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….”
Leaving Vayikra…. 5779 (Shemitah, Yom Kippur, Counting the Omer, Shavuot)
Holy Spirit, is my failure to identify you verbally and predominantly blasphemy? Or just negligence. I believe that you are ever present, ever active. I pray that your guidance and giving over of what Hashem desires us all to have… be evident to each of our customized lives, paths, missions in this world. I don’t want for my interpretation of the word of Hashem, my promotion of the gospel of Yeshua, my will and what I sense can be and will be received to be in control. You take control. Let me no longer sit by while distracting strange doctrine, fleeting thoughts or negativity steals our time together. If there is a place, a vein or sinew, a breath or heartbeat that isn’t known by You, or where we have not knowledge of You… let us ask to become completely imbued and permeated with just Who You are and what You will for us.
I have been hesitant. Bringing forth what I feel can be accepted and approached because I so much… more than anything, desire for each of you to fall in love with Hashem. But not with a fleeting love, a love that lasts forever. A marital, covenantal love that is to eternity. This love longs for the other, burns for union, desires to serve, weeps in genuine emotion…it is the kind of partnership which is completely incomplete without the Other Party close. This is the kind of Love story we write with our lives in Yeshua. This is what I long for. This is the only thing I desire to gain from you in the giving over of any of my time or efforts.
Coming truly to the Gospel means coming to the END OF YOURSELF.
Whether this means you are a readied betrothed virgin with your arms wide open, completely prepared and motivated to pursue a life lived for Hashem and by the bible’s truths and teachings.
OR whether this means you are as a sullied, torn, abused and betrayed lost wanderer, once having sought to be in total control having seen life become dim and grey without union in something never failing and ever lasting.
Whatever place, whoever you are… the surrender of the self… the self being:
I know what’s best, this is what makes sense to me, It’s my life, It’s my body, I am in control, this is my truth, this is my time
the surrender of this mindset… is the only passage to allowing Hashem to take the reigns of your vessel.
Guiding and shaping it and using it for true light exposition in this darkening world that is absolutely ravenous for change… for freedom…for the liberty of the Torah of Hashem and all that living in this Light requires of us, and bestows upon us.
Becoming a light bearer means allowing Hashem to grasp your handle and lead.
Coming to the Gospel means
the END OF YOURSELF,
and the beginning of a whole new life.
Where a new day, a fresh start, a rebirth is possible at any moment and every moment. The key to unlocking this door is Repentance. Recognizing where we have gone astray or where we have been ignorant or where we have been rebellious or willful… and to repent. To feel remorse and to practice rectification- change.
In this walk NOTHING stays the same. EVERYTHING changes. We are beings abiding in change. With Hashem clutching our wheel…this change will promote a heading in the right direction.
As we are currently in the midst of the Counting of the Omer period before Shavuot, a period which hearkens us to the concept of Time. What Hashem gave us to measure and mark time is His Sabbaths. The weekly Sabbath and the Appointed Feasts of the Lord. At once we are also learning about the Shemittah, the cycles of Seven years which are to be rest and release for the land and for the living beings on the earth. Seven Shemittah cycles lead us to the Yovel-Jubilee year which is declared with the Shofar blast. This sound as well brings us full circle back to the foot of Mount Sinai and receiving the Torah at Shavuot. All of these concepts are read and LIVED during this season of making the days COUNT. Not only do we read the Parashiot about Yom Kippur but we note that the Shemittah and Yovel years are declared ON YOM KIPPUR.
To LIVE these lessons let’s deal ‘briefly’ with Yom Kippur and its ‘requirements’.
Let us turn to Aaron ha Kohen.
A man who knew failure up close and personal.
A man who knew ultimate loss up close and personal. A man who truly knew about coming to the END of himSELF.
After experiencing the death of his two sons, who are a stark example to us all that even the holiest of people with the best of intentions who end up taking things into their OWN hands and do things, even things such as worshipping Hashem, and pursue these things in their OWN way… are seen by Hashem as overstepping the lines not to be crossed. When these lines are crossed especially at vital and most crucial times, when literally all the eyes of the nation are upon them… they Perish by the fire of Hashem.
Their bodies remained intact,
but their souls were extinguished.
