By Joseph Shulam
The Torah Portion (Parasha) of this Shabbat is Ki Teze – Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19. One of the first instructions given in this portion of the Torah is the attitude of a father who has two wives toward his children. The case is not simple. This man has two wives, he loves the one and dislikes (or loves less) the other. His first born was born to the wife that he loved less and obviously his first-born son falls under his mother’s status. What will this father do in relationship to the inheritance? Does the father have the right to give his inheritance to the son of his beloved wife? Can he deny his first-born son the inheritance because he is the son of the wife that he loves less? Here is what the Torah says: ““If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn, but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the first fruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.” (Deuteronomy 21:15–17 ESV)
I find this Torah instruction extremely righteous. The right of the first born son cannot be a willful act but it is an inherent right that is immutable and if the man loves the mother of his first born son less than he loves his second wife, it still does not give him the right to give his inheritance to the son of the wife he loves more. Of course, today in the Christian World two wives are not permitted, and in the Jewish world only on very extreme and difficult conditions will the Rabbis permit a person to marry a second wife. One of the few cases for such a permit would be if there are small children at home and his wife is mentally ill for a prolonged period and hospitalized and totally dysfunctional. In a case like this the Rabbinical court could give this man a permission to marry a second wife because he would not get a permission to divorce his first wife that is ill. In Biblical times two wives were common and sometimes more than two wives where not a rare sight. All our patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many of our biblical heroes like King David had more than one wife. Not now, men have become wiser they learned from experience that one wife is enough. So, although we don’t have two wives, we do have children and sometimes our children are more obedient and respected and other children are wilder and less obedient. It would not be rare for a father to leave his inheritance to the child that is more obedient even if he or she are not the first born. The Torah comes to instruct us that we must not treat our children by our own measure of judgement of like and dislike, but according to the law of God and honor the first-born child above our own personal likes. We must do everything possible to treat our children with equality and not show preference to one over the others. It is true that naturally one might be more amicable toward one or the other child, but from this Torah principle we learn that preferring one of our children on the others will bring a disaster. Through all the Biblical story we see families where the father or the mother preferred one child over the other and we in Israel are still eating the humble pie as a result even up to today. Just think of Rebecca and Isaac. Rebecca preferred Jacob over Esau and now thousands of years later the children of Esau are still hating the children of Jacob. Think of Jacob making the same “mistake” and preferring Joseph over his 11 brothers – how deep a hate was created between the brothers. Yes, we also learn that God can use our “mistakes” and make good out of our weaknesses, but even than there is a price that is paid for our weakness in observing God’s instructions.
Marcia will be flying today from the Los-Angeles to Israel through London. Please pray for Marcia to have an easy flight and arrive home safe and sound.
Please pray for Danah and Noaam. Marcia was with them a whole month and I know that she was an immense help for Danah and Noaam. Now they are left along again and must cope with each other and with the difficulties of work and school and the strain and difficulty of being a single mother of a teenager. Please pray for Danah and Noaam and for Barry and Beth and Joey. It is hard to be far from the family.
The situation with Iran encroaching close to the Israeli border from Syria and supporting the Hezbollah in Lebanon and in Syria with rockets and modern Russian and North Korean weapons is a very serious situation. We pray for the LORD to intervene and use His power to confound the enemies of Israel with His own means. We have seen God act in the Bible against the enemies of Israel and we know that HE can do it. We just pray that Israel will see the grace of the LORD in action and fulfillment of His promises to our forefathers that we will dwell in this land in peace and security fulfilled soon in our own days.
I received a special prayer request from Michael and Dina from Florida. Michael asked us to pray for his family. This family needs divine intervention. Intercession is a ministry that I feel very privileged to participate. The only way that we can feel the depth and the breath of the Body of the Messiah is by praying and caring for brothers and sisters the world over.
