One Torah For All

One Torah shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Exodus 12:49

Understanding Torah Society
Part 23 - Halakah: What it Means to Walk in Unity

Amos 3:3
“Shall two walk together, except they have agreed?”

The above question is best answered with another question: upon what have they agreed? Well, according to the verse and the context, they have agreed to walk together-nothing more. There are many today who wrongly suppose that in order for two to walk together those two must agree upon all points in their beliefs. However, this is patently false. Why?

First of all, no two people can agree one hundred percent upon everything. It just is not going to happen. A husband and a wife, married to each other, do not agree upon everything. Yet they have chosen to walk together in marriage. Likewise, no two followers of Mashiach Yeshua are going to agree upon everything. Yet, by virtue of both of them following Mashiach Yeshua, they have agreed to walk together towards a common goal. It is the common goal upon which they agree. That goal is Mashiach Yeshua.

Romans 10:4
For Mashiach is the goal of the Torah unto righteousness to everyone who trusts.

Even if the two parties spell and pronounce His name differently, no matter how divergent those spellings and pronunciations happen to be, they are both walking towards the same goal. Even if one party refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the other person's spelling and pronunciation of Mashiach's name, it does not negate in any way that person's walk towards Mashiach.

Even with a vast divergence among individual beliefs, there can still be common ground in how they live. It is this truth, how one walks, which this study examines.

First, let us define the word “walk” as it is translated from the Hebrew word הלך - “halak”; it is from this word which the word הלכה - “halakah” is derived being the feminine form of the word. הלך - “halak” means to walk or to progress towards a goal. Therefore, when speaking of halakah, one is speaking of how one walks or lives his daily life. It is how one progresses towards his goal.

In our opening passage of Scripture, to agree to walk together simply means two men have agreed to travel together for a time to go to the same destination. There is mutual benefit in the two traveling together. It would be more difficult for robbers and thieves to come upon them and overcome them by their walking together as opposed to walking separately. It is this common goal and mutual benefit upon which they have agreed, nothing more.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:12-13
12 “And now, Israel, what does YHWH your Elohim require of you, but to fear YHWH your Elohim, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve YHWH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 to keep the commandments of YHWH, and His statutes, which I command you this day for your good?”

There are those who wrongly suppose that uniformity equals unity. If a group of people will all do the same things in the same way, then there must be unity in such a group. However, this is simply not true. Uniformity only gives the appearance of unity, but does not necessarily bring unity.

Walking the way the Torah society is supposed to be walked will bring unity to all of its adherents. However, this unity does not mean that they will all look and act the same, far from it. For example, let us consider tzitziot (tassels or fringes). Israel is commanded to wear tzitziot. The tzitzit are to be made with a thread of techelet (a color of blue) with at least two knots (two knots because they are tied). Beyond those two perimeters, they can include other colors and be tied in a variety of ways. As long as there is a blue thread in them and they are tied with at least two knots, pretty much anything goes. What needs to be seen here is that there is latitude within the Torah commandment. The Torah commandment is neither explicit nor exact in its detail. YHWH has left the details to us. This is true in many instances with the Torah commandments. This is not adding to or taking away from the Torah as long as one gives grace to his neighbor in these matters. In particular, one must be careful not to make non-specific matters of Torah binding upon others.

If a person was to adopt a particular method of tying, a particular shade of blue, and how he wears the tzitziot, and then made it mandatory to do it his way while all other shades of blue, methods of tying, and how one wears tzitziot, was then considered by him to be sin, then such a position would be wrong. It is this type of thinking and action which elevates the doings of man up to the level of Torah, and, in effect, nullifies Torah. A person can tie his tzitziot in any fashion he desires as long as it has a thread of techelet , but he cannot make the way he does it binding upon another person. To do so is adding to Torah. It is the binding of a tradition which is wrong, not the tradition itself!

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:17
“Today you have declared YHWH to be your Elohim, and that you would walk in His ways, and keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His ordinances, and shema His Voice.”

