Alea Iacta Est![1]

 [The die is cast]

Alea iacta est – Latin for ‘the die is cast’ – is a phrase attributed to Julius Caesar at the historic moment when he crossed the Rubicon River in Northern Italy in 49 BCE.  In January of that year the Roman Senate had called upon Caesar to resign his command and disband his army or risk being declared an “Enemy of the State”. Caesar, who had been staying in the far northern Italian city of Ravenna, had to decide whether to acquiesce to the Senate’s command, resign, and disarm, or move southward to confront Pompey and plunge the Roman Republic into a bloody civil war. The act of crossing the stream called the Rubicon declared Caesar’s intentions and marked for him the point of no return.

As Caesar and his forces approached the river Caesar cried out, ‘Let us go where the omens of the gods and the crimes of our enemies summon us! Alea iacta est – THE DIE IS NOW CAST!’  And then he marched his army over the river.

What does this tidbit of Roman history have to do with this week’s Torah study, you ask?

With this week’s parsha – parsha Mishpatim – we will be crossing a spiritual Rubicon so to speak. Our parsha begins with the following words, spoken by the Holy One to Moshe:

V’eleh ha-mishpatim

 And these are the mishpatim

asher tasim lifneyhem

 ou [Moshe] are to set before them

 [Exodus 21:1]

As soon as Moshe sets these mishpatim of the Holy One before us our lives are going to change dramatically. This week will therefore be a major turning point in our perspective of Torah.

Everything up to now has pretty much been the Holy One’s doing. We have just been ‘along for the ride’, enjoying the fascinating narratives. With the mishpatim however all that is about to change.  We are about to enter a brave new world – the realm of co-creation and co-operation with the Holy One.  We are going to be spectators no more.  We are going to become active participants in the process.

Warning! Warning!  We are at a turning point – a fork in the road.

The faint-hearted will, as the theologians of institutionalized Christendom have ordered them to do for centuries, stop at this juncture, dig in their heels, and go not one step further in Torah.

But we will plow ahead, undeterred in the slightest. Once the Holy One spoke the Aseret HaDibrot in our hearing, you see, the words of that Divine proclamation were planted in the garden of our lives.

The words the Holy One spoke at Sinai will not return to Him void.  They will have a harvest. And it is most definitely not going to be a harvest of sin or of death.

It is going to be a harvest of life, and health, and peace. And the Lord of the harvest will, I think we will discover, be none other than Messiah.

The only questions that remain to be answered now concern how bounteous that harvest will be – and who will eat of it.

Behold, the Rubicon!

So for those of you who like me have determined to press into the beautiful words of Torah despite the curses spoken over us by the theologians, I suggest you keep in mind the words of the prophet Yeshayahu [Isaiah] in the name of the Holy One:

Sh’ma Me, you who know what is right,

 you people who have My Torah in their hearts;

 do not fear the reproach of men, or be terrified by their insults.

 For the moth will eat them up like a garment;

 \the worm will devour them like wool.

 But My righteousness will last forever,

 My salvation through all generations.”

 [Isaiah 51:7-8]

Those whose hearts are committed to be His Bride not listen to the ‘voice of a stranger’ [theologians of any stripe or stream, of mainstream Christianity, of Judaism or of secular humanism], but will jump with both feet into the Word of the Holy One – the only trustworthy source of revelation.  I believe they – i.e. you, Beloved – will do this because there is absolutely no place they – or you — would rather be than wherever the Bridegroom is, and because there is absolutely nothing they would rather do than sh’ma what the Bridegroom has to say.

While those of us who truly have heard the Voice of the Holy One speak to our hearts in Torah are quick to acknowledge the hard work done by scholars and theologians, we can simply never again be satisfied with the reconstituted half-truths force-fed to us by even good men and women who are in bondage to religious institutions, denominations, and movements.

We have tasted the sweet honey of Psalm 19:10 and Psalm 119:103 and the wild honey the Immerser ate in the Wilderness [Matthew 3:4].  And we are as a result forever spoiled. The ideas and opinions of men of religion pale in comparison.

Alea iacta est – THE DIE IS NOW CAST!’  Rubicon, here we come. There will be no turning back.

Perhaps, as some are quick to tell us, we will have to spend the rest of our lives scorned and scoffed at by those of institutionalized brainwashing who accuse us of outrageous misdeeds like ‘going back under the law’, ‘cutting ourselves off from Messiah’, and embracing ‘doctrines of demons’. Let the Accuser accuse all he wants! Let all the ‘rush to judgment’ critical spirits out there lambast us until their tongues get tired!

The journey we are taking with the Messiah and the Scroll of the Book will be worth it a hundred thousand times over, Beloved.  It will be worth it because WHATEVER BRAINWASHED MEN MAY THINK OR SAY the truth is that we will be walking yad b’Yad[hand-in-Hand] with our Bridegroom every step of the way[2].

The Rabbi’s son


[1] Suetonius “Life of Julius Caesar” in Davis, William Stearns, Readings in Ancient History (1912); “Julius Caesar Crosses the Rubicon, 49 BC,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2002).

[2]  A historical footnote – after crossing the Rubicon with such trepidation Caesar defeated Pompey’s forces handily and went on to be crowned dictator over the entire Roman Empire.