Parashah #21: Ki Tissa Sh’mot (Exodus) 30:11-34:35

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue

Parashah #21 Ki Tissa (When you take) Sh’mot (Ex) 30:11-34:35
Haftarah: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 18:1-39
B’rit Chadashah: Luke 11:14-20; Acts 7:35-8:1; 1 Corinthians 10: 1-13; 2 Corinthians 3: 1-18

This parashah continues with G-d’s instructions for equal offerings from the rich and poor to maintain the sanctuary. By ordering all to give the same amount, everyone could experience a sense of contribution to the maintenance of the sanctuary without any justification for feeling inferior or “better” than anyone else.
Instructions for the wash basin and its use symbolize the part of the repentance process whereby we must wash ourselves before serving our L-rd. This process also alludes to the Living Water (Yahshua) of which we must partake to obtain eternal life (John 4:14).
The prescription for the anointing oil for anointing the tent of meeting is described in meticulous detail. The combination of oils is not to be duplicated, and the oil is not to be used for any other purpose.

G-d describes himself as a “Jealous G-d as He makes a covenant in the presence of all the people as He tells the people they are not to assimilate with any of the nations He is driving out ahead of them. Now, just as then, the people of G-d are not to bow down to any other god. Although this command is written after the episode of the golden calf, the people already knew they were to worship the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob only. They had already been given the 10 commands. Yet, the human memory seems to be selectively forgetful when it comes to succumbing to human lust and desire for instant gratification, even when G-d’s instructions/commands are written in stone!
There is an interesting dialogue between G-d and Moshe in the account of B’nai Yisrael sinning by making a golden calf while Moshe was on the mountain. I want you to pay special attention that YHVH told Moshe to descend because YOUR people have sinned. I find that interesting. Aren’t they YHVH’s people also? Or… because of this sin has He alienated them making them no longer His children? This reminds me of parents whose offspring have gone astray. Suddenly it is YOUR child not our child. I’ve often wondered what YHVH is teaching us by His choice of words. Could it mean we could lose our salvation by gross sin even if we believe? They certainty believed in YHVH. They had witnessed YHVH’s miracles firsthand. They had even experienced His presence. Yet only two of that first generation over the age of 20 set foot into the Promised Land. Or perhaps, it is to teach us that we are responsible for those we teach in the Ways of YHVH Elohim. They are our community, our people and as such we have a responsibility to guide them should we have more experience and knowledge of G-d’s Torah. We must be careful to guide and even correct them when they leave the path of Torah. This responsibility is also found in 3 John. It is certain that nothing is written in the Torah by chance. There is a lesson to be learned and the Ruach will teach us if we but prayerfully wisdom and understanding as the Ruach leads.

We get a glimpse of Moshe’s humility and compassion for the people when he “argues” with YHVH in defense of the people to save them from destruction (Ex. 32:30-32). A Midrash tells us that Moshe appealed to YHVH by bringing up the Patriarch’s merits in defense of the nation. Moshe is reported to have replied to YHVH’s offer of making him the father of a new nation thusly: If a stool with three legs (Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya’akov) can’t stand on its own then a one-legged stool founded upon Moshe doesn’t stand a chance of remaining upright. Clever but this doesn’t quite fit the narrative.
More likely, YHVH was testing Moshe’s compassion for his charges. YHVH knew how Moshe would respond, but like Avraham and Isaac, neither Moshe nor Avraham knew how they would respond to these difficult tests.

Similarly, YHVH allows and tests our trust in Him throughout our Torah journey, and He knows the outcome before the beginning, but we do not know how we will respond until our trust and faith are put to the test. We learn from going through “learning opportunities” that G-d never leaves nor forsakes us; that He is faithful to provide the way for us to overcome our challenges, just as Sha’ul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Our faith and trust through prayer and continued loving obedience to His Torah helps us grow in our relationship with YHVH/Yahshua; a type of “miracle grow” for the soul!

