In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
“Let’s make the next few minutes last forever….”
Distinguishing Holiness and Becoming Unclean 5778
I am not seeing from the moment pen in hand, how I will compile and comprehend, what it is you wish to do with Your wondrous plan, don’t know who will be there, don’t know what You have prepared. But here I am, surrender, a tool in your hand? Here we are surrender, let us learn to adore Your commands, for they whisper for us, “your story” you’re meant…to be here now to enter into His presence and leave with more than you came in with. I pray a blessing over all the things I cannot see from here, I pray for open and illuminant hearts inside each of us, please make. Steer us as Your vessel into meaning beyond our control, let the light of Your perfection take shape in us, take hold. B’shem Yeshua HaMashiac –
At creation Hashem has a particular order. When we are given the chapter of detailed dietary restrictions these are laid out in the very same order. Man and woman were created lastly (that we not forget the very things we discussed last entry: once there was a perfect place where man and the other beings of creation were in harmony and existed in a much more peaceful serene place in time; to keep mankind humble) and in our parisha of Tazria (immediately coming after the clean/unclean food list) we read about the “creation” of a male or a female child, and the woman’s period of purification after giving birth.
# 2930 (v) tame טָמֵא (tah-may)- to be unclean, become unclean, become impure (sexually, religiously, ceremonially); to defile oneself, be defiled (sexually, by idolatry, ceremonially); to be regarded as unclean (to defile sexually, religiously, ceremonially; to pronounce unclean, declare unclean (ceremonially); to profane (God’s name).
* The following to give an example:
B’reshit (Genesis) 34:5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in.13 But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. 27 Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister.
#2932 (fem n) ta’mah טָמְאָה (too-mah) – [state of] uncleanness, impurity.
Vayikra 5;3 ‘Or if he touches human טָמְאָה uncleanness, of whatever sort his טָמְאָה uncleanness may be with which he becomes טָמֵא unclean, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty. (see context)
# 2931 (adj) tame טָמֵא (tah-may) – impure, unclean.
What makes a person tame טָמֵא ?
The “highest form” of ritual impurity comes from contact with death. Hashem is the Source of all life. He is Life. He gives life. Thus any contact with death cannot be extant in His Holy (earthly) Habitation. Animals that have died “accidentally” or not through the process of the sacrificial (the means by which to karav- draw close…) ‘ritual slaughter’ in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) also cause a person to become טָמֵא tame. There are detailed texts regarding natural human bodily functions which render a person טָמֵא tame (semen, menstruation, other blood discharge, etc.) We will read about the person who has become afflicted by the biblical disease tsara’at (commonly mistranslated as leprosy), this person becomes טָמֵא tame by his (or her) affliction and may not enter the compound of the Holy Temple precincts (he or she, in fact becomes quarantined and then exiled from the camp itself). Anyone who is in the same tent with a person who dies, men on a battlefield, someone who touches a bed or garment that a menstruating woman has been upon…all become טָמֵא tame.
For all of these cases there is a specified period of time the person must wait before he must “bathe” (in a mikveh- which is not for dirt or germs…it is a spiritual ‘rebirth’ of sorts using the element of water to exemplify an internal purification) submerging in one state &arise anew.
The state of being tame is directly connected to the concept of approaching the Sanctified (completely set apart and Holy) Tabernacle where service to Hashem is taking place. Where Hashem’s manifest presence resides. Being טָמֵא tame doesn’t mean someone has sinned (with a slight exception in the case of the metzorah-person who has been afflicted with tsara’at).
Being טָמֵא tame simply means that there is some contact with mortality which has to be considered, that cannot be brought into the Temple until it is “resolved” from the inside of the person.
For example: 1) someone who experiences the death of a loved one- this person needs some time to attend to the actual physical remains, to mourn with their family members, to recover from their pain and perhaps hurt toward Hashem. If one were to bring an offering in this state…it would not be right.
2) The soldier- this person has experienced war and trial, perhaps having to take life. He has to deal with the losses of his comrades, deal with the responsibility he has for ending life, the trauma he has experienced. To come and bring an offering fresh off the battle field having witnessed the horrors of war and come close to Hashem to bring offerings….doesn’t seem like the right time.
