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Experience the Kingdom of Heaven Today!

In our January newsletter, Did Jesus Promote Violence or Shalom, we learned that Yeshua, aka Jesus, taught that the requirement for entering the Kingdom of Heaven was this -- do acts of tzedaqah in the normal course of life today.

Almost everything Jesus taught was linked to teaching people how to do acts of tzedaqah. He made it clear that this was what God had anointed him to do – his mission as “the Christ” was to do and teach people how to do acts of tzedaqah. And, he taught that those who did tzedaqah, as part of the normal course of life, will enter into eternal life.

So, what is tzedaqah? Every “follower of Yeshua” knew the answer to that question by heart. But today, most “believers in Jesus” have never heard the question, much less know the answer. How could they, because the word tzedaqah doesn’t appear in English translations of their Bibles. The word they see is “righteousness,” and most people don’t actually know what that word means either.

Many of the teachings of Jesus are linked to the portions found in the Scroll of Isaiah. The answer to what tzedaqah means is found in Isaiah 32:17-18:

The work of tzedaqah shall be shalom
and the effect of tzedaqah shall be safety that continues forever.

My people will dwell in a pasture of shalom,
in dwelling places of safety and secure resting places.

Isaiah’s words are written in a form of prose called a parallelism, which means words and phrases in one line are explained by their parallel word or phrase in the next line.

Line 1A -- the work of tzedaqah = the effect of tzedaqah

Line 1B -- shalom = safety that continues forever

Line 2A -- my people will dwell in = in dwelling places

Line 2 B -- pasture of shalom = safety and secure resting places

The effect of doing “works of tzedaqah” is creating “shalom” – safe and secure resting places forever. Shalom is usually translated “peace,” but its ancient meaning actually “connotes totality, health, wholesomeness, harmony, success, the completeness and richness of living in an integrated social milieu.”7

Acts of tzedaqah make lives
healthy, whole, harmonious, successful and complete.

Acts of tzedaqah are acts like these:

Make hungry people’s lives more shalom by feed them.

Make thirsty people’s lives more shalom by giving them something to drink.

Make naked people’s lives more shalom by giving them clothes.

Make homeless people’s lives more shalom by bringing them to their home.

Make sick people’s lives more shalom by visiting them.

Make people in prison lives more shalom by going to see them.

Make people they sinned against lives more shalom by doing teshuvah and repairing the harm they had done.

Make people who alienated from each other lives more shalom by bring them back together and help repair the relationship.

Science now tells us that the basic needs of all humans are air, shelter, water, food, protection, education, income sources, acceptance, belonging, companionship, love, support, meaning, and happiness. So for our generation, we can add these to the list above.

A good way to begin is by doing something as simple as genuinely acknowledging the presence of another person in a friendly way by smiling and just saying “Hi” or “It’s good to see you”.  Those are acts of tzedaqah that can create more shalom at that time and place in someone’s life. Try doing it – it doesn’t cost anything and won’t take a lot of time. But you will experience the Kingdom of Heaven and the rewards of doing what Jesus taught today in your life too – regardless of whether you follow or believe in him!

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Thank you & may your shalom increase!


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