Hebraic Studies – The Oasis of Elim

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“Shamar - Keep it”

“And Elohim took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it”

With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.

Welcome to what will be, I trust a most revealing study as we look at a rather interesting verse in Bereshit - Genesis 2:15. At first what actually appears seems to be two rather simple words in this verse, but as we explore in what is really being said it suddenly becomes something very beautiful and special when we apply the fullness of the original understanding of the Ivrit - Hebrew to its actual and original meaning, although sadly it is generally lost by many.

You will soon note that this study is based on two very important words in the Torah and these are the words; 1, tend which in Hebrew is - Avadand 2, the more vital one being keep which is Hebrew - shamar. Be assured that both words contain very special and valuable lessons for us all!

Let me commence with the first word tend - Avad, which also means to be a “servant,” thus Adam was to be a servant to the garden, one who would lovingly take great care and work in the garden that Elohim had given him! Later I will return how this word could also applies to all of us, but it is closely tied together with the second word keep, being Shamar in Ivrit and believe me this word is far more powerful as I will soon reveal!

The Word “Keep - Shamar” in Bereshit- Genesis 2:15 contains something that has in general not been fully understood even by most rabbis throughout history and the vast majority of us Jews to this day have little to no knowledge of the powerful meaning and the powerful teaching that is contained within this one word! I feel saddened that we over centuries have never heard of this teaching that I am about to share! But the truth is sadly no one was really looking for it, as most rabbis have been far too busy adding new laws to where they had no business adding anything, for Elohim, blessed be He very clearly stated in His Torah;

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the Commandments of your Elohim which I command you” Devarim - Deuteronomy 4:2 (JPS).

“Ye shall observe to do therefore as your Elohim hath commanded you; ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the way which your Elohim hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you,” Devarim - Deuteronomy 5:28-29 (JPS) - verses 32-33 in other Bibles.

The truth is this, if you just read the verse in English, sadly any of the translations will not provide the meaning of what the Almighty was saying at all, for only the original Ivrit - Hebrew contains the fullness of its actual meaning and sadly many Hebrews do even understand it, and give or take around within the last 2,000 years the christian translators had little to no understanding of Hebrew, especially of “Hebraic thought,” which would have been very important … I will explain this later! Therefore no matter the language their ‘Bibles’ translations are generally with countless errors, in fact the King James version has over 100,00 errors in it, and they are huge! Their “Old Testament” simply does not capture the sheer beauty of what was originally written in the Tanakh.

However, praise be to Elohim they can and will never erase the truth of the Word for there is always a backup, for Elohim ensured this throughout His Word, both in the Old and the New Covenants especially when it was written in Hebrew!

Keep - Shamar:

Let me now quote two verses from Shemos - Exodus 31.

“Wherefore the children of Israel shall KEEP – ( shamar) the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested” Shemos - Exodus 31:16 & 17 (JPS version of the Torah).

For complete understanding of this Word, let us turn to another Scripture where this word “keep” is used.

“And Elohim took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to KEEP ( - Shamru) it” Bereshit - Genesis 2:15 (JPS).

Adam was to dress or to “tend”, “serve” or “work” the garden, but he was also to “KEEP” it. However, it is quite obvious that tending to the garden did not require any watering for the Torah makes it very clear that our beloved Heavenly Father provided “the dew of heaven.” In fact Adam did not even have to weed the garden, why? Very simple, there was no such thing as any weeds in Paradise, how wonderful was that? We know from that Adam gave names to all the animals and he would have propagated many plants, thus he would have kept himself very busy.

But let us stop here and contemplate on the real meaning of that rather unusual Hebrew word … - Shamar and “Shamru” both translates as “keep.”

The traditional phrase “keep it” does not convey the full meaning of this very precious word, for having been translated the Hebrew word somehow lost its value and its actual meaning and message that is no longer available to many today! However, in Ivrit – Hebrew for those who have a long memory, there may well be a wonderful story recalled that is related to this wonderful and very special word, and I pray that you will be blessed as you discover the full meaning of “Shamar - Keep”!

So many who teach the Word sadly do not really understand the full and wonderful meaning of this Word had given us! The important thing we need to understand is that the Hebrew root of the word “Shamar,” which I know has a meaning and an association of great responsibility. The truth is that it only came to me many, many years ago.

But it was many years back, this word hit me with a greater force whilst I was reading Bereshit - Genesis chapter two, for suddenly the word “Shamar” made a huge impact on me. Although I had known about this word, what was different this time? The fact was that I was reminded, and I felt that Elohim, blessed be He, somehow reminded me of something. For I had forgotten that back in 1908 in Palestine, an organisation was formed which was called … “Ha Shomer Society” and “Shomer” being the root of “shamar.”

This was a group of men who became the “Watchmen” or the “Guardians”, “Protectors” and “Defenders of Jewish settlements living in Palestine, ancient Israel from Arab attacks. For they were the “Keepers” indeed of the many villages around the country! The truth is that the word “shamar” also means to “Guard, defend and protect, to keep and preserve” and “to treasure.

You may ask; “Why would Elohim command Adam to ‘protect and defend’ the Garden of Eden, from what?

Well, Adam was to protect, guard and keep the garden from possibly, that serpent!

We should understand that right from the beginning Adam knew the difference between good and evil. I know this is not what many people really ever think of, or are even taught, but many tend to think that the Garden of Eden was all heaven on Earth, and it was all roses, etc. But believe me, they knew about right and wrong, or why else did Elohim, blessed be He, give them certain do’s and dont’s? Adam had been clearly commanded by Elohim, that he and Chavah - Eve were not to eat fromthe tree of the knowledge and of good and evil” and to do so would be a grievous sin against Elohim and it would mean their death!

This Torah reveals to us very clearly that Adam failed in his dutiesguarding and protectingnot only the garden, but also in protecting his wife Chavah. Had he been a good “Shamar,” a good “protector and Guardian,” that serpent would never have been able to reach Eve! But I am well aware all this is now hindsight.

However, I pray that husbands will learn from this powerful message that is contained herein, for you are according to the Word the head of the household and the Husband has a responsibility to be the “Shamars” - the “guardian, keeper and protector” of the household and family!

Thus, what does all this mean to us today? Indeed we are commanded to be “Keepers, Guardians, Defenders and Protectors.” We are to “Treasure” and to “Keep” the purity of the faith - But more-so we are commanded to guard the Purity of Elohim’s blessed Torah and the whole of the Tanakh with our lives if necessary, but sadly our leaders so long ago have already failed us in this task in some ways as they purposely altered certain parts! Thankfully we have some ancient scrolls to work from!

 

May … “ bless thee, and keep thee;

make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;

lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace”

Be’midbar – Numbers 6: 24-26 (JPS version of the Torah).

For those who have a yearning to learn more about the Torah and grow in being a good and faithful Jew, there are many valuable studies on Hebraic Studies enter the index below. If you have any questions you are welcome to email me.

And remember our motto seen on the logo at the top of this page: “The More Torah, the More Life”, for Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name, is the one who gave us our Life!”

Rabbi Reuven Ben Avraham.

 

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