Rabbi’s Reflections -Sunday, September 26, 2021
To Stop or Not Stop Beating Hearts – Part 1 by Dr. Raymond Finney
INTRODUCTION: Abortion is probably the most divisive activity in America. We Believers should show great empathy and Yeshua-inspired love for any pregnant woman who seeks an abortion and for any woman who has had an abortion.
You probably have seen bumper stickers, which read: “Abortion Stops A Beating Heart.” This slogan may have helped form the caption for legislation enacted in several states, including Texas.
The “Heartbeat Bill,” enacted in Texas and left standing by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), has created considerable controversy. This bill makes abortions illegal if performed after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected (approximately the sixth week of gestation). The “Heartbeat Law” significantly limits and better defines the January 22, 1973 Roe vs Wade and Doe vs Bolton SCOTUS decisions. These decisions have become the legal foundation for approximately 63-million unborn babies’ deaths in the United States.
Liberal Washington politicians, including president Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have vowed to overturn the Texas law. Pelosi promises to “enshrine into law” the Roe vs Wade decision. Interestingly, both Biden and Pelosi claim to be devout Roman Catholics, even though the Catholic Church opposes abortion. Biden, a very visible Roman Catholic during the election season, recently announced he does not agree with the Catholic Church’s dogma on abortion.
SIDELIGHT 1: The Roman Catholic Church has consistently condemned abortion– the direct and purposeful taking of the life of an unborn child. Catholic Christians, at least in theory, believe that all life is sacred from conception until natural death, and the taking of innocent human life, whether born or unborn, is morally wrong. The Church teaches: “Human life is sacred from its beginning because it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is, rightfully, its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right to directly destroy an innocent human being” (Donum vitae, 5). END sidelight 1.
SIDELIGHT 2: (several paragraphs long) Abortion creates at least two victims. One victim, of course, is the baby, who is killed in barbaric fashion. Another victim will be the baby’s mother. She may suffer post-abortion syndrome, plagued by guilt, depression, and other adverse symptoms for many years.
A pregnant woman’s decision of whether to have an abortion may be the most difficult decision she will ever make. The pregnant woman is often young and may have no one (mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, husband, or other loved one) with whom to discuss her decision. Many young, pregnant women make this decision in lonely silence, discussing the decision only with abortion clinic personnel ($$$$$$– cash payment in advance, thank you). Although the decision may be hurriedly made, regret may linger for years.
Readers of this RR should demonstrate great empathy for these women victims. I have been involved to some degree with the pro-life movement for years. One criticism I have of pro-lifers is that some can be rigidly judgmental. Each of us will be judged by Yeshua (John 5:22, Hebrews 9:22, Revelation 20:12, and other verses). We are not to judge each other, as taught by Yeshua (Matthew 7:1-5): “Stop judging, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, the beam is in your own eye? Hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
When speaking to a pregnant woman who is considering abortion, only speak out of love and compassion. See her and her baby through eyes that have the beams removed. She knows, by her unplanned pregnancy, that she has acted imprudently. She does not need to be reminded (she probably thinks of little else); she does not need to be criticized (she probably has repeatedly re-lived the errors and lapses in judgment that led to her pregnancy). END sidelight 2.
SIDELIGHT 3: Because abortion is so common, it is almost a statistical certainty that women in our congregation have had abortions and that men in our congregation have impregnated women who have had abortions. Scriptures teach:
● All of us have sinned in various ways (Romans 3:23): … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Even the Apostle Paul lamented that he continued to sin, even though he tried not to do so (Romans 7:15-20).
● God has provided a way for forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22): And nearly everything is purified in blood according to the Torah, and apart from the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
● The blood shed for our forgiveness is Yeshua’s blood spilled on the cross at Golgotha (which is the essence of the New Covenant under which we now live).
● Our Father will forgive us our sins, beginning through confession of those sins to Him (1 John 1:9): If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
● Guilt is a Satanic emotion instilled in us to rob us of the joy of life and prevent service to others, as our Creator intends. If you have guilt about your involvement in an abortion, resolve that guilt right NOW! If you need help with lingering guilt, please contact Rabbi Weiner. (Rabbi’s note: I will always enlist the help of a 3rd person, usually a woman and usually my wife, when asked to minister to a single woman.) He will show you how to relieve yourself of guilt by accepting Yeshua’s offer to help you bear your burden (Matthew 11:28-30): [Yeshua said] “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and ‘you will find rest for your souls.’ For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” END sidelight 3.
I write this RR to discuss some excuses people may offer to justify abortion and guidance from the Holy Scriptures to define or refute these excuses. The listed Scriptures are only samples. I can think of other Scriptures, as you surely may, too. The Holy Bible is replete with instructions for the defense of life.
Millions of words have been written about this subject. A good summary, although a little dated (2020), prepared by the National Right to Life Committee is “The State of Abortion in the United States,” whch may be read at: www.nrlc.org/uploads/communications/stateofabortion2020.pdf .
EXCUSE– ABORTION IS NOT MY PROBLEM:
Woman: “Abortion is not my problem. I’ve never had an abortion. I’m not pregnant now.”
Man: “Abortion is not my problem. I’ve never caused a woman to have an unplanned pregnancy.”
Either man or woman: “Abortion is not my problem. It’s a problem that only a pregnant woman must solve. She alone must choose to abort or not abort.”
