Study and Test the Entire Bible in a Year, Every Year
– Week 48 –
One ancient name for the book of Deuteronomy is Mishnah HaTorah (משנה תורה), which means “repetition of the Torah.” This is similar to the Greek Septuagint name Deuteronomos, which means “second law.” The English name Deuteronomy is derived from Deuteronomos.
The book of Deuteronomy is dominated by Moses’ farewell address to the children of Israel as he urges them to remain faithful to the covenant and prepares them for entering Canaan. During the course of the book, Moses reviews the story of the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the trip to the Promised Land, reiterates several laws of Torah and introduces new laws. The book seems to follow the general pattern of an ancient Near Eastern covenant treaty document.
You shall not hesitate to give, nor murmur when you do give; because you shall know who is the good repayer of the hire. You shall not turn away from him that is in want, but you shall share all things with your brother, and shall not say that they are your own; for if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal? Didache 4:7-8
This week’s Bible Study is called “Judges”, or in Hebrew Shoftim (שופטים), The plural of Shofet, judge. Sefer Shoftim (ספר שופטים), the Hebrew name for the Book of Judges.
. . . . Continue the Scripture study below.
You will also find study guides by chapter and advanced study of the original languages [including from ancient Jewish and Christian writings] following the Bible study outlines and Biblical texts. While it is our belief that many of the letters of the New Testament were originally written in Aramaic and/ or Hebrew, the Greek texts are used for study even when there are known Hebrew manuscripts (eg. Mathew and Hebrews).
This Week’s Bible Audio, Outlines & Study Guides
A Prophet is Promised
- English Text/ Audio: Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
- Hebrew Interlinear and audio
- Deuteronomy 16:18 | Municipal Judges and Officers
- Deuteronomy 16:21 | Forbidden Forms of Worship
- Deuteronomy 17:8 | Legal Decisions by Priests and Judges
- Deuteronomy 17:14 | Limitations of Royal Authority
- Deuteronomy 18:1 | Privileges of Priests and Levites
- Deuteronomy 18:9 | Child-Sacrifice, Divination, and Magic Prohibited
- Deuteronomy 18:15 | A New Prophet Like Moses
- Deuteronomy 19:1 | Laws concerning the Cities of Refuge
- Deuteronomy 19:14 | Property Boundaries
- Deuteronomy 19:15 | Law concerning Witnesses
- Deuteronomy 20:1 | Rules of Warfare
- Deuteronomy 21:1 | Law concerning Murder by Persons Unknown
Prophets & Writings
Ma Navu: The Song of Salvation
- Isaiah 51:1 | Blessings in Store for God’s People
- Isaiah 52:1 | Let Zion Rejoice
Writings Outline- (None this week)
Gospels & Letters
Yeshua’s Trial Begins
- English Text/ Audio: Matthew 26:47-27:10
- Greek Interlinear and Audio
- Mathew 26-27 | Jesus/ Yeshua Delivered to Pilate
- Hebrews 3 | Jesus/ Yeshua’s superiority
- James (Jacob) 4 | The only law giver
This Week’s Bible Study Commentary
The commandment for the kiI young to write a copy of the Torah demonstrates the work of Messiah. He Himself is the Word made flesh. He is the copy of the Torah in human form. Furthermore, He writes a copy of the Torah as He writes the Torah upon our hearts. The Torah of King Messiah is written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3).
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus/ Yeshua, the Messiah appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Moses said,
‘”YHVH your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to him you shall give heed, to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'” (Acts 3:19-23)
Moses told the children of Israel that YHVH would one day raise a prophet “like me from among you, from your own countrymen” (Deuteronomy 18:15). This promise could be understood in two ways. According to Rashi it refers to the succession of prophets who would speak to Israel. Rashi explained that God would raise prophets like Moses “from prophet to prophet.” YHVH did not leave Israel without a prophetic voice. He raised a line of prophets, beginning with Joshua, the servant of Moses and extending all the way to John the Immerser, as Scripture says,
“For all the prophets and the Torah prophesied until John” (Matthew 11:13).
