Parashah #28: M’tzora Vayikra (Leviticus) 14:1-15:33

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #28: M’tzora (Person afflicted with tzara’at) Vayikra (Leviticus) 14:1-15:33
Haftarah: M’lakhim Bet (2 Kings) 7:3-20
B’rit Chadashah: Matthew 9:20-26

G-d’s law for evaluating and separating those who had tzara’at was very specific. But the law was also gracious in restoring one who was healed. We previously learned that disease is the result of sin and must be dealt with according to G-d’s instructions. But we also know that G-d forgives a repentant heart for “diseases” of the heart (sin). The exception is the sin of blasphemy against the Ruach HaKodesh (Matt. 12:31; Luke 12:10)). Blasphemy against the Spirit is a fundamental state of the heart; a continuous rebellion against G-d’s instructions/Torah.
We also learn through the sacrificial system that only G-d can affect healing. He may do it with or without human intervention, but man cannot of himself accomplish this feat. Recall that the truth concerning healing was apparent when the priest went to examine the one healed. In the sacrificial system, the affected individual was given permission to proceed with the ritual of cleansing, the priest could only go as far as to pronounce the individual clean; he could not heal. Today healing can only be achieved through Yahshua, whether He chooses to use human intervention. It is important to understand that healing may be physical, spiritual, or both.
The procedure for cleansing was complicated but contains many spiritual truths. The priest gave orders to perhaps relatives of the healed individual, to bring two live, ritually clean birds along with cedar wood, a scarlet string, and hyssop the significance of these items to be discussed in a few moments. The priest then gave the order that one of the birds be killed so that its blood could be collected in an earthenware pot which already had running water. An earthenware pot emphasized the unique nature of the situation. After the vessel was used once, it was never to be used again. The blood in this vessel was meant for the specific individual, The vessel was then destroyed. The living bird was also dipped in the blood of the bird slain over running water. The lessons for us are that sin costs dearly. In this case the life of an innocent bird. Also, the live bird was dipped in the blood of the slaughtered bird along with the running water. We are reminded that Yahshua is the Living Water and that those who want to win the spiritual race we are running on this earth, we must follow through with continued lifestyle changes that increasingly reflect the life G-d demands of a holy people. The other part of the equation for salvation is becoming reconciled to G-d through Yahshua’s sacrifice. Recall that when the spear pierced His side, blood and water came forth.
(John 19:33-4). He poured out his life for us represented in the case of the healed individual where one of the two birds was sacrificed. The running water signifies Yahshua as the dynamic Living Water that will quinch the thirst of all those who seek Him. Those who accept the healing of the spirit available to all who seek Him, rivers of flowing water will flow forth from them as the Ruach HaKodesh guides them unto everlasting life. Again, the running water used in this purification ritual also symbolized the removal of fleshly uncleanliness (the animal nature).
The freed bird was taken by the priest with the cedar wood and hyssop that was tied together by the scarlet string, all dipped into the pot of running water and blood of the bird. The priest sprinkled the healed person seven times, pronouncing him clean and then freed the bird. This symbolizes the past sins being taken away as the restored individual embarked on a “new life” which would bring him/her closer in their relationship to G-d.
Cedar that was part of this purification process deters decay and corruption. The hyssop also resists decay and corruption, having a very pungent odor. Tying the hyssop, and cedar wood with the scarlet string represented the blood that would cleanse from sin. The thread that held these two objects together symbolized the need for all three items required for full restoration. Using the water with the blood emphasized the need for the affected individual to partake of the Living water (Yahshua), to be restored/reconciled to YHVH(G-d) through the blood of Yahshua’s sacrifice, and to resist sin (evil/corruption) that always results on spiritual decay. The sevenfold sprinkling may be equated with the perfect equation or action, just as the sevenfold witness found in the Book of Revelation describes the two components necessary to be counted as a true believer, the words written by John the Apostle, originating from YHVH/Yahshua (Rev. 1:1-2).
The second step of the cleansing and purification process required that the healed individual that would allow him/her to be restored to the community which included full dedication and anointing. The individual underwent supervision for seven days to make sure approval for complete healing was accurate.
On the eight day the individual presented the appropriate offerings, being fully aware of his past from which he was most recently delivered, and his future. He requested dedication and anointing which was done at the door of the tent of meeting, symbolizing bringing the individual before G-d. One of the male lambs and a pint of oil were waved before the L-rd. The first offering, the male lamb represented a trespass offering, perhaps to signify the specific sin for which the Israelite was aware, and a reminder that one of the effects of sin from the Fall of Adam was illness.
Another feature of this process that emphasized forgiveness of the specific sin for which the Israelite was separated from the community was the priest taking some of the blood of the guilt offering and putting it on the individual’s right ear, right thumb, and right great toe (Vayikra 14:25). This was a procedure that was used in the consecration of the priests. The spiritual emphasis symbolized the redemption of the individual’s spiritual hearing, obedience, service, and walk.
Next the priest sprinkled oil before the L-rd at the doorway of the tent, which symbolized the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), signifying that the individual was being restored to the followship. It also represented a call to the Ruach to guide that individual.
There were other offerings that completed this process of restoration and purification that will not be discussed in detail in this lesson However, these are also informative and significant with symbology that compares to spiritual concepts in the B’rit Chadashah related to repentance and t’shuva (turning back to G-d). The point is that reconciliation and restoration to G-d’s people cost the lives of millions of innocent animals during the time the first sacrificial system was in place, and it will cost the lives of many more during Yahshua’s millennial reign on earth described by Isaiah 56:6-8; Jeremiah 33:15-18; Ezekiel40;43:18-46:24).
Haftarah: M’lakhim Bet: 7:3-20
King Ben-Hadad of Aram had taken the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria). The famine that followed was catastrophic, with many turning to cannibalism (2 Kings 6:28-29). King Jehoram of Israel wanted to kill Elisha, considering that his prayers could have prevented everything that happened. Elisha reassured the king, “So has G-d said, ‘At this time tomorrow, six quarts of fine flour will sell for only a shekel, and half a bushel of barley for a shekel at the gate of Shomron.’” One of the king’s officers scoffed at the prophecy: “Behold, if G-d makes windows in the sky, will this thing come about?” Elisha responded, “Behold, you will see with your own eyes, but you shall not eat from there.” What faith Elisha had in G-d.

