Commentary - Year 3 Sabbath 40

Deuteronomy 22:6 - 23:8   -   Micah 5:1-6   -   Psalm 137   -   Matthew 22:1-14

                  Hebrew Bibles = Deut 22:6 - 23:9


Tevet 9, 5764 / Jan    3, 2004

Tevet 9, 5767 / Dec 30, 2006

Tevet 9, 5770 / Dec 26, 2009

Tevet 9, 5773 / Dec 22, 2012

Tevet 7, 5776 / Dec 19, 2015


Kein Tzipor / A Bird's Nest   SCRIPTURES should be read first


Constructive and safe behavior


(V.6-7) We are permitted to take eggs or young animals, for food or for raising them. However, if we would like a good life and a long life, we should not do things that would deplete a species or family: we should let the mother go free to reproduce more.


(V.8) When we build a house (with a patio rooftop) we must fence the roof for the safety of those who would use it. This would also directly apply to a tall stairway, or an excavation (such as a pool).


By extension, this is where we get building codes. For safety, we must provide railings and clear exits, and use materials with certain strengths. Houses must be attached to their foundations so that they are not easily blown off by tornadoes, shaken of by earthquakes, or knocked off by mudslides or errant vehicles. This is why we have all lived through earthquakes of a magnitude that killed tens of thousands in Iran this past week.


By further extension, this is the basis for traffic laws. It is immoral for us to drive in a manner that endangers others. Endangerment is not based on what we think we can handle, but on laws formed partly through the study of accidents. While there is no specific Torah command saying “You shall not exceed the posted speed limit,” it is sin because it is missing the mark of glorifying God, and it violates the spirit of the Torah that forbids endangerment. And it is not given to individuals to make their own halachic judgments on such matters.


Though control of injury and death is in God’s domain, He requires us to act in a manner that does not create hazards for others.


(V.9-12) Mixing different kinds of crops can destroy the harvest: some crops choke others out, some produce inedible fruit that mix with the good fruit, or mimic it.


Plowing with an ox and a donkey together represents working any two animals unequally, where the weaker animal would be hurt.


Mixing of linen and wool represents weaving two materials such that one would damage the other, such as by cutting. Nevertheless, we must wear tzitzit (tassles) on the four corners of our covering garment; though the garment was linen, the tzitzit used to be wool having one strand colored with techeilet (a blue dye). Here we see an example of a general rule: a positive commandment (adding tzitzit) supersedes a negative commandment on the same subject (mixing materials).


Betrothal, marriage, and divorce:


Today, we commonly have engagement and marriage. Engagement is often taken lightly – easily broken. Biblically, earthly marriage is a portrayal of the heavenly.


In Biblical setting, there is betrothal (kiddushin - kidddush means to set apart) and marriage (nesuin). A betrothal can only be broken by divorce, and only for certain causes. A betrothed woman is called a wife, though cohabitation is not allowed until the marriage. A betrothal is accompanied by a written covenant called a Shitre Erusin; a marriage covenant is called a Ketubah.


Firstly, Yeshua redeemed a slave-girl – purchased her from Egypt. The Passover seder is called “the Feast of Freedom” – she is set free. A man may only marry a woman who is free to marry.


Secondly, Yeshua betrothed the freed girl at Pentecost – set her apart for future marriage (nesuin). His contract is called the Torah. Earthly betrothal (kiddushin) means holy / set apart, and it is binding. There is a betrothal contract (shitre erusin) which spells out the bride’s responsibilities, and it is proffered with a guarantee (a diamond commonly represents the stone tablets). Betrothal can be broken only by divorce for the cause of fornication. While the terms husband and wife are used here, consummation of the marriage is not yet permitted – they do not yet live together. As Solomon said (Song of Solomon 2:7): “Do not arouse to lovemaking until it’s time” (literal translation).


Thirdly, Yeshua will marry His bride and take her to his home – as represented by the Feast of Tabernacles. In an earthly marriage, there is a second contract, a marriage covenant, called a ketubah, which spells out the groom’s responsibilities.


(V.13-19) If a man falsely accuses his betrothed of fornication, in order to void the ketubah (which guarantees the wife’s support) then he is to be chastised and fined, and he must remain married to his wife as long as they both live. That is, he wanted to falsely void his promise, so he must keep it all his life; may God deliver the wife from his evil ways.