Contrary to Rashi’s opinion, the passage does not literally speak of a succession of many prophets. Deuteronomy 34:9-10 proves that the promise of a prophet like Moses was not referring to Joshua. Even after Joshua was filled with the prophetic spirit, the Bible still says that no prophet like Moses had yet arisen:
Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. (Deuteronomy 34:9-10)
Therefore the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18 could not have been referring to Joshua or any of the prophets who followed him. Instead, it refers to a single prophet whom God would raise up in the future. That man would be a prophet like Moses “whom YHVH knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10).
What would a prophet like Moses look like? He would need to be a prophet who heard directly from God, like Moses did. He would need to be a redeemer of Israel, like Moses was. He would need to be a man of unsurpassed humility, like Moses was. Who is this mysterious prophet? The prophet like Moses is none other than the Messiah. The apostles understood the prophecy of the prophet like Moses to refer directly to Jesus/ Yeshua.
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Yeshua, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses. (Hebrews 3:1-3)
Remember when Jesus/ Yeshua broke the whole Covenant instructions down to 2 laws? This was nothing new:
Rabbi Simiai taught: There were 613 mitzvot (commandments) stated to Moses in the Torah, consisting of 365 prohibitions corresponding to the number of days in the solar year, and 248 positive mitzvot corresponding to the number of a person’s limbs. Ray Hamnuna said: What is the verse that alludes to this? it is written: “Moses commanded to us the Torah, an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob” Deuteronomy 34:4). The word Torah, in terms of its numerical value [gimatriyya], is 611, the number of mitzvot that were received and taught by Moses our teacher. In addition, there are two mitzvot: “I am the Lord your God” and: “You shall have no other gods” (Exodus 20:2, 3), the first two of the Ten Commandments, that we heard from the mouth of the Almighty, for a total of 613. Makkot 24a
So we see there are traditionally 613 commandments in the Penteteuch/ Torah, of which, at least 100 of them are “repeats”. In an ancient dialogue between Jewish sages we see that these were not just a checklist of things to do, even in Judaism as we will see. Many in Judaism understood that these were principles to evolve into the image of YHVH. He continues:
King David came and established the 613 mitzvot upon eleven mitzvot, as it is written: “A Psalm of David. Lord, who shall sojourn in Your Tabernacle? Who shall dwell upon Your sacred mountain? He who walks wholeheartedly, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. Who has no slander upon his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up reproach against his relative. In whose eyes a vile person is despised, and he honors those who fear the Lord; he takes an oath to his own detriment, and changes not. He neither gives his money with interest, nor takes bribe against the innocent. He who performs these shall never be moved” (Psalms, chapter 15). Eleven attributes that facilitate one’s entry into the world-to-Come appear on this list. Makkot 24a
We see that the sages knew that of all the commandments, they could be hung on 11 attributes and summed up the Torah of YHVH. Rabbi Simlal’s exposition continues commenting Micah and quoting Isaiah:
“He who walks righteously, and speaks uprightly; he who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands from holding of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing blood, and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil” (Isaiah 33:15).
The Rabbi continues:
Micah came and established the mitzvot upon three, as it is written:
Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
So in this procession he is arguing that if you can do these three things you are cultivating a heart to manifest the image of YHVH. And then he widdles it down further:
Isaiah then established the 613 mitzvot upon two, as it is stated: “So says the Lord: Observe justice and perform righteous-ness” (Isaiah 56:1). Makkot 24a
Amos came and established the 613 mitzvot upon one, as it is stated: “So says the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek Me and live” (Amos 5:4). Rav Nahman bar Yitzhak objects to this: ” There is no proof that the verse in Amos is establishing all the mitzvot upon one; say that Amos is saying: Seek Me throughout the entire Torah, as the verse does not specify the manner in which one should seek the Lord. Rather, say:
Habakkuk came and established the 613 mitzvot upon one, as it is stated: “But the righteous person shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). Makkot 24a
These were seen as essences of the Torah. So we see this backdrop that you won’t find preached from any mainstream church because the church knows nothing about the Jewishness of Jesus/ Yeshua. These discussions were well-know when the pharisees asked Yeshua:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Mt 22:36
We think that Jesus/ Yeshua came to bring something new and to do away with the commandments. When in fact, that just isn’t what the New Testament teaches.