Haftarah: 1 Kings 18:1
In the Parashah B’nai Yisrael commit the first very grave sin. Moshe was gone longer than they thought he should be, so they constructed and worshipped an idol. The Sages in a half-hearted attempt to justify Israel say that it was only supposed to be representation of YHVH, but it cut into the Commandment not to bow down to idols.
During the reign of King Ahab, the ten northern tribes, Israel served Ba’al a false god. The prophet Eliyahu confronts them and proves there is only one true El. The Haftarah takes place 600 years after the sin of the golden calf and B’nai Yisrael still have not learned their lesson.

B’rit Chadashah: Luke 11: 14-20
14 He was expelling a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the man who had been mute spoke; and the people were astounded. 15 But some of them said, “It is by Ba‘al-zibbul, the ruler of the demons, that he expels the demons.” 16 And others, trying to trap him, demanded from him a sign from Heaven. 17 But he, knowing what they were thinking, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, with one house collapsing on another. 18 So if the Adversary too is divided against himself, how can his kingdom survive? I’m asking because you claim it is by Ba ‘al-zibbul that I drive out the demons. 19 If I drive out demons by Ba ‘al-zibbul, by whom do your people drive them out? So, they will be your judges!” 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of G-d, then the Kingdom of G-d has come upon you!
Ba ‘al-zibbul here is an implied connection between Satan and Beelzebub (originally a Semitic deity called Baal, and referred to as Baal-zebul,(lord of the fly) … Ba´al, the supreme male divinity of the Phoenician and Canaanite nations, as Ashtoreth was their supreme female divinity. Some suppose Baal to correspond to the sun and Ashtoreth to the moon; others that Baal was Jupiter and Ashtoreth Venus. There can be no doubt of the high antiquity of the worship of Baal. It prevailed in the time of Moshe among the Moabites and Midianites, Num. 22:41, and through them spread to the Israelites (Num. 25:3-18; Deut. 4:3). In the times of the kings, it became the religion of the court and people of the ten tribes, 1 Kings 16:31-33; 18:19, 22, and appears never to have been permanently abolished among them. 2 Kings 17:16
What does the phrase “finger of G-d represent?
In Exodus we read at 31:18 “And he gave unto Moshe, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of G-d. The Torah… Living and Written…
In Matthew 10:24 we also read Yahshua’s comment concerning the accusations in this verse:
24 “A talmid is not greater than his rabbi, a slave is not greater than his master. 25 It is enough for a talmid that he become like his rabbi, and a slave like his master. Now if people have called the head of the house Ba’al zibbul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! 26 So do not fear them; for there is nothing covered that will not be uncovered or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim on the housetops.

Wisdom of the Sages:
“Everyone included in the census must give a half-shekel.” (30:13)
Moshe asked everyone to give a half-shekel in order to count the people. Why not just give a whole shekel?
There is a saying, “No man is an Island unto himself.” Perhaps we are being told no one can achieve perfection by themselves. To become whole, you need someone else. In life we should have a mate to make us whole or Echad and before YHVH Elohim we need the covering of the blood of Yahshua to make us whole, Echad.
Michelangelo created a sculpture of Moshe with horns on his head. How could he make such a mistake? When Moshe descended from the mountain the Torah says his face glowed. The Hebrew word for “glow” is karan. The same root word in Hebrew also means, “horn.” Michelangelo read an incorrect translation of the Torah and because of this many people think Jews have horns.
In the census from the age of 20 every Israelite had to give a half-shekel. Why was the age 20 chosen for this assessment? The Sages say that only those accountable for their sins could bring a half-shekel. The numeric value of shanah vamaalah, which means “20 years and up,” is 506.
The numeric value of the phrase “for punishment,” li’onashim, is 506. The Yerushalayim Talmud points out that the age of 20 was chosen as the earliest age to bring the half-shekel for that is the earliest age a person is accountable for his sins.

Shalom v’ Brachas, (Peace and blessings)

Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart