In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
Emor- Keeping the Dream Alive.
“Pesach Sheni, the “Second” Passover, celebrated on the 14th of the month of Iyar, was a “second chance” for those who had been ritually impure or too far away from Jerusalem to offer their Pesach lamb on the main Passover festival a month earlier. It is an eternal reminder to us that even if we do not get it right the first time around, G-d lovingly gives us further opportunities to make amends!”— Avraham ben Yaakov
Council of Nicea 325 AD/CE: From the letter of the Emperor (Constantine) to all those not present at the council. (Found in Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib III 18-20) “When the question relative to the sacred festival of Easter arose, it was universally thought that it would be convenient that all should keep the feast on one day; It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of festivals, to follow the customs (the calculation) of the Jews who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded. In rejecting their custom we may transmit to our descendants the legitimate mode of celebrating Easter; We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jew, for the Saviour has shown us another way; our worship following a more legitimate and more convenient course (the order of the days of the week: And consequently in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jew. For it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep this feast. How can they be in the right, they who, after the death of the Saviour, have no longer been led by reason but by wild violence, as their delusion may urge them? They do not possess the truth in this Easter question, for in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year. We could not imitate those who are openly in error. How, then, could we follow these Jews who are most certainly blinded by error? For to celebrate a Passover twice in one year, is totally inadmissible. But even if this were not so it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communication with such wicked people (the Jews). You should consider not only that the number of churches in these provinces make a majority, but also that it is right to demand what our reason approves, and that we should have nothing in common with the Jews.”
The difference in opinions regarding what is known as Pesach Sheni (“second Passover) from the two passages above is stark. Why are they so different? While there are several reasons for this alarming contrast, the overt one is an understanding (or lack thereof) of the Biblical text given it sociological, grammatical, historical and linguistic context. Constantine has an agenda, he makes it very clear at the end of the quote. He also seems very ignorant to the Biblical context. While painting the safe guardians of the Torah as blind and errant he degrades and tarnishes the intention, Good Name and Merciful Nature of it’s Author and their King in the process. I begin our lesson today in this manner because Pesach Sheni was observed on Wednesday of this week. Its purpose has everything to do with what we have been and are continuing to study: Ceremonial Purity (Taher-clean) or Impurity (Tamay-unclean) in relation to ‘contact with death’ and the Holy Mishkan.
Read the following passage in reference to Pesach Sheni and decide for yourself, is this a statute for the wicked and repugnant? Or a second chance and example of how God allows Himself to be approached with questions and leaves open His Torah as the vessel of expression to humanity how to be Human and Holy? B’ezrat Hashem, we shall continue to learn the Torah as though it was given as light from above, as if we understood that Hashem does not desire to build a duplex with Jews held to one standard and Gentiles in Yeshua at another. Let us recieve Torah given as it is this day, unto each of our hearts directly from Hashem. Internalizing as if we are at Sinai (as we in real time, approach Sinai- Shavuot with the Omer counting- personal refinement, leaving the Narrow Mindset of Egypt) na’aseh venishmah… we will do, then we will understand as You continue to reveal and help us grasp the Torah’s golden teaching from the inside out, the aron Ha Kodesh- our hearts.
Bemidbar 9;4 So Moses told the people to celebrate the Passover 5 in the wilderness of Sinai as twilight fell on the fourteenth day of the month. And they celebrated the festival there, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 6 But some of the men had been ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, so they could not celebrate the Passover that day. They came to Moses and Aaron that day 7 and said, “We have become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead body. But why should we be prevented from presenting the Lord’s offering at the proper time with the rest of the Israelites?” 8 Moses answered, “Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the Lord.” 9 This was the Lord’s reply to Moses. 10 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people now or in future generations are ceremonially unclean at Passover time because of touching a dead body, or if they are on a journey and cannot be present at the ceremony, they may still celebrate the Lord’s Passover. 11 They must offer the Passover sacrifice one month later, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month.They must eat the Passover lamb at that time with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. 12 They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover. 13 “But those who neglect to celebrate the Passover at the regular time, even though they are ceremonially clean and not away on a trip, will be cut off from the community of Israel. If they fail to present the Lord’s offering at the proper time, they will suffer the consequences of their guilt. 14 And if foreigners living among you want to celebrate the Passover to the Lord, they must follow these same decrees and regulations. The same laws apply both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.