3) The woman who is menstruating- aside from the sanitation aspect (which would have been much more complicated back in the days before maxi pads and hot running water)…each egg that has not reached its fruition is a sort of death. For a woman who is longing to have a child each period is like a curse, life that could have been but wasn’t. There is a sort of mourning period where this woman has some time to consider her function with or without conceiving and it is during this time that she can come to realize how much her trust in Hashem can grow. Even so this is something done in private, internally…not at the temple, not at this time.
4) The man who has had a seminal emission- it is the same concept (although shorter and perhaps not as visceral) as the menstruating woman. This seed has not reached its fruition. It was to be a part of life but instead became ‘useless’. This could be the cause of some shame to the man and so he may have a short period to sort these feelings out with Hashem. In private…he cannot approach the Holy Temple until he has purified himself.
5) The Metzorah (the person afflicted with tsara’at)- this person is repeatedly (in scripture) associated with death. He is alive but the part which makes a person truly alive (our fellowship with other humans, our partnership with our families, our contact with loved ones, our involvement in the community) has been removed from him. He has done something against the community (it is commonly taught that one becomes afflicted with tsara’at due to the usage of evil speech- lashan ha’ra=the evil tongue), and thus he is exiled and given a time period of purification. He is directly instructed (after a detailed, highly symbolically significant process) to approach the Tabernacle and bring a hefty list of “reparations”/offerings before the face of his neighbors and Hashem.
We will go back to the woman who has actually given birth creating life and why she is rendered טָמֵא tame through it.
=, to understand God’s idea of boundaries:
# 914 (v) badal בָּדַל – to separate; to select; to distinguish; to set apart.
The sense of this word is boundaries. This is the word that is used at Creation. When God is separating light from darkness, water from water, etc. This is the same word which is used for the Partition in the Tabernacle which “separated” between the Holy place and the Most Holy place (boundaries). God explains that He has “separated” Israel from among all the other peoples and it is at this point that He gives us (as this set apart people) His dietary laws.
“I distinguished you, take my example, learn how to become distinct…”
Vayikra 20;24-25 I am the LORD your God,
who has בָּדַל separated you from the peoples.’
You are therefore to make a בָּדַל distinction
between the clean animal and the unclean…
The following passage from B’midbar (Numbers) sums up this list and at the end explains the bottom line for WHY God wants His people to be conscious of becoming טָמֵא tame.
B’midbar (Numbers) 19;13 ‘Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, טָמֵא defiles tabernacle of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him. 14 ‘This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be טָמֵא unclean for seven days….16 ’Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be טָמֵא unclean for seven days….20 ‘But the man who is טָמֵא unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has טָמֵא defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean. 21 ‘So it shall be a perpetual statute for them. And he who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for impurity shall be טָמֵא unclean until evening. 22 ‘Furthermore, anything that the unclean person touches shall be טָמֵא unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.’… 35:34 ‘You shall not טָמֵא defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.’”
One other highly important point to make is that while Hashem includes these standards for His set apart people in His set apart place for our own physical, spiritual and emotional well being…He is also setting Himself, His mode worship and place of worship apart from the other false religions and idolatrous rituals. For pagan worship, in their places of worship, their sanctuaries…the things that make God’s people tame and unable to approach…are almost always a requirement (for them). There were killings of people and children, young babies offered and their blood spilled to demon gods. There was the veneration of death their ritual and offering; gross sexual practices including “manipulating” and even drinking blood. No sense of community, no sanctity for human life, no sexual boundaries, no intimacy with a loving deity… just appeasement by any means necessary, for the purpose of serving the flesh.
#8262 (v) shakats שָׁקַץ (shah-kah’ts)- to contaminate, to pollute, to abominate, to loathe.
- Tehillim 22; 23 You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel. 24 For He has not despised nor שָׁקַץ abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard. 25 From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. 26 The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will worship before You. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S and He rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, all those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, even he who cannot keep his soul alive. 30 Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. 31 They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it.
[ Hashem is never ignorant of our pain. There is nothing we can do that will make us too unclean for Him to reach into our lives with His loving and willingness to save us. He will not hide His face from us when we are even in the hands of death or the pit of sin…if we call out to Him and make our return to Him.]
Ezekiel 39; 23“The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. 24“According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.” 25Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. 26“They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. 27“When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. 28“Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. 29“I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.
