To live a Torah life is
I had to study ancient Hebrew in order to study the ancient Hebrew texts. I was given 30 weeks to achieve this task. And I was 47 years old, with a home, a wife, and three young kids who were homeschooled. Needless to say, in these conditions, learning squiggly lines that are read backwards was not an easy task. Neither was learning how to put it all together to interpret it to make sense both in the historical context as well as what it might mean to us today. Lastly, just to torture myself even more I took the Psalms in its Hebrew text as my exegetical challenge. I would come to liken this to someone learning proper English by reading beat poetry or rap music. But somehow I did it. And do not know how.
Learning a a new language did help for me to understand life and mine and God’s roles in it. I would boil it all down to one word: Torah. I’m not sure I am 100 percent accurate in saying this, but I believe Torah (which includes the first five books of the Bible) is simply this: LIFE. The stories, the history, the rules and regulations are all there in order to teach us how to live life. But not just to live it as we often do today, but to live it with abundance and joy; always mindful of the presence of God is with us.
Life will always be pitted with challenges to face, obstacles to overcome, and people who will push against you. It will be filled with lessons to learn and people to love. And it will present God as nothing less than love. Pure love. To live a Torah life does not mean following a set of rules to the letter of the law. It’s not a reward system anymore than it is a punishment system. It’s simply a way to live life in harmony with the Creator of all life and all the creation within it; be it people, animals, nature or mystery. God has created us and called us to be LIFE in all the billions and billions of ways it has been made manifest.
Jesus is life, not just eternal life but everyday, normal life. He lived Torah, not simply by follow a path of rules and rituals, but by fully embracing every aspect of life in its most divine presence. He both discovered and taught that the mysteries of God are found in simple loaves of bread as much as it is present in the demon possessed or the suffering and dying. He did not do this to win a prize or obtain a golden ticket to some afterlife. He did it to show us that such a life as Torah offers us, is a life no only worth living but able to live and obtain. There will be challenges because everyone is on this path of discovery but a at different stages. Jesus came to save us, from ourselves where we condemn one another. and he can to show us the way back to God’s original intention for us: LIFE. TORAH. LIFE ABUNDANTLY.
Jewish theologian Abraham Heachel taught that “to live a Torah life is to experience eternity within time.” Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God has come.” Living Torah, as Jesus did, is not temporal but eternal. And it begins today. We must live life in mindfulness and in harmony with one another and with the entirty of all creation from which we have been made one through a divine and loving Creator whose life and mysteries are in us and all around us. Life. Torah. Today. Tomorrow. Eternally ours to embrace and be one everyday.
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An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”