Monday, January 20, 2014

The Mitzvah of Shabbos Sensuality: Why Paul Commanded the Gentiles at Colossae to Indulge on Shabbat

Yes, Paul not only commanded Gentiles to keep Shabbat but, in line with Jewish tradition, he commanded them to delight in the sensual aspects of Shabbat.

But before I prove that, let's look at what the Torah says about Shabbat:
"...call the sabbath a delight (oneg)..." (Isaiah 58:13)
"Oneg" or "delight" is related to the word "anag" which refers to the soft, alluring and sensual movements of a woman (see Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon).   

And then there's this:
"Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed," (Deut. 23:12
That word for refreshed, naphash, is related to nephesh (soul).  In Genesis 2:7 we read that G-d breathed nephesh into man (Adam).  We also read that He called their name Adam (Gen. 5:2).  This means that since man and his wife are one that the soul is only truly happy when it is joined with its mate.  Thus, it is refreshing for man and woman have marital relations on Shabbat on a very, deep and mystical level.

Now back to Colossians 2...

The false teachers who had infiltrated Colossae were preaching against Torah, encouraging the worship of angels, asceticism, extreme fasting.  Their motto was:
"Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (Colossians 2:21)
Naturally this angered Paul who kept Torah and Tradition (Acts 21) and taught Gentiles to put into practice all of Paul's own practices (Phil. 4).  These heretical teachers were undermining all of the work Paul had invested into his non-Jewish disciples.  And so Paul instructed the gentiles to continue to delight in Shabbat and not let these false teachers judge them for this:
"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day," (Col. 2:16)
Today in our movement, as you are all aware, there are false groups who teach that Gentiles are excluded from the covenants and from the duty/right to keep Sinaitic Torah (may HaShem heal their minds).  But the truth is that Shabbat was created for man:
"Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, (Mark 2:27)
Blessings to the True Brothers and Sisters,

Peter

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