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ב׳׳ה


צניעות

Tzniut  Lessons


INTRODUCTION


Modesty Meekness Chastity


The Lessons We Learn From Adam And Eve


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC


Books And Other Information By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk


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Dr. Akiva Gamliel and Rebbetzin Revi Belk



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Every course at B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC is FREE

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Dear friends, some of us perhaps wonder why we have issues at home, at work, with our spouse, our children our parents, and perhaps with people we think are our friends and so forth. There are reasons that we have issues. I have issues. Each of us has issues. Are you open to admitting that you have issues? So, we all have issues. How do we deal with our issues? 


The base of our issues has to do with our relationship with The Lord God. Our relationship with God reflects on how to take care of ourselves. The Torah teaches us how to take care of ourselves in a most excellent way. The Torah teaches us.  Are willing to learn? 


Our discussion is going to preview the great value of a tzniut life. The Torah Teacher, scholar and philosopher, Rashi defines this as The Path of Modesty.


A modest, humble discrete individual is distinguished by virtuous characteristics. A distinguished individual is appropriate, proper and suitable for every circumstance. A distinguished individual avoids inappropriate, indecent communication and immodest clothing.


A virtuous individual is one whose pattern of living has good, desirable moral standards.


How we live and how, we present ourselves is a choice that is founded within us.  How do we take care of ourselves? Do we want to be respected? Do we want to be appreciated?  Do we want to be regarded and valued and esteemed?


The Lord God is our Creator. Each of us was created in Gods Spiritual Image, Genesis 1.27. Our Creators Breath gave us life. We are created from the very best dust of the earth. We were gathered and formed by The Lord God from the dust surrounding The Holy Altar. We are special. This is our physical home. When we die, our body returns to the earth.


Our goal is to live up to our potential. We have The Lord God's Spirit within us, so we do not lack for potential. I understand, sometimes we do not feel or think we are special. And we may feel like our potential is limited. This is not unusual. This is the human part of us.


Life's struggles are between The Spiritual part of us and The human part of us. Our Sages teach that humankind was created from the dust surrounding the Holy Altar.  This tells us the location of our home. We were created from the place where atonement is made. We who are kids... we who are children Fashion by The Lord God sometimes need to go home to be reassured and to be comforted. Our home is the location of the Holy Altar. The altar is a symbol of our place of communication with the Lord God. When we have struggles between The Spiritual part of us and human the human part of us, we can talk to God. God answers us through The Torah. We have questions for The Lord God we find the answers in The Torah. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Jerusalem the Eye of the Universe, {New York, N.Y. Publishers: National Conference of Synagogue Youth / Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, 2002} pp. 13,14



We are heavily impacted by the human side. 


In this Weeks Parshat, The Torah Informs us that Eve did not assert herself when she was confronted by the serpent. Why? Humankind was made master over all of the animals, beasts fowl, etc.  creation including the serpent.


Adam did not get involved. He was standing near Eve watching and listening.


Appropriately Assertive

Being appropriately assertive is an important lesson to learn from the history of our parents failure. The word history is significant. I say history because if we are not careful, History repeats itself. However, history does not need to repeat itself.  The Lord God included Adam and Eve's failure in The Torah for a purpose. It is to teach us to be appropriately assertive.


Associations

Who do we associate with? Where do we 'hang out?'  Who do we keep company with? Who are our associations? Inappropriate associations lead to problems.  When we have an appropriate associations, we do things that later we are sorry for. We need to be very careful with those we communicate. Adam and Eve were hanging out with the serpent.



Responsibility

It is a mistake to think the responsibility in The Garden was only Adam's. The responsibility of guarding the Garden was shared. Let's return to a principle of Bible Interpretation that I shared in the discussion Forbidden Unions. The principle is Everyone is accountable to The Lord for the Instructions He Gives. We could also establish this point on equality. I discuss equality in my book, Eve of Creation Restored.


Genesis 2.16 - 17

And The Lord God Commanded The Man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.


The Torah clearly states that 'The Lord God Commanded The Man'. Nothing is said of Adam's wife, Eve on his children. 'The Lord God Commanded The Man' Yet, In Genesis 3.16 - 17 Eve is judged by The Lord God. She is punished for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord God Instructed the Man yet the wife was also accountable. This is a principle. Everyone is accountable to The Lord for the Instructions He Gives. The Lord is accountable, Adam is accountable, Eve is accountable, and all creations is accountable. 


