Parashah #36: B’ha’alotkha (when you set up) B’midbar (Numbers) 8:1-12:16

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Parashah #36: B’ha’alotkha (When you set up) B’midbar (Numbers 8:1-12:16)
Haftarah : Z’Kharyah (Zechariah) 2:14-4-7
B’rit Chadashah: Yochanan (John) 19: 31-37 Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 3: 1-6

Beginning this Parashah we see another regulation pointing to the fact that the Bible was not written in chronological order. We are dealing with the Menorah and Adonai tells Moshe how the lamps are to be set up in front of the Menorah in order to cast the light toward the central stem. This is explained also in Exodus 25:37 where the three wicks on the right and the three on the left are directed toward the center. Because the light was spread out, the Menorah symbolized that G-d, the Source of all light or the Ein Sof as He is described in Kabbalah, did not need it to illuminate His Tabernacle (Rashi). Perhaps this could also represent grace and law, Gentile and Jew coming together to redirect their part of the Light given them by the Ruach back to the Source YHVH. According to the commentator Sforno, the right symbolizes those engaged in spiritual pursuits, while the left symbolizes temporal activity. By having both sides of the Menorah give light to the center the Torah teaches that all of our activities should be directed toward the service of YHVH. Moreover, the Menorah symbolizes Yahshua as represented by the Servant Lamp in the center while the left and right look to Him.

In Num. 9:11 we see the Paschal Lamb was to have no bones broken. If we look in the B’rit Chadashah in John 19:31-37 we note that when Yahshua’s body was approached by Pilate’s guards, He was already dead and His bones were not broken. Thus this fulfilled the prophetic regulation in Torah as described in Exodus 12:46. We also see a description of how Yahshua was to die by being lifted up on a stake. This was a Roman form of execution and not Jewish. Remember the Jews took their guidance from YHVH on who was to be killed and that they were to be stoned to death. Under Roman rule the Jews were not given the authority to decide who was to die. This should give caution to those that call Jews “Christ Killers.” The spiritual element is that Yahshua had to die in order for us to be reconciled to YHVH Elohim by trusting in His faithfulness. We cannot get to heaven by being “nice.” But on a practical level Yahshua was executed for political reason as He presented a threat to the stability and order to the Roman order. In the book of Daniel you will read that the Anti-Messiah will come out of the people who destroyed the Temple and executed Yahshua. This is the Roman culture.

When the soldier stabbed Yahshua’s side at once blood and water flowed out. In Lev. 17:11 Adonai says, “ For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls for it is the blood that maketh and atonement for the soul.” What is very clear is that atonement was costly. We see just how costly was the crucifixion of Yahshua as He foretold in Mat.26:28 and Luke 22:20. In Heb. 13:20 the blood is described as “an eternal covenant,” and in Heb. 9:14 “blood that cleanses the consciousness”; these being metaphors in the language of sacrifice. In legal language we have “redemption” (Eph. 1:7) and “justification” (Rom. 5:9). These metaphors show that only G-d could provide atonement; and Yahshua/G-d was both Priest and Offering.

   In B’midbar 9:15-23 we learn that we must be ready to leave our homes at any time if G-d through the Ruach impresses us to do so. Try to imagine approximately 1.2 million people meticulously setting up and taking down the Tabernacle whenever the Cloud (YHVH/Yahshua) moved from over it. We are not told how long this process took, but we can deduce that it could be done in 12 hours evidenced by verse 21. This had to be a massive undertaking. However, there were enough Levites assigned to the task to make it possible. We should never assume we will live in one place without ever having to leave. Again, we are reminded that G-d is in charge of the believer’s life and that certainly takes a lot of stress and guesswork out of our lives. We know we are here to glorify Him and to grow where we are planted with roots that stem from Him and not our families, homes, or other possessions. There is great comfort in this truth.

     Another area I want to address is Chapter 11 vv. 1-35. There are at least a couple of issues here. The first is happy people are never happy. The problem is that we must learn to be content no matter our circumstances. If we are true believers as Yahshua defines the term, we have nothing to fear. If we rebel against His Torah, that’s another story. So in our narrative, we have the Israelites complaining first about their hardships as they perceive them. What these are other than specific foods, we are not told. However, I submit that we have no right to complain about anything when we are living under the “cloud” of Torah. We learn that Adonai was not happy and caused a fire that burned up the outskirts of the camp; a sort of singing the tail feathers of the people! This was a “can you hear me now?” moment. Then the mixed crowd grew greedy for an easier life. This problem is deeply permeated into man as the animal soul that must be controlled/restrained on a daily basis. G-d was providing manna from heaven no less. But they wanted the fish, onions, leeks, garlic, cucumbers, melon, and who knows what else they had eaten in Egypt. It seems man always wants more_____. You can fill in the blank because the wants of man are infinite. The animal soil within us is what provides the opposite option for which free will was given. If man were only “good”, there would be no alternative action from which to choose right over wrong. We need always remember this, especially as our society pounds the philosophy of secular humanism in our schools and social “norms.” This concept is alluded to in the narrative of a mixed crowd mentioned in 11:4. This is why we are to remain a separate, consecrated people for G-d. The minute we start assimilating, either by going into situations where unbelievers abound, or by allowing them to encourage their “strange fire” philosophy into our lives, we run the risk of losing our way as did Solomon. We must always be on guard, letting our light shine so brightly for G-d before man that nothing can extinguish it.

