An Expose on The 613 Commandments of Torah

 The Torah is full of commandments given by G-d to the people of Israel for the following purposes:

 1. To separate Israel from the other nations in order to:

                A. Make Israel a kingdom of priests to the world
                B. Foretell the first coming of the Messiah

 2. To guide us into knowledge of:

                A. G-d and His kingdom
                B. Birthing of the children of HaShem into His kingdom
                C. Instructing us how to operate in the Spirit Realm
                D. Revelation of HaShem; past, present and future

 3. Reveal the plan of the ages

 4. Prepare the way for the second coming of Messiah

 5. Show the reasons for the discipline of mankind.

 The rabbis extracted the 613 commandments from the Torah with some good intentions.

  • To hold our people together as a nation without a homeland

  • To prevent the twisting of Scripture by those who are less knowledgeable 

  • To build a fence around the Torah to prevent the nation from breaking it accidentally 

  • Avoid fracturing the nation even more in the absence of the priesthood and a king

  • To bring the whole nation into obedience to the Torah believing that it will cause Messiah to come

  • There is a mystical reason for the number 613 that is off target in my opinion

However, the plan backfired. Our people have become so frustrated in attempting to please HaShem that a majority of them do not even keep the basic simple instructions of the Torah any more. When looking at the list of 613 commandments, one becomes overwhelmed. They begin to feel that it impossible to please G-d by following His commandments. 

If the Torah’s commandments were to be so overwhelming that we cannot keep them then why did Moshe tell us, “11Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14) We know that Yeshua our Messiah came from heaven to give us the ability to please HaShem. (John 1:1-13) Now that we have his spirit in us we can comply with the commandments and please the Father. Through the new covenant of Yeshua we have the Torah written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The assembly of the  “613 commandments” removes obedience from understanding HaShem and His intention for us. It also makes the people dependant on the rabbis to learn how to keep HaShem’s commandments “properly”. Everyone I know who has begun detailed study of the 613 commandments has given in to the spirit of anti-messiah, the same spirit that drives our Jewish people to reject Yeshua. Every one of them left Zion saying, “I’ll never give up Yeshua my Messiah” but every one of them have given him up.

 If we have to go to the rabbis to learn how to keep the commandments, then why did Moshe tell us, “11Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”

 Rav Shaul tells us, “29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:29) And again, “6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:6) And “6Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)

We know that “the letter” (of the law) is a reserved phrase that indicates the rabbinic interpretations and instruction for keeping the Torah. Yanki Tauber wrote a book called, Beyond The Letter of The Law. It is based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. In it he shows how the Talmud and oral traditions passed down through rabbi Judah the prince is what is called “the letter of the law”. In his book he takes us “beyond the letter of the law” by exploring the hidden meanings of the rabbis as found in the Mishnah’s Ethics of the Fathers.

What I am trying to say is that when we become dependant on learning the teachings of the rabbis so we can be able to please HaShem we are denying the power of the Ruach HaKodesh to bring us into all truth (John 14:15-27). If we are not careful we will be guilty of denying the blood and grace of Yeshua the Messiah, redeemer of mankind.

It is my sincere desire that our people learn that G-d has provided a way for us to be pleasing in His sight. Yeshua died to give us “the mind of the messiah” so we can be obedient to His laws. At the same time, we do not need a list of the 613 commandments to find out if we are pleasing Him or not. All we need to do is study the Torah and trust the Ruach HaKodesh to guide us into all and perfect obedience.

 Messianic Rabbi David Markel Hall

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