How could a just God Judge Eve if she was not equally accountable?


The Torah Informs us that God is Holy. Humankind fails to understand that being Holy is also being accountable. The Lord God is Holy. The Lord God is accountable to Himself. Being Holy and being Accountable has more than one side. One is not only accountable for their actions, but one is accountable for the actions of others. This means we are accountable to hold others responsible for their actions. The Lord God Held Eve accountable for her actions.


Why is it necessary for The People of Israel to learn and know all 613 Mitzvot of The Torah? Please think about this! No one can Observe each of the 613 Mitzvot of The Torah yet each of us is responsible to learn the Mitzvot and to know them. There Observance just for the High Priest. There Observance just forThe Priests. There Observance just for the Levim. There Observance just for Kings. There Observance just for a Nazirite. There Observance just for farmers. There Observance just for women. There are Observances just for wives. There are Observances just for men. There are Observances just for Husbands. There are Observances just for Husbands and wives. There are Observances just for children. There are Observances for Sabbath. There are Observances for each High Holiday.  There are Observance just for live stock.  There Observance just for lost animals.  There are Observance just for the Holy Temple.  There are Observances just for the Holy Place in The Holy Temple.  There are Observances just for the Land of Israel.


Dear friends, ignorance of a Mitzvot cannot be used as a reason to violate a Mitzvot of The Torah!! We are required to learn and to know all 613 Mitzvot to Observe Them. We Observe them by holding each other accountable. When one lives in a Jewish Community, each member of the community is being constantly held lovingly accountable by the other members of the community. When one is sick, the community lovingly assists. When one is hungry, the community lovingly assists. When one is lonely, the community lovingly assists. 


When I was a single man every Sabbath and High Holiday one or more members invited be to join them at their Sabbath or High Holiday table table.  Hundreds of time I joined members of the Jewish Community for a Sabbath / High Holiday meal. In a small congregation, it would not be unusual to receive a half dozen invitations on Sabbath Eve or Sabbath day. When I lived outside of the Jewish Community, I walked into the community for Sabbath prayers. When Sabbath concluded men from the community made sure I had a ride home. 


We are discussing being accountable. God is Accountable. God Does Not Sin! Other religions state God through The Holy Ghost impregnated Mary, the wife of Joseph. The Lord God did NOT do this. Why? Mary was the wife of Joseph. The Lord God is Accountable to HimSelf. Therefore, The Lord God would not do this. Did The Lord God Hold David accountable for taking Bathsheba? Did the Lord God send The Novie / Prophet Nathan to say to David, 'You are the man'? 


When men from the army of Israel would go to war,, they would write a decree of divorce for their wife. The purpose for the decree was to allow their wife to remarry if they were missing in action. Uriah wrote a divorce decree For his wife, Bathsheba. Technically speaking Bathsheba was a divorced woman. Yet, the purpose for The Divorce Decree was not to permit Bathsheba to marry David. Still, this is what happened. The marriage between Bathsheba and David was technically legal. David's intent was wrong! Some of David's actions were wrong. 2 Samuel 12


2 Samuel 12.9 - 11

Why have you despised The Commandment of The Lord, to do evil in His Sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10   And therefore the sword shall never depart from your house; because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. 


The Lord God is Holy. Because The Lord God is Holy, He holds us accountable for The Observances of The Torah. In this sense, The Lord God is also Accountable. The Lord God Does NOT sin. Because The Lord God is Holy He Holds us accountable. The Lord God sent the prophet Nathan to inform David that he was being held accountable for his soon.What did David do? He took the wife of Uriah for his wife. He impregnated Uriah Wife. 


The Lord God Judged David for his improper action. What David did was wrong in the eyes of The Lord and according to The Torah. Therefore, The Lord God would never take Mary, the wife of Joseph. This is how principals in The Torah Work. The Lord God looked upon the intent as well as the wrongful actions.


Responsibility

The Torah clearly states the purpose the Lord God placed Adam In The Garden.

Genesis 2.15

And the Lord God took everything from the Aleph to the Tav of the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ and to Guard it.