More in the “advanced” sections below.
This Week’s Hidden Aleph-Tav’s
In the Hebrew Scriptures there are hidden aleph-tav’s [את] that aren’t usually translated into English. But they are very enlightening when we read them in the Hebrew, especially because Jesus/ Yeshua said He WAS the aleph-tav. The את identifies covenant peoples, persons, places, things and titles pertaining to the ownership of property by יהוה Father through את Yeshua our Messiah. As you move through the Laws of Liberty (Torah) notice where the את is placed and where it is not placed. Paul declares in Romans 7:12 the TORAH (nomos) is Holy and the Commandments are Holy (Set apart), Righteous (Just) and Good (of Benefit). Following are the aleph-tav’s [את] we find in this week’s study:
In Deut 17:9 after someone is found worshipping other gods he is to be brought before the Levites who, will show you את sentence of judgment…implying the judgment and sentence will come from את…and if that man is found guilty he will be put to death as verse 12 indicates, because he does not listen to the judge or the priest who stands to minister before את יהוה your Elohim…implying the Levites minister before both את יהוה your Elohim (Yah-head).
In Deut 17:14-19 regarding the appointment of a King it is commanded that the King should write his only copy of Torah and states; so that he may learn to fear את יהוה His Elohim, to keep את all the words of this Torah and these statutes and to do them…implying both את יהוה are ONE who should be feared equally.
Deut 18:16 Moses recounts what the people said at Mt Sinai after hearing the 10 Commandments which states; do not let me hear את voice of יהוה my Elohim again…implying that it was את voice of who יהוה my Elohim who spoke to them from the fire on Mt Sinai. We must keep in mind Moses knew את voice when he heard Him speak, for Moses had spoken with Him intimately for years. There would be no fooling Moses on who was speaking but for us today, it remains somewhat a mystery whether it was both את and יהוה together who spoke or only את who spoke. Regardless of who spoke they worked as ONE by ONE SPIRIT communing by thought and are never separated from that communion.
Deut 19:9 states; If you will keep את all these commandments and do them, which I command you this day to love את יהוה your Elohim…implying we are to love by obeying the commandments of את יהוה your Elohim just as Jesus/ Yeshua said “if you love me, keep my commandments”.
According to James 4:12 Yeshua is the lawgiver. It was את Yeshua who gave the Torah at Mt. Sinai.
For Deeper Language & Learning
In this section, we appeal to all believers to dig DEEP into the Bible, as well as the commentaries of the “Jewish sages” and “church fathers”. We point out Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts of Scripture including what has been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. We search through many historical writings and even compare other religions to the Bible in an appeal for unity in Truth and exposing the error in all religions. We have hundreds of resources in our free app so that people can see for themselves what these ancients texts say rather than depending on a preacher.
In the Gospel of Mark, we encounter a baffling episode,
“He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him. He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything. He looked up, and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees walking.” Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly…” Mark 8:22-26
Several questions arise:
Why did Yeshua use spittle?
Why did Yeshua seemingly need a “do-over” to heal the man?
What does it mean that the man saw “men like trees” walking?
Among biblical interpreters, this episode is said to pass the “Criterion of Embarrassment.” This is an interpretive principle among critical scholars to attest to the authenticity or originality of a story in the Bible. The argument here is that early believers in Yeshua would not have invented a passage that records Yeshua needing a ‘second try’ at healing. Earlier in the Gospel, it is recorded that Yeshua was unable to do many miracles in Nazareth,
“Yeshua said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house.” He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people, and healed them. He marveled because of their unbelief. He went around the villages teaching…” Mark 6:4-7
This seems to imply, at least in some cases, that the measure of healing that a person receives is based on their capacity to receive it by emunah (faith). If YHVH is the Power, the Tzaddik (righteous one) becomes the Power Outlet, an interface to connect to YHVH. However, if one doesn’t “plug in” they will be unable to receive what Power is in store for them.
