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Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parasha #45: Va’etchanan (I pleaded) 3:23-7:11
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 40:1-26
Brit Chadashah: Mattityahu (Matthew) 4:1-11; 22:33-40; Mark 12:28-34;
Luke 4:1-13; 10:25-37; Acts 13:13-43; Romans 3:27-31; I Timothy 2:4-6;
Yaakov (James) 2:14-2
This week I want to show you an excerpt from the Biblical Codes research regarding the first five books of the Torah, the last of which is Deuteronomy. Remember that in Orthodox Judaism, the Pentateuch, or the first five books are referred to as the Torah without consideration of the B’rit Chadashah. The Prophets and Writings are considered separately. In Hebrew, the word Torah is represented by the consonants . Hebrew is read right from left, so the letters are equivalent to the English letters “TORH.”
In the Hebrew text of the book of Genesis, if you take the first (“T”), then count 49 letters, the next letter (the 50th) is (“O”); the next 50th is (“R”); and then the next 50th is (“H”). In other words, after the first “T”, in 50 letter increments, we find the letters spelling “Torah.”
TORAH in Genesis
(Hebrew is read from right to left)
Interval of 50
In the book of Exodus, we encounter the same result. This is no coincidence, but a “reward” of sorts for those who seek a deeper understanding of our G-d.
However, it doesn’t seem to work with the third book of Moses, Leviticus More on that in a moment.
In the fourth book of the Torah, the book of Numbers, we discover this 49 letter interval works with “HROT,” that is, TORH backwards. (See Figure 2)
Backwards TORAH in Numbers
Interval of -50
A similar 49 letter interval also appears in the fifth book the Torah, the book of Deuteronomy. However, in the book of Deuteronomy the interval starts in the fifth verse instead of the first. Why the fifth verse? According to the Talmud the book of Deuteronomy doesn’t begin until the fifth verse where it states “On the other side of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to expound the Torah…”
YHVH in Leviticus
Interval of Seven
In the middle book, the book of Leviticus, it doesn’t seem to work either way. But it does work for YHVH, the sacred name of G-d (“Yahweh” or “Jehovah,” translated “L-RD” in the King James Version), if you count in seven letter increments. (See Figure 3.)
It appears that the Torah (TORH) always points toward the Name of God.
Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy
TORH TORH YHWH HROT HROT
This information provides evidence that there is much more hidden in the structure of the text itself than we have ever dreamed. Clearly, there is much more to this than first meets the eye of the casual observer, just as does taking the time to really “look” through the superficial pictures of a Magic Eye diagram to discover the three-dimensional image that is the real theme of the diagram. Discovering these images takes time and visual training just as does understanding Torah. The difference is that we must train and use our spiritual sight to discover these deeper truths of G-d’s Torah. We are admonished to do so by Yahshua himself (Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-13).
The use of seven with the name of G-d shouldn’t surprise us, with Sabbaths of days, weeks, months, and years, and the many other heptadic2 structures throughout the Bible.3 But why the intervals of 50?
According to mathematician Daniel Michaelson:
“The number 50 has several important meanings in Judaism. Every fiftieth year is a jubilee year; the Torah was given 50 days after the Exodus from Egypt, and there are 50 gates of wisdom.”4
Professor Michaelson continues:
“At this point, a skeptical reader would exclaim that the whole system is nothing but a coincidence… ‘I’m sure,’ this skeptic would continue, ‘you would be able to find such words and systems in any book.’”
In his article, Codes in the Torah, professor Michaelson addresses in detail the mathematical probability of these Torah codes and concludes that “the probability of such a coincidence is about one in three million!”
This information is exciting for those with spiritually inquisitive minds. There is more to G-d’s Torah than we can learn and understand in a lifetime. However, G-d does not expect us to learn everything. The Torah was designed to keep us in a seeking, asking, knocking mode throughout our lives, lest we get lazy and think we have arrived. The information in the Bible codes is a humbling reminder that the more we perceive we understand, the more there is to learn.
