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

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
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: Hebrews 3:1-6

This week’s parashah starts with the instructions for setting up the menorah making sure that the seven lamps shine their light forward in front of the menorah. This directive sets the stage for the role of the L’vi’im and the people to shine the Light of Yahshua with which they were endowed with as G-d’s people to all the nations. All true believers must always keep in mind that we have no light of our own and any attempts to live our lives as if we were self-sustaining sources of light must be eradicated as part of emptying ourselves of our egotistical nature and replacing it with a “Torah nature,” that which has its source in Yahshua’s light.
This concept is verified in the B’rit Chadashah in Matthew 5:16-48. If we choose to rebel against G-d’s Law and insist that we are not sinners in need of a Savior, do not sincerely repent and start a walk in G-d’s Torah, our lights will be taken, and we will be left in the dark (Rev. 2:5).
I want to offer some applications between our parashah and the concept of Aliyah (ascend or go up). In Exodus 27:20 that the Menorah was to be kept always burning. Again, this symbolizes the fact that we continually need to renew ourselves partaking of the Light of the world continuously, and that we are not to let our spiritual lamps go out. Keeping our “light” shining forward with the goal of making YHVH/Yahshua’s Name known among the nations and glorifying Him is a perpetual effort demonstrated by our lifestyle and our response to circumstances to which unbelievers find “unusual.” Similar to the Kabbalah, we are to receive the Light, enjoy the blessings thereof, and pass it on, projecting it out into the world. Yahshua’s illustration of hiding light under a basket illustrates that secrets will not remain secrets and that which is perceived as hidden will not remain hidden. The Light (Yahshua) and the Truth of G-d’s Torah will eventually be triumphant, revealing all things. Yahshua also explains that he is the Light of the world and that anyone who follows Him will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life (John 9:5). All of these examples and illustrations are provided to us to verify the consistency and truth of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings and the B’rit Chadashah (Refreshed, renewed Covenant). Furthermore, the fact that the Menorah was hammered out of one piece of gold supports Deuteronomy 6:4-11 that the L-rd our G-d is “Echad” (One) Genesis 1:1 where the fourth letter of the sentence is the Alef-Tav, untranslatable in rabbinic Judaism but clear to Messianic Jews who know Yahshua is the Alef-Tav evidenced by John 14:11-31 and Revelation 1:8 as just two examples of many throughout G-d’s Torah.
Throughout the parashah are several allusions to the concept of Aliyah. The children of Israel make Aliyah as they go into the Promised Land. By the way, true believers will also do Aliyah when we reach our heavenly home, the quintessential “Land” as spiritually Aliyah is ascending to the presence of El Elyon (G-d the Most High).
“Therefore the Levites “cause to ascend” the lamps (Lev. 24:2; Num. 8:2); the L-rd “causes to ascend” His people from Egypt to the Promised Land (1 Sam. 8:8); the L-rd “causes to ascend” Eliyahu when He takes him in a whirlwind 92 Kings 2:1), and Shlomo “causes to ascend” the ark when he brings it up to the temple in Jerusalem ( 2 Ch.5:2)(Feinberg, 2002,p. 52).
In Chapter 9 we read of a situation concerning Pesach whereby there were some people (men) who had become unclean because they were ceremoniously defiled by coming into contact with a dead corpse. This “defilement” precluded the observance of Pesach at G-d’s designated time. These men appropriately followed the “chain of command” and went to Moshe and Aharon with their dilemma. Moshe appropriately consulted Adonai on the matter and a provision was made to observe Pesach one month later while keeping all the other regulations associated with its observance. Note that G-d did not “adjust” the requirements of Pesach. The standards of holiness were maintained, and the men were not allowed to attend the Pesach on the original date. However, they were allowed to observe Pesach on the second date as designated by Adonai. This narrative supports the truth that G-d is unchanging (Ps.102:37; Heb.13:8; Malachai 3:6; Num. 23:19; Is.40:8; Matt.24:35; Is.40:28; Ps.90:2). In His mercy, He always makes a way to keep His commands for those who humbly search for guidance through prayer, studying, internalizing, and acting upon His Torah.
Finally, we read of a hard lesson learned about not being grateful for the necessities, greed, and what happens when a “pure” material symbolized by the Israelites was mixed with another “material” symbolized by the mixed crowd mentioned in Numbers 11:4.
G-d provided manna that is described as “like coriander seed and white like gum resin” (Num.11:7). Complaints about their diet are described after complaints about their hardships, whereby G-d scorched the outskirts of their camp when He was angered. So it seems logical that the people would be a little more careful about complaining about the manna, especially, when this food was miraculously provided by G-d six days a week. No one received less or more than they needed. Nevertheless, some of the people of Israel joined in with the mixed crowd in their complaining, lowering themselves to the level of unholy behavior not tolerated by our G-d.
We read G-d’s response in Num. 11:18-20. G-d said, “You want meat? Fine! You will eat meat not for just one day, but for a whole month-until it comes out of your nose and you hate it!-because you have rejected Adonai who is here with you, and distressed him with your crying and asking,” why did we ever leave Egypt?” The rest of the story says it all. G-d caused a wind to bring the quails to within a day’s trip from the camp. The ground was covered with quail three feet deep. Those who had been greedy and rebelled against G-d were struck with a terrible plague while the meat was still in their mouths before they even chewed it up (Num. 11:30-34.)

