The parable of the mustard seed: a rabbinic perspective on moving mountains

Rabbi Yeshua digs the wisdom of His teachings in the treasure of the Torah. His parables are among the most complex sayings, because the key meaning of His words have often been lost. After having been distorted for centuries, mistranslated, willingly or unwillingly taken out of context, Yeshua’s words need to be put back where they truly belong, to their very original Hebrew culture.






Is there a link between a mustard seed, Torah teachings and moving mountains?



A powerful God who can move mountains


וַיּוֹצֵא מֹשֶׁה אֶת-הָעָם לִקְרַאת 

הָאֱלֹהִים, מִן-הַמַּחֲנֶה; וַיִּתְיַצְּבוּ, בְּתַחְתִּית הָהָר


בְּתַחְתִּית=underneath


Exodus 19:17 


“And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.”


Many people often think that Hashem only speaks figuratively and that it would be quite naive to give some verses a too litteral interpretation. However the verse above that is taken out of the book of Shemot (Exodus) in the Torah seems to tell us rather the contrary: well, at least, it leaves an open door for a litteral interpretation as the preposition betachtit ( underneath in Hebrew) seems to imply.


I think that it would be logical to ask ourselves if Hashem can physically lift up a mountain, because the Hebrew text states that the Israelites stood underneath the mountain and that Hashem had to lift it up for them to be able to receive the Torah. 

Is Hashem almighty? Yes, the God of Israel IS, and if He is He can also literally move a mountain above people or make it move from one place to another.


Of course, there are always diverse possibilities of interpreting the same verse. It could also be seen in a more figurative sense,  For instance, the mountain could represent a big problem that can be solved by emunah אמוּנה.

In the word emunah, faith you will find the words amen אמן ( yes, in truth) and by extension אמת emet, the truth. Acknowledging the truth and reality of Hashem will allow us to lift up the mountain. And yes, even physically, I do believe SO. Everything is POSSIBLE if you believe.


So what does Yeshua say in Hebrew, in Matthew 17:20?


מפני חֹסר אמוּנתכם כּי אמן אֹמר אני לכם אם־ישׁ בּכם אמוּנה כּגרגר החרדל ואמרתם אל־ההר הזה העתק מזה שׁמה ונעתק ממקוֹמוֹ ואין דבר אשׁר יבּצר מכּם



“It is because of your lack of faith. For amen, I say to you, if you have faith like a mustard seed and you tell this mountain, “Be moved from here to here”, it will be moved from its place. There is nothing that will be impossible to you.” Matthew 17:20 Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels

-Wait a minute: rabbi Yeshua just stated ” a mustard seed”!



You might not be aware of it, but growing mustard seeds is forbidden by rabbinic laws. Mustard seed is being considered as a weed. If you grow it, it will invade everything and there will be no space left for anything else.


Some people have tried to disprove Yeshua’s saying trying to make our Lord look like a fool. Some others have tried to slate the Torah, making it look foolish as well ( you know, the usual argument: the heavy burden of the Law and Yeshua going against it.)

Either ways these arguments are pointless. Why?

Simply because Yeshua’s wisdom IS Torah-based.

Yeshua’s intent is never to contradict Torah, but to open up on broader Torah perspectives.


However, I didn’t understand what Yeshua exactly meant. But our Lord is very faithful with His servants and He just revealed me the very meaning that is contained in the wonderful mustard seed parable.


So here is what rabbi Yeshua showed me.


The mustard seed’s growth is forbidden. It should not be there. But look at the mustard seed’s character. If you are just using one tiny mustard seed and let it grow, it will break through and impose itself to the point of becoming the ONLY element. If you have this type of faith, you will erase any existent obstacle or doubt by letting your faith grow to into a mustard tree!


So rabbi Yeshua’s question to you all is:

“Do you believe?”


Copyright© by Isabelle Esling






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