PARASHAT WAYYIQRA

Parashat ha-Shavua (The Weekly Torah Portion)

PARASHAT WAYYIQRA

AND HE CALLED

TORAH: WAYYIQRA (LEV.) 1:1-6:7

HAFTARAH: YESHAYAH (ISA.) 43:21-44:23

 

THE CALL TO SACRIFICE

Moshe enters the Ohel Mo’ed (tent of meeting) to receive instruction from YHWH Y’shuati[1] on the ways in which the people can approach Him, and exist in His Perfect Presence. Remembering that He is ‘clean’ (in the sense that no sin is to be found in Him), and that we are ‘unclean’ (in the sense that we are born into sin); a provision of some kind must be made for us to cross this great divide that makes Him immortal, and us, but mere mortals.

A plan, which has existed prior to creation, was put into place in the event we should fall, providing a means to make us clean so that He could meet with us, and us with Him. Even though we might be the lowest of the low, a sinner of sinners, that even though our sins would be of scarlet, they could be made as white as snow (Yeshayah 1:18).

So one of those ways provided for each and every Yisra’elite to meet with his creator, to ascend to His presence, is to offer the Olah (ascent offering). This offering must be presented at the door of the Tent (His House) and assigned as a sacred offering by the ‘laying on of hands’ (s’michah), slaughtered, and finally the flames and smoke of the Olah allowed to ‘ascend’ heavenward to Elohim.

Do we who live today, think it a light thing to come into His presence? Can we stop between customers or tasks we perform on a daily basis and ‘send-up a quick prayer’ to satisfy this means of connection as offered to us through the Olah? No, I think not. We can send up a quick prayer or stay in prayer throughout our day, but the ‘Olah’, ‘Ascent Offering’ requires us to bring it to the door of His ‘Tent’, to present it as worthy by the laying on of hands, so even our daily routine, however high and exalted we may think it to be, must be made secondary now in our answer to His call to ‘ascend’.

This requirement causes us to seek humility in Him as we come closer to His Presence. As we come, we may ask, where is my offering? I have no goat, no sheep, not even a bird to offer my King. Then His Ruach, through the Spirit Wind that carries Him over the face of the earth, enters through our mind and heart while causing us to realize within a split second that we are the offering He seeks. Nothing holding us back, we come to His Holy Altar and offer ourselves to Him as the Olah, the daily ‘Ascent’ offering so that we may meet with Him outside of our sinful nature.

Friend, this is meant to be a ‘deep calling to deep experience’. It should never be done in a rushed, hurried manner. Do you have an altar in your home, your dwelling place, or your place of business? Wherever or whatever that is doesn’t matter. It can be in the smallest space available, or to include your entire home! It can be in your closet or your kitchen, but it needs to be a place that you can ‘set-apart’ just for the purpose of meeting with Avinu, a place where you meet with Him on a regular basis. You can have nothing except you and His Ruach there, or you may have the most elaborate of spaces with a menorah, candles, Torah, etc. for family worship. Whatever it is, it is a space in your home, which will become a space similar to your heart within you. It will be there for special times of worship and prayer, to include times such as when you come before the Adon (Master) of this world, offering yourself to Him daily in the experience of the Olah, the ascent offering.

Is this necessary you ask? You see in most cases today we just want the ‘drive-up’ window because we don’t have time for anything else. Ask yourself please, just how important is your faith to you? Is it the reason for you to live and breath, or is it just a category of thought that you have managed to ‘eek out’ a small plot for whenever you have the time? This is serious business folks that requires much more than that of us. We must take Him, His Torah and all that means into us so that it is above everything in our lives; above our family, our jobs, our social commitments, and yes; even our own selfish ‘needs’.

He wants each of us to be echad ‘one’ with Him in all things, just as The Greater and Lessor are echad with each other, so we need to become that ‘ascent offering’ the Olah as He calls to us ‘Come Near’, ascend unto me!

Elohim, HaKadosh Baruch Hu, The Mighty One, the Holy One, Blessed Be He. Consider and accept my humble offering to you I pray and do with it what you wish. I surrender myself to you Melech HaMalechim. As an ‘ascent offering,’ I humble myself, bringing myself low so as to rise and meet you; heart to heart, face to face on your altar as your servant. Lay Heavenly hands on me Father as I rededicate myself to meet with you in this manner, as the entirety of myself, dedicated to your service on this your set-apart alter. Amen!