G-d is really angry at this point with all the complaining, so he exercises punishment for their greed and complaining. Why? Chap 11:20 makes it very clear; “because you have rejected Adonai, who is here with you, and distressed him with your crying and asking, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” In verse 30, Adonai send a wind that brings massive numbers of quail that fell about a day’s trip away on each side of the camp and all around it, covering a depth of three feet. The people stayed up all day and night to gather them. The person gathering the least gathered 10 heaps. Talk about greedy! G-d did not let them get away with this any more than he will allow sin to go unpunished in the future. He struck the people with a plague while they were still eating, before they had even shewed up the meat. Therefore, the place was named Kivrot-HaTa’avah (graves of greed), because they buried the people who had been so greedy. This narrative should serve as notice to those in our society who are greedy and selfish. Sadly, Christianity teaches that G-d is all love and all one need do is profess the name of “Jesus” and all is forgiven. Our G-d has a plan for those who teach erroneously as well and it will come to pass as He said. The G-d of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), is not different from Yahshua. YHVH /Yahshua is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Haftarah Zechariah 2:14-4-7
The Haftarah speaks of the vision of a Menorah and an angel’s prophetic interpretation of that vision. Zechariah is shown the Menorah, complete with a bowl containing oil, tubes brining oil to the seven lamps, and two olive trees to provide a continuous supply of fuel. According to the Chumash, this symbolizes that all mans’ needs are provided by YHVH. Man however must have the eyes to see it. And if G-d wills it, impassable mountains become hospitable plains. Furthermore this is symbolic of the fact that victory against our enemies will be achieved with the Spirit of YHVH Elohim and not by might or force.

B’rit Chadashah: Heb. 3:1-6

In the B’rit Chadashah in Heb. 3:1-6 we see a comparison made between Moshe who was faithful to G-d’s house and Yahshua who was faithful over G-d’s house, to G-d who appointed Him. Of course Yahshua is greater than Moshe just as the builder of the house is greater than the manager of the house. (Isaiah 41:8-9, Isaiah 8:17, Num. 12:7). Moshe was faithful to G-d’s house as a servant, but Yahshua was faithful as the Messiah and Son. There is a comparison between a son and a servant in Gal. 4:1-7 and John 15:15.Yahshua like Moshe was YHVH’s emissary, conveying YHVH’s truth and wishes to the people of Israel. In this respect Yahshua fulfills the role of Prophet, as was Moshe as he predicted in Deu. 18:15-19. Yahshua intercedes for the people like Moshe (7:25) and as such fills the role of Cohen just as Moshe did when the people worshipped the golden calf (Ex.32: 32).Now for the Levites.

In order to act as a substitute for the firstborn in serving G-d and transporting the Tabernacle, they required a sacrificial ritual, as did the consecration of the Kohanim. These servants needed purification (water) and atonement (blood). In the B’rit Chadashah in John 19:31-37 again we see that blood and water mentioned. In this instance it is from Yahshua’s side. Why this repeated reference to blood and water? Water is the cleansing component or another metaphor for the Ruach. Blood is the covering or atonement. We must come under the covering of the blood of Yahshua in order to be set apart for His service, and then we are cleansed with the “water” or Ruach. We can see the correlation between the Kohanim and ourselves. In 2 Peter we are describes as priesthood, a people set apart for the service of G-d. We are then no less obligated by the same regulations for cleansing and atonement in order to be set apart for the service of YHVH Elohim.

Things to contemplate

1. What do we as believers in YHVH have in common with the moon?
2. How is leprosy as experienced by Miriam related to sin? Why didn’t Aharon get struck with it?
3. Do you think the water and blood that flowed from Yahshua’s side poured out separately? Why or why not?

Sage’s wisdom: 

In the Parasha, before and after the passage Va’yehi bin soa ha’Aron…” “And when Aaron began to move” (10:35, 36) there is an upside down “nun.” This according to commentaries tells us that this passage is so important it is a separate book of Torah. That would mean that there are not five, but seven books in the Torah: B’resheit, Sh’mot, Vayikra, B’midbar Chapters 1-10:34, B’midbar 10:35-36, B’midbar 11-36, and D’varim.


V’zeh ma’aseh ha’Menorah, “And this is the workmanship of the Menorah” (8:4)

G-d tells Moshe how the Menorah is to be constructed. The word V’zeh has the numeric value of 18. The Menorah was 18 handbreadths high.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Tamah Davis