The Torah conception of the priests and their relationship with the people is radically different from the conception of the priesthood in other traditions. The Kohen of the Torah does not absolve the Israelite of his obligation to forge his own personal relationship with G-d. The Kohen is not an intermediary who performs mysterious rituals that magically guarantee that all will be well for the ignorant worshipper who stands by watching…. In many religions, the priests held or hold a monopoly on religious knowledge, often actually discouraging the pursuit of such knowledge by the masses, whose very ignorance is necessary in order for the priest to maintain his position. In our present parshah of Emor, which is largely taken up with laws specifically relating to the priests, we see that Moses was commanded to instruct not only the priests themselves in these laws but also the Children of Israel. The Children of Israel are not to be excluded from all knowledge and understanding of the priesthood. On the contrary, they too are to study the laws relating to the priests. This is because the Israelites, as a kingdom of priests, have to have a model to learn from. The Kohanim are a kingdom within a kingdom. The Kohanim are to be to the Israelite what the Israelites are to be to the world. –Rabbi Greenbaum
Yechezkel 22;1Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2“And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then cause her to know all her abominations. 3“You shall say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “A city shedding blood in her midst, so that her time will come, and that makes idols, contrary to her interest, for defilement! 4“You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and defiled by your idols which you have made. Thus you have brought your day near and have come to your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations and a mocking to all the lands. 5“Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you, you of ill repute, full of turmoil.6 “Behold, the rulers of Israel, each according to his power, have been in you for the purpose of shedding blood. 7“They have treated father and mother lightly within you. The alien they have oppressed in your midst; the fatherless and the widow they have wronged in you. 8“You have despised My holy things and profaned My sabbaths. 9“Slanderous men have been in you for the purpose of shedding blood, and in you they have eaten at the mountain shrines. In your midst they have committed acts of lewdness. 10“In you they have uncovered their fathers’ nakedness; in you they have humbled her who was unclean in her menstrual impurity. 11“One has committed abomination with his neighbor’s wife and another has lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law. And another in you has humbled his sister, his father’s daughter. 12“In you they have taken bribes to shed blood; you have taken interest and profits, and you have injured your neighbors for gain by oppression, and you have forgotten Me,” declares the Lord GOD.
The Psalm below is a promise of Hashem to David ha Melech regarding the covenant He makes with him and his descendants. We know this is so vital because Yeshua was from the Davidic line. Hashem states the importance of the future king’s keeping His Torah in stark expressions. Why would we jump to the notion that any favorable descendant from David’s line would negate Hashem’s Torah without recourse? Even so, it is the necessity for David’s eventual progenitor (Yeshua) to thread the needle tying this covenant into his day and beyond. Therefore the sons who came before him who were (at times) far less faithful to the Torah (to say the least!) were given grace and lovingkindness despite their shortcomings and Hashem says this covenant will not be altered by HIM. And as such, He also confirms the settled nature of His mitsvot declaring, “I will not alter the utterance of My lips.”
Tehillim 89; 29 “So I will establish his descendants forever and his throne as the days of heaven. 30“If his sons forsake My Torah and do not walk in My judgments, 31If they violate My statutes and do not keep My commandments,32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. 33“But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. 34“My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.
In parasha פָּרָשָׁה Kedoshim קְדֹשִׁים (“holy ones”) we recieve many detailed instructions regarding how to “be holy”, much by way of expressing to us what we should not be doing (negative commandments). The term “Kedoshim” is also sometimes used refer to the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, because they fulfilled the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem- “sanctification of the name”. Name. This means His AUTHORITY, what He has ‘given us’ to know about Him and what He stands for, what He has done. Any action that brings honor, respect, and glory to God is considered to be sanctification of his name, and any behavior or action that disgraces, harms or shames God’s name and his Torah is regarded as a chillul Hashem (desecration of the Name). B’ezrat Hashem will look at this word in this lesson.