Eve's purpose in being in the Garden was the same purpose as Adam's. Humankind was placed in The Garden to guard it. The Word וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ Voo Lih Shaw Mih Raw means 'And to Guard it'. Many translation uses 'Keep it'. The root Word שָׁמְרָ Shaw Mih Raw means 'To Guard'.  Eve had a responsibility to The Lord God. Eve had a responsibility to herself.  Eve had a responsibility to Adam.  Eve had a responsibility to the serpent.  Eve had a responsibility to every being living in The Garden. 


Remember we are discussing being Tzniut / Modest. We have a responsibility to the Lord God, to ourselves, to our spouse, to the members of our family, to our community, and to the world just as Eve had. Our service to God is important. Our self-worth is important. How we are esteemed by our spouse, our children, our relatives, our community is important.


Passivity

Let's discuss Adam briefly. Adam is also responsible for the exact same areas as we discussed for his wife Eve. Just because we are discussing Eve does not mean Adam is any less responsible. Adam is equally responsible! Adam had the opportunity to stand up but he didn't! Adam had the opportunity to get involved, but he did nothing. He just let his wife, Eve sin. He let it happen. He stood by and did nothing! He was passive! He accepted what was happening without an active response! Adam could have made a difference. 


Adam was appointed to lead by The Lord God. Adam was appointed and established to Guard The Garden of Eden. Adam failed to lead. Adam failed to take charge. What did The Lord God Say to Adam? The Lord God Said to Adam, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it...,' Genesis 3.17 - 18. Please show me in The Holy Scriptures where Eve spoke to Adam. Eve did not speak to Adam. Eve spoke to the Serpent. Adam listened to the voice of his wife, Eve speaking to the serpent. 


Adam was NOT punished for listening to the serpent!! Where does Adam was punished for listening to the serpent? The Torah does not Say this. 


1. Adam was punished for listening to the voice of his wife.

2. Adam was punished because he violated a Command from The Lord God.

Adam ate from the tree The Lord God Commanded him not to eat from.


What did Eve say? We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God Has Said, 'you shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die,' Genesis 3.2 -3.


God did not say 'You shall not touch it' Eve added these words to the Command that the Lord God Gave. Adding to an Observance is a problem. Attributing the words, 'You shall not touch it' is an issue. Again Adam was passive. He knew what The Lord God Said. He knew the Lord God did not say, 'You shall not touch it', but he did not say a word. Adam heard Eve's voice and did nothing. It may seem so small and insignificant to us, but it's HUGE! Why? Eve altered the intended meaning and purpose. Eve changed the absolute Command, 'You shall not eat of it.'  No reason was given why they should not eat it. God Commanded. That's it! When Eve added, you shall not touch it the Mitzvah was changed. A new impression is given. By adding 'you shall not touch it,' Eve gave the implication 'It's poison!'  , 'you shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die', A rational person might think the reason the Lord God Said, 'You shall not eat of it.' is because the tree is position. Even changed the intent from one of being Observant to what The Lord God Commands to being health conscience. Don't eat it because it's poison. Rabbi Menachem Davis, The Shottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash Bereishis / Genesis, {Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. First Edition 1st impression 2007}, p 16


David wrote in Psalms 19 that The Torah of the Lord is perfect. If one Letter is changed, then The Torah of The Lord is no longer perfect. Eve's action may have been well intended, but she changed Letters and Words. Eve altered a Mitzvot of The Lord God. We are to pass the 613 Mitzvot of The Torah on exactly as the Lord Said them. We are not permitted to change even one Letter of The Torah.  Can you imagine what The Torah would be like if we were permitted to change a little here and a little there over 5776 Years? What would The Torah be like today if we had had NOTHING valuable to pass on to our children. The reason we have issues with Observance of  Tzniut is because we do not understand or believe The Words of The Torah are sweeter than honey from the honey comb and more valuable that the finest gold. If we truly believed this, we would alter how we live.


The Lord God is Teaching us we cannot be passive when it comes to The Torah. We must be preserved The Torah in It's original condition. A passive individual feels like I can take The Take what the Torah is Teaching today and tomorrow I may pass on what The Torah is Teaching. The Lord God Called Adam out for not stepping up and standing up in defense of what The Lord God Said.


