The Prodigal Son

By Israel ben Avraham and Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)


In this study I would like to take a look at the remez illustration of the prodigal son. To understand this remez illustration should be understood as hinting as something far more important than the simple understanding would seem to suggest. I believe that the older son represents the Jews and that the younger son represents the Gentiles who will turn to HaShem because they have a Jewish soul. Amos the prophet told us this:


Amos 9:7-9 Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith HaShem. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? 8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord HaShem are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith HaShem. 9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.


Thus we understand that the children of Israel have been dispersed among the Gentiles and their souls have become inter-mixed.


This illustration is found only in Luqas which suggests that it should be understood primarily from a remez perspective. I have indented and italicized the portions from Luqas and interspersed our comments without italics.


Luqas (Luke) 15:11-32 And He said, "A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate


(His share in the olam HaBasalvation)


that falls to me.' And he divided his wealth between them. "And not many days later,


(The early church began to separate themselves from Torah, HaShem’s divine instruction for life, only about three hundred years after the ascension.


When today’s seminaries talk about early church history they only go back to about three hundred years AFTER the ascension instead of going all the way back to the times of the Nazarean Codicil.[1])


the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country,


(A Hebrew idiom for leaving Torah!)


 and there he squandered his estate with loose living.


(A Hebrew idiom for going your own way.) Consider Proverbs chapter 1:22ff[2] regarding loose living.)


"Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine


(I believe this is a spiritual famine, he wasn’t being fed and I believe that in churches today, people aren’t being fed.)


occurred in that country, and he began to be in need. "And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.


(When you’re taking care of pigs, and longing to eat what they eat, it is a Hebrew idiom to say “you’ve hit bottom” You’ve gone as far away from Torah as you can possibly get.)


"And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. "But when he came to his senses,


(He now realized that his Fathers instruction was not bondage but rather freedom!! When HaShem gave the ten commandments in Exodus 20, what does verse 1 and 2 say?)


Shemot (Exodus) 20:1 Then God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.)


(So whatever the law is, it’s the opposite of slavery and bondage.)


he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 'I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men. "'


(As the younger son voluntarily turned against the Father and His commands, and therefore sent himself into exile, so also he voluntarily came to his senses and returned to the Father.)


"And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand


(What is this robe? Surely it must be a talit! This is the garment of salvation.[3]


What is this ring? Surely it must be tefillin which is worn like a ring as we are betrothed to HaShem! When a Jew dons his tefillin each morning, he is putting on a wedding ring:


Hosea 2:21-22 "I shall betroth you to Me forever; I shall betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and compassion; I shall betroth you to me in faithfulness, and you shall know HaShem."


This experience represents our placing the wedding ring of HaShem on our finger, portraying our perfect relationship with Him.)


and sandals on his feet;


(Shoes (sandals) suggest that he was given physicality, because we specifically do NOT wear shoes on Yom Kippur is order to become more spiritual. However, shoes enable us to walk in the commands of HaShem.)


and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found. 'And they began to be merry. "Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. "And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things might be. "And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.' "But he became angry, and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began entreating him.


(Yeshua's listeners understood that when he made reference, in the parable of the prodigal son, to “killing the fatted calf”, upon the return of the prodigal, he was not just referring to the throwing of just any party, he was referring to the joyous presentation of a zevach, or korban shalem. This korban was never “required,” or even “suggested.” It is not about “law” [and never has been], it is about drawing near to HaShem - expressing thanks to Him, and rejoicing in His goodness and His blessing. Something wonderful happens, a prodigal comes home for example, and a man's heart wishes to respond to the blessing with thanksgiving, in a way that will honor HaShem - the source of every blessing. Korban Shalem (a peace offering) is the appropriate outlet in such a case. Korban shalem was not a ritual anyone had to perform. It was a natural, joyous response to the blessedness of living in covenant with HaShem!)


"But he answered and said to his father, 'Look! For so many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours;


(I’ve never forsaken your Torah.)


and yet you have never given me a kid, that I might be merry with my friends; but when this son of yours


(not: “my brother”)


came, who has devoured your wealth with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him. '"And he said to him, 'My child, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 'But we had to be merry and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead


(Another Hebrew idiom for leaving Torah.[4])


and has begun to live,


(A Hebrew idiom for returning to Torah[5])


and was lost and has been found.' "


This return of these Jewish souls was foretold by the prophet:


Nehemiah 1:8-9 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.


* * *


The prodigal son is an illustration of salvation for all of those with Jewish souls, prodigal sons, as spoken by the prophet:


Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 61:8-10 For I HaShem love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which HaShem hath blessed. 10 I will greatly rejoice in HaShem, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.


* * *


This study was written by

Israel ben Avraham and

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:


Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501


Internet address:

Web page:


(360) 918-2905


Return to The WATCHMAN home page

Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address:


[1] Our name for the so called “New Testament”.

[2] Mishlei (Proverbs) 1:22 "How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, And fools hate knowledge? "Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. "Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; And you neglected all my counsel, And did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, When your dread comes like a storm, And your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come on you. "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, Because they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of the Lord. "They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. "SO THEY SHALL EAT OF THE FRUIT OF THEIR OWN WAY, And be satiated with their own devices.

[3] Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 61:10.

[4] Vayikra (Leviticus) 18:5

[5] Ibid.