#8263 (masc. n) shekets שֶׁקֶץ (sheh-keh’ts) – abomination, something abominable.
- Yechezkiel (Ezekiel) 8; 5 Then He said to me, “Son of man, raise your eyes now toward the north.” So I raised my eyes toward the north, and behold, to the north of the altar gate was this idol of jealousy at the entrance. 6 And He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations which the house of Israel are committing here, so that I would be far from My sanctuary? But yet you will see still greater abominations.” 7 Then He brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, a hole in the wall. 8 He said to me, “Son of man, now dig through the wall.” So I dug through the wall, and behold, an entrance. 9 And He said to me, “Go in and see the wicked abominations that they are committing here.” 10 So I entered and looked, and behold, every form of creeping things and beasts and שֶׁקֶץ detestable things, with all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around. 11 Standing in front of them were seventy elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them, each man with his censer in his hand and the fragrance of the cloud of incense rising. 12 Then He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’” 13 And He said to me, “Yet you will see still greater abominations which they are committing.”
Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:25 ‘You are therefore to בָּדַל badal make a distinction between the clean animal and the (טָמֵא tame) unclean, and between the (tame) unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves (nephesh- soul; better translation…you shall not make your souls) שֶׁקֶץ detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated בָּדַל badal for you as (טָמֵא tame) unclean.
#8581 (v) ta’av תָּעַב (tah-ahv) – to cause to be abhorred, to occasion horror, to make abominable, to make shameful, to be detestable.
Tehillim (Psalms) 107:18 Their soul (nephesh) תָּעַב abhorred all kinds of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. 19 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. 20 He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. 21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! 22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 23:7 “You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not תָּעַב detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. 8 “The sons of the third generation who are born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD. 9 “When you go out as an army against your enemies, you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.10 “If there is among you any man who is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he must go outside the camp; he may not reenter the camp.11 “But it shall be when evening approaches, he shall bathe himself with water, and at sundown he may reenter the camp.12 “You shall also have a place outside the camp and go out there,13 and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement. 14 “Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.
What I learn from these passages and from the shoresh (root) ta’av תָּעַב, is that indeed there is some connection to the soul and that which we eat (eating is not just physical, it is also symbolic- when Messiah compares his body to matzah or says that he is the “true bread”, when we say that we live off of the Word of God…eating and consuming are synonyms in English. What we consume speaks volumes about our Soul health.)
We are even to mind the details of how we eliminate our waste, how we deal with the food our body doesn’t use for nutrition. EVEN THAT matters to Hashem. He has even taken up this many words of His Torah to describe for us how very much our intake and even output of food matters to Him. I also learn that the people separated (badal) by Hashem to live a set apart (Kadosh-holy) life in every way are not allowed to determine that any human being is abhorrent. God deliberately instructs that they not treat an Egyptian or even an Edomite (knowing the history between Israel and these ‘clans’) as he would the carcass of a pig. Something the Israelite would not bring into his home or even touch (for the commandment was to abominate such things) is not to be likened to these specific human beings God here mentions.
This ties right into the oft quoted Apostolic verse which is misinterpreted as being a blanket permission to put aside all the Torah’s dietary laws. This entire context is all about how an Israelite disciple of the Master Yeshua (Peter in this case) is expected to treat another human being who is not in his inner circle (Note: table fellowship was central in that time period and the tradition was that a Jewish man was not to go into a gentile home and certainly not eat with him which is a sort of “covenant making”, this man made law was what Peter’s vision was about. Clean and unclean food was used as an illustration and was NOT the topic at hand.)
See Ezekiel 4, does it not sound similar to Peter’s response to Hashem in his vision? Hashem is asking Ezekiel to set an example for His people in order to relate to them a message. His defense for the desired request (not to be asked to cook and eat his food over human dung for fuel) is made through the fact that he has kept the Torah before Hashem.
This is the same word used in our Isaiah 65 passage. It refers to sacrificial “meat” that has been ‘left out’ longer than the prescribed time period for consuming it (another boundary set by Hashem, something unattended or left to grow cold [such as our drive to serve Hashem and to give effort to make seeds of growth come to fruition by our active pursuit of living faith] will no longer be special/Holy…these offering loose their meaning and purpose and become unclean.
