. God provided us with His teachings on tablets of stone, His decrees also, that we should be taught. He could have legislated mankind to the hilt, we certainly have, but He did not. He desired that we be taught.

We have impressively rehearsed the 10 commandments and neglected the 10 teachings.

God did not come with a sword. He came to the House of Israel and stretched out His hand in love, and for peace. Doesn’t that remind you of Jesus?

Do we have the patience to be teachable?

Can we be taught? Can we endure His teachings? Can we bear His instruction? Will we receive His instructions?

Additionally, contrary to some opinions, studying torah is not about converting to Judaism. [[There is no attempt being made here to convert anyone to Judaism]. The Jewish culture has so much beauty within it, and I must say, we could definitely benefit from several of their “best practices“. However, our primary goal before us today, is to perfect those things pertaining to the body of Christ. Every culture has something magnificent to contribute to the world, and knowing each other enriches our spirit. The development of our spirit is our greatest weapon, an essential prerequisite, which enables us to address our character flaws. Together, we are better people as a whole].

The Bible is a book of teachings and instructions. Embracing the Jewishness of Jesus, His Hebrew Heritage, Culture and teachings, only makes us stronger, never weaker. We have to accept ALL of Him, not pick the part we want and disavow the rest. If we would do that with the King of Kings, of course we will do it to others. In fact, we do it to others. When we disrespect others, we disrespect GOD. If our behavior in anyway disrespects the Son of the Living GOD, (accepting only what we deem appropriate, then we disrespect the anointing).

I hope I am making this clear. Anyone who marries a man or a woman and tells them to sever all ties with their heritage, culture and teachings, really doesn’t love the person. Would you agree with that? Am I wrong? Am I missing something? Either we take the complete package with Christ or we don’t. There is no lukewarm offering on this. Hot or cold, hot or cold.

It’s time to fully cross over to the other side. No more refusing the good instructions, because we think we are betraying our Christian heritage by learning torah. We oppose our own selves if we don’t.

[“And the Lord’s servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will”]

[Betray the enemy who is trying to prevent us from obtaining the fire that the torah, will ignite in us. Betray that].

Part 2 of this post will settle the dispute regarding torah, as we continue to put all the pieces in place, for greater insight into Rabbi Hillel’s teachings in Pirkei Avot 1:15 [The sayings of our Fathers] Stay Ready!

SPECIAL NOTE: I put together a handout for Part 2 of this Bible Study. I believe it will help you follow the scripture details that I will present in Part 2 of this message. If you would like to a copy sent to you, send me your email address by subscribing to the blog. I’m a teacher, I can’t help creating handouts!

[When I find typo’s that I did not see before I published and/or I re-read and know that I could have stated something better for clarity, I will make corrections and place brackets around the changes, like so. I want your final product to be as pristine as possible. Also, you have noticed that I do not include the scripture reference when I am quoting or paraphrasing something from the New Testament. I do that intentionally. We know this material and I believe it is already a part of our regular dialogue. We may have the impulse to look them up and that’s good. I want to provoke us to do that. It’s good for the soul 🙂 Your a good student! God Bless You].

Copyright 2019, Rev. S. Madison, torahisteaching.blog