The entire Book of D’varim (Deuteronomy) is called “Mishneh Torah – The
Review of the Torah” because it repeats over 100 mitzvot already mandated
in the previous four Books. Seventy of the 199 mitzvot in this book are new. The repeated mitzvoth concentrate more on those that will be of greater immediate
concern as Israel prepares to take possession of the Land. Consider the
prohibition against idol worship. Although already taught, it had to be
reinforced as the Jews would confront inhabitants of Canaan, who were
idolatrous. Also in this parashah Moshe continues his final instructions to the
B’nai Yisra’el. All that he says in the first part of his farewell address
prepares the way for his exposition to follow as well as the application of
G-d’s commands, statutes and ordinances, for history and responsibility go
together. G-d had done mighty and wondrous things for His People, both in
blessing and chastening them. Throughout this parashah Moshe reminds
Israel that they are a privileged people, the people of G-d, separated unto the
L-rd from all the nations of the earth. Indeed it is when we forget who we
are and our high calling that we descend into low living, returning to the Egyptian(sinful) way of life.
Moshe is denied access into the Land for his sin of mistrust of G-d before the nation. Moshe blames the people for his sin. This would seem reasonable for the average person, but G-d expected Moshe to rise above his emotions in reation to the people’s grumbling. This is just one illustration of the higher level of accountability that applies to leaders. Accepting G-d’s answer, Moshe shares the
consequences to ourselves and our generations to come if we choose not to
follow the One G-d and His Torah. The Cities of Refuge are designated for accidental deaths. Again, Moshe stresses the reaction of the nation after the giving of the Torah, and forewarns them not to deviate from it, either to the right or to the
The crux of what G-d expects of us is found in the Sh’ma (Deut. 6:4-11) Moshe warns the people concerning the dangers of prosperity, and directs them to keep the commandments and to remember the Exodus. He forewarns them about the
dangers of assimilation and tells them to never forget that they are the
Chosen People of G-d.
Verses 3:23-29 Moshe implores G-d to allow him to the Land. G-d’s
response is interpreted as an angry and terrible “NO!”… as a withholding of
grace. Then G-d instructs Moshe to climb to the top of the mountain and get
a clear view in all directions so that he might see and know that he has
already arrived. The promise has already been fulfilled. On a temporal and
personal level we often do the same as Moshe. We search with a
preconceived notion of what our success may look like. We look towards
the Promised Land- the right partner, the right job, perfect health, enough
money to live the perfect lifestyle, etc. when we become too assimilated in
the world we are blinded to the destination G-d has ordained for those who
will follow Him. We miss out on the blessings he provides for us daily; both
the obvious and not so obvious because we are fixated on a particular
outcome, our humanly manufactured idea of what the Promised Land should
look like. The blessing of this parashah is the opportunity to hear G-d’s
words again, “Rav lakh!” You have so much! If you follow my commands,
statutes and ordinances you are already on your way to the Promised land.
You must lift your eyes beyond your own limited expectations. Like Moshe,
you must climb the mountain to take in the bigger picture. We can look at
Moshe’s climb up the mountain as a thumbnail sketch of his and our long
arduous journey of strengthening, purification, refinement and
transformation prior to reaching the summit and looking out over the
Promised Land which we too will inherit if we follow G-d’s Torah. We also
see how even a man such as Moshe was held accountable for his sin of not
trusting G-d and denying G-d glory by striking the rock for water and not
allowing G-d to provide His way. We too are held accountable for our sins
as we will continue to see throughout this parashah.
