Scripture Musings

Honoring Shabbat during a pandemic protest

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue. A man there had a shriveled hand. Looking for a reason to accuse him of something, they asked him, “Is healing permitted on Shabbat?” But he answered, “If you have a sheep that falls in a pit on Shabbat, which if you won’t take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore, what is permitted on Shabbat is to do good. Then to the man he said, “Hold out your hand.” As he held it out, it became restored, as sound as the other one. (Mattityah 12:9–13, CJB)

Yahshua went again into a synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse him of something, people watched him carefully to see if he would heal him on Shabbat. He said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Come up where we can see you!” Then to them he said, “What is permitted on Shabbat? Doing good or doing evil? Saving life or killing? But they said nothing. Then looking them over and feeling both anger with them and sympathy for them at the stoniness of their hearts, he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” As he held it out, it became restored. (Makabi/Mark 3:1–5, CJB)

One Shabbat Yahshua went to eat in the house of one of the leading Parushim (Pharisees), and they were watching him closely. In front of him was a man whose body was swollen with fluid. Yahshua spoke up and asked the Torah experts and Parushim, “Does the Torah allow healing on Shabbat or not?” But they said nothing. So, taking hold of him, he healed him and sent him away. To them he said, “Which of you, if a son or an ox falls into a well, will hesitate to haul him out on Shabbat? And to these things they could give no answer. (Luke/Elior 14:1–6,CJB)

Shabbat Rest During Civil Unrest

Being a student of Rabbi Yahshua, as I practice Torah, I wonder: Is Shabbat a type of holy escapism? On Shabbat, I rest from all my laborious work. I eschew engaging in commercial transactions. Shabbat is a holy day, when I disconnect from olam ha’zeh (this present world), to enjoy the exquisite delight of this 7th Day of rest. Simultaneously, however, the murder of George Floyd has been heavily occupying my stream of consciousness.

Oy. What am I to do?

  • Do I engage in pious pretentiousness, pretending that all is well in the world?
  • Do I become outstandingly oblivious to the global protests happening in the four corners of the world?
  • Do I let out a holy “la de da de da” & whistle away current events?

Follow The Rabbi

My Rabbi speaks up. My Rabbi addresses elephants in the room. My Rabbi doesn’t shy away from controversial, taboo, or polarizing topics. My Rabbi does all of the aforementioned; adroitly, gracefully, lovingly, and lawfully, in full observance of the letter and Spirit of Torah. When there was a man with a shriveled hand in a synagogue on Shabbat, my Rabbi didn’t turn a blind eye to the condition of his fellow congregant. He broke the Pharisaical rigidity of Shabbat. Rabbi Yahshua didn’t explain away, nor trivialize, this gentleman’s condition. He saw him. He addressed him. He healed him.

When my Rabbi asked the Hebrews in the synagogue what was permissible on Shabbat, they said nothing. They remained silent. A holy hush swept over the audience. My Rabbi had a reaction to this. He was not aloof or stoic to the conditions of the people around him. He felt all the feels of human emotion. He was simultaneously angry and sympathetic. My Rabbi healed the man. On. Shabbat.

While eating with Parushim, the religious elite of the day, there was a man with dropsy. Right in front of my Rabbi. What did my Rabbi do? Did he give commentary on how delicious the food was? Or compliment the aesthetics of the home? Did he get into a heated ideological debate about the minutia of Torah? No, my friends. “Does the Torah allow healing on Shabbat?” The question is submitted. Once again, it was met with silence. My Rabbi healed the man, on Yahweh’s Holy Shabbat.

My Prayer

My prayer is that us Believers in the Body of Messiah, will break our silence. I pray that we will become better students of our Savior. I pray that we will speak up and have proactive conversations about racism, white supremacy, and xenophobia. I pray that we will normalize and see the necessity of having relatively difficult conversations. As a nation, my Hebrew people are hurting. May the entire Body acknowledge this. I pray that we will be catalysts for healing; on the Shabbat and beyond.

Lover of Yahweh. Disciple of Rabbi Yahshua The Messiah. Israelite man. Reader of The Hebrew Bible. Writer.

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