Israel has agreed to walk together with YHWH. This walk consists of agreeing to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and to shema His Voice. To leave any of this undone is to be guilty of breaking the agreement to walk together in this fashion. Relatively speaking, it is rather easy to read in His Torah what His commandments, statutes, and ordinances are and then do them compared to hearing and obeying His Voice. To shema His Voice takes a constant concerted effort to accomplish. Yet, this is exactly what it is going to take if one is going to live up to this agreement and be a part of Israel. He must consistently strive to hear and obey His Voice.

Shemot (Exodus) 16:4
Then YHWH said unto Moshe, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My Torah, or not.”

Once a person has agreed to walk together with YHWH keeping and obeying all of His statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and is striving to shema His Voice, then YHWH shall come to that person and test him to see if he is serious in keeping His Torah. This test is not a one-time test, but rather is a test that is repeated again and again throughout a person's life. For further information on testing, please see the study “Testing of the Set-apart Ones.”

Shemot (Exodus) 18:20
“and you shall teach them the statutes and the Torahs, and shall show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”

The task of Moshe, yea, the task of every teacher of Torah, is to teach his students how to walk with YHWH. This includes the commandments, statutes, and ordinances, but especially how to recognize, hear, and obey His Voice.

Vayyiqra (Leviticus) 20:23
“And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation, which I cast out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”

In agreeing to walk with YHWH, a person also agrees not to follow the customs of the nations outside of Israel. Many of the things the other nations do are loathsome in the sight of YHWH; and if a person continues to do the customs of the nations outside of Israel, then eventually, YHWH will no longer walk with such a person, but he shall be cast out.

In this next section of Scripture, the word הלך - “halak” is used four times. YHWH outlines what He will do to those who refuse to walk according to His ways.

Vayyiqra (Leviticus) 26:21-28
21 “And if you walk contrary unto Me, and will not shema unto Me, I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
22 And I will send the beast of the field among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your ways shall become desolate.
23 And if by these things you will not be reformed unto Me, but will walk contrary unto Me;
24 then will I also walk contrary unto you; and I will smite you, even I, seven times for your sins.
25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute the vengeance of the covenant; and you shall be gathered together within your cities, and I will send the pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver your bread again by weight, and you shall eat, and not be satisfied.
27 And if you will not for all this shema unto Me, but walk contrary unto Me;
28 then I will walk contrary unto you in wrath; and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins.”

Please note, in verse 21, the first aspect of walking contrary to YHWH is not to shema Him. If a person refuses to hear and obey His Voice, then YHWH shall bring upon such a person seven times more plagues upon him for his sins, which includes not hearing and obeying His Voice.

Then, if this does not change the way that person is walking (living), YHWH shall again visit him with seven times more plagues. If this does not change a person, then YHWH shall visit him again with seven times more plagues, and this time it shall include the wrath of YHWH. No one in his right mind would want to experience the wrath of YHWH.

By virtue of a person agreeing to walk with YHWH to keep and do all of His statutes, all of His commandments, all of His ordinances, and to shema His Voice, means that such a person is also agreeing to walk with all others who make the same covenantal agreement. In this relationship, there is one Master and Leader of this walk. All others are followers. However, there are many followers who attempt to be and act like a leader in which they try to dictate to others how they are to walk their walk with YHWH. While there are teachers within Torah society, no man can choose for another how he is going to walk. Each person must hear and obey YHWH for himself.

Shemot (Exodus) 20:19
And they said unto Moshe, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.”

When YHWH came down upon Mount Sinai and began speaking to them, the people got frightened out of their wits. So much so, that they with one voice declared unto Moshe that they did not want YHWH to speak to them any longer. They wanted YHWH Elohim to speak to Moshe and then Moshe to them. This is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in all of Israel's history. This single event set in motion all the subsequent tragedies that followed. Such a mindset of not willing to hear His Voice can only lead one to tragedy, that is, plagues as seen in the passage in Vayyiqra.

This is not what YHWH desires for His people. His desire is for each and every person to be in a right relationship with Him, that is, each person is hearing and obeying His Voice.

Yirmeyah 31:33-34
33 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says YHWH; “I will put My Torah in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people;
34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know YHWH;’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them,” says YHWH; “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”

This is how a Torah society is to walk together; each person is hearing and obeying the Voice of YHWH for Himself. This is the only way that a Torah society will function properly!

Zerubbabel ben Emunah