 

Shabbat Shalom

Sha’ul

[1] YHWH Our Salvation. Referred to in the Ancient Aramaic Targum Johnathan as “YHWH the Lessor”. It was through Him that all things were created, and in the end it will be through Him that all who ‘take hold’, and follow Him who walked with us as a Torah observant Jewish man, who was called Yehoshua, or Y’shua; will be saved from eternal death into the glorious truth, and light, of His eternal Kingdom, forever! Baruch HaShem of Him who gave us His Torah of Freedom and Redemption!

TORAH PARASHAT YITRO 

Shemot (Ex) 18:1-20:23 

The Readings here presented are in the manner of the seven courses of the Torah reading in the Orthodox Synagogue on Shabbat (annual reading cycle), broken down instead to the seven days of the week, with Sunday of course labeled as “First Day” (the Biblical method of labeling days up to the Babylonian captivity when use of pagan names for days and months began). 

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural references are taken from “The Scriptures 2009” 

1. 18:1-12 First Day 

Moshe is reunited with his wife, Tsipporah, and two sons who were delivered to him by his father-in-law, Yitro; who is also known as “the priest of Midyan”. Moshe recounts the events that had taken place from Mitzrayim to their present time and Yitro is filled with praise and rejoicing.  

9 And Yithro rejoiced for all the good which יהוה had done for Yisra’ĕl, whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Mitsrites. 10 And Yithro said, “Blessed be יהוה, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Mitsrites and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Mitsrites. 11 “Now I know that יהוה is greater than all the mighty ones, indeed in the matter in which they acted proudly, above them.” 

He then brings “an ascending offering and other slaughterings unto Elohim” then breaks bread with Moshe and the Elders of Yisra’el before HaKadosh Baruch Hu (the Holy One, Blessed Be He)! 

From the short time that Yisra’el had ‘crossed over’. to the time they had arrived at the base of the mountain; news of this miraculous event had traveled to Midyan and Yitro. Word of what had happened at the Yom Suf (Sea of Reeds/Red Sea) had, without radio, TV, or social media; spread like wildfire among the peoples of the then known world.  

Try to imagine if you will; the wonder, excitement, and sheer awe created in remote communities who were hearing about the El of Yisra’el and His awesome power for what might have been the first time! Not accustomed as we are to receiving the latest news about anything, on demand 24/7; the speed at which this news traveled only emphasized its importance and possibly life-altering effect it must have had on those who might have had ‘ears to hear’!   

2. 18:13-23 Second Day 

17 And the father-in-law of Mosheh said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 “Both you and these people with you shall certainly wear yourselves out. For the matter is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it by yourself.   

Upon seeing the daily task of judging over the people as was conducted by Moshe, Yitro is impressed to give Moshe counsel on a better, more efficient way to conduct this responsibility as we see at the end of this days reading: 

21 “But you yourself, seek out from all the people able men, who fear Elohim, men of truth, hating unfair gain. And place these over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 “And they shall rightly rule the people at all times. And it shall be that they bring every great matter to you, but they themselves rightly rule every small matter. So, make it lighter for yourself, for they shall bear with you. 23 “If you do this word, and Elohim shall command you, then you shall be able to stand and all this people also go to their place in peace.” 

Moshe being the man of El that he was, was able to discern the truth of what Yitro was telling him.

3. 18:24-27 THIRD DAY 

24 And Mosheh listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he said. 25 And Mosheh chose able men out of all Yisra’ĕl, and made them heads over the people: rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 26 And they rightly ruled the people at all times – the hard matters they brought to Mosheh, but they rightly ruled every small matter themselves. 27 And Mosheh sent off his father-in-law, and he went away to his own land.

The text gives rise to several questions for your prayerful study and consideration. Please feel free to discuss and comment on the following:  

Yitro was not an Yisra’elite, why then would Mosheh listen to what he had to say, then act upon his suggestions by doing “…all that he said”? 

