Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Life In The Body part 42 – Romans, part 217

Romans 14:15 For if your brother is grieved on account of food, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy by your food the one for whom Messiah died.

It is important to keep in mind, biblically speaking, what “food” is and is not.  Leviticus 11:1 Adonai spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them,  2 “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael, saying: These are the living things which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth.

Similarly, what is edible food from the waters (seas, rivers and lakes) is also identified in Leviticus 11:9-12.  If it has fins and scales, it is edible.  Everything else is bait.  Likewise, birds suitable for food are described in verses 13-19.  This is followed by instruction on eating insects in verses 20-22, although I’ve never been tempted to eat insects.  The last part of the chapter provides more answers regarding clean and unclean for those who are tempted to find exceptions to God’s instructions.

So then, what does Paul mean by writing our subject verse?  Remember, the Bible is primarily a Jewish book.  Paul was a Jewish man who kept kosher.  He’s writing this in an effort to avoid “endless disputations” about what is kosher and what is not.  He is especially concerned that we not fight over how kosher is kosher, which (as I wrote previously) can be a never ending striving to be perfect.

Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about Torah, for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Dismiss a quarrelsome person after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a person is twisted and is sinning—he is self- condemned.

Paul is telling us to walk “according to love.”  Striving is not loving.  2Timothy 2:23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they produce quarrels.  Paul goes on to describe the perfect outcome.  2Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s slave must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, tolerant. 25 Let him give guidance with humility to those who are in opposition—perhaps God may grant them a change of mind, leading to the knowledge of truth. 26 Then they may regain their senses and escape the devil’s snare, in which they had been held captive by him to do his will.

That’s why the congregation of God’s people is never perfect, it’s full of people we hope and pray will “regain their senses,” of course present company excepted.  Simply put, there is a blessing for those who obey God, both in this world and the next.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Wed 22-Nov-2023 9th of Kislev, 5784
Ge 30:14-27 Jdg 20 Ps 41 Mk 1:21-45 (1 Co 1)