In examining our questions above, we can look to the writings of Chazal and the Sages of the Jewish people. How is this possible, one may ask, as the Sages never wrote a commentary on the Gospels!?
Actually – they did, but indirectly. The Gospels are structured to be intrinsically connected to the Torah, Writings and Prophets, like Branches to a Trunk. When we realize this, we can trace the roots of the Gospels to the Torah, and watch the Sages illuminate the meaning, from beginning to end, from Torah to Gospel. Paul says in Romans 3,
“Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Because first of all, they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Romans 3:1-2
PRI HA’ETZ | FRUIT OF THE TREE
“When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them; for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of you? Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it fall.” Deuteronomy 20:19-20
The prohibition for cutting down a fruit-bearing tree is explained by the Rambam, R’ Moshe ben Maimon, also called Maimonides,
“When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them, for you may eat from them (20:19) One who breaks vessels, tears clothes, demolishes a building, stops up a spring, or disposes of food in a ruinous manner, transgresses the prohibition of lo tashchit. (do not destroy)”. Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 6, cited at Chabad.org
The question of “for is the tree of the field Man…?” is unusual. This passage says something stranger when translated literally,
כי האדם עץ השדה
“For man is a tree of the field…”
Man is a tree of the field? What does this mean, and what is the connection between a “tree” and a “man”? R’ Ari Kahn comments,
“The Ibn Ezra, understands the text in a … literal, straightforward sense: Man’s destiny is intertwined with the larger ecological reality. If man destroys a tree, in a sense he is destroying himself. Thus, the verse is interpreted as an equation of man with the fruit-bearing tree.” R’ Ari Kahn, M’oray HaAish, Trees are People Too, Aish.com
Rebbe Nachman says vegetation is the connecting element in Creation,
“There are four levels of creation: mineral, vegetable, animal and human. The level of vegetation binds all creation together as it draws its nourishment from the land (mineral) and sustains the higher levels of animal and human.” Likutey Halachot V, cited in Rebbe Nachman’s Torah, Volume III, pg. 300
So what is the deeper meaning of “The Tree of the Field is a Man?”
THE IMAGE OF A TREE
It is fascinating how a higher life form such as a human derives his/her sustenance from lower levels of creation. Every word that proceeds Deuteronomy 8. Interestingly, the gematria of the word tree/etz is equivalent to the word image/tzelem:
עץ = צלם = 160
160 = Image = Tree
This links to Genesis, where YHVH created Adam in his own צלם tzelem, “image.”
“God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
In many ways, if Adam is like a Tree, then in some way, YHVH’s Attributes are also like a Tree. R’ Nosson Weisz says,
“According to the Maharal, the subject of the rhetorical question at the end of the verse is man, not trees; it is people who are being compared to trees, rather than trees to people. Trees put out branches, twigs, and flowers and they ultimately provide fruit that nourishes the hungry. Similarly, man is expected to be productive and labor to produce fruit. The fruit that only man can grow and the nourishment that only he can supply is moral behavior, and the pursuit and attainment of knowledge to add to the world’s store of knowledge and wisdom.” Rabbi Noson Weisz, Mayanot, Trees of Life, Aish.com
R’ Avraham Saba, writing in his Torah commentary Tzror HaMor, says,
“The Torah forbids absolutely to totally uproot fruit bearing trees is that in some way man and tree are alike, uprooting a tree is equivalent to destroying its “soul.” Although the “soul” of the tree is, of course, not comparable to a soul that was given to man by G’d Himself, nonetheless the sap that courses through its trunk is similar to the lifeblood of a human being, and since it poses no threat to man, destroying it totally is considered as unwarranted…According to a Midrash (Midrash Tannaim, page 123) the comparison between a fruit-bearing tree and a human being here draws attention to man’s “fruit” being the commandments and good deeds he performs while alive, a tree’s “good deeds” are the actual fruit it produces.” Tzror HaMor, R’ Avraham Saba, Shoftim, translated by R’ Eliyahu Munk, Lambda Publishers, Volume V, pg. 1928-1929
One of the most important aspects of connecting to HaShem is teshuvah, repentance. John the Immerser preached repentance to Israel, and likened trees to men, and deeds to fruit,
