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In Parashat Yitro, the Lord descended in the cloud, and we are told, י וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵךְ אֶל-הָעָם וְקִדַּשְׁתָּם הַיּוֹם וּמָחָר וְכִבְּסוּ שִֹמְלֹתָם: יא וְהָיוּ נְכֹנִים לַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי כִּי | בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִשִׁי יֵרֵד יְהוָֹה לְעֵינֵי כָל-הָעָם עַל-הַר סִינָי: 19:10 The Lord also said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; 19:11 and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. (NASB) The Lord tells Moshe to “consecrate” (וְקִדַּשְׁתָּם) the people using the root word קדוש meaning to make them “holy” to “set them apart.” The Lord called for the people “to purity” themselves. What does this mean to purify yourself? Based upon the Scriptures, this is related to cleansing and purifying the body, the mind, the heart, and the soul. To consecrate (set apart) the body is synonymous to conquering the flesh which means as a child of God, we must serve the spirit as opposed to the desires and wants of the flesh. This related to walking in God’s ways of righteousness, justice, and truth, to serve the Lord God of Israel, and to overcome the earthly desires. Paul wrote in Galatians 5 that serving the Lord God is to put in our hearts love, faithfulness, gentleness, peacefulness, joy, self-control and righteousness. The consecration of the body therefore is related to the Torah command and to overcoming the flesh, conquering the desires of the flesh, which Paul lists in Galatians 5 as greed, envy, lust, deceit, pride and immorality. To consecrate or make holy your mind, is having the ability to make righteous judgments based upon our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Here we are called to discern the differences between the Yetzer HaRa and the Tetzer HaTov. The idea here is godly wisdom which comes from the Lord God of Israel is pure and powerful, while earthly wisdom is lowly and wicked. Therefore it is our goal to seek the wisdom which is from above. In order to do this, we study God’s Word on a daily basis. In the studying of God’s Word, we receive His instruction in wisdom which purifies, sets apart, sanctifies our minds, and the way we think. The next step in the concentration process, is to put God’s Word into practice (that which comes forth from the heart). The act of consecration does not come simply by purifying our minds. We need to value and stand for righteousness, justice, and truth in our lives. The point is we will not understand the things of God if we do not practice them. It is unfortunate how the theologies today have spiritualized God’s word. To purify our hearts means that we must “do” acts of love towards others and towards God, which is what it means to be faithful, humble, and repentant. This means that we need to actually depart from evil and turn from the practice of sinning, lying, immorality, and iniquity. This is what it means to perform Teshuvah (repentance) and to live a life of repentance daily. We are called as His people to leave the evil things so that we can gain spiritual understanding. This understanding is coupled to practicing God’s Word and testifies to the Spirit of God in our hearts where we bear His testimonies by the way we live our lives. Consequently, studying God’s Word and putting it into practice purifies our heart and the way we feel. These things are possible only with the help of the Lord which lead us to be changed from the inside out, to have a pure soul in the sense that we are to have a pure life and a pure personality, where our entire being is holy (both in what we think and in what we do). We are called to purify our ways of thinking and feeling, that is coupled to purifying the way we live. i.e. What we decide in our minds is futile if it is not coupled to our actions. Therefore, we must not just temporarily do godly things we must also practice them continually. Was this what the Lord meant when He told Moshe to “consecrate” (וְקִדַּשְׁתָּם) the people using the root word קדוש meaning “to make them holy” or “to set them apart?” This purity the Lord is looking for, is to have a pure spirit within, and a pure mind that is coupled to holy actions. We are told 19:14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. (NASB) Note the cloths we wear are analogous to how we live our lives in righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth (Revelation 19:8) putting on the testimonies of God in our lives. Let’s discuss what it means to consecrate our lives further in this week’s Torah portion.

 

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