Chap. 4:1-40 We learn here that like the Israelites back then, we are
forbidden from making and/or worshipping any graven image. As Messianic
Jews we also know that an idol does not have to be a graven image. It is
actually anything that takes priority over G-d. The people were not to marry
those from surrounding nations lest they be drawn away from the G-d of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We see this in our own time with those who are
married and have two different faiths. A reemerging problem I see today is
what is termed “tolerance” by dual faith couples. They brag about the fact
that they celebrate and “follow” each other’s faith and teach their children to
do the same. You cannot follow G-d and the Torah and follow another faith
as well. This is a perfect example of idolatry; making the faith of your
spouse who doesn’t follow the Torah more important than G-d’s Torah. The
commentators give another reason for the Biblical command against
idolatry: it is perversion of the metaphysical order. We must subordinate
our will to G-d’s will; self-nullification just as Yahshua submitted to the
Father’s will. The nature of pagan worship is just the opposite. It is an
attempt to influence and ultimately control spiritual forces. Our purpose is
to achieve moral growth by emulating Yahshua’s behavior- not to influence
spiritual forces into helping meet our own egotistical desires. Indeed the
prohibition against idolatry is not only mentioned here and in the
Commandments but throughout the Bible. In Deuteronomy alone it is
reiterated in 4:15-19, 23,25,26-28, 6;12,14. To pour salt in the wound Beit-
P’or is brought up again. (Deut.3:29, 4:3, 4:46). While P’or was a place
where idolatry was practiced, it was also a place where 24,000 were killed
by a plague due to fornicating with the women of Midian at Ba’als
prompting and enticement. Is this important or what?
Verse 4:20:Moshe tells the people that G-d has “taken you out
of the smelling furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of inheritance for
Him..”. The words “iron furnace” (kur habarzel) in Hebrew. Why does the
Torah use this phrase when it could have used the word “oven” as in
Malachi (13:19) where it states, “behold a day is coming, burning like as
oven?” According to Rashi the word “kur” (furnace) is likened to “a vessel
in which gold is purified.” This would explain why the Egyptian exile is
referred to as “kur” and not “tanur” (oven). An oven is used for everyday
cooking. A furnace, on the other hand, has the specific function of refining
gold. G-d ordained that His chosen would have to be refined to perfection.
This could only come through adversity and trials as well as intermittent
mountain-top experiences for encouragement and rest. To whom much is
given, much is required. Each Pesach we are reminded that our ancestors
were slaves in Egypt’s furnace until G-d chose to deliver them. Today our
own wilderness experience starts with deliverance from our past life in
“Egypt”. Then we too must cross the sea and begin our walk in Torah.
Whenever Israel forgets who they are and starts to assimilate the ways of
foreign nations and religions, it guarantees a trip back to the furnace. Take
Chap.5: Although this section may seem like repetition of the
commandments given in Exodus, it is actually a journey spiraling to a
deeper level. It is interesting to note that the earliest title given to the Book
of Deuteronomy was “Mishneh Torah, the repetition of the Torah.” When
the commandments are given this time, it is to a generation who did not
experience the fire and thunder as did the previous generation. Instead they
are given in the quiet of our practice, and they open us to an even deeper
mystery, which is the Sh’ma. “Listen Israel, YHVH is your G-d, YHVH is
One, NOT a trinity! Indeed when Moshe was told to climb the mountain and lift his eyes, we are being invited to receive a glimpse of Unity. From the summit of this mountain, everything that Moshe thought and we think are separate, all of
the opposites that have warred within us, are suddenly united. It is all
“Echad-One”. Only at the end of our mission like Moshe, do we come to
Verse 29 echoes the passage I mentioned in Parashah
Hukkat in Chapter 20:17 where Moshe is asking for passage through Edom:
“ We will go along the King’s Highway, not turning aside either to the right
or to the left until we have left your territory.” In this parashah Moshe now
instructs, “ Therefore you are to be careful to do as Adonai your G-d has
ordered you; you are not to deviate either to the right or to the left. You are
to follow the entire way (notice he does not say ‘pick and choose’),which
Adonai your G-d has ordered you; so that you will live, things will go well
with you, and you will live long in the land you are about to possess.” This
is how we must follow our King’s highway; the Torah.
Chap.6: There is no doubt that the climax of this chapter is found in verses
4-9; the Sh’ma. I want to focus on just a couple of the phrases found here.
Starting with verse 4 the word used for “hear” is Sh’ma which means hear
the words, internalize them and then act on them every day continually. Interestingly, there is no word for “obey” in Hebrew. The word used for the concept of “obey” is “Sh’ma. This is the meaning Yahshua uses throughout scripture when he says “Let him who has ears to hear…” This phrase is also at the conclusion of each of the epistles found in Revelation. In other words, hear what needs improvement and make the changes!