“Don’t think to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. “Even now the axe lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.” Matthew 3:7-10
Yeshua echoes these statements in his Rabbinic method of teaching, through a mashal, a parable,
“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none. He said to the vine dresser, ‘Behold, these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and found none. Cut it down. Why does it waste the soil?’ He answered, ‘Lord, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it, and fertilize it. If it bears fruit, fine; but if not, after that, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9
R’ Bachya ben Asher in his Torah commentary references Tracate Taanit in the Talmud as an allusion to this concept,
“Our sages in Taanit 7 interpret the words “for you eat from it,” as an allusion to the Torah scholars whose words of Torah are comparable to the fruit yielded by fruit-bearing trees. If such as Torah scholar does not conduct himself in the manner a Torah scholar should, abandon him.” R’ Bachya ben Asher, Shoftim, translated by R’ Eliyahu Munk, Lambda Publishers, Volume 7, pg. 2603
Yeshua warns sternly,
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:15-20
“Blessed is the man who trusts in YHVH, and whose trust YHVH is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, who spreads out its roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat comes, but its leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8, cf. Luke 23:31
Pirkei Avot says,
“He used to say, “Anyone whose wisdom is greater than his works, to what can he be likened? To a tree whose branches are abundant, but its roots are few, and the wind comes, and uproots it, and overturns it. And anyone whose works are greater than his wisdom, to what can he be likened? To a tree whose branches are few, yet its roots are abundant, though all the winds come upon it, they cannot move it from its place.” Pirkei Avot 3:22
The Shelah, R’ Isaiah Horowitz, sees a deeper meaning into the mitzvot surrounding a war against a city,
“When you lay siege to a city, etc.” (20,19) This refers to a small city, i.e. the battle against the evil urge which has not yet become a major threat. The various details described in this passage may be viewed as metaphors for the measures to be taken to cleanse oneself spiritually.” Shelah, R’ Isaiah Horowitz, Parashat Shoftim, translated by R’ Eliyahu Munk, Lambda Publishers, pg. 1173
In the Psalms it says,
“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree. He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in YHVH’s house. They will flourish in our G-d’s courts. They will still bring forth fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and green, to show that YHVH is upright. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Psalms 92:12-15
With this background, we can now begin to answer our original questions,
Why did Yeshua use spittle?
Why did Yeshua seemingly need a “do-over” to heal the man?
What does it mean that the man saw “men like trees” walking?
The Talmud speaks of the healing aspect of the spittle of a firstborn,
“There is a tradition that the spittle of the firstborn of a father is healing…” Bava Batra 126b, Soncino Press Edition
Psalm 89 says,
“He will call to me, You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation! I will also appoint him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. I will keep my loving kindness for him forevermore. My covenant will stand firm with him.” Psalms 89:26-28
The Midrash states,
“SANCTIFY UNTO ME ALL THE FIRSTBORN (XIII, 1). R. Nathan said: The Holy One, blessed be He, told Moses: ‘ Just as I have made Jacob a firstborn, for it says: “Israel is My son, My firstborn” (Exodus 4:22) so will I make the King Messiah a firstborn, as it says: ‘I also will appoint him firstborn (Ps. 89:28).” Exodus Rabbah 19:7, Soncino Press Edition
Yeshua is the “Firstborn” over Creation and of the dead resurrected,
“[the Son]…is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For through him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:15-18, cf. Hebrews 1:6, Revelation 1:5
Perhaps He “over-healed” the man’s eyes? He allowed him to see the spiritual reality that “Adam Etz HaSadeh”, Man is a Tree of the Field. The Jewish Annotated New Testament comments,
“This depiction of a two-stage healing may anticipate the two-stage reception of Jesus’ messianic identity: the disciples have a lack of clear vision (they understand Jesus is the “messiah,” but they don’t know what the term means and they only grasp the full reality later, after Jesus’ death…” The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Mark 8, pg. 76