What we read in the following chapter is the heart wrenching verse: And Aaron kept silent… despite everything, his silence speaks volumes of his absolute trust in and love of Hashem. After the death of his sons, Hashem speaks to Aaron directly (in almost all other cases, it is Hashem speaking “unto Moshe”).
The portions following Aaron’s silence and up to the portion of Hashem’s address to Aaron again in regard to his loss ( by no coincidence) speak to us about HOW TO BE HOLY and separate for Hashem and from His Holy place at the appropriate times in our lives.
We are TAUGHT exactly how to eat, to dress, how to treat our own bodies, how to worship, when we transgress how to be cleansed, how to behave as a community, how to behave sexually, how to behave as parents and as children…
Vayikra 10; 1Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.’” So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
Vayikra 10; 8 The LORD then spoke to Aaron, saying, 9“Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die—it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations— 10 and so as to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean, 11and so as to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them through Moses.”
Vayikra 16;1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the LORD and died. 2 The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.
The event of Yom Kippur yearly allowed for a complete fresh and new start.
It is as if the overstep of Nadav and Avihu made way for so many people to learn the most valuable lesson.
NO- you cannot just ‘worship’ Hashem any ole way.
It may (which ever way YOU believe is the REAL way to worship Him) seem that you are bringing a gift to Hashem but sometimes one might want to ask if the gift is something the recipient has asked for or stated would delight them. Once my son gave his sister a toy train set for her birthday. The first thing he did once she opened it was ask if he could play with it.
Romans 6;15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
Romans 5;15… For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Yeshua Messiah, abound to the many. 16The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Yeshua Messiah.
When the Holy Spirit is at work, we feel convicted. Convicted about the obvious things we have overlooked, the chatah,or falling short in our walk. We feel convicted about the pesha agreements or goals we have broken, perhaps more serious things that we failed in (among men and with God). And when His arrow has hit its mark (remember that the root for the word Torah-yarah is hitting the mark as with an arrow, “bull’s eye”!) we will be completely bent over with our grief for the rebellion we have willingly lived up unto this point. The separation from God it causes becomes too much to carry walking proudly upright… we become bent over in the pain that ensues from intentionally running away from the Light. This is all for the purpose of our eventual repentance and return to Him.
Tehillim 38; 2For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, and Your hand has pressed down on me. 3There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin חַטָּאָה (chatah). 4 For my iniquities עָוֹן (avon) are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. 5 My wounds grow foul and fester because of my folly. 6 I am bent עָוָה pasha over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. 7 For my loins are filled with burning, And there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You.
‘עָוֹן avon’—iniquity, perverse, make crooked, do amiss, do wickedly, an act of defiance or rebellion. This is a willful twisting of our way before the Lord. This is willing, rebellious sin. Something for which there is no offering to cover or allot a coming close for rectification. ONLY on this one day of Yom Kippur is this type of sin atoned for
( כָּפַר kaphar covered.)
The root of Pesha-> עָוָה pasha meaning bend,curve,distort,twist, pervert… is also found in this Psalm.
Shemot 34;6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives עָוֹן (avon) iniquity, פֶשַׁע (pesha) transgression and חַטָּאָה (chatah) sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the עָוֹן (avon) iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
This verse gives us a perfect example of Hashem’s willingness to deal with all of these types of faults, failures and rebellions. Each of our words here for sin are promised to be forgiven for a thousand generations…
(a number just meant to make us think “a lot” or “a long long time”).
Thus is His mercy- it extends far beyond His judgment.
But we also know that since He is righteous, this requires Him to be just as well. His justice, which will manifest in the far reaching consequences of these sins in the lives of those involved… will extend just to the third and fourth generations.
That is, only if the family members don’t learn from the experiences and failures of their parents and grandparents.
The cycles of sin can be broken much sooner, but the consequences will be felt for several generations. This is a great lesson for us. Perhaps the most valuable lesson would be to see the contrast: how much more the mercy and forgiveness of Hashem is extended to us.
Breaking the cycle of sin and truly realizing the graciousness of our Maker and Master is a huge point of Yom Kippur. A day upon which the Kohen is central.
The Kohen is standing in representation for the entire nation.
Did you notice a word in the Yom Kippur passage of Vayikra perek 16.. which was repeated? Take a look, for this is the key to understanding this day and its far reaching meaning for us.
ALL– כֹּל kol – wholly, altogether, all, all kinds, every sort, any, all things, all, every one, whole, totality.
The Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur (remember this is the day marking the rest/shemittah for the land and release/freedom from all debts and thus freedom from ‘slavery’) shall make atonement for the holy place and the tent of meeting in regard to all their sins. He is also taking responsibility for himself and for his household alongside all the assembly of Israel. The blood of the offering for this day is to go on all sides of the altar’s walls. If we are to mark our hearts out to the Lord as an offering, desiring for closeness and a covering of our former selves then we are to make sure that ALL sides of our lives and hearts and minds are indicated as repentant…the blood of the offering indicated this- that a confession and repentance had taken place. Then Aaron would lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins. Every kind of sin, known or not realized, for all the people… even those who aren’t truly tapped into what is going on but still a part of the assembly. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities and bear them off into the wilderness, never to be seen or heard of again. For it is on this day that atonement shall be made and you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD. Atonement, covering, is being made for the Holy place, the entire Mishkan and for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. Hashem commanded that one day once every year on this day forever as a permanent statute, atonement is realized for the sons of Israel for all their sins. It is no wonder that Hashem chose this day to mark the Shemittah and Yovel- because everyone, ALL the people are starting out with a clean slate and a new life, a fresh start… freedom in living with Him as their Master. This is what a life lived with and for Him promises all human beings, made in His image.
Yeshua, who is acting now as our High Priest in the heavenly Tabernacle, did this sort of intercession for us through His own blood offering. Asking of Hashem to remember His mercy on that one of a kind day in history (the day of his crucifixion)… he asks for forgiveness, not because they have merely missed the mark, not because they had broken agreement, but because they were willfully rebelling against the message he came to teach them… and in their consent to his unlawful murder they had no idea of the consequences which would follow them for generations…yet, it is forgiveness he asked for on their behalf at the point of his ultimate pain in human form.
Stephen, a learner of Yeshua who clearly follows in his ways does the same intercession for his brethren, even to the point of his death he asks that their sin not be counted against them. This man, even though falling asleep (to death) is alive evermore with the merciful plea. While those who looked away at his unjust killing go on living, yet in truth are dead.
Perhaps now we can internalize, in a deeper way, the parallels with what Yeshua did on the execution stake and the Kohen on Yom Kippur.
He died, yet defeated death upon his resurrection. He ascended on High and brought his blood as witness once into that holy tabernacle for all people for all time for all that would come to him.
He fulfilled that Yom Kippur offering and now… any day, every day offers us the chance to make a confession, engage in repentance and come into a brand new life lived in him.
His confession was that of forgiveness and unconditional love. Ours can be freedom from the bondage of sin, of all kinds… we live this freedom by learning how to be the people He desires us to be, to live the way He designed for His Chosen nation.
We learn these things through the study and application of His Torah, with the Spirit Yeshua gave to us.
The Sabbath, the Shemittah and the Feasts of Hashem such as Yom Kippur and Shavout are all a part of becoming new in Him. We learn to restructure our priorities. That is what the book of Vayikra has been all about. Vayikra is a call to holiness. To welcoming Hashem’s presence into every aspect of our lives. To goal of Vayikra is to instate holiness even to the most PHYSICAL part of this world- the earth…the food we need to survive which comes from the toil in the earth…The Shemitah teaches us how to imbue this most physical aspect of life with spirituality.
When we practice the Shemittah and Yovel (for us, practicing can take the form of learning about it!) we hear once more “Freedom!” and permanently plant that horn, the Sinai experience in perpetuity…we do this today, through our study of the Torah given at Sinai.
Yeshua absolutely knew what it was like to be a stranger, because he is the divine who came in human form. What is stranger than that ultimate power limiting Himself to the body of a man?
When we realize we are all strangers, passing through on this journey of life, on a temporary mission here… once we realize this, everything we do will become more PERMANENT and meaningful.
Perhaps the biggest part of our mission here is recognizing who, beyond the SELF, is feeling like a stranger. Who is in need or hurting, who are we meant to help.
Resources: Much of this lesson was learned from various sources which can be found from a complete list under the My Resources entry on the homepage of this blog. This week I was learning from Tim Hegg of TorahResource.com and Rabbi Shlomo Katz, as well as taking some quotes from the commentary of the Stone Edition Chumash on the parashiot of sefer Vayikra.