The Do’s and Don’ts of Worshipping God

Deuteronomy 11:26-13:1

The portion opens with a blessing and a curse, the former which the people will receive if they follow God’s commands and the latter which will be visited upon them should they disobey. Moses tells the people that when they enter the land, they will stand upon two mountains, Gerizim and Ebal. There they shall recite the blessings and curses. The content of each appears in Deuteronomy 27 and 28.


Moses tells the people that when they pass into the land, they are to wipe out the idolatry of the nations currently living there. Rather than copying their forms of service, they must worship God only in the place which He will set out for them. In that place alone the Children of Israel shall offer their sacrifices, bring their first fruits or first animals, and celebrate with God. Should the people wish to eat meat, they are permitted to do so outside the confines of God’s place, provided they follow the laws which He set out, including not eating the blood of the animal. However, any food or wine which is sanctified may only be eaten in God’s special place, which the Bible later identifies as Jerusalem. If the Israelites follow these laws, Moses says, God promises to bless their lives in the land.


When Moses tells the people to seek God’s presence in His special place, he uses the noun shikhno. The term shekhina comes from the Hebrew word meaning “to dwell”, which the Israel Bible says reminds us of our close, personal relationship with God Who dwells among us. From this verse we understand the Temple Mount is the place where God’s presence is most felt on Earth.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think Moses specified — twice — that meat could be eaten outside of the Temple? What can we learn from this?


Comments ( 7 )

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  • Damian Sco

    I think a more important question deals with your conclusion, not one that the Bible itself substantiates. You state:

    "which the Israel Bible says reminds us of our close, personal relationship with God Who dwells among us. From this verse we understand the Temple Mount is the place where God’s presence is most felt on Earth.

    My problem with this is the recent video giving compelling evidence that this wall is merely what remains of a Roman fortress and that the Temple itself, of which it is written "They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God." is 300 yards further down the slope where the only river in Jerusalem flows, a place where the ritual baths would have taken place. To suggest these baths would take place here and then have the people walk 300 yards to the "Temple Mount" requires quite a suspension of discernment.

  • Koit Kranig

    Meat represents fallen man. meat is earthly thing. taking into account that before falling into sin man did not eat meat but fruit of earth. man is designed fruit eater. Temple is spiritual and made for a place where person can find God and pray for Him. We need to separate 2 different things

  • 1.We are (still !) fond of eating meat, like our fathers did in Egypt
    2.To avoid te House of HaShem become a ‘restaurant’, the place of an outing, they had to eat outside of the environment of
    the Beit Mikdash
    3.To prevent the sacrifices brought into the Temple to be something flesly, something ordinary but a special sacrifice for HaShem.

  • Because the Temple like the Tabernacle are places of worship and not eating. It was only the priests supposed to eat some offerings from the Tabernacle/Temple.

  • First they were not to obstain from protein and wait only until they could make a journey to Jerusalem. The desire for meat is human, to forbids would cause many to sin. Having the only rule to not eat as the pagans with the blood gave them a free will to chose if they desire. Too many rules make one religious and the relationship with HaShem would have been different. To praise Him for the meat is far better than sinning and cursing G-d for not being able.

    • I did forget the rules of kosher animals. The free will to chose to eat meat did not go against the kosher rules.

  • Diana Brown

    You may eat meat (if you desire) wherever you like and where you dwell. Moses affirms this as acceptable after the Lord has expanded your territory, if you dwell far from the Temple in Yerushalayim. Moses wants Bnei Yisrael to know that God is for them and He wants them to eat and live. Just not eat or drink the blood as the heathen do because that was a form of pagan worship.

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