After reading this narrative, it should be humbling to realize that we are vulnerable to haSatan’s strategies to separate us from our G-d. The human capacity for greed has no end and has been present since humans were created. Indeed, Adam and Eve had everything in a perfect garden. Yet, they wanted more; they wanted to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gene. 2:15). Phillipians 4:11-13 says it all: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” This letter was written while Sha’ul (Paul) was in prison.
Haftarah: Z’kharyah (Zechariah) 2:14-4:7
This haftarah contains a vision of the golden Temple Menorah, whose daily kindling that started our discussion this week. This prophecy was committed to Zechariah shortly before the building of the Second Temple. G-d outlines the rewards that await Joshua and his descendants if they follow G-d’s ways. The greatest reward of which is the Messiah, the Shoot of David.
Zechariah then describes a vision of a golden seven-branched Menorah. An angel interprets the meaning of this vision. “This is the word of the L-rd to Zerubbabel, (descendant of King David, one of the protagonists in the building of the Second Temple. “Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My Spirit, says the L-rd of Hosts.” Zerubbabel’s descendant, Messiah, will have no difficulty in accomplishing His task. It will be as simple as lighting a menorah.
B’rit Chadashah: Hebrews 3:1-6
The information in this passage explains the parallels between Moshe and Yahshua. Yahshua, like Moshe at Sinai, was G-d emissary, conveying G-d’s truth and instructions (Torah) to the people of Israel. In the Old Testament, the 12 tribes represented Israel. In the B’rit Chadashah Israel represents all true believers according to the seven-fold witness found in the book of Revelation. In this first comparison between Moshe and Yahshua, Yahshua fills the role of being a prophet like Moshe, as predicted in Deuteronomy 18:15-19. Also, like Moshe, Yahshua intercedes for the people (7:25), and as such He is fulfilling the role of a cohen, a priest, just as Moshe did when the people worshipped the golden calf (Ex. 32:32, and in many other instances. Let’s now look at some of the differences.
Yahshua is not merely on the same level as Moshe, the paragon of virtue within Judaism (faithful in all G-d’s house), but better than Moshe; just as he is better than angels and all other human beings in general. Thus, Yahshua deserves more honor than Moshe. Moshe was a servant; Yahshua is the Son but also G-d. For a more detailed explanation of the differences between a servant and a son in Gal. 4:1-7; Yochanan (John) 15:15. In Heb.3:3 the difference is made between Moshe who managed the house of Israel and the Tabernacle, and Yahshua who built the house and will build the Temple of the L-rd( Zech. 6:12-13), “ And speak unto him, saying, This speaketh the L-rd of hosts saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the L-rd: Even he shall build the temple of the L-rd; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Finally, Heb.3:6 speaks of the oneness of Yahshua with and as G-d, “But Yahshua as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast to the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tamah Davis -Hart
Additional reference:
Feinberg, J.E. (2002) Walk numbers: Messianic Jewish Publishers; Clarksville,
MD.