Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17  Lesson 42
Torah Portion Reeh

Deuteronomy 11  (Torah Portion Reeh)

26 Pay attention! I am setting blessing and curse before you right now: 27 the blessing if you obey the Lord your God’s commandments that I am giving you right now, 28 but the curse if you don’t obey the Lord your God’s commandments and stray from the path that I am giving you today by following other gods that you have not known. 29 Now when the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of, put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. (30 Aren’t both of these mountains across the Jordan River, down along the western road in the region of the Canaanites who live in the desert plain, across from Gilgal, next to the Moreh Oak Grove?)

31 So then, once you cross the Jordan River to enter and possess the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you take possession of it, settling down in it, 32 you must carefully follow the regulations and the case laws that I am laying out before you right now.

Deuteronomy 12  (Torah Portion Reeh)

These are the regulations and the case laws that you must carefully keep in the fertile land the Lord, your ancestors’ God, has given to you to possess for as long as you live on that land:

You must completely destroy every place where the nations that you are displacing worshipped their gods—whether on high mountains or hills or under leafy green trees.Rip down their altars and shatter their sacred stones. Burn their sacred poles with fire. Hack their gods’ idols into pieces. Wipe out their names from that place.

Don’t act like they did toward the Lord your God!

Instead, you must search for the location the Lord your God will select from all your tribes to put his name there, as his residence, and you must go there. You must bring your entirely burned offerings, your sacrifices, your tenth-part gifts, your contributions,your payments for solemn promises, your spontaneous gifts, and the oldest offspring of your herds and flocks to that place. You will have a feast there, each of you and your families, in the Lord your God’s presence, and you will celebrate all you have done because the Lord your God has blessed you. Don’t act like we’ve been acting here lately—everyone doing what seems right to them— because up to this point you haven’t yet reached the place of rest or the inheritance the Lord your God is giving you. 10 But you are about to cross the Jordan River and will settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance. Then he will give you rest from all your enemies on every side so that you live safely and securely. 11 At that point, you must bring all that I am commanding you, your entirely burned offerings, your sacrifices, your tenth-part gifts, your contributions, and all your best payments that you solemnly promised to the Lord, to the location the Lord your God selects for his name to reside. 12 Then you will rejoice in the Lord your God’s presence: each of you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites who dwell in your cities because they have no designated inheritance.

13 But watch yourself! Make sure you don’t offer up your entirely burned offerings in just any place you see. 14 No, only at the location the Lord selects from one of your tribal areas—that’s where you must offer up your entirely burned offerings and that’s where you must perform everything I’m telling you. 15 However, whenever you wish, you may slaughter and eat meat, as the Lord your God sees fit to bless you with such in your cities. People who are polluted and people who are purified can join in the feast, as they would if they were eating gazelle or deer. 16 But you must not consume any of the animals’ blood. Pour it out on the ground, just like water.

17 Within your cities you are not allowed to eat any of the following: your tenth-part gifts of grain, wine, and oil; the oldest offspring of your herds and flocks; any of the payments you have solemnly promised; your spontaneous gifts or your contributions. 18 Only in the presence of the Lord your God, at the location the Lord your God selects, can you eat these things—that holds true for you, your son and daughter, your male and female servant, and the Levite who lives in your city. Then celebrate all you have done in the Lord your God’s presence. 19 But watch yourself: as long as you are on the land, don’t forget about the Levites.

20 Once the Lord your God has enlarged your territory, as he promised you, and you think to yourself, I’d like to eat some meat (because you have the desire to do so), feel free to do so whenever you want. 21 But if the location that the Lord your God will choose to put his name is far away from where you live, then slaughter an animal from your herd or flock that the Lord has given you, just as I have commanded you, and eat it in your cities whenever you wish. 22 But be sure to eat it as if it were gazelle or deer. People who are polluted and people who are purified can feast on it together.

23 Furthermore, make sure that you don’t consume any of the blood, because blood is life. You must not consume the life along with the meat. 24 You must not consume any of it. Pour it out on the ground, just like water. 25 You must not consume any of it so that things go well for you and for your children later because you did what was right in the Lord’s eyes.

26 Note that you must bring your sacred offerings and your payments for solemn promises to the location the Lord selects, 27 offering up your entirely burned sacrifices—both meat and blood—on the Lord your God’s altar. The blood from your sacrifices must be poured out on the Lord your God’s altar, but you are allowed to eat the meat. 28 Observe and obey all these words that I am commanding you so that things always go well for you and your children later because you did what was good and right in the Lord your God’s eyes.

29 Once the Lord your God has removed from before you all the nations that you are entering and taking possession of, and you have displaced them and are living in their land, 30 then watch yourself! Don’t be trapped by following their practices after they’ve been wiped out before you. Don’t go investigating their gods, thinking, How did these nations worship their gods? I want to do the very same thing!

31 Don’t act like they did toward the Lord your God because they did things for their gods that are detestable to the Lord, which he hates. They even burned their own sons and daughters with fire for their gods!

32  Everything I’m commanding you, you must do it with utmost care! Don’t add anything to it or take anything away from it.

