The Missing Letter
This week’s Torah portion is Shelach. But before we delve into that I would like to thank everyone for the positive response we have had to Kosher Pastor. We have had dozens of people signing up for the program from so many different nations, all over the world.
It really seems that in these recent days the Lord is prompting people to dig into the Jewish foundation of their Christian faith. It is so rewarding to see that the work we have put into this program is bearing fruit. So thank you so very much for your interest in Kosher Pastor and if you would like to sign up, there is a link ion this website and we still have our special discount going on, all seven courses for $400.
Now to our Torah portion. I am going to talk about stories, or interpretations, that come from two places in Jewish tradition. The first is from the midrash Rabah and the second from the Talmudic tractate Sanhedrin 107A.
We have talked many times about how people’s names were changed in the bible. Probably the most well known instance of this is Abraham and Sarah who were originally known as Avram and Sarai. God removed the tiniest letter in the Hebrew alphabet from Sarai’s name – the letter yod. In midrash Rabah there’s a very interesting story that when that letter was removed it was left hovering around the divine throne, wanting a place to rest – a place in the Torah.
Since not even a letter can be removed from the Torah, the thinking is that if you remove that yod, it has to go somewhere. Well in this week’s portion we learn about Joshua and Caleb and the report of the twelve scouts/twelve spies. We could go into that God did not command the spies to go out, He only allowed it to happen but that is a teaching for another day, another lesson.
Relevant here is Joshua’s name change. Originally he is called Hoshea or Hoseiah but his name is changed by Moses, at God’s command, to Joshua. But, you ask, how does Hoseiah go, in English, to Joshua. Well, you may have guessed, you add the very smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the yod. So the story goes in the midrash Rabah that the yod is sad that it was removed from the name of the righteous Sarah and has nowhere to go. It hovered around the throne of God, the midrash tells us, until given a home in the new name given to Joshua.
There is another wonderful story in the Talmudic tractate Sanhedrin which says that David came to God and said “who can know my sin? Is there any way, Lord, that you can remove my sin with Bathsheba from the Torah.” He was asking that his sin be taken out of the bible entirely. Sandhedrin says that God said to David that if that one little letter yod could not be removed from the Torah, how much more could I not remove an entire section of the bible. So we find that this tiny little letter doesn’t go anywhere but stays in the Torah.
We have talked of this before and you probably know where I am going. Yeshua himself said not a jot, or from the Hebrew a yod, not one jot/one yod, one least stroke of the pen will pass away from the Torah until all things have been accomplished; until heaven and earth pass away. So not even God can remove even one tiny letter from Torah – taken from Sarah it has to go somewhere.
I think this is a wonderful object lesson for us and even for our young children to say that nothing in God’s word passes away. God’s word stands true and we can count on it, it can be trusted. I hope and pray that as you study God’s word that you remember that it is trustworthy. There are so may things in the world right now that cannot be trusted, but right now is the time when most of all we need to be dependent on God’s word.
Before I close, one more very exciting announcement. Starting this week I will not only be doing the Moreh Minute on YouTube, but will be doing a live teaching with translators in the languages of German, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch. It is amazing the way people the world over are coming to this messianic understanding. May God richly bless those that hear the teachings of God and may they be inspired to kick their faith up a notch.
Shalom and Kol Tuv