Pray for the people of South East Texas, Houston specially. We have brothers and sisters there and we need to pray for them and for all the citizens of that part of Texas. The power of God is demonstrated by nature and those who believe that God is the Creator of the World must have a two-path approach: We must thank God for everything because only He knows the why and the wherefore. We also must empathize for those who are suffering the consequences of God’s powerful judgment on the earth. As the Psalmist said it: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Psalms 57:1 ESV)
The young leaders of our ministry in Israel are doing such a wonderful job leading and teaching and planning and feeding the poor, and blessing students learning in the institutions of higher education in Israel, and raising the next generation of young people to walk in the faith. I ask you to pray for the Roeh Israel congregation in Jerusalem, and for the Roeh Israel Congregation near Helsinki, Finland, and for the Har Zion Congregation in Belo-Horizonte, and for the Sar-El congregation in Curitiba, and for the Hesed Ve’ Emet congregation in Victoria and for the brothers in Nokia, and Kangasala, Finland. For brothers in Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, Bulgaria, and the United States. All these who pray for Jerusalem and for Israel and for the Restoration of the Church and Israel and support both by prayer and finances the Lord’s Work.
Pray for the State of Israel to open the doors for the lost Jews who are victims of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition. According to scholars in Brazil, Portugal, Israel and England, there are several millions of those lost Jews that were forced to convert to Catholicism between 1472 and 1821. Many of these people want to come home both spiritually and physically and we need them here in Israel. I don’t write too much about this but today I had a fine family from Europe who has been deeply committed to this issue and now I feel obligated to share this burden with you and tell you that I know that the Lord is working “Deus Ex-Machina” behind the curtain. He needs our support in prayer and in every other way that we can help this prophetic promise become a reality in our day. Please pray!
Our dear Sister Nancy H., is still very weak and waiting for the results of her tests to know what further treatment she will need. We are praying for the Lord to save Nancy from more difficult treatments and to quickly give her strength and energy to resume her normal life. The same prayer request is for our dear sister Bida in Belo-Horizonte. We have seen the hand of God move mercifully in these two sisters and we are asking for more mercy for them and their families. We have been praying for Nancy’s elder son, Aaron who has an inoperable cancer in the head. Please don’t forget to pray for Aaron. He needs to see the Hand of the LORD move mightily in his own life.
Please continue to pray for Katherine Neel, she is a young mother and wife of dear friends of our family and she too has brain cancer and needs intense prayer for healing.
Please continue your prayer for Gary from our congregation in Jerusalem. Gary needs a miracle cure from the Lord. He and Melanie his wife are strong and full of hope. We beg God to show his mercy and goodness to this fine family in Jerusalem.
Continue to pray for Ruby. We need to pray for Ahuva, Yuri, Ilana, Leah, Miriam, Victor B., David S., Miriam Sh., Keijo and Salme L., Anna-Majia, Erkki and Sirpa, Tim Tucker, Satu-Maria and her daughters, Kari A., Anna-Maja, Sarit, Daniel P., Takeo and Tomoko, Toru, Sadako San, Curita Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, in the USA please pray for Bobby M., Aaron H., John M., Liz Johnson, Marcia’s family especially her father and mother. We pray for Tineke who is living in Holland and is a young lady that has that dreadful illness and needs God’s mercy for healing.
For brothers in Brazil, we ask you to pray for the following healing needs: Paulo, Naomi, Clara, Evelyn and Marcelo’s father and especially his mother.
We have fine brothers around the world who need guidance and blessings in their work and business. These are brothers who have sacrificed for the Kingdom of God and now ask for the Lord to bless them so that they can continue to bless the Body of the Messiah and Israel: R. Goh family and their son Gabriel who is going to study in Italy. Pray for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Kenzevic, and Daniel L., and his family and company. We pray for the success and prosperity in their life and companies. Pray for David a dear brother in Finland. I pray that the Lord will give him a good job that is just specially preserved for David and will fit his needs and his family needs like hand in glove.
Pray for Roger W., and his family. They are traveling and need God’s protection and blessing.
We appreciate and bless our brothers in Asia. We all thank God for this grace and ask the Lord to bless all the participants and especially all the organized the Asia Messianic Forum in Taiwan and all those who have given us such wonderful hospitality. I pray for all those who attended the AMF2017 from nine different Asian countries to take the joy and the burden of Restoration of both the Church and Israel back to their home countries and make it a blessing for their own ministries and countries and for us in Israel.
God bless all of you who pray for Netivyah and stand with Netivyah both in spirit and in the material support. May the good Lord fulfill all His promises and blessings for standing with us in Jerusalem and for blessing Israel!