Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, February 24, 2023
(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

Exclude Boasting – Romans, part 34

Romans 3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. By what principle? Of works? No, but by the principle of faith.

This subject verse brings another verse to mind….  2 Timothy 2:15 Make every effort to present yourself before God as tried and true, as an unashamed worker cutting a straight path with the word of truth.  Let me explain why I believe a proper understanding of what this means is potentially difficult.

First, to what “boasting” is Paul referring?  It is very common among Torah observant Jewish people to make proud declarations regarding their level of observance.  For instance, how kosher is kosher?  If you don’t know, there are plenty of Jewish people who won’t eat in their own mother’s kitchen (where they grew up) because she doesn’t follow all the (extra) rules of their current rabbi.  There is kosher and there is Glatt Kosher.  https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3234466/jewish/What-Does-Glatt-Kosher-Mean.htm

How can a tomato be unkosher?  I’m glad you asked.  If it is delivered to a supermarket on a Sunday, that’s how.  If it is delivered to a restaurant or a supermarket on a Sunday, it might have been picked on a Saturday, making it unkosher.

Add to this, the separation of meat and dairy, forcing the necessity in some homes to have two refrigerators, two sinks, even two dishwashers.  In every orthodox kosher home there are two sets of dishes and silverware.  Which one to use?  Depends if the meal is dairy or meat.  No meal is ever both.

Then there is the issue of how long to wait between eating dairy and meat.  Remember, you can follow dairy with meat (except for certain hard cheeses), but never follow meat with dairy, unless you wait.  https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/133896/jewish/Waiting-Periods-Between-Meat-Dairy.htm

And, trust me, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg (ice can be unkosher too).  There are rules about gentiles touching foods to be eaten by Jews.  Which hands touch a food can make it unkosher.  My point in explaining all of this is to show the propensity for boasting to which Paul is referring.  Paul simply states, “It is excluded.”

He then concludes the verse by stating that boasting is not excluded based on works, but by faith.  Works can never boast, because there is always someone with a higher level of observance.  This is getting a little long, and I want to bring it to a close, so let me share two principles.

Let the Holy Spirit instruct you concerning obedience to God.  And secondly, don’t measure yourself against others.  There is always someone better and someone else who is worse.  I know, you want me to back these two recommendations up with Scriptures, don’t you.  Well, here you go.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Ruach ha-Kodesh whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything that I said to you.

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding.   

Shabbat shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Fri 24-Feb-2023 3rd of Adar, 5783
Ex 27:1-8 2 Ki 20 Ps 145 Jn 17 (Heb 2)