Why in such an important matter, that planted the seed for a government over the people; did not Elohim Himself give these instructions to Yisra’el through Mosheh instead of going through a heathen priest? 

How were these men, and Moshe, able to judge for the people without Torah, which was yet to be given?  

4.19:1-6 4th day

1 In the third new moon after the children of Yisra’ĕl had come out of the land of Mitsrayim, on this day they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they set out from Rephiḏim, and had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Yisra’ĕl camped there before the mountain. 3 And Mosheh went up to Elohim, and יהוה called to him from the mountain, saying, “This is what you are to say to the house of Ya‛aqoḇ, and declare to the children of Yisra’ĕl: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Mitsrites, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 ‘And now, if you diligently obey My voice, and shall guard My covenant, then you shall be My treasured possession above all the peoples – for all the earth is Mine – 6 ‘and you shall be to Me a reign of priests and a set-apart nation.’ Those are the words which you are to speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl.” 

 “In the third new moon…”, of course, is speaking of the third month of the Biblical year after the only month named by Elohim, the month of Abib. You will not find the use of additional names of months until the Hebrews adopt the pagan names of the Nations surrounding them. Notice if you will the circumstances of the repetitive use of groups of three throughout Scripture, just as there are groups of sevens, tens, and multiples of them. Whenever Elohim really wants to get our attention, He’s going to repeat a topic or theme at least twice in order to emphasize its’ importance or to underscore the deep spiritual message wrapped up into His special ‘time capsule’ as it were. What do you think the message of this ‘time capsule’ is?

Yisra’el arrives at the plain that exists before Har Sinai, and establishes camp as Mosheh makes his first trip up into its’ Holy precincts to meet with יהוה (B’H). Here Elohim gives Mosheh a message to deliver, not only to B’ney Yisra’el as they stood before Him at the base of the Mount, but to Kol Yisra’el all the way down through the ages of time to our day and beyond, ‘…if you diligently obey My voice, and shall guard My covenant, then you shall be My treasured possession above all the peoples – for all the earth is Mine – ‘and you shall be to Me a reign of priests and a set-apart nation.’  

Can we understand from this, just how ludicrous it is for us to say today that we are no longer required to obey His Torah? Not only are we to ‘…obey…’, but we are to ‘…guard…’ His covenant according to the author of it! It is then and ONLY THEN, that ‘…you shall be My treasured possession above all the peoples…and you shall be to Me a reign of priests and a set-apart nation.’! How can we possibly lay claim to this promise without guarded obedience to His covenant? You teachers who claim to speak for Him and yet deny His Torah beware! You are teaching a different Torah and you are not guarding His covenant! So what will you do? Will you continue to read these words and then purposely disregard them and teach something contrary, knowing all the while that His Word which never changes, is like Him; the same yesterday, today, and forever? Or will you in all humility allow the conviction that speaks to your heart even now to cause you to make teshuva, to turn away from your antinomian teaching and return to His Torah? To return to a Father who waits patiently for you, and then with open arms welcomes you home with joy and great celebration?  

If this should describe you in any way, I pray that you will not put off the call of His Ruach any longer, as He calls each of us today to repent, and return!  

 

 

SHABBAT AFTERNOON FIRESIDE DRASH Chayei Sarah

Torah Parashat Chayei Sarah

חַי שָׂרָה

 

Torah: Bereshis 23:1-25:18

Haftarah: Melakim Aleph (1Kings) 1:1-1:31

Ketuvim Netzarim: 2 Cor. 4:17-5:2; Heb. 11:11-13

 

 

THOUGHT QUESTIONS:

Q: How is our relationship to this world described within our Torah portion?

A: We are strangers & sojourners Ber. 23:4; 1st Ch. 29:15; Heb. 11:13

So often I’ve caught myself concerning over purchase of houses and lands, when I realize my thinking is based on looking down, and not ‘up’ where it should be. You see, our father Abraham understood this very well. As he explained to the sons of Heth, “I am a stranger and a sojourner with you…” Ber. 23:4 His only interest in purchasing land, was to provide a burial place for “…his dead…”, so that they could be buried “…out of my sight.”  True, Abraham as were all the Patriarchs, were nomads. One might argue that Y’shua (having not a pillow on which to lay his head), was the greatest nomad of all time! What is it about our society today that causes us to look down upon that particular lifestyle as being one of the ‘shiftless’, one who may be ‘socially unacceptable’, or possibly ‘derelict’ in some way and not to be trusted?