Yechezkel 44; 20“Also they shall not shave their heads, yet they shall not let their locks grow long; they shall only trim the hair of their heads. 21“Nor shall any of the priests drink wine when they enter the inner court. 22“And they shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman but shall take virgins from the offspring of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest. 23“Moreover, they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24“In a dispute they shall take their stand to judge; they shall judge it according to My ordinances. They shall also keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts and sanctify My sabbaths. 25“They shall not go to a dead person to defile themselves; however, for father, for mother, for son, for daughter, for brother, or for a sister who has not had a husband, they may defile themselves. 26“After he is cleansed, seven days shall elapse for him.
Vayikra 21; 1Then the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: ‘No one shall defile himself for a dead person among his people, 2 except for his relatives who are nearest to him, his mother and his father and his son and his daughter and his brother, 3also for his virgin sister, who is near to him because she has had no husband; for her he may defile himself. 4‘He shall not defile himself as a relative by marriage among his people, and so profane himself. 5‘They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh. 6‘They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they present the offerings by fire to the LORD, the food of their God; so they shall be holy.
#2490 (v) chalal חָלַל- to loose, to lay open, dissolve, to give access to, to profane, to cast down, destroy, to pierce through, to set free, to be begun.
Yeshayahu 53;4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
[#2470 (v) chalah חָלָה- to be worn down in strength; to be sick, diseased; to be pained; solicitous, careful; to stroke or smooth; to make sad; to be wounded.
- B’reshit 48:1 Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is sick.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him.
- Sh’mot 32:11Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, “O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
- Devarim 29:22 “Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it, will say,23 ‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’ 24 “All the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ 25 “Then men will say, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.
# 2342 (v) chuwl חוּל – to be twisted, full of turns, turned around, wily; to bring forth; to tremble; to be strong or firm; to wait, stay, delay; to writhe with pain; to be born.
- Ber. 8:10 So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark.
- Devarim 2:25 ‘This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under the heavens, who, when they hear the report of you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.’
- Dev. 32:18 “You neglected the Rock who begot you,and forgot the God who gave you birth.]
Pagans, both ancient and modern, have a predilection for associating religion and religious matters with death and thoughts of death. For them the kingdom of God begins only where man ends. They view death and dying as the true manifestations of their deity, whom they see as a god of death, not of life; a god that kills and never revives, that sends death and its forerunners, sickness and affliction, so that men, realizing the might of their god and their own impotence may fear him. For this reason they set up their shrines near graves and the place of their priests is prominently near the dead. Death and mourning are the most fertile soil for the dissemination of their religion, and it seems that in their view, the presence, on their own flesh, of a mark of death, a symbol of death’s power to conquer all life, would be a sign of religiosity par excellence and, above all, the most essential attribute of the priest and his office.
Not so the Priests in Torah, because the Jewish concept of God and the Jewish religion are not so. The God Whose Name assigns the priest his place among the Jewish people is a God of life. His most exalted manifestation is not the power of death that crushes strength and vitality but the power of life that enables man to exercise free will and to be immortal. Torah teaches us not how to die but how to live so that, even in life, we may overcome death, lack of freedom, the enslavement to physical things and moral weakness. Torah teaches us how to spend every moment of life marked by moral freedom, thought, aspirations, creativity and achievement, along with the enjoyment of physical pleasures, as one more moment in life’s constant service to the everlasting God. This is the teaching to which God has dedicated His Sanctuary and for whose service He has consecrated the Kohanim, the guardians of the basis and “direction” of the people’s life. (Hirsh-Vayikra, Emor; Pentateuch)
Kohen- Priest כֹּהֵן
Yechezkiel 44; 5 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears all that I say to you concerning all the statutes of the house of the LORD and concerning all its laws; and mark well the entrance of the house, with all exits of the sanctuary. 6“You shall say to the rebellious ones, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Enough of all your abominations, O house of Israel, 7when you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to profane it, even My house, when you offered My food, the fat and the blood; for they made My covenant void—this in addition to all your abominations. 8“And you have not kept charge of My holy things yourselves, but you have set foreigners to keep charge of My sanctuary.” 9‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the sons of Israel, shall enter My sanctuary. 10“But the Levites who went far from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, shall bear the punishment for their iniquity. 11“Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the house and ministering in the house; they shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them.
The question was posed in class regarding the Torah’s relevance to a believer in Messiah Yeshua. Without probing the depths of an accurate Hermeneutic on Pauline epistles, let us tie this topic into our lesson. The Kohanim were the central figures. They were to be the ‘pristine’ examples of how to live and apply the Torah for the everyday man. At every level of society the Torah= teaching and instructions of Hashem, was to be upheld and fulfilled (shamar-guarded). As we have studied in depth, the entire place of the Mishkan along with its services is spirit filled and heart inspired. This Mishkan and Temple service is all about creating a template to enable the rectification of the sin at the garden : The redefinition of Hashem’s commandments, “Did perhaps God really say…?” “Neither eat of it nor touch it….”; The overstepping of boundaries Hashem set out, man defining what was good for him; “Of every tree…eat, but not of the etz ha da’at tov v’ra…” “She saw that the fruit was desirable and good…”; and the failure to do teshuvah, “The woman you gave me…”, “The serpent deceived me….” The Mishkan and its services are all about MAN’s rehabilitation and the coming close, on His TERMS, to Hashem. Year after year the Torah is given and taught to the point of “understanding” at Sukkot before the entire people (‘the word…given to heart of flesh….tabernacling within them’). Year after year Torah is relatable and applicable in ‘new’ ways. God has joy (the re’ach nichoach) upon the obedience to His Torah.
Turning toward Him and trusting in His mitsvot with the heart and soul brings GOD JOY in His people. This is written.
Devarim 30; 5“The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 6 “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. 7“The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 8“And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. 9“Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; 10 if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.
Yirmeyahu 31;31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My Torah within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” 35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: 36“If this fixed order departs from before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever.”
Bemidbar 12; 6He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. 7 “Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; 8With him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?” 9 So the anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed. 10 But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow.
[After the text saying the Lord spoke- the Ten Words] Sh’mot 20; 18 All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” 21So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
Devarim 5; 2 “The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 3“The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today. 4“The LORD spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, 5 while I was standing between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain. He said, 6 ‘I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Devarim 5; 22“ These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly at the mountain from the midst of the fire, of the cloud and of the thick gloom, with a great voice, and He added no more. He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. 23“And when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders. 24“You said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire; we have seen today that God speaks with man, yet he lives. 25 ‘Now then why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer, then we will die. 26‘For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? 27‘Go near and hear all that the LORD our God says; then speak to us all that the LORD our God speaks to you, and we will hear and do it.’ 28 “The LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well יָטַב in all that they have spoken. 29 ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever! 30‘Go, say to them, “Return to your tents.” 31‘But as for you, stand here by Me, that I may speak to you all the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I give them to possess.’ 32 “So you shall observe to do just as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 “You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess.
[Yatav יָטַב– well, pleasing, good merry, joyful, rightly.
Ber. 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.]
The people were aware at this point of the might of an experience with Hashem. They backed away out of that Reverence- Yare for the Lord that overtook them. Unlike Nadav and Avihu who deliberately overstepped the boundaries, somehow although the people were at first beckoned (even then only to a certain boundary)… they stood off and asked that Moshe relate the expounding of the Ten Devarim for them. God’s voice, His power was a little too much for an extended experience. They heard directly (even saw directly- like Moshe) to a point. Their ‘backing off’ was not a sin, nor did Hashem change his message. It was not a lesser matan (gift) at that point. I believe Hashem found it favorable (as He explicitly states) that the people made this ‘move’ because Moshe was meant to be the vessel by which the Torah was EXPOUNDED. Hereby, in this way, there would be little room for variation and flex. In this way the MOST TRUSTED of His house would be able to clearly, succinctly, unwaveringly be enabled to lay out with the precision we hold in our hands to this day…what God said, and what God meant through the divine words of His Torah. Over time man would distort, add, subtract and reinterpret His Devarim. Then Yeshua came, the perfect example as to how to live this same Torah (in its form from origin), the Word as Flesh, with the Heart of God’s gift central and forefront administered by the Ruach HaKodesh.
Indeed, what is given to the people is not a lesser law than what it might have been had they stood close for the entire elocution.
Yeshayahu 42;4 “He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His Torah.” 6“I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations,7 To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.20 You have seen many things, but you do not observe; ears are open, but none hears.21The LORD was pleased for His righteousness’ sake to make the Torah great and glorious.