Dear Friends, we must remember Adam was a King, Torah Teacher and Judge. Adam was not Created to be a passive king, a passive Torah Teacher or a passive judge. Being passive was an obstacle Adam faced. Each of us has obstacles we must face and work to improve.


Communication

Giving and receiving communication is one of the important functions of living. How we give and how we receive communications is extremely important. If we give an individual the wrong impression, we are misleading them. If we are frank, perhaps our frankness may hurt another individuals feelings. If we are not appropriately assertive, we may be taking advantage of. Our existence is dependent upon the communication we give or refrain from giving.In a similar way, we need to be very with the communication we receive. It is vital for us to learn the power of giving and receiving communication properly. A distinguished individual avoids inappropriate, indecent communication. 


Our communication has a power of giving life or death.


Proverbs 18.21

'Death and life are in the power of the tongue...'


We have the power to communicate encouragement or discouragement.


Proverbs 25.11

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.


We have the responsibility to guard ourselves against the wrong type of communication. In America, we have a phone, 'No Call Lists' for a reason. Skilled communicators phone us. We answer the phone. Our guard is down. They use their communication skills to sellers products.


Guarding Ourselves

Being careful with our selection of clothing helps us to guard ourself. The purpose of our clothing is to cover our body. A distinguished individual is appropriate, proper and suitable for every circumstance. This begins with the clothes we select. When we prepare to dress is it important for us to take into account our responsibility to God, our self, and others. Remember if we do not hold ourselves accountable, God will hold us accountable. 


There are other ways we guard ourself. I don't answer the door just because someone knocks. I Don't answer the phone just because someone calls. I don't respond to every email. I eliminate pictures from my computer screen. These are ways we can protect ourselves.


Internet dating sites are dangerous. They have predators! The Internet is dangerous. The internet can provide instance access to evil, vile, wretched predators. Adam and Eve let the serpent into their home. They let the serpent into their lives. The serpent was a predator. The Torah describes the serpent as being 'more cunning'. Read Genesis 3.1.


Predators

Each of us must be careful. We are vulnerable to predators. God Help us! Kah Naw Nah Haw Rah! Adam and Eve were covered by The Glory of God yet they were vulnerable. The serpent got to them! The Torah is Teaching us that our power of choice is very great. Predators are cunning. Predators know the power of choice is great. The Torah and The Glory of God do not protect us from our power of choice. The Torah Teaches us to make the right choices. Following the Torah is our choice!


When the Torah Informs us that Adam and Eve were naked, The Torah is Informing us that we are vulnerable. Read Genesis 2.25. 


The Holy Scriptures reminds us that a righteous man may fall seven times yet, he gets back up and continues. See Proverbs 24.16


The point is, it's easy to be caught off guard. Even the best of us sometimes error. It is necessary to be very careful!


Emunah

We must have implicit Faith in The Lord God and The Teachings of The Torah!! What did the serpent do? The serpent questioned Eve. Questions open doors! The serpent used a question to challenge what God Said. The serpent lied!  The serpent mischievously reinterpreted what God Said, for his own advantage. He lied. Eve looked upon the forbidden tree and lusted. Eve sinned. She took the f forbidden fruit. It did not belong to her. She stole.  She became a thief. She took what did not belong to her. Then she offered her stolen fruit to Adam.


After Eve ate the fruit and after Adam ate the fruit The Torah informs us that her eyes were opened. Dear Ones after we sin, and after we make mistakes, it becomes so clear to us. Our eyes are opened. 


Forgive Ourself

We may feel like the mistakes we have made are so foolish. We are ashamed of our errors. We don't want anyone to know. We blame ourselves. We blame others. We may put ourselves down. We put others down. Our errors can take us in so many wrong directions. Making mistakes can be depressing. Mistakes can lead us to make more mistakes. Adam separated from Eve for 130 years. Adam was righteous. Eve was righteous. On the other hand their son, Cain, was evil, defiant, rebellious, disobedient and a murderer! During the time, Adam separated from his wife because he was so angry Cain populated the earth with people like him. One sin led to others.


Forgive Others

Eventually, Adam forgave Eve. They had many more children. Each of us is descendants of these children.