“For we are sojourners and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without permanence. 1st Chronicles 29:15

In belief all these died, not having received the promises, but seeing them from a distance, welcomed and embraced them, and confessed that they were aliens and strangers on the earth.” Heb. 11:13

Q: How does living by ’emunah’, faith; relate to worldly cultures and values.

A: It doesn’t. Living by emunah is always at odds with worldly cultures and values.

Q: What was the blessing received through the emunah of Sarah?

A:  Because by belief (faith/emunah) “…Sarah herself was enabled to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the normal age, because she deemed Him trustworthy who had promised.Heb. 11:11

Because of this trusting emunah, the book of Hebrews goes on to explain to us in 11:12

And so from one, and him as good as dead, were born as numerous as the stars of the heaven, as countless as the sand which is by the seashore.

Here again, we see the covenant promise of the multiplicity of the seed of Abraham that will go out into all the world, “count them if you can” Abraham! Bereshis 15:5.

Q. Comment on 2 Cor. 4: 17-5:2

A. This is our hope! If we could but grasp this concept of “not looking at the things which are seen because they are temporal” but rather the “things which are not seen, which are eternal.” our journey would be so much easier, with the goal always in view.

Q. How does Torah regard aging?           

A. Torah regards aging as a process of construction, of building up toward the goal of perfection – not decay. Of course, this is just the opposite of secular teaching.

I pray that you will have been blessed by your Torah study this week. Join us next week for ‘Tol’dot’ – Generations as found in Bereshis (Gen.) 25:19-28:9, as we walk up to Y’rushalyim, up to the house of YHVH Elohenu! Baruch HaShem YHVH Y’shuati!

 

Parashah Ki Tavo – when you enter in

Torah: Deu 26:1-29:9[8]

Haftarah: Is 60:1-60:22

Dt.26: 16 “Today יהוה your Elohim is commanding you to do these laws and right-rulings. And you shall guard and do them with all your heart and with all your being. 17 “You have today caused יהוה to proclaim to be your Elohim, and to walk in His ways and guard His laws, and His commands, and His right-rulings, and to obey His voice. (Gen. 17:7) 18 “And יהוה  has caused you to proclaim today to be His people, a treasured possession, as He has spoken to you, and to guard all His commands, (Exod 19:5; Deut 7:6; Deut 14:2; [Eph 1:14]; [1Pet 2:9]; 19 so as to set you high above all nations which He has made, for a praise, and for a name, and for esteem, and for you to be a set-apart people to יהוה  your Elohim, as He has spoken.” (Deut 4:7) TS 2009

Shabbat Shalom Mishpochah

This evening, while welcoming the Spirit of the Shabbat into our home; with uplifted arm and outstretched hand we sang the Shema; (the words of Dt. 6:4) “…Shema Yisra’el…”, “…hear oh Yisra’el…”, my thoughts were again directed toward one of the greatest misunderstood messages of the entire Bible, and how it is connected so deeply to the Torah Parashah for this Shabbat.

Here in Dt. 26:16, we see how dear Yisra’el is to Our Creator. As they stand before Him, All of Yisra’el covenants to be obedient with all of their heart and with all of their being, causing YHVH to proclaim to their Elohim by walking in His ways and guarding His laws, and commands, and right-rulings, while obeying His voice.

How awesome is our Creator! To love Yisra’el so that He would cause them to proclaim to “…be His people, a treasured possession…” so He could set them “…high above all nations which He has made, for a praise, and for a name, and for esteem…to be a set-apart (holy) people to Him”! The grandeur of what has and is transpiring here goes so far above and beyond my wildest imagining that I shutter to realize just how great and terrible He is, and how difficult it is to comprehend His unmerited chesed (mercy) and ahavah (love) for us! How awesome is Elohenu!

So while you are letting that ‘soak-in’, consider this. Yisra’el, the twelve tribes who entered into this covenant exist today and are under the same Covenant made with HaKadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One, Blessed Be He) now as then! Nothing has changed. Man has tried over and over again to change this relationship between Elohim and His People, but really, can man dictate to Him who is omnipotent, who is his Creator? How ridicules to even think for one moment that man-made traditions and laws can countermand what we have just read in D’varim (Dt.) 26.