What, however, we have seen since we began this Journey in B’reshit is a progressive, developmental disclosure of God’s plan through His Torah. One student aptly put it, “plan A” to “plan B” isn’t a degradation…it is an expansion, perhaps even an augmentation. Plan A’s garden like paradise moved from including one man in ‘God’s world’ to a ‘recreation’ with humanity dominant in the whole of ‘Man’s world’. From here God focuses His plan into one family through Avraham and his mission extends through the twelve tribes into one Nation– Am. Am Yisrael take an ordained sojourn in Mistrayim to establish within them the meaning behind the commandments and statutes which would thereby become moral imperatives. As a nation of Kohanim v’ Melachim this Torah will become the framework, the foundation, the architecture for God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It’s fabric weaves divine guidelines for every aspect of humanity and godliness in eating, drinking, resting, working, business, pleasure, worship, family… everything. Indeed there is yet a progression.
The fire upon the mountain and the experience at Sinai, as we saw in studying the chiasm which spanned the latter half of Sefer Shemot, was itself a ‘lesser’ revelation than what Hashem aggrandizes when He spends chapter upon chapter illustrating the “house” His kids will construct for ‘Him’. In this case the fire of God’s indwelling presence resides WITHIN the Holy House. It is closer. More extant in some way. It should not be lost on us that His cloud rests upon the ‘mercy seat’ the House for the Torah, this is the heart and center of His central interest and focus. Therefore, it is not that the “dream” is on the decline…it is developing and strengthening. The “dream” for the Children of Israel = taking that Torah, led always by the Residing Presence of Hashem into erets Yisrael as a people set apart, and from there they will realize the Avrahamic promise (to be a source of blessing to the entire world). The dream is growing in importance, and I believe for us today…it continues to GROW in importance.
Vayikra 15;31 “Thus you shall keep the sons of Israel separated from their uncleanness טָמְאָה, so that they will not die in their uncleanness טָמְאָה by their defiling My tabernacle that is among them.”
Vayikra 22; Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Tell Aaron and his sons to be careful with the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they dedicate to Me, so as not to profane My holy name; I am the Lord. 3 Say to them, ‘If any man among all your descendants throughout your generations approaches the holy gifts which the sons of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he has an uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from before Me; I am the Lord.
We have learned the details regarding the standard for the people to live by. Dietary; sexual; unintentional natural defilement and the cleansing for such things. We took a journey with the metsora and began to understand God’s emphasis on nationhood and synchronicity within the “family” He dwells WITHIN. This week we learn about the high standard the Kohanim were to live by, for they are the arbiters between Hashem and the “offerer” (the one coming close). Once again we are now given the details on the Feasts of the Lord. His appointed times. Designated sanctified canopies in time when Hashem says He will be “more” accessible, (the groom setting the date and standing under the Chuppah).
Throughout is the strand of Yom Kippur. From Nadav and Avihu with the message God sent the people through them on the opening day of the Mishkan, to the connection with Aaron and the explicit order for him to do what Nadav and Avihu wanted to (but this time, by God’s design and beckon) on Yom Kippur, to this section regarding standards for the people to live by daily…standards for the priests to live by daily…all for the ultimate goal of connection with Hashem. We learned about death being the loss of connection, it is the same with a spiritual death. This takes place when we lose track of our destiny and mission. Why did Hashem take the people out of Egypt, Mitsrayim?
Why has He taken you?
The seventh day Sabbath is practice weekly to set our ‘systems’ to be in touch with Hashem’s ministering to us at appointed times. This is where our offering becomes a surrender to Hashem in the realm of time. Coming to the Temple to draw near reminds us of our mission, it emphasizes for us “the dream” we tend to forget Hashem has for each one of us. When the people come into Yershalayim and worship Hashem they sanctify His Name on this earth as The God Who keeps His promise. This in itself is an invitation to all humanity to become a part of something much bigger than merely temporarily existing. Keeping God’s appointments testifies: there is a design outside of our flesh and personal desires and every man can connect to God.
Vayikra 23; 23 The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these: 3 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings. 4 ‘These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them….37 ‘These are the appointed times of the Lord which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the Lord—burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day’s matter on its own day— 38 besides those of the sabbaths of the Lord, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord.