Four men suffering from the famine were living in quarantine outside the city. They were suffering from tzara’at. They decided to approach the enemy camp to beg for food. When they arrived, they found the camp deserted. For in 2 Kings 7:6 it reads, “For Adonai had caused the army of Aram to hear the sound of chariots and horses; it sounded like a huge army; and they said to each other, ‘The king of Israel must have hired the kings of the Hitti and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us.” The entire enemy army fled, leaving behind their tents, horses, donkeys, and provisions. They went to the city and reported what they found to the gatekeepers who informed King Jehoram. Although he originally thought this was an ambush, he sent messengers who confirmed what was reported. The people swarmed out of the city and looted the enemy camp, thereby breaking the famine and fulfilling Elisha’s prophecy. The king’s officer who mocked G-d was placed in charge of the city gaits by the king. But he was trampled to death by the crowds after seeing the fulfillment of Elisha’s prophecy.

If we are well grounded in G-d’s Torah, even during times of crisis the Ruach HaKodesh will empower us with the peace, strength, knowledge, and wisdom that will be needed for any situation. It is critical that we prepare ourselves now by prayerful Torah study and practice what we learn on a daily basis, that we may develop a “Torah nature” that supersedes our human tendencies in time of crisis. We must internalize G-d’s promise that He will neither leave nor forsake us; that He never slumbers nor sleeps. Indeed, calm amid a storm attracts the attention of those who do not understand how a person can resist fear and panic. Believers who are alive today are here for this reason; to show ourselves approved by G-d in the midst of a degenerating and corrupt world, to make His Name known among the nations.
B’rit Chadashah: Matthew 9:20-26
“A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years approached him from behind and touched the tzitzit on his robe. For she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his robe, I will be healed.’ “Yahshua turned, saw her and said, ‘Courage, daughter! Your trust has healed you.’ And she was instantly healed. When Yahshua arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute-players, and the crowd in an uproar, he said, ‘Everybody out! The girl isn’t dead, she’s only sleeping!’ And they jeered at him. But after the people had been put outside, he entered and took hold of the girl’s hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.”

The first thing we notice is that trust requires action. The woman went to Yahshua to reach for his tzitzit. This is similar to the lesson learned about Naaman last week. He had to go to the water (Living Water in a manner of speaking). The water did not hop up out of its banks and run to Naaman.

This issue takes us back to our parashah. Recall that a bloody discharge of a woman represents the passing of potential life. An unfertilized egg is dead, and thus makes a woman ritually impure, as does her menses (Lev. 15:19-30). In our scenario, this woman with an issue of blood (abnormal bleeding) comes to touch Yahshua’s tzitzit because she knows through her trust in Him that simply touching his garment can heal her. It’s interesting that Yahshua felt her touching his tzitzit even though he did not see her touch it. Let’s look at Mark 5:25-35 for confirmation; “Among them was a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years and had suffered a great deal under many physicians. She had spent her life savings; yet instead of improving, she had grown worse. She had heard about Yahshua, so she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his robe; for she said, ‘If I touch even his clothes, I will be healed.’ Instantly the hemorrhaging stopped, and she felt in her body that she had been healed form the disease. At the same time, Yahshua, aware that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples responded, ‘You see the people pressing in on you; and you still ask, ‘Who touched me? But he kept looking around to see who had done it. The woman, frightened and trembling, because she knew what had happened to her, came, and fell down in front of him and told him the whole truth. ‘Daughter,’ he said to her, ‘your trust has healed you. Go in peace and be healed of your disease.’”

He felt the energy exchange that occurred. As the Cohen HaGadol (High Priest), Yahshua made atonement for her before Adonai on account of her unclean discharge (See Lev. 15: 30) for an interesting parallel. G-d’s Torah is just as applicable today as it was when it was written (Matt. 5:18). Let us not lose sight of its applicability and instructions that can guide us to our destination if we but follow them and not allow the Adversary to distract us with world events and temptation.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart