Torah Scroll Disaster

The original post can be found here.

This is a great story with a very good application at the end that should be heeded!

From time to time I relate the following true story to my Hebrew students, along with the accompanying moral.
In the late 90’s, while a seminary student with a burgeoning interest in Hebrew and Jewish background studies, I began attending Shabbat services at a large synagogue in Encino, Ca.—Valley Beth Shalom.  I was careful to be as respectful as possible in a sincere effort to learn all I could.  I also began visiting local Judaica shops where I enjoyed browsing, haggling with the merchants, and attempting to engage them in Hebrew.  One day, I entered a shop and to my delight, I discovered a Torah scroll permanently housed in a plexiglas stand where it was displayed and accessible for reading.  The rollers extended from the stand allowing one to view the text through the glass while turning the rollers.

This magnificent find was more than I could resist, so I immediately approached it and began reading the text aloud with great enthusiasm, of course being careful in my reading so as to be as respectful as possible.  However, as I rolled through the scroll, I came to a place where the scroll was stuck.  Apparently, excess glue from a seam had fixed the seam to the page underneath.  Naturally, I assumed it was only slightly stuck, and that if I turned gently the seam would detach from the page underneath—and detach it did. Suddenly, I heard a pop, and the scroll came apart with 1/3 of the scroll coiling up on the right roller, and 2/3s on the left.  In horror, I instantly realized that I was a gentile who had just inadvertently destroyed a Torah scroll.  I ran.  I never returned. I moved away. I don’t believe I’ve touched a scroll since.

Moral: Don’t let your curiosity result in the careless deconstruction of the text.

לֹ֣א תֹסִ֗פוּ עַל־הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר אָנֹכִי֙ מְצַוֶּ֣ה אֶתְכֶ֔ם וְלֹ֥א תִגְרְע֖וּ מִמֶּ֑נּוּ לִשְׁמֹ֗ר אֶת־מִצְוֹת֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָנֹכִ֖י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶֽם׃
(Deut 4:2)


Indicators You Might Apostatize

What follows is a link to a blog I read this morning.  It is mainly geared to those in professional ministry or academic pursuits, but I found it especially appealing as I often think along the same lines.  I have posted the sectional highlights below in the hopes that you will be enticed to read the article, and while it is a long read, in my opinion, one that is well worth it.  After you read it, spend some time thinking about it.

10.  Your ministry ambitions are fueled by something other than to see Christ’s Kingdom expanded.

9. You are more interested in enjoying your personal liberty than in erring on the side of personal restriction when it comes to the use of liberty.

8. You play fast and loose with Scripture.

7. When you are confronted with an interpretive difficulty, your tendency is to find fault with Scripture rather than to resolutely work through to a valid conclusion.

6. Your interpretive decisions are more likely to be influenced by popular opinion than by the grammatico-historical model of exegesis.

5. You will alter your theology based on life circumstances/experiences.

4. You will alter your theology due to relationships.

3. You stop struggling against sin.

2. You give up/replace on your devotional studies with activities.

1. You are not primarily motivated by an adoration for Christ.

The entire article can be found here and I hope you head on over and read it.

As an added bonus, there are two sermons by Brian Rickett entitled Ten Indicators That You Might Apostatize in 2013.  Here are the links to those:

Ten Indicators That You Might Apostatize in 2013 – Part 1

Ten Indicators That You Might Apostatize in 2013 – Part 2