Vayikra 24; 15 You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone curses his God, then he will bear his sin. 16 Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. 17 ‘If a man takes the life of any human being,
he shall surely be put to death. 18 The one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. 19 If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him
20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. 21 Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death. 22 There shall be one standard מִשְׁפַּט for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’”
Vayikra 22; 31 So you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am the Lord. 32 “You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel; I am the Lord who sanctifies you, 33 who brought you out from the land of Egypt, to be your God; I am the Lord.”
Vayikra 20; 22 ‘You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, so that the land to which I am bringing you to live will not spew you out. 23 Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them. 24 Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples. 25 You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean. 26 Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
The dream continues and GROWS in importance. Go to Israel with the Torah. The whole mission= To be light. The torah teaches us how to be human and holy in a chaotic world.
This Light…is not meant to be hidden. It becomes even MORE important today. It is the substantial proof that God is in control of my life. Torah is that testimony, yesterday, today and in the future. God’s people were placed CONSPICUOUSLY in the Land, we are meant to be conspicuous in our “places”. We were not made to blend into the world. The Torah sets us apart and makes us different. Not different because we’ve fashioned ourselves as thus, but because this is God’s definition of separate. What is the Torah? The Torah is the mission manual= how to be a source of blessing to all people! Israel is told by God to “be where you’re supposed to be and do what you’re supposed to do”. Go to that specific place. Live in that specific way. Function in your purpose.
Devarim 4;5 “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. 6“So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him? 8“Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole Torah which I am setting before you today? 9 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.
FUNCTIONING in your PURPOSE = salt being salty. Salt without its savor= useless.
B’reshit 1; 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
The Light is good when it is where it is supposed to be, doing what it was DESIGNED TO DO.
I believe we are designed to apply the Torah and that is why God has made it accessible.
Devarim 30; 11 ”For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.
[The first thing in B’reshit God calls Tov טוֹב is the light. The first Tov טוֹב in Shemot is when Moshe’s mother see’s that he is tov. The first tov טוֹב in Vayikra has to do with offerings in the Mishkan. The first tov טוֹב in Bemidbar is regarding Erets Yisrael. The first too in Devarim is in regard to setting wise and discerning men above the people to judge them- GOOD leaders who will not distort God’s message to you for the sake of doctrine.]
Matthew 5; 13You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. 18 For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.19 So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
I believe this comes within Hashem’s perfect timing as we’re just over halfway to Shavuot, and at the same time remember that each day the importance and connection to Hashem and His word will be growing, or it should be. The saddest thing of all is when you reach the dream and stop dreaming. We are free at Pesach, but am I still dreaming of freedom (Shavuot)? This Omer period is a chance to make the statement each day, I continue to have that dream. You still hold my hope. Your word and will is my ultimate desire and that remains exciting every single day!
Tehillim 119; 89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. 90 Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. 91They stand this day according to Your ordinances, for all things are Your servants. 92If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have revived me.
The “dream” was to enter the Promised Land, to be light from there to the entire world and to do so according to the will of Hashem. The Temple service and sacrificial structure, in some form, will be maintained even into the Millennial Reign of Yeshua. Then still… men will seek to rehabilitate their lives and come before Him there. Still men will express their desires for closeness. Still boundaries, still healthy separateness. This is the dream.
To be where we are supposed to be doing what we were designed to do.
“When I stopped dreaming of ‘I will be healed’, then I became incurable. And we’re all broken.
The thoughts of your heart are what you’re dreaming about. Therefore, purify your heart.
The thoughts of my mind are constant and changing all the time.
The though of my heart can last all day and much longer….”
May you be blessed and uplifted on your journey. Constantly moving, relying on Hashem for what you need daily. Trusting in Hashem and relating to His Teaching and Instructions with your heart, however He continues to reveal and court your understanding, fostering a genuine love of them for the sake of closeness; learning how to become a source of blessing in this world!
Dare to dream,
dare to <—-darosh darash—->,
dare to be faithful,
courageously shine in this life.
Resources: See Homepage and “My Resources” entry. Much of this week’s content was learned from Rabbi Shlomo Katz http://www.shlomokatz.com/; Rabbi Ari Kahn arikahn.blogspot.co.il and Bill Cloud http://billcloud.org/.
In Memory, in dedication to Yoshko.