(V.20-21) If, upon the consummation of the marriage, the husband finds his wife to be not a virgin, then he may divorce her. If the man is a priest, he must divorce her, because a priest is required to marry a virgin (Leviticus 21:14); otherwise, he may choose to accept her. Yeshua’s statement, “Everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of fornication, makes her commit adultery” (Matthew 5:32), refers to betrothal: it does not make adultery grounds for divorce from a marriage. The penalty for adultery is death (Leviticus 20:10), not divorce. [Fornication here refers to an act before marriage, adultery to an act after marriage.]


If the (betrothed) wife can be convicted of fornication, she must be stoned to death as an example.


Thus we see in the case of Joseph, to whom Mary was betrothed (Luke 1:27, Matthew 1:20): Mary was called his wife, and he was contemplating divorcing her privately, rather than having her publicly stoned for fornication. He would not have been concerned about her pregnancy if they had been having marital relations during their betrothal.


Joseph was presumed to be the father of Yeshua (Luke 3:23). Therefore, those who were seeking the death of Yeshua, and trying to establish their own position as children of Abraham, said: “We were not born of fornication,” implying that Yeshua was.


(V.22-30) Adultery requires death for both parties. Herein we see the false motivation of the Pharisees in bringing a woman only to Yeshua (John 8:3), claiming to have taken her in the very act of adultery.


There is no penalty against a woman who is raped.


A man who commits fornication with an unbetrothed woman must marry her, and may never divorce her.


A man is forbidden to marry his widowed aunt that his father is required to marry. The word “robe” (of his father) symbolizes a requirement to marry – like the chupah, it represents sheltering his bride and bringing her into the home.


War and peace


(V.23:9) “When you go out as an army against your enemies, then you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.”

Micah 5: Yeshua, Whose goings forth are from eternity, will come from Bethlehem, and “shepherd His flock in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh His God.” He will bring peace to Israel when they are attacked.

Psalm 137:5

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill.Tzitzit are for “remembering”. Remember Jerusalem. Remember Torah. Remember Edom: “You shall not detest an Edomite” (Deut. 23:7).

Matthew 22:7-9 “But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


Reader 1* Amen. 6 "If you happen to come upon a bird's nest along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; 7 you shall certainly let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, in order that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days. 8 "When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it.

Reader 2* Amen. 9 "You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled. 10 "You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 11 "You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together. 12 "You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.

Reader 3* Amen. 13 "If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her, 14 and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says, 'I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,' 15 then the girl's father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl's virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16 "The girl's father shall say to the elders, 'I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her; 17 and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, "I did not find your daughter a virgin." But this is the evidence of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. 18 "So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, 19 and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl's father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.

Reader 4* Amen. 20 "But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, 21 then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 22 "If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. 23 "If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor's wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

Reader 5* Amen. 25 "But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. 26 "But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. 27 "When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her. 28 "If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days. 30 "A man shall not take his father's wife so that he will not uncover his father's skirt.

Reader 6* Amen. 23:1 "No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of Yahweh. 2 "No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of Yahweh; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of Yahweh. 3 "No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of Yahweh; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of Yahweh, 4 because they did not meet you with food and water on the way when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 "Nevertheless, Yahweh your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but Yahweh your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because Yahweh your God loves you. 6 "You shall never seek their peace or their prosperity all your days.

Reader 7* Amen. 7 "You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. 8 "The sons of the third generation who are born to them may enter the assembly of Yahweh. 9 "When you go out as an army against your enemies, you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."


Micah 5:

Reader 8* Amen. 1 "Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek. 2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." 3 Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel. 4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. 5 This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, when he tramples on our citadels, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight leaders of men. 6 They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and He will deliver us from the Assyrian when he attacks our land and when he tramples our territory.


Psalm 137    (To be sung.)

1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps. 3 For there our captors demanded of us songs, and our tormentors mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion." 4 How can we sing Yahweh’s song in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill. 6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. 7 Remember, O Yahweh, against the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who said, "Raze it, raze it to its very foundation." 8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, how blessed will be the one who repays you with the recompense with which you have repaid us. 9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock.


Matthew 22:1-14

Reader 9* Amen. 1 Yeshua spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 "Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."' 5 "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.

Reader 10* Amen. 7 "But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 8 "Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.' 10 "Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. 11 "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. 13 "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)