Verse 5: “And you should love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, all
your soul, and all your might.” Rashi has an interesting take on this verse. If
we examine the order of the verse we see that at first there is an increasing
expectation of love from the “whole mind” to “life itself”. Then the verse
seems to retreat to “all of one’s might/money/resources”. It is as if I say “I
love you 300. I love you 400. I even love you 200.” This seems to make no
sense since 200 is already included in 400. Therefore Rashi is eluding to the
pathological personality type whereby money is more dear than obedience
Verse 6: “These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your
heart; and you are to teach them diligently to your children, and speak of
them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you
retire, and when you arise.” Not only are the people of Israel commanded to
repeat these words; they are also commanded to make the entire Torah the
focus of their thoughts, speech and actions.
Verse 8-9 are the commands for the mezuzah we place on our doors to the entrance to our homes, and the T’fellin placed around our foreheads and left arm with the accompanying prayers. It is interesting that the command to wear tzitzit so that we will constantly be reminded of the commands is not mentioned here but commanded in Numbers 15:37. Reading that scripture we also see that wearing them is a reminder against following after the lusts of our eyes and hearts and being lead into idolatry. People tend to take this very lightly, feeling they can
master their natural drives. If this were so easy, G-d would not have taken so
much time, detail and space in Torah to teach us how to protect ourselves
against such sin. We must keep in our hearts the action taken by Yosef when
confronted by Potifer’s wife in Genesis 39:9-15. First he told her she was
sinning against G-d. When she continued to attempt seducing him, he ran.
We cannot dilly-dally in situations that place us in danger of idolatry/sexual
immorality. We must keep the words of Torah before us at all times. We can
only do that by “hearing”; Sh’ma…. Yisra’el!
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 40:1-26
We always read parashah V’etchanan on the Shabbat after the 9th of Av- a
Shabbat known as Shabbat Nachamu, the “Shabbat of Comfort.” The
comfort of this parashah embraces far more than the beginning verses of the
Haftorah: “Comfort, comfort My people, “says your G-d. Speak to the
heart of Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her time [of exile] has been
fulfilled, that her iniquity has been conciliated, for she has received from the
hand of G-d double for all her sins.”
This message of comfort is a prophecy concerning the eventual Redemption,
and assures Israel that the destruction and exile are merely temporary
phenomena in the context of an eternal covenant.
B’rit Chadashah: Mark 12:28-34
In these verses we are reminded of the consistency of Torah and Yahshua’s
interpretation and teaching of G-d’s written Torah. Yahshua describes the
most important mitzvah as the Sh’ma and the second as “You are to love
your neighbor as yourself.” The Torah teacher rightly discerns that
following these two commands means more than all the legalistic offering
of sacrifices and burnt offerings. Again the spirit of the law or Torah
observance must come before the letter of the law but not exclusive to the letter of the law. Indeed if one follows these two commands, they will lovingly offer sacrifices and burnt offerings to YHVH Elohim.
Sages Wisdom: “And love your Elohim… with all your heart.” (6:5)
Rashi explains that it means to love YHVH with the yetzer tov, “the good
inclination” and the yetzer ha’ra, “the evil inclination. How can this be?
When we can admit that we have sinned against YHVH Elohim and don’t
try to justify our evil actions, then we love YHVH through our evil
inclinations. Similarly, when we choose to take the action that is consistent with G-d’s Torah over our physical and emotional desires, we are demonstrating our love for YHVH/Yahshua over our evil inclinations related to self.
Rabbi Tamah Davis
1 Daniel Michaelson, B’OR Ha Torah, Codes in the Torah, Number 6, 1987 English version. To order call Jerusalem, Israel 02-223703 or write “Shamir” B’OR Ha Torah, P.O. box 5749 Jerusalem Israel.
2 Relating to the number seven.
3 R. McCormack, The Heptadic Structure of Scripture, Marshall Bros. Ltd., London, 1923.
4 Daniel Michaelson, B’OR Ha Torah, Codes in the Torah, Number 6, 1987, p.10. English version. B’OR Ha Torah, P.O. box 5749 Jerusalem Israel.