Yisra’el is Yisra’el. It is not the Church, nor is it the Jewish State of today. Yisra’el are those Jews of The House of Yehudah, and the gentiles of The House of Yisra’el that have had their blinders removed, who have seen and responded to the call to return to Torah and recognition of The Lessor YHVH (Y’shua) of the Targums who is called Emanu’El (El who is with us). It is this House of Yisra’el that Y’shua came to redeem (Mattityahu 15:24) since it is they who have been lost following pagan teachings and ways while disobeying His Eternal Torah!

If you are a Christian, I pray that you would listen to the voice of HaRuach, The Spirit, who is calling to the drop of Yisra’elite blood that courses through your veins. You know who you are. You are the one who has questions that seem to have no answers. You see the confusion in the message you hear from your leaders that contradict what you read in the precious Word of Our Master. Why is that? You feel a special closeness to things that are Hebraic in nature, or desire to learn more of the Hebrew faith of the original followers of our Jewish Messiah. You are so precious in His eyes and heart as He calls to you to come back, come home, return to Him through obedience out of love for His unspeakable gift; remembering that we are to be as ‘one’ (Gal. 3:28-29). And this: you are not called to convert Jews to Christianity!

If you are Jewish, may you be blessed in your observance of the Holy Torah, guarding and preserving it through fire, war, and such terrible persecution. You who have been looking for the lost of The House of Yisra’el, the Ten Tribes of the Northern Kingdom who once belonged to the ‘Fallen Tabernacle of David’; they are here, and they are returning! Ezekiel 37 is being fulfilled in front of our eyes as you read these words. Be excited for them! Welcome them home with open arms! Teach them the Lashon Kadosh, the Holy Tongue and the precious words of Torah that you have shed your blood for all these many centuries of time. Do not fear them for you and they will be reunited into one body again, as it once was under our mighty Melech D’avid! Hoshana! And this, Goy are not called to Judaism, they are called to return to the Torah that the House of Yisra’el left so long ago!

So as we enter into the set-apart, holy hours of HaShabbat, be at peace and listen with your heart to what the Ruach has to say to you concerning this.

Let us renew our Covenant with Elohim, and welcome each other as ‘echad’, one with each other, even as he is echad. Come to peace with Torah and the fact that you are all called to be a special people, to be echad with Him in the Yisra’el of YHVH.

Be blessed this Shabbat as we walk together up the path to Y’rushalyim, up to the House of YHVH Elohenu, Melech Malchei HaMlachim!

Sha’ul

THIS WEEK IN TORAH

An E-Drash from the perspective of the ancient Jewish sect called, “HaNetzarim” (Acts 24:5)

TORAH: Wa’etḥannan – “And I sought favour”  Deḇarim (Deu) 3:23-Deu 7:11

HAFTARAH: Yeshayahu (Isa) 40:1-26

KETUVIM NETZARIM: Kepha Aleph (1 Pt) 2:9


“For you are a set-apart people to YHVH your Elohim. YHVH your Elohim has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a treasured possession above all the peoples on the face of the earth.”

 

Please join me this week as I rededicate myself to this high calling of YHVH, HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Remembering His unequaled and unparalleled love for us as demonstrated through the provision of His Son, whose life was lived out as a flesh and blood man in perfect obedience to Torah; then suffering a cruel and painful death on the execution stake for me, and each of you. How could we possibly reject His call to be “set-apart”, to be Holy? Is it such a difficult thing for us? Does this question call for us to become defensive concerning our faith and/or obedience to Him? If it does, I think we must ask ourselves why, and what would the solution for that be?

Please join me this week as we study ‘Wa’etḥannan’, and listen to what His Spirit speaks to your heart!