This two-stage revelation is an important feature in Jewish Aggadah regarding the appearance of the Messiah. In Ezekiel 37 we read of two sticks fusing into one. The word for “stick” or “wood” is Etz, which is the same word translated as “tree,”
“Thus says the Lord YHVH: ‘Behold, I will take the stick of Yosef (etz Yosef), which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them with it, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand.” Ezekiel 37:19
Kol HaTor, written by R’ Hillel Shklover writes,
“…at the beginning of the Redemption, when the wood of Yosef and the wood of Judah are “pieces of wood in your hand, ” when they are still divided into two, on the level of the awakening from below. At the time of the complete redemption, however, when the two pieces of wood have become “one in My hand” (the hand of God), then the meshichim will be like two inseparable friends; they will have become one, they will have become the King Mashiach who is on the level of the trustworthy friend of the final redeemer, Moshe Rabbeinu, may he rest in peace.” Kol HaTor, Chapter 2, Section 2, 1, translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist, pg.70
R’ Hillel Shklover continues,
“(Ez. 37:19) the wood of Yosef – This refers to Mashiach ben Yosef for the entire Redemption depends on the unification of the two pieces of wood: the wood of Yosef and the wood of Judah (as it states in this chapter). They are the two meshichim: Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David, who at first, i.e., when the Redemption starts naturally from below, will be separate individuals in “your hand” [Ez. 37:17]. Afterwards, they will become one in “My hand” [Ez. 37:19], the hand of God – that is, miraculously, with the help of the clouds from Heaven.” Kol HaTor, 2.101, translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist, pg. 81
Amazingly, the gematria of the word “etz Yosef” equals “Yeshu” the name Yeshua of Nazareth is known today in Israel,
עץ יוסף = ישו
Etz Yosef = Yeshu
ETZ CHAYYIM – THE TREE OF LIFE
The Midrash Tanchuma comments on our Torah portion,
“…you are to offer it peace” refers to the Messianic king, Mashiach, who will offer them peace, [as it states] “And he will offer peace to the nations, and his rule will be from sea to sea.” Midrash Tanchuma, Parashat Shoftim, translated and annotated by R’ Avrohom David, Volume VII, pg. 210
The Soul of the Tzaddik (Righteous One) is like a great Tree, that contains all 600,000 neshamot (souls) of Israel. Rebbe Nachman says,
“The students share the same spiritual root as the master, although they are dependent upon him like branches on a tree.” Rebbe Nachman, Likutey Moharan 66:1A, Volume 8, Breslov Research Institute, pg. 67
The Breslov commentary says,
“We find in the writings of the Ari that all souls are rooted in the soul of the tzaddik, with the tzaddik being like the trunk of a large tree and all his followers its different branches, twigs and leaves (see Shaar HaGilgulim p 83-88).” Breslov Commentary on Likutey Moharan
Rebbe Nachman says,
“…He is the encompassing root of all Jewish souls, and they are the extensions that receive from him.” Rebbe Nachman, Likutey Moharan 34:2, Volume V, Breslov Research Institute, pg. 51
In John 15, Yeshua likens himself to a vine, vegetation, the connector of the upper and lower worlds, the spiritual source of the branches, the disciples:
“I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:
One amazing concept that the New Testament repeatedly teaches is bitul, self-nullification. Not my will, but your will be done. It is not I that live, but Messiah in me. We can become extensions of Messiah, who is the extension of YHVH, in order to create a unification of the Divine Name, a marriage between Bridegroom and Bride, a union between Above and Below, Heaven and Earth, finally becoming One. We must reconnect to the Branch of David, who is also his Root, as Yeshua the Messiah says,
“I am the Root and the offspring of David…” Revelation 22:15-16
This amazing understanding, if one is given the eyes to see it, completely transforms the Bible and lines everything up to give us a true understanding of not only Scripture, but also prophecy. It is impossible to understand the book of Revelation without it. It is also impossible to understand our true identity as believers, as the Remnant of the last days. See below the timeline of the history of the 2 houses, Israel and Judah.
To be grafted in to the Tree Paul describes as the commonwealth of Israel, the 2 houses becoming one household of God as we read in Ephesians 2.