Deuteronomy 13  (Torah Portion Reeh)

 Now if a prophet or a dream interpreter appears among you and performs a sign or wonder for you, and the sign or wonder that was spoken actually occurs; if he says: “Come on! We should follow other gods”—ones you haven’t experienced—“and we should worship them,” you must not listen to that prophet’s or dream interpreter’s words, because the Lord your God is testing you to see if you love the Lord your God with all your mind and all your being. You must follow the Lord your God alone! Revere him! Follow his commandments! Obey his voice! Worship him! Cling to him—no other! That prophet or dream interpreter must be executed because he encouraged you to turn away from the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, who redeemed you from the house of slavery; they tried to lead you away from the path the Lord your God commanded you to take. Remove such evil from your community!

Similarly, if one of your relatives—even one of your own siblings—or your own son or daughter or your dear spouse or best friend entices you secretly, if someone like that says: “Come on! We should follow and worship other gods”—ones that neither you nor your ancestors have experienced, gods from all the neighboring peoples, whether nearby or far away, from one end of the earth to the other— don’t give in to them! Don’t obey them! Don’t have any mercy on them! Don’t have compassion on them and don’t protect them! Instead, you must execute them. Your own hand must be against them from the beginning of the execution; the hand of all the people will be involved at the end.10 Stone them until they are dead because they desired to lead you away from the Lord your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11 All Israel will hear about this and be afraid. They won’t do that sort of evil thing among you again.

12 Or if you hear about one of your towns the Lord your God is giving you to inhabit, that 13 certain wicked people have gone out from your community and they’ve led the citizens of their town astray by saying: “Come on! We should follow and worship other gods”—ones you haven’t experienced before; 14 at that point you must look into this situation very carefully to see if it’s true. And if it’s definitely true that this detestable thing was done in your community, 15 you must completely strike down the inhabitants of that city with the sword. Place it and all that is in it under the ban. Put its animals to the sword. 16 Gather all the plunder into the middle of the town’s square. Then burn the city and all of its plunder as an entirely burned offering to the Lord your God. It must remain a heap of rubble forever. It must not be rebuilt. 17 Don’t hold on to any of the banned items—this will ensure that the Lord turns from his great anger and is compassionate to you, showing you mercy and multiplying you just like he swore to your ancestors. 18 You must definitely obey the Lord your God’s voice, keeping all his commandments that I am giving you right now, by doing what is right in the Lord your God’s eyes!

Deuteronomy 14  (Torah Portion Reeh)

You are the Lord’s children. Don’t cut yourselves and don’t shave your foreheads for the dead, because you are a people holy to the Lord your God. You are the ones whom the Lord selected to be his own, to be a treasured people out of all other people on earth.

Don’t eat any detestable thing. Here’s a list of animals you are allowed to eat: ox, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, roebuck, wild goat, ibex, antelope, and mountain sheep.You are also allowed to eat any animal with a divided hoof—the hoof being divided into two parts—and that rechews food among the various kinds of animals. However, here’s a list of animals that either rechew food or have hooves divided in two parts that you are not allowed to eat:

the camel, the hare, and the rock badger—because these rechew food but don’t have divided hoofs, they are off-limits for you;

and the pig—because it has a divided hoof but doesn’t rechew food, it’s off-limits for you.

You may not eat these animals’ meat, and you must not touch their carcasses.

Here’s a list of the water animals you are allowed to eat: you can eat anything that has fins and scales. 10 But you aren’t allowed to eat anything that lacks scales or fins. These are off-limits for you.

11 You are allowed to eat any clean bird. 12 Here’s a list of those you are not allowed to eat: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, 13 the red kite, the black kite, and any kind of bird of prey, 14 any kind of raven, 15 the ostrich, the nighthawk, the seagull, any kind of hawk,16 the small owl and the large owl, the water hen, 17 the desert owl, the carrion vulture, the cormorant, 18 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe, and the bat.

19 Also, all winged insects are off-limits for you. They are not to be eaten. 20 Any clean winged creature can be eaten, however.

21 You must not eat any decayed animal flesh because you are a people holy to the Lord your God. You can give decayed animal flesh to the immigrants who live in your cities, and they can eat it; or you can sell it to foreigners.

Don’t cook a lamb in its own mother’s milk.

22 You must reserve a tenth part of whatever your fields produce each year. 23 Eat the tenth part of your grain, wine, oil, oldest offspring of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God in the location he selects for his name to reside so that you learn to fear the Lord your God at all times. 24 But if the trip is too long, because the location the Lord your God has selected to put his name is far away from where you live so that you can’t transport the tenth part—because the Lord your God will certainly bless you—25 then you can convert it to money. Take the money with you and go to the location the Lord your God selects. 26 Then you can use the money for anything you want: cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or whatever else you might like. Then you should feast there and celebrate in the presence of the Lord your God, along with your entire household. 27 Only make sure not to neglect the Levites who are living in your cities because they don’t have a designated inheritance like you do.

