Skip to main content

Parables - Mashalim

The rabbis of ancient Israel used mashalim as a matter of discourse. Parables have always been a teaching method of G-d as He has sought His children’s understanding of the story of His Kingdom. We are often drawn to stories in ways we can never be drawn to cold hard facts, this is the power of the parable. Perhaps post moderns and their offspring are better able to receive parables than our modern predecessors? I believe we are a generation who are desperate for an authentic story. Some argue that Yeshua’s parables were new and of greater relevance than those of His pairs, however this is not necessary, after all, He “was in the beginning with G-d,” why then does He need to be original? He is the Origin and the Completion. Many of His parables were adaptions of the parables of His pairs, often subtly changed to great effect. This is consistent with one of the meanings of the word mashal, “a taunt”. Yeshua’s parables encompassed the wider meaning of the Hebrew term mashal; they were poetry, story, simile, allegory, metaphor, discourse, proverb, ethical wisdom and so on. I find more truth in these stories—mashalim—than I have ever found in the endless arguments of the apologist. Theology—a word that did not have any equivalent in Hebrew until after Israel’s Hellenization—is perhaps the greatest enemy of the parable. In seeking to dissect the parable, theology finds meaning that was not intended and misplaces the message altogether. The Hebrew mind does not dissect, it envelopes. Dissection is a separation, an infidelity. Envelopment is holistic, an unfailing fidelity. Put concisely, it is the extravagant simplicity of Yeshua’s mashalim that eludes the wise and welcomes the simple. This is why He quotes the prophet, “Though hearing they do not hear, though seeing they do not comprehend.” Yeshayahu/Isaiah 6:9 A parable is like the column of fire and the pillar of smoke that G-d placed between the Israelites and the Egyptians. To Israel it was a manifest revelation of G-d, a protection and a light to her path, to Egypt it was a blinding light, a roadblock that cast a shadow over all her plans. My prayer is that we might be teachable, humble, willing hearts, found amongst those who are escaping Egypt. That our ears might be willing ears that are able to hear, to perceive, to understand and to walk in the light of Messiah—halakhah im Yeshua. © Alastair Brown 2013

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bedikat Chametz: Searching for Leaven

The Search “'For seven days you are to eat matzot — on the first day remove the leaven from your houses. For whoever eats chametz [leaven] from the first to the seventh day is to be cut off from Isra’el.'" --Shemot/Exodus 12:15 Bedikat chametz is the search for leaven that takes place prior to the Jewish moed (Holy remembrance) of Pesach (Passover). The search happens after nightfall on the evening before Pesach (the night of the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan.) It's an event that takes place as spring approaches in the land of Israel. "On the first day for matzot, when the Pesach lamb is slaughtered, Yeshua’s talmidim asked him, 'Where do you want us to go and prepare your Seder?'" --Mark 14:12 All of the lights in the house are turned off, and a candle is lit. The following blessing is then recited: Picture In order to make sure chametz is found it's traditional to hide chametz in small packets throughout the search area. Prior to B…

Genesis 25: Reframing Jacob

Introduction: At the age of 140 years Avraham had arranged for the marriage of Isaac. The Torah now sums up the remaining 35 years and concludes Avraham’s journey with a clear reminder of the distinction that both God and Avraham have made between Isaac, the chosen child of Sarah’s womb and the children of Avraham’s concubines (Hagar & Keturah). Because Ishmael no longer has a part in the ongoing story of Israel, the Torah simply lists his offspring and then continues on with the story of Isaac. Some have suggested that because the Torah doesn’t recorded all of the extraneous events of the time, that it is therefore, not a history book. This is ludicrous, how many other histories have been recorded by peoples and empires, focusing only on the elements of history that applied to their own viewpoint and primary goals? The Torah, like those other histories, is telling the factual history of a single people. Unlike those secular histories, it is also conveying the spiritual history…

Genesis 41: Pharaoh’s Dreams

Introduction: This sidra (section) of Genesis begins the Torah portion Mikeitz (end), which takes its title from the phrase “And it came to pass at the end of two years”. While practically speaking mikeitz is used to denote the end of a period of time, by way of a remez (hint) it also infers the end, or last phase of the prophecy made to Avraham (Gen. 15:13-16) concerning the bondage and persecution of his progeny and ultimately, their freedom from slavery. It is worth noting that verses 1-32 deal with the last of the three pairs of dreams in Joseph’s story. Each set of dreams acting as a stepping stone toward the fulfilment of God’s plan for Israel. The events of this chapter begin two years after the release of the baker and cupbearer and bring the total years of Joseph’s imprisonment to 12 and his years in captivity to 13 (Genesis 37:2). Verse 46 tells us that Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, making Jacob 120 years and Isaac 180 (Isaac died around this t…