I am scripturally happy


The Amazing Conclusion of the Torah

I have been catching up watching episodes of Ancient Jewish Wisdom, a TCT

cable program, with Rabbi Daniel Lapin and his wife Susan. Recently, Lapin

has stated in several programs that the Torah commands us (Jews and the rest of

us) to be happy.

But, Lapin did not cite the verse that contains the command to be happy. So,

there I was, I had to find it. My Strong’s concordance provided no help to locate

the verse with the command to be happy. So…I thought, I have to re-read

Deuteronomy, where is probably the greatest chance of finding this command.

But, the kicker is, I had to read the New Jewish Publication Society 1985

translation of the Torah, to locate it. The word “happy” is not used in my copy

of the New American Bible, in the verse that Lapin was referring to.

OK, here it is. I was reading the NJPS Deuteronomy which is contained in The

Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press).

Deut 12:18 (NJPS Tanakh) These you must consume before the LORD your God

in the place that the LORD your God will choose --you and your sons and your

daughters, your male and female slaves, and the Levite in your settlements –

happy before the LORD your God in all your undertakings.

The New American Bible translates the ending of this verse as "you shall make

merry over all your undertakings."

Now, seriously, did anybody ever teach you that you should be either happy or

otherwise make merry over all your undertakings? and, why should you be

happy or make merry over such?

This discovery makes me happy that I now know what R. Lapin was probably

talking about, because here it is, a command to be happy. I only needed to find

one command to be happy, and here it is.

But, I did not stop reading Deuteronomy, and that made me scripturally happy.
See next post.


As I was reading the very scholarly study notes in The Jewish Study Bible, I get

to the ending study notes. The terminal study note on Deut 34:10 declares

(paraphrasing, with some added emphasis) that the Torah ends with a

discrepancy. And, this discrepancy should be very, very problematic for Judaism,

in general.

What is the discrepancy? Deut 34:10 (NJPS Tanakh) states that "never again

did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses." But, in 18:18 God says to Moses

that "I will raise up a prophet for them from among their own people, like


That’s an almost incredible way to end the Torah, the perfect gift of God to

Judaism and to mankind.

Now, if you’re not convinced, go to chapter 18 and read a bit further on. It says

(Deut 18:20-22) that if a prophecy does not come true, then the prophet is a false


That’s like trashing the whole Torah, because Moses’ prophecy did not come

true. “Never again” it says. Never did that happen.

If you review Deut 34 overall, you see that in it, Moses dies, after he transfers

power to Joshua (hint: Jesus). Then, the chapter immediately ends with the

judgment that it didn’t happen.

Now, it appears reasonable that the last two verses of Deuteronomy were written

a long time after the events of Chapter 34. It must have been obvious that "never

again" did the Isrealites see anyone the likes of Moses – certainly up to the time

that those verses were written, at any rate.

That’s what makes me happy, to see that the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:18

points to a much later time, to the time of Christ. Christ is the fulfillment of the

prophecy. Deuteronomy not merely establishes “a discrepancy” as The Jewish

Study Bible admits, but it creates the tension of all time, to be fulfilled only in

the coming of Jesus Christ.

Judaism does not translate “torah” in a limited way to mean “law” although it

does include the law. In the modern sense, it is interpreted as God’s

“instruction.” And, here it is, Deuteronomy ends the Torah pointing the

prophetic “finger” to Jesus Christ.

The other, unstated, discrepancy is that the Torah does not fulfill itself, by

settling the Israelites in the Promised Land. Now, that comes immediately

afterward, in the book of Joshua. But, the point is, that is more tension. That is

a big hint that God’s work is not done in the Torah.


The old Jerusalem Bible translated the Beatitudes with “Happy are the poor in spirit…”

Also, in the Summa St. Thomas begins his study or morality with questions about happiness.

closed #4

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