– Vayikra 19:6 ‘It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and the next day; but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire. 17 ‘So if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an פִּגּוּל offense; it will not be accepted.
(This is the only context of this word aside from that of Isaiah, this teaches us about the behavior of the people who rebel against Hashem at that time. They are eating swine and have been neglecting His service or perhaps their sacrifices weren’t to Hashem at all.)
[ See this entry for more in depth on Abomination-https://safeguardingtheeternal.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/what-is-an-abomination/]
Vayikra (Leviticus)18; 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
#8441 (fem n) toevah תּוֹעֵבָה (toe-eh-vah) – an abomination, something abominable.
What does God define as an abomination in His Word? There are many human attributes which He defines as תּוֹעֵבָה toevah (pride, lying, false witness, spreading strife, etc. See Mishlei/Proverbs 6); Idolatry and any resemblance of pagan worship (I humbly ask that you please consider Yoga, strange dealings with graves or the dead, bowing or praying to statues, etc.) are called תּוֹעֵבָה toevah; the verse above is just one way that using our bodies outside of the created function (one that will continue LIFE on this planet) is considered by God as תּוֹעֵבָה toevah; and then our Father reiterates HIS list of foods that are תּוֹעֵבָה toevah to Him and He asks (repeatedly) that we distinguish in our lives
what is תּוֹעֵבָה toevah.
- Devarim 14:1 “You are the sons of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. 12 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 3 “You shall not eat any toevah תּוֹעֵבָה detestable thing. 4 “These are the animals which you may eat…
To reiterate what we said in the last lesson, observing or choosing not to uphold Hashem’s dietary allotments and restrictions (in all forms including consuming blood, properly slaughtered meat, etc) is not an issue of Salvation, it is an issue of Holiness and our connection to being set apart for Hashem. Just as our original topic (becoming unclean-tame) is in direct connection to the approach and worship in the Tabernacle and Temple of Hashem.
Let us then attempt to glean an applicable message through this journey together and do so with another oft quoted passage from the book of Romans. The Greek word for “unclean” in this passage is NOT the same word as was used in Peter’s vision. The Greek word used here is koinon. It appears three times within this one verse and it does not mean unclean. The Greek word for unclean is akatharton. These two words do not have the same meaning. It is not used in the sense of the Torah’s dietary restrictions (which I believe Yeshua, his disciples and Paul upheld).
The context is in regard to the new “converts” from the pagan world who had come to faith in Yeshua and the group of believers who were mainly Jewish and practicing the Torah including the dietary laws (like their master did). This context is about judgment of new believers who may be ignorant to the ways of living “in Messiah Yeshua”, who are just learning.
The context is completely about not pushing away those who may be ignorant or still clinging to their pagan “norms” (there was perhaps a suspicion that the foods being eaten may have been ‘sacrificed to idols’ or not ‘correctly’ slaughtered) in some ways. Please remember that when the Apostolic scriptures refer to “food” that would include only “food” that would have been defined as food as listed by Hashem in His Torah. This was well understood.
The context of the Romans passage is about growing in our own faith and strengthening that of others through a loving example, patience and most of all NOT JUDGING new believers. I pray that the time we have spent in these last two lessons on dietary topics has been a blessing to you and also, with all of my love and tenderness, has equipped you with some information to consider… where ignorance is never bliss.
- Romans 14;1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions. 2 For one man has faith to eat all things, while another, who is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not belittle the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man regards a certain day above the others, while someone else considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes a special day does so to the Lord; he who eats does so to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone, and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this reason Messiah died and returned to life, so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.10 Why, then, do you judge your brother? Or why do you belittle your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God.”12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.13 Therefore let us stop judging one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.14 I am convinced and fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed by what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother, for whom Messiah died.16 Do not allow what you consider good, then, to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.19 So then, let us pursue what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to let his eating be a stumbling block. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything to cause your brother to stumble.
There is not enough time to properly handle the topics we have begun this week. B’ezrat Hashem (God willing) we will continue to learn about tame – unclean and tahor – clean. The process for becoming cleansed and the spiritual significance of this. We will come back to our woman who has given birth and why she is to bring an offering for sin, what sin did she commit? We will come back to our metzorah (the person afflicted with tsara’at)- his offense and the extremely important topic of lashan hara within the community.
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