28 Every third year you must bring the tenth part of your produce from that year and leave it at your city gates. 29 Then the Levites, who have no designated inheritance like you do, along with the immigrants, orphans, and widows who live in your cities, will come and feast until they are full. Do this so that the Lord your God might bless you in everything you do.

Deuteronomy 15  (Torah Portion Reeh)

Every seventh year you must cancel all debts. This is how the cancellation is to be handled: Creditors will forgive the loans of their fellow Israelites. They won’t demand repayment from their neighbors or their relatives because the Lord’s year of debt cancellation has been announced. You are allowed to demand payment from foreigners, but whatever is owed you from your fellow Israelites you must forgive. Of course there won’t be any poor persons among you because the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, but only if you carefully obey the Lord your God’s voice, by carefully doing every bit of this commandment that I’m giving you right now. Once the Lord your God has blessed you, exactly as he said he would, you will end up lending to many different peoples but won’t need to borrow a thing. You will dominate many different peoples, but they won’t dominate you.

Now if there are some poor persons among you, say one of your fellow Israelites in one of your cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, don’t be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward your poor fellow Israelites. To the contrary! Open your hand wide to them. You must generously lend them whatever they need. But watch yourself! Make sure no wicked thought crosses your mind, such as, The seventh year is coming—the year of debt cancellation—so that you resent your poor fellow Israelites and don’t give them anything. If you do that, they will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin. 10 No, give generously to needy persons. Don’t resent giving to them because it is this very thing that will lead to the Lord your God’s blessing you in all you do and work at. 11 Poor persons will never disappear from the earth. That’s why I’m giving you this command: you must open your hand generously to your fellow Israelites, to the needy among you, and to the poor who live with you in your land.

12 If any of your fellow Hebrews, male or female, sell themselves into your service, they can work for you for six years, but in the seventh year you must set them free from your service. 13 Furthermore, when you set them free from your service, you must not let them go empty-handed. 14 Instead, provide for them fully from your flock, food, and wine. You must give to them from that with which the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember how each of you were slaves in Egypt and how the Lord your God saved you. That’s why I am commanding you to do this right now. (16 Now if your male servant says to you: “I don’t want to leave your service” because he loves you and your family and because life is good for him in your service, 17 then you may take a needle and pierce his ear with it into the doorframe. From that point on, he will be your permanent servant. Do the same thing for female servants.) 18 Don’t consider it a hardship to set these servants free from your service, because they worked for you for six years—at a value double that of a paid worker. The Lord your God will bless you in everything that you do.

19 You must devote every oldest male animal from your herds or flocks to the Lord your God. Don’t plow with your oldest male ox and don’t shear your oldest male sheep. 20 Year after year, you and your family are allowed to eat these animals in the presence of the Lord your God, in the location the Lord selects. 21 But if there is any defect in it, lameness, blindness, any flaw whatsoever, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 You are allowed to eat those in your own cities, whether you are polluted or purified, just as you would eat gazelle or deer. 23 Even so, don’t consume any blood. Pour it out on the ground, like water.

Deuteronomy 16  (Torah Portion Reeh)

Wait for the month of Abib, at which time you must perform the Passover for the Lord your God, because the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt at nighttime during the month of Abib. Offer a Passover sacrifice from the flock or herd to the Lord your God at the location the Lord selects for his name to reside. You must not eat anything containing yeast along with it. Instead, for seven days you must eat unleavened bread, bread symbolizing misery, along with it because you fled Egypt in a great hurry. Do this so you remember the day you fled Egypt for as long as you live. No dough with yeast should appear in any of your territory for seven days. Furthermore, none of the meat that you sacrificed on the first night should remain until morning. You are not permitted to offer the Passover sacrifice in any of the cities that the Lord your God is giving you.Instead, you must offer the Passover sacrifice at the location the Lord your God selects for his name to reside, at evening time, when the sun sets, which was the time you fled Egypt. Cook it and eat it in the location that the Lord your God selects. The next morning you can return to your tents. For six days you will eat unleavened bread. The seventh day will be a celebration for the Lord your God. Don’t do any work.

Count out seven weeks, starting the count from the beginning of the grain harvest. 10 At that point, perform the Festival of Weeks for the Lord your God. Offer a spontaneous gift in precise measure with the blessing the Lord your God gives you. 11 Then celebrate in the presence of the Lord your God—you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites who live in your cities, the immigrants, the orphans, and the widows who are among you—in the location the Lord your God selects for his name to reside.12 Remember how each of you was a slave in Egypt, so follow these regulations most carefully.

13 Once you have collected the food and drink you need, perform the Festival of Booths for seven days. 14 Celebrate your festival: you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites, the immigrants, the orphans, and the widows who live in your cities. 15 Seven days you must perform the festival for the Lord your God in the location the Lord selects because the Lord your God will bless you in all you do and in all your work. You will be overjoyed.

16 Three times a year every male among you must appear before the presence of the Lord your God in the location he will select: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Booths. They must not appear before the Lord’s presence empty-handed. 17 Each one should have his gift in hand, in precise measure with the blessing the Lord your God gives you.

Torah Portion Reeh        Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17  

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