● (Psalm 82:3-4): Give justice to the poor and fatherless. Be just to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
● (Proverbs 24:11-12): Rescue those being dragged off to death, hold back those stumbling to slaughter. If you say, “Look, we didn’t know this.” Won’t He who weighs hearts perceive it? Won’t He who guards your soul know it? Won’t He repay each one according to his deeds?
● (Proverbs 31:8-9): Open your mouth on behalf of those unable to speak, for the justice of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, plead the cause of the poor and needy.
● (Isaiah 5:20): Oy to those who call evil good and good evil, who present darkness as light and light as darkness, who present bitter as sweet, and sweet as bitter!
● (John 13:34): [Yeshua said] “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another.”
● (John 8:12): Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – AND – (Matthew 5:14a): [Yeshua said] “You [My followers] are the light of the world….”
● (Galatians 6:2): Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you fulfill the Torah of Messiah.
LESSON TO BE LEARNED: While it is true that a pregnant woman has the primary responsibility for the baby growing in her belly, another life– the life of her unborn baby– is also at stake. Her decision (abortion versus carrying the pregnancy to term) may be the most difficult, gut-wrenching decision she will ever make. Unfortunately, she may need to make this decision at a young age and often make it almost in isolation (mom, sisters, aunts, and others are often not involved). The rest of us– Believers– should non-judgmentally support her through Yeshua’s love.
EXCUSE– “MY BODY, MY CHOICE:”
Woman: “I own my body. No man or government can tell me what to do with my body, or choose what I do with my body. What I do with my body is my choice– and my choice alone.”
● (Proverbs 14:12): There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
● (Psalm 24:1): The earth is Adonai’s and all that fills it– the world, and those dwelling on it.
● (Psalm 100:3): Know that Adonai, He is God. It is He who has made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
● (Romans 12:1): I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice– holy, acceptable to God– which is your spiritual service.
● (1 Corinthians 3:16-17): Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that the Ruach Elohim dwells among you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
● (1 Corinthians 6:19-20): Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
LESSON TO BE LEARNED: Each person’s body, whether that body is a woman’s body, a man’s body, or a baby’s body in the womb, ultimately belongs to Adonai. Created by Elohim (God), a body is as sacred as a temple built for God. Anything done to God’s “temple” should be done in a manner pleasing to Him. When we harm a human body, we desecrate a temple of Adonai.
EXCUSE– “IT’S NOT A BABY; IT’S JUST TISSUE:”
Woman: “The abortion clinic told me ($$$$$) the product growing in my womb is just a collection of cells or a blob of tissue, not a baby. I can have an abortion, since I’m not destroying a human being. By the way, it’s ‘science,’ you know.”
● (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7): Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness! Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the flying creatures of the sky, over the livestock, over the whole earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the land.” God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. |…| Then Adonai Elohim formed the man out of the dust from the ground and He breathed into his nostrils a breath of life– so the man became a living being.
● (Exodus 21:22-23): [Adonai said] “If men fight, and hit a pregnant woman [and] any harm follows, then you are to penalize life for life,….”
● (Psalm 139:13-16): For You [Adonai] have created my conscience. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am awesomely, wonderfully made! Wonderful are Your works– and my soul knows that very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was unformed, and in Your book were written the days that were formed– when not one of them had come to be.
● (Isaiah 42:6): [Thus says God, Adonai] “I, Adonai, called You in righteousness,….” – AND – (Acts 17:25): Nor is [God] served by human hands, as if He needed anything, since He Himself gives to everyone life and breath and all things.
● (Jeremiah 1:4-5): The word of Adonai came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I set you apart– I appointed you prophet to the nations.”
● (Isaiah 49:1, 5): Listen, to Me, islands! Pay attention, peoples far away. Adonai called Me from the womb, from My mother’s belly He named Me. |…| So now says Adonai, who formed Me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel back to Him. For I am honored in the eyes of Adonai and My God has become my strength.
● (Genesis 25:22-23): But the children struggled with one another inside [Rebekah], and she said, “If it’s like this, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of Adonai. Adonai said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from your body will be separated. One people will be stronger than the other people, but the older [Esau, father of the Edomites, Arabs] will serve the younger [Jacob, father of Israel].”
● (Matthew 1:18, 22-23): Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah happened this way. When His mother Miriam was engaged to Joseph but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Ruach ha-Kodesh. |…| Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai through the prophet [Isaiah], saying, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”
● (Luke1:36): [Gabriel said to Mary] “Behold, even your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son in her old age; and the one who was called barren is six months pregnant.”
LESSON TO BE LEARNED: A new being, a zygote, is created in the split second a half cell (23 single chromosomes) from the mother’s ovum unites with a half cell (23 single chromosomes) from the father’s spermatozoon. This new being (23 chromosome pairs) is unique, priceless, and irreplaceable. You are completely individualized (unique fingerprints, unique DNA, and so forth). There will never be another you. I think God made each of us so individualized that we can know that each person is special, even when living in a world with billions of other humans. This new being is (you are, a baby is) created in the very image of Elohim (God). God has plans for all of His children, even while still in their mothers’ wombs. Who is man, that he dare interfere with God’s plans?
I will complete this brief series next Sunday. Until then, Shalom and Maranatha.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 26 Sep 2021 20th of Tishrei, 5782 Sukkot VI
De 33:1-7 Nu 29:26-31 Mal 1-2 2 Ch 35 (Ac 27) Rev 21