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Shabbat Message

 The Power of Your Words

How important is it to G-d when you make a promise?  What's the difference to G-d between a promise and a vow you make?  What are the consequences of broken promises?  Rabbi Jim answers these questions in this teaching from Joshua 9:10 given on October 17, 2015.

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Weekly Torah Portion


 November 15 - November 21, 2015  

Kislev 3 - Kislev 9, 5776

Torah  Genesis 28:10-32:2

Haftorah  Hosea 12:12-14:10

B’rith Hadoshah  Matthew 3:13-4:11

(Click the links above to read Passage)


« Finding purpose, following the call | Main

Surviving betrayal

Parasha Korach (Numbers 16-18)

You will get stabbed in the back at least once in your life.

Sorry to be so blunt, but one is usually blindsided by betrayal. I mean, if you knew it was going to happen, you would do something about it, right? The real twisting of the knife is that it usually comes from one whom you would least expect:  Someone you trusted, someone who was supposed to watch your back, maybe even someone to whom you gave your heart. Instead, he or she was unfaithful. Some get stuck in the shock, pain, anger and bitterness.  

While such an experience will always be painful, knowing that it will occur can help you prepare for it so that when it does happen, you know how to respond and not get derailed by the experience. We can get great insight from Moses, who was stabbed in the back many times by the Israelites as he led them from Egypt to the Promised Land. While there were times he thought about leaving the ungrateful lot on the back side of a sand dune, he usually managed to rise above it. The Korach Rebellion is a prime example.

The uprising was the brain child of a Levite named Korach and his friends, Datan, Aviram and On. They resented Moses’ leadership and his brother Aaron’s position as high priest and recruited 250 of the Israelite’s top leaders to join their cause. Forgetting that God appointed Moses and Aaron to their positions, the group approached the pair and asked:  What makes you so special?

How did Moses react? Instead of wrapping his staff around their necks and twisting, he immediately fell on his face, probably in dismay and desperation. Here’s betting that he begged God for self-control and a plan of action.

Once he got that, Moses confronted Korach, pointing out the real reason for his rebellion was envy for what he saw as a better position, rejecting the job that God gave him. Moses puts into action the principle Yeshua later gave us to deal with those who offend us: "…Go and show him his fault—but privately, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he doesn't listen, take one or two others with you so that every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Matthew 18:15-16, Complete Jewish Bible)”

To bring real reconciliation, it is best to confront the other person after spending time praying for the other person to get a heart of truth, love and forgiveness. It is possible that the other person may not realize you were hurt. Approaching the other with anger and revenge can only make the situation worse.

Moses also trusted God to vindicate Aaron and himself. He told Korach, Datan and Aviram to join Aaron before the Tabernacle, and God would choose who was holy. In what the airline industry would certainly call an act of God, the ground opened and swallowed the three rebels. No trip reimbursement for them. Fire from the Lord torched the other 250 men.  

Moses also prayed for God’s mercy in the situation. Where God brings justice, he also brings mercy. After having His hand bit, so to speak, by the Israelites numerous times himself, God wanted to rid himself of them. Would you really destroy them all for the sin of a few, asked Moses. Thinking that was a good point, God saved the community.  

He even spared one of the lead offenders. While On initially joined Korach in standing against Moses, he did not appear before the Tabernacle, leading one to believe that he repented of his rebellion. As a result, he and his family lived.

As Moses prayed, we can pray for God’s mercy on the one who offends us. The other person may act out of his own wounds. Maybe he had been betrayed himself and needs healing. As you felt his sin most deeply, you are the best one to intercede for him. And if he finds that healing, you will experience the greatest joy.

If the other person doesn’t change, that’s okay too. If nothing else, you will find forgiveness and freedom so you will be able to move on to all that God has for you. 

 By Donita Painter

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