Adam and Eve were punished for their sins. Then The Lord God Forgave them. How can any of us ask The Lord to forgive us on Rosh Chodesh and Yom Kippur if we are unwilling to forgive others?  We must avoid the actions of saying we forgive yet living like we forgave nothing.



The purpose for this Learning Group is to help us to learn these principles about Modesty in The Torah so that we can be the esteemed and distinguished individuals The Lord God desires us to be. The choice is ours. What will we choose?


Are we going to believe God?  Do we desire to please God or ourselves? We are just beginning to learn the rewards of being Tzniut / Modest. We learned methods on how to protect ourselves. We learned that when we employee modesty this helps us raise or to rebuild our self-worth. 


There is one area that we have not discussed. The Lord God Blessed Adam and Eve. Read Genesis 1.28. Do we understand what it means to be blessed by The Lord God? Adam and Eve had the seal of approval from the Lord God. They walked in His Ways and Observed His Statutes until they sinned. One is blessed when you observe the Torah. This is the only way to receive and keep The Blessing of The Lord God.


May The Lord Blesses help us in learning and following these principles in The Torah.  May we be successful.


ב ' ח

Gematria Shemot Beshalach 4

Exodus 13.17 - 17.16


A Taste Of Torah 

Weekly Torah Gematria Video

Constancy


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Course Text Begins Here:


Exodus 15.22

וַיַּסַּע מֹשֶׁה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִיַּם־סוּף וַיֵּצְאוּ אֶל־מִדְבַּר־שׁוּר וַיֵּלְכוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת־יָמִים בַּמִּדְבָּר וְלֹא־מָצְאוּ מָיִם1:1


So Moses brought everything from Aleph to Tav of Yisrael from the Sea of Reeds, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.


וַיָּבֹאוּ מָרָתָה וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לִשְׁתֹּת מַיִם מִמָּרָה כִּי מָרִים הֵם עַל־כֵּן קָרָא־שְׁמָהּ מָרָה1:1

Exodus 15.23

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore its name was called Marah.

They came to Marah expecting one thing but got another. The intention of B'nei Israel was to find water, what they got was bitter water.


The Gematria for Marah is 245.


מָרָה

Bitter

מ40 ר200 ה5 = 245


מהר

Moh Hahr

Contract price, to hurry,

מ40 ה5 ר200 = 245


Hah Mayr

המר

Change

ה5 מ40 ר200 = 245


המר

Hay Mar

Embitter / Permute

ה5 מ40 ר200 = 245


המר

Haw Mayr

Alterations Rearrangements

ה5 מ40 ר200 = 245


רככה

Roo Chi Chawh

Softness / Tenderness

ר200 כ20 כ20 ה5 = 245


באברם

Bih Avram

Through With Avram

ב2 א1 ב2 ר200 ם40 = 245


Dear ones, it is so easy to get caught up in the emotion of the minute. B'nei Israel just experienced the greatest military victory of their lives. The greatest, most feared army of Egypt had just been annihilated. They watched as the waters came crashing down on horse, chariot and rider. They observed as foot soldier, sergeant and captain drowned in the Yam Suf / the Reed Sea. They saw their once feared tormenters eliminated in an instant, never to bother them again. Under such circumstances it is extremely difficult not to get caught up in the singing and rejoicing. After all, this was a very great victory. This was a powerful deliverance by The Lord.


The same can be said for tragedy. On the morning of 9-11 I was preparing to leave for work when the phone rang. The caller was our son. He stated, "Turn on your television, Avie. The World Trade Center has just been hit by a terrorist plane." I turned on the television and watched. Soon my ride to work arrived at the door. He came in. I asked if he had heard the news. He said, "What news?" I invited him to join me. We sat their stunned as the events of the day unfolded. We decided to not go to work that day. We watched for hours....


Holy reader, it is easy to get caught up in festivities and in tragedies. We must be careful. While we need to rejoice and mourn we must still remain constant in our observance of Torah study. If we allow ourselves to be drawn away or permit ourselves to be attracted to something other than what it is we should be doing, we may be endangering our own existence. This is what happened to B'nei Israel in Parshat Beshalach. This is what can and occasionally may happen to us. We must be careful.


