Last year in March of 2012 I received an unexpected email from my aunt. She explained to me that she had been ‘searching’. I recommended that she go to Tikvat Israel Messianic Congregation in Richmond. She did and loved it. When I saw her next, only a week later, as I had a trip planned to the U.S., she prayed with me in a Barnes and Noble to receive Yeshua. A year later she is still going strong and recently shared a five minute ‘drash’ (short teaching or sharing before the main sermon) and I want to share it with you. When I read it, I was moved to tears. It is really powerful!
Shabbat Shalom, everyone.
My parsha today is about offerings, or sacrifice. In Leviticus 1:1, G-d tells Moses to tell the Israelites to bring offerings. He then describes what kind, what for, and how to prepare them. And in each case, he says that we would be forgiven for whatever sin we were repenting.
Leviticus defines 5 types, 3 are voluntary ((burnt, meal (or grain), peace (or fellowship). It is the other two mandatory offerings (sin & guilt) that made me think about something wrong in my own life.
Psalms 51:5 says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” But Psalm 32:5 says, “Then I acknowledge my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the L-rd, and You forgave me the guilt of my sin.” Guilt is something a Jewish woman knows a lot about. We were never told that we were sinners, but we were always made to feel guilty about something. I remember my mother telling me that I would drive her to an early grave every time I did something wrong. When she died as a young woman at 58, I, on some level, truly believed it was my fault. I got over that, but I never got over the feeling that I was supposed to feel guilty about something all the time.
For the last 13 plus years, one guilt has haunted me. I had a lovely daughter, named Margaret. She tested me through her entire life, and I allowed her to be who she wanted to be. I was not the mother and guide she should have had. When she was killed at 25 in a drug-related act of domestic violence, I knew in my heart I should not have been silent for all those years. It was then that I lost my faith; in Judaism, in G-d, in mankind.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Yeshua, Hashem forgave you”. In John 8:34, Yeshua is talking to his disciples about following him and his teaching about truth. He says, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” I came to believe that until I forgave, I continued to live in sin.
In my new walk, as a believer, I have discovered that redemption and forgiveness come from faith. Romans 3:22-24 says that “… righteousness from Hashem comes through faith in Yeshua to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Hashem, and are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that came by Yeshua.” After some real soul searching and a lot of praying to Yeshua, I have made the decision to forgive the man who took my beautiful Margaret from me and am working on forgiving myself.
I’m new at this and am unsure of my steps. I expect to falter. It is my hope that the Tikvat Israel community, Rabbi David, my mentors and friends will be with me as I follow the path I have chosen, and Yeshua’s light will be there to guide me. Shabbat Shalom.
Please keep my aunt in your prayers as she grows in the faith.