Shalom Aleichem!Sha’ul

Sha’ul

WEEKLY TORAH PARASHAH FROM THE ANCIENT JEWISH SECT KNOWN AS “HaNETZARIM”

Parashat:                       Statutes Ḥuqqat – Bamidbar (Nu.) 19:1-22:1 

                                            

Haftarot:                        Shophetim (Jdg) 11:1-33 

 

Ketuvim Netzarim:      Yochanan (Jn.) 3:21

 

TORAH

THE PARAH ADUMAH[1]

ALIYOT[2]                                         

1st              Rishon

Numbers 19:1 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying, 2 “This is a law of the Torah which יהוה has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, that they bring you a red heifer, a perfect one, in which there is no blemish and on which a yoke has never come.

Of the 613 Mitzvah of HaTorah, those pertaining specifically to the Parah Adumah (The Red Heffer) are #574; To carry out the ordinance of the Red Heifer so that its ashes will always be available (Num. 19:9) (affirmative). And #576 That the waters of separation defile one who is clean, and cleanse the unclean from pollution by a dead body (Num. 19:19-22) (affirmative).[3]

This Aliyot of our Torah Parashah is called a ‘Ḥuqqat’or ‘Chukkim’, and it refers to the type of Statut this Mitzva is.

Generally speaking, the 613 mitzvot are divided into three categories: logical Mishpatim (‘laws’ or ‘judgments’) supra-rational Huqqat, or chukkim (decrees), and Eidot (Testimonials).

Mishpatim (Laws or Judgments) are mitzvot such as the commandment to give charity or the prohibitions against theft and murder, whose reasons are pretty much obvious.

Huqqat/Chukkim (Decrees) are statutes given without a reason, such as The Parah Adumah, described in our Aliyot for this Parashah. “The Talmud states that of all the mitzvot of Torah, this is the only one that King Solomon could not fathom since this sacrifice is the most paradoxical of all the sacrifices listed there[4].”

Eidot, or (Testimonials), occupy the middle ground between Mishpatim (Laws/Judgements) and the Huqqat/Chukkim (Decrees). An Eidot (Testimonial) is a mitzvah which commemorates or represents something, e.g., the Mitzvot to observe the Feasts or Mo’edim of YHVH, rest on Shabbat, or eat unleavened bread (Matza) on Pesach. These are not laws that we would have devised on our own; they are deliberate, rational acts.

Now, going back to the Parah Adumah. The laws concerning the selection of the red heifer are very specific, and demand a close examination of the animal to determine its’ suitability. The ashes of the animal will be used to purify those contaminated by contact with death.There must not be spot, nor blemish, there can be no more than one white or black hair on the animal, it could never have been used for secular purposes, and it must have been born in Eretz Yisra’el.

The animal had to be taken out of the Camp of Yisra’el, where, under the supervision of the Kohen, it was killed. Some of its’ blood was taken before the Mishkan and sprinkled seven times; then the dead animal would be completely burned. The ashes would then be gathered and mixed with water to create what was called “The Water of Separation.”

Through a specific seven-day ceremony, anyone who had been contaminated by coming into contact with a corpse (making them ceremonially unclean), could be considered ‘clean’ again after being sprinkled with the ‘Water of Separation’ applied by a stalk of hyssop on the third and seventh days. The last day would also include an immersion in a mikveh[5]. The individual would be considered unclean until the following evening when they would be allowed to return to the Camp and resume their prescribed duties.

We as Netzarim Yahudim, recognize Y’shua as the “Water of Separation,” that cleanses us from all sin making us clean again. We don’t have to wait for a perfect sacrifice; we don’t need any special ceremony. His righteous blood is available to us 24:7! Let us then go up to Y’rushalyim, and up to the House of YHVH Elohenu, who is our Mayim Chayim, our Living Water who cleanses us from all sin!

Shabbat Shalom U’vrachot (Peace and Blessings to You)

Sha’ul

[1] Parah Adumah: The Red Heffer required for purification from contact with the dead.

[2] Aliyot refer to smaller sections of the weekly Parashah that are assigned to members of the congregation (who make aliyah by going UP to read), for the Torah Reading part of the service. For Shabbat services, there are 7 aliyot. The Maftir is the concluding aliyah and usually includes the reading of the Haftarot portion as well. In second temple times, the 7th aliyot was the Haftarot portion with no Maftir in the reading.