In all the rejoicing, B'nei Israel neglected to study The Torah for three days. Their neglect immediately resulted in the evaporation of their entire water supply. B'nei Israel went for three days without water and without studying The Torah. Their rejoicing almost immediately turned into tragedy. Over three million people were in need of water. The mothers, children and fathers needed water. Millions of sheep and cattle needed water. The vast herds grew weak. Everyone was searching for water. No one could find water. Things were quickly becoming desperate.


The point is being constant in times of rejoicing and tragedy. The point is remaining constant in all types of weather. This is why our Sages instituted the reading of Torah on Shabbat, Monday and Thursday so B'nei Israel would never again go three days without Torah study. You see we became so involved in a good thing... a great deliverance... a great victory... a powerful miracle that we neglected a very important thing, our Torah study.


So even though there are times that by accident or need we are drawn away from our important responsibilities of studying Torah, during each day our sages have placed a guard... a fence... a protection in our path to protect us from the bitter waters. That guard is consistency. It is good to rise at the same time each day. It is good to study at the same time each day. It is good to pray at the same time each day. In other words, it is important to develop a life built on consistency. I refer to this as digging a rut. When a Jew has deep ruts to follow throughout life it is much easier. There is nothing wrong in hugging deep ruts. They keep us consistent. They keep up us in place, God Willing, the right place. What I am saying is that for the observant Jew there is always a place that we are supposed to be and normally that is good. The problem erupts when we get out of our rut. Emergencies, vacations, meetings all have the potential of drawing us away from where we are supposed to be and away from what we should be doing. As an author of parshat studies each week, I must carefully guard my time. Studying, preparation and writing require many hours each week. I spend hours at work each week and driving between home and work. Each day begins with prayer. The night normally concludes with supper before bedtime and prayer. The days are long. The nights are short. Every minute of the day is scheduled in some form.


Dear Reader it does not matter how high one can climb. One can fall just as far. These principles are not for you alone but for me also. They are for all of us. One of the guards or fences the Rabbis strongly encourage is living in a Jewish Community. I did not use the word Orthodox for a purpose. Live next door to Jews. Live across the street from Jews. Live down the block from Jews. I appreciate the wisdom of living in a community. Several of the great mistakes in my life have been living outside the Jewish Community. Choose a community that is large enough to allow for some privacy. Choose a community with choices of many congregations. If it is not possible to live in a community then associate closely with the community. Attend studies, events, social gatherings daily prayer and Sabbath services when possible. Remember the waters of Marah were bitter but Ha Torah is sweet.


Psalms 19.8 - 12

The Torah of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even very fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward.


If we make the right changes we can avoid a lot of bitterness.

One Sabbath, while camping near Triangle Circle, about 26 miles up in the mountains above New Castle, Colorado, several family members took a hike. It was intended to be a short hike. We could not carry. It did not turn out that way. We refers to this hike as the Nine Mile Hike. We do not know how long it actually was. However, hours later by the time we found our way back to camp we were very thirsty.


I saw this water bottle lying there. I was very thirsty. I picked it up and removed the cap. I began to drink. I rinsed my mouth. After a couple of gulps I spit the rest out. PHEW!! Have you ever opened a plastic water bottle that has been sitting in the sun for a long time? Not only is it hot but it has a horrible taste. I can only imagine what it was like for B'nei Yisroel after traveling three days without water and then to see this wonderful looking oasis with what appeared to be refreshing water. Can you imagine bending down to drink this water? Can you imagine how awful the water tasted. B'nei Yisroel could not drink the water because it was so bitter.


We allowed our good intended walk to take us away from where we need to be. We allowed our walk to place us in a difficult place.


A friend from the Jewish Community stopped by my place of employment. During our brief conversation he asked, "Akiva, what day do you have off?" I responded, "Truthfully, only Shabbat!"


Dear ones, I remember the words of a Teacher who studied with me. He said something to the effect of, 'Akiva, there is never a time for a Jew to let his hair down. We are always suppose to be aware of God's Presence.' A Jew should always be somewhere. That somewhere is planned. That somewhere is prepared. That somewhere is deliberate. Unfortunately, B'nei Israel allowed themselves to be drawn out of that consistent cycle that my teacher spoke of. We must guard our constancy. May The Lord bless us with being great rut huggers!


We must be careful to fill our cups with The Torah several times a week. We must stay true to our agreements. Our actions God Willing will keep our water delightful...

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