In my post from over a year ago about Is Torah for Today? I explain the reasons why I became Torah pursuant. I use the word pursuant simply because I can’t follow Torah perfectly (which is why I NEED grace), but in the same way that a 3 yr old is asked to “clean their room” despite their inability to do it as well as their parent, I am simply doing the best I can because I love my Abba 🙂
Since I reference Torah in a number of posts, I thought it would be helpful for me to explain what pursuing Torah looks like in practice for me. In this post I’m not going to revisit the rationale for why I feel led to pursue Torah since I cover that in Is Torah for Today?, but rather I’m focusing on what it looks like in practice.
When I refer to Torah, I am referring to the instructions of YHVH as documented in the Scriptures, much of which is found in the 5 books of Moses. And just to be clear that does NOT mean I give more weight to the books of Moses than any other. I’m simply focusing on them and those related because it is the oft neglected portion of scripture that gets written off because of grace scriptures we’ve misunderstood for generations.
So in brief, here are the basics of how I “pursue Torah” 🙂
The 10 Commandments
I’ll start with the basics: the 10 commandments. So quickly reviewing Exodus 20
- No other gods
- No idols (i.e. graven images) or idol worship
- No taking the LORD’s name in vain
- Observe the Sabbath
- Honor your parents
- Don’t kill
- Don’t commit adultery
- Don’t steal
- Don’t lie (bear false witness against your neighbor)
- Don’t covet
It’s hard to list those without wanting to expand on each! But I shall defer those to separate blog posts and will link back if I do 😉
Another part of pursuing Torah is observing the holy days, or appointed times (mo’edim), the Father identified. Much like other portions of Torah, in regards to the feasts we simply do the best we can in observing them. These feasts are laid out in Leviticus 23 and it starts by reiterating following the Sabbath (which we noted in #4 of the Commandments) and then lists the 7 other biblical feasts (most of which include special Sabbath days which I’ve noted as well):
- Passover (Pesach)
- Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) – includes 2 high Sabbaths
- Feast of First Fruits (Reshit Katzir)
- Feast of Weeks (Shavuot – or in Greek, Pentecost) – is a high Sabbath
- Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) – is a high Sabbath
- Feast of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – is a high Sabbath
- Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) – includes 2 high Sabbaths
The Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles extend over a period of about a week. When I observe Sabbath or any of the feasts, I do so in accordance with the Hebrew day which starts at sundown and extends to the next sundown. So for example, I observe the weekly Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
I also seek to eat how the bible determines is “clean” (laid out in Lev 11 and Deut 14), which is NOT the same as eating Kosher (though many misunderstand it as such).
Kosher includes many additional rules that are not included in God’s instructions. For example, in Deut 14:21 it says not to “boil a young goat in its mother’s milk” and so kosher laws state “Meat and milk (or derivatives) cannot be mixed in the sense that meat and dairy products are not served at the same meal, served or cooked in the same utensils, or stored together” (Wikipedia definition of Kashrut).
Many of the moments in the New Testament where it seems Jesus (Yeshua) is “breaking” Torah what he is actually doing is breaking Rabbinical laws (which kosher laws are a part of). If Jesus had broken ANY of Torah He would not have qualified to be our Savior!
So in short I strive to eat clean food and not eat unclean foods. Modern science has even confirmed why the Word might say this because we know that these unclean foods tend to be very toxic in nature, which makes them disease encouragers. For most people today (since most folks in western culture don’t eat bugs or rabbits) this boils down to:
- No pork
- No shell fish or fish without both scales and fins (e.g. catfish)
This may sound relatively straightforward, but in reality it isn’t because a SHOCKING amount of foods include unclean foods that you would not expect. Things like jello, gelatin capsules and marshmallows all typically include pork in the gelatin. Doritos and other chips include pork enzymes. And the list goes on and on.
In the end I do the best I can. I have found that by choosing to eat food where I can identify and understand all the ingredients, I am eating both healthier and am more likely eating clean 😉
Obviously there are many others instructions found in Torah, I add them to how I live as I find more that I haven’t already incorporated. But here are some examples:
- Tithe (been doing this for years – here’s a testimony)
- Honor elders
- No incest
- No cross-dressing
- No witchcraft
- Give charity if you are able
- …and the list goes on
How I Apply the Instructions
As I read scriptures (all of scriptures), I am constantly on the lookout for how something I read should impact how I live. Here’s an example of what I mean: one morning I read Deuteronomy 22:1-3 and was convicted that I haven’t always done all I was able in restoring lost items to their owners.
You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him. And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it.
Basically, if I see something that’s been lost or misplaced it is my job to help restore it. And doesn’t this align with the golden rule? Which makes Matthew 7:12 make even more sense!
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
In other words, as I pursue Torah I am following the golden rule. If I’ve lost something wouldn’t I want it restored to me? Wouldn’t I want someone not to sleep with my husband, or lie about me, or kill me, or…? We show our love for each other by following His instructions, which brings us back to Matthew 22:37-40, loving God and loving man “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
I just want to reiterate that I do not pursue Torah for my salvation. Salvation comes only through grace. I pursue Torah because I love the Father who would send His Son to redeem me and give me the amazing gift of salvation. Because He first love me I show my love to Him by following His instructions (John 14:15).