[3] http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm © Copyright 5757-5771 (1996-2011), Tracey R Rich

[4] http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Shabbat/Special/Parah/parah.html

[5] Mikveh: A gathering of ‘mayim chyim’ (living water) in which one would immerse for one of several different reasons, and in a specific way.

Weekly Torah Parashat

Parashat:                       Qora – Bamidbar (Nu.) 16:1 – 18:32

Haftarot:                         Shemu’ĕl Aleph (1 Sam) 11:14-12:22

Ketuvim Netzarim:   Ma’asei (Acts) 5:11

                                                                             TORAH

ALIYOT[1]  

1ST RISHON      

The Rebellion of Qora: Bamidbar 16:1-2

 And, Qora son of Yitshar, son of Qehath, son of Lĕwi, took both Dathan and Airam the sons of Eliya, and On, son of Peleth, sons of Re’uḇĕn, and they rose up before Mosheh with some of the children of Yisra’ĕl, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, called ones of the meeting, men of name. (Num 16:1,2 [TS2009])

 There are several points to be made in this Aliyot, but two of them immediately stand out from the others.

The first is that Torah is our teacher, and this lesson is no different than many others in which YHVH presents us with a concept and then expects us to react in a certain way, so that we may reap the harvest or benefit/blessing of that concept. In other words, the promise is made, but it requires that we must take some action for that promise to be realized. B’ney Yisra’el were given the promise that YHVH would be with them as they entered the Promised Land of Kannan, but of course, they did not follow through; and by not following through, they lost the blessing.

The second would be that we should never expect the majority to be correct! We are each held accountable for the decisions that we make, regardless of how many there are around us making the same decision. The death of Qoraḥ and those who joined his confederacy was tragic and easily could have been avoided.

Factions and discontent, Jealousy and envy, prove to be the seeds that land on fertile ground within the family of Korach and a rebellion fomented. As these seeds take root, they grow ideas such as, “if I were in charge things would be done differently,” or, “If I were in charge of things, I would give the people what they want, and they would have more respect for me”. But there is someone in charge, and that someone is Moshe, followed by his brother Aaron, both appointed by YHVH Elohenu HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

Our last Parashah described the mission given to the 12 spies, or ‘scouts’ as I would prefer to call them, and the reports they brought back with them. Ten of them brought back a report that again fanned the flames of doubt within the Camp, While two of those reports offered encouragement of reliance upon the El of Yisra’el to deliver Kanaan to them if they but go forward in the belief that His promises are true.

It’s difficult to comprehend that of all the tribes, this sin fomented in the mind of Qoraḥ of the Tribe of Levi and spread to anyone who would listen. It’s even more difficult to make an attempt at rationalizing this rebellion in that Yisra’el had just been delivered from the hand of oppression in Mitzrayim; from Paro and his army through the walls of water parted for them by Elohim. They had seen His mighty power again at Raphidim as water gushed from the desert rock, they had seen the top of Har Sini on fire, the dark clouds lit with flashes of lightning, and in fear, they tried to hide as they heard His voice speak to them. And now, as they were about to enter into the promised land, they were torn apart again by the same symptoms of doubt, and lack of faith. The same old cry of “We should never have left Mitsrayim” rang out throughout the Camp of Yisra’el.

A few of the tools satan used as a wedge to divide and conquer in this Parashah were; speaking Lashon Harah (the evil tongue), self-pride, division, confusion, disloyalty to the common cause and those appointed over them.  But we see the same thing happening today. The need exists for us to stay focused on YHVH Y’shuati and His Torah at all times. Never follow another human without question! We are all mortal beings, subject to error and the wrath of His Righteous Judgement.

YHVH Himself has appointed the leaders who are over us, and our duty to them has been outlined within His Word, HaD’var YHVH. Our allegiance in all cases is always first and foremost to YHVH and His Mitzvot.

Shalom U’vrachot (Peace and Blessings to You)

Sha’ul

[1] Aliyot refer to smaller sections of the weekly Parashah that are assigned to members of the congregation (who make aliyah by going UP to read), for the Torah Reading part of the service. For Shabbat services, there are 7 aliyot. The Maftir is the concluding aliyah and usually includes the reading of the Haftarot portion as well. In second Temple times, the 7th aliyot was the Haftarot portion with no Maftir in the reading.