As a unique and special reminder for His people to obey His commands, YHWH established the tzitzit. It is the tassle or twisted cord placed on your clothing. The only firm instruction on how to make them is that they must have a blue thread. Orthodox Judaism teaches (from what I understand) that since they can’t have the exact color of blue they believe He wanted that they shouldn’t have any blue in them at all. This is, frankly, ridiculous to me. If there was only one type of blue that was acceptable, Adonai would have made that abundantly clear.
Another belief is that this mitzvot is just for men. If that is true, then women can eat shrimp and ham! The same Hebrew word used for “people”, “sons”, or “children” of Israel (depending on the translation) in this verse is also used in the dietary laws. So, I think it is clear this covers both men and women.
Since there are no more details than twisting cords, including a blue thread, and putting them on the corners of our clothes, we have great freedom in how we make these. The main point is to ensure we wear them and let them remind us to be obedient to all His commands.
You are to make for yourself twisted cords on the four corners of the garment you wrap around yourself. ~~ Deuteronomy 22: 12
Adonai said to Moshe, “Speak to the people of Isra’el, instructing them to make, through all their generations, tzitziyot on the corners of their garments, and to put with the tzitzit on each corner a blue thread. It is to be a tzitzit for you to look at and thereby remember all of Adonai’s mitzvot and obey them, so that you won’t go around wherever your own heart and eyes lead you to prostitute yourselves; but it will help you remember and obey all my mitzvot and be holy for your God. I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt in order to be your God. I am Adonai your God.” ~~ Numbers 15: 37-41
Most people would never consider themselves to be idolatrous. “Me? I don’t have pagan statues on my mantel that I bow down to!” Well, idolatry is much more than that. We can “turn to idols” in many ways. Anything that comes between us and our Creator is suspect. There’s a saying — whatever you turn to for comfort in your time of need is your god. That puts a new spin on “comfort foods”, doesn’t it? Since its inception I’ve abhorred the name of the television program “American Idol” and refused to watch it. To me, this is a blatant in-your-face rejection of YHWH couched as “entertainment”. Oh, may Adonai have mercy on this generation, and our nation.
You are to have no other gods before me. You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline. You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot. ~~ Exodus 20: 3-6
You are not to make with me gods of silver, nor are you to make gods of gold for yourselves. ~~ Exodus 20: 20
Do not cast metal gods for yourselves. ~~ Exodus 34: 17
Do not turn to idols, and do not cast metal gods for yourselves; I am Adonai your God. ~~ Leviticus 19: 4
You are to burn up completely the carved statues of their gods. Don’t be greedy for the silver or gold on them; don’t take it with you, or you will be trapped by it; for it is abhorrent to Adonai your God. Don’t bring something abhorrent into your house, or you will share in the curse that is on it; instead, you are to detest it completely, loathe it utterly; for it is set apart for destruction. ~~ Deuteronomy 7: 25-26
Another aspect of loving your neighbor is dealt with in this mitzvot on how to compassionately handle lost property. Isn’t it just like a good Father for Adonai to include the secret things that He knows people do…like pretend we don’t see something. He is instructing us to behave with integrity — doing what is right even when no one is watching. Well, our heavenly Father is always watching…
You are not to watch your brother’s ox or sheep straying and behave as if you hadn’t seen it; you must bring them back to your brother. If your brother is not close by, or you don’t know who the owner is, you are to bring it home to your house; and it will remain with you until your brother asks for it; then you are to give it back to him. You are to do the same with his donkey, his coat or anything else of your brother’s that he loses. If you find something he lost, you must not ignore it. If you see your brother’s donkey or ox collapsed on the road, you may not behave as if you hadn’t seen it; you must help him get them up on their feet again. ~~ Deuteronomy 22: 1-4
Knowing specifically how to honor our parents in this mixed-up modern society is sometimes a challenge. Certainly, we have the examples noted below (not cursing or attacking them). But honoring and revering them means more than this. I believe we should help them in any and every way we can. Love is often sacrificial, giving beyond our comfort zone. But (a word of caution here) there must be appropriate boundaries in place with all people, not just parents. Some people destroy their own lives and marriages due to manipulation (often guilt) from Mom or Dad. That isn’t what Elohim asks of us.
Just as Adonai blesses the righteous and unrighteous with rain, we should honor our parents regardless of whether we think they “deserve” it. None of us deserve blessings or mercy, but the Father gives it anyway. Another aspect of honoring our parents, I believe, is to not embarrass or belittle them. We should not speak badly of them, but lift up their name and reputation whenever possible. If we know our parent is wrong about something, instead of lashing out, we should speak gently with love, always striving to treat them with the utmost love, compassion, and respect. As we demonstrate these qualities with our fallen earthly parents, we will truly come to treasure our perfectly righteous heavenly Father.
Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you. ~~ Exodus 20: 12
Whoever attacks his father or mother must be put to death. ~~ Exodus 21: 15
Whoever curses his father or mother must be put to death. ~~ Exodus 21: 17
Every one of you is to revere his father and mother… ~~ Leviticus 19: 3a
Back when I eagerly celebrated Easter, I liked to call it “Resurrection Day” to help me focus on the real meaning of the day. Once I learned of the pagan roots of Easter and that First Fruits is actually the true Resurrection Day, I realized that I had been bamboozled, hoaxed! Let’s celebrate Messiah Yeshua at the appropriate time and in the correct way that pleases the Father!
Here’s another command from the Creator that doesn’t go over well in modern society. People will say that it’s harmless fun when someone dresses up like the opposite sex for a party. And, then there are those who dress that way daily. The Word of Elohim is clear. This is not acceptable to the Sovereign Elohim.
Where this topic gets a bit cloudy is when society normalizes dress so that there is little difference between what men and women wear. For example, for decades in Western society, jeans have been worn by both sexes. But there are certain things that are more straightforward, such as dresses, bras, women’s dress shoes, nylons, men’s ties, etc. While we may have honest uncertainty on some specific issues, whenever we can match Adonai’s command clearly to an action or inaction, we are wise to choose obedience.
A woman is not to wear men’s clothing, and a man is not to put on women’s clothing, for whoever does these things is detestable to Adonai your God. ~~ Deuteronomy 22: 5
This is a word we don’t use much in modern English. Covet usually is defined as wishing for, desiring, or wanting very much something that you don’t have. What is more “modern” or “Western” today than envying how someone else looks or what they have? Coveting is rampant. We just think it is “unfair” for someone else to have something when I don’t (or can’t) have it too. There are whole books and seminars about the Entitlement Mentality of today’s youth. I submit to you that this character flaw (aka sin!) is not limited to the younger generation. It is something we are all “trained” to do, unfortunately.
See the graphic below for two types of coveting that are well differentiated in the Websters 1828 Dictionary (see blogroll to the right for a link to this wonderful resource).
Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. ~~ Exodus 20: 14
Do not covet your neighbor’s wife; do not covet your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. ~~ Deuteronomy 5: 18