THE HAVURAH MITZVOT

by Glen Penton

Here are some biblical admonitions for believers that are widely disobeyed today.

Psalm 145:4, "One generation should praise your works to another."

Malachi 3:16, "Those who feared the Lord talked with each other."

Romans 12:6-16, "If we can prophesy, we should do it.... If we can serve others we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. If we can encourage others we should encourage them.... If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully.... Honor each other more than you do yourselves.... Welcome others into your home.... When others are happy, be happy with them. When they are sad, be sad. Be friendly with everyone.... Make friends with ordinary people."

Romans 14:1, "Welcome the one whose faith is weak."

Romans 14:19, "Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and to building each other up."

Romans 15:2, "Each of us should try to please the others for their good, to build them up."

Romans 15:7, "Honor God by welcoming one another just as Messiah has welcomed you."

"Romans 15:14, "Counsel one another. "

Romans 16:2, "I ask you to welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the Lord's holy People, and to give her any help she may need from you."

I Corinthians 11:33, "When you gather to eat, wait for one another."

I Corinthians 12:25-26, "The members should care for one another equally. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. If one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. "

I Corinthians 14:5, "I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. "

I Corinthians 14:12, "Try to excel in gifts that build up the havurah."

I Corinthians 14:30-31, "If a revelation comes to someone who is sitting by, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn, so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. "

I Corinthians 16:20, "Greet one another with a holy kiss."

II Corinthians 13:12, "Greet one another with a holy kiss." (There are severe limitations on obeying this command literally in many cultures. But there are culturally acceptable ways to show love in greeting others.)

Galatians 5:13, "Serve one another in love. "

Ephesians 4:16, "The whole Body...builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

Ephesians 4:25, "Speak truthfully to each other. "

Ephesians 4:29, "Let come out of your mouths ... what is helpful for building each other up according to their needs, to benefit all who listen."

Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to each other."

Ephesians 5:19, "Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs."

Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another. "

Philippians 2:4, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of the others. "

Colossians 3:16, "Warn and teach each other about His kindness by the use of the Psalms and other hymns and songs the Holy Spirit may lead you to make up as the occasion arises. "

I Thessalonians 4:18, "Comfort one another with these words."

I Thessalonians 5:11, "Build each other up. "

Hebrews 3:13, "Build each other up every day, while it is called 'Today'."

Hebrews 10:24-25, "Let's carefully study one another with an eye towards inciting each other to loving attitudes and kind, helpful action. This involves being diligent in spending time together and encouraging each other. Some believers don't do much of that, but you need to be doing it more and more as you see the Day approaching. "

James 5:16, "Confess your faults to one another and pray for each other, so you may be healed."

I Peter 4:9-10, "Welcome each other into your homes, and don't grumble about it. Each of you should use whatever gifts God has given you to serve the others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."

I Peter 5:14, "Greet one another with a kiss of love."

Now I quote all these texts for the following reason: They all are God's commands about how to relate to your fellow-believers. Yet you cannot obey any of them while listening to a sermon and staring at the back of your brother's or sister's head. I submit to you that you will not obey very many of these commands with any consistency unless (a) you are a full-time clergyperson or (b) you participate in some sort of havurah.

Think about it. How do these commands from God's Torah apply to your own life? Is there any way for you to obey them without a havurah, a small group of believers committed to each other, and meeting together regularly to fellowship and care for each other? (Some believers, of course, have the blessing of a ready-made havurah within their own household. But that is a havurah nonetheless.) Would you not agree that involvement in a havurah is, in effect, a biblical command for all or nearly all believers?