Special Chanukkah Message from Numbers 7:1-17
There is a special portion that is read on the first day of Chanukkah found in Numbers 7:1-17. One might wonder what this passage has to do with Chanukkah after reading about offerings brought to the Tabernacle by the leaders of the 12 tribes. These offerings are identical. To those who take scripture at the superficial, face-value level, and these numbers would seem redundant and mundane. However, by now I hope you know that there is nothing mundane in the Torah. Anything that seems so has a deeper meaning that we are encouraged by G-d to search out. When we take a closer look at this scripture, we are able o sift pure gold from otherwise unimpressive soil.
The scripture describes the sanctification of the Tabernacle on the first day of Nissan, Aharon conferred the priestly blessings for the first time. The leaders of the 12 tribes brought their own personal offerings in celebration of this momentous event.
We should learn by reading this scripture that everyone who brings an offering must bear sincere inner feelings of repentance and a desire to draw closer to G-d. That is why some people read or at least recall the Confession of Tithes as a reminder that we are to obey G-d concerning monetary affairs. Although the offerings brought by each tribal head was the same. The mission of each tribe was different and each leader brought the offerings of the tribe with an inner personal goal and desire of their tribe to inaugurate the Tabernacle. Everyone wanted to be a part, to have a personal and corporate investment in this House where G-d would reside.
The following information provides one of the most profound sections of this reading. The teachings or Midrash concerning the symbolism of these offerings are as follows:
• The numerical value of the Hebrew for silver bowl is 930, corresponding to the years of Adam.
• It’s weight, 130 shekels, corresponds to the age at which Adam and Eve had Seth (Gen. 5:3)
• The Hebrew word for silver basin has the numerical value of 520, an illusion to the number of years G-d told Noach that there would be a flood, until Noach’s first child was born.
• Seventy shekels corresponds to the 70 nations that descended from Noach
• One ladle, which is similar to a hand, symbolizes the Torah that was given from the hand of G-d, and its weight of 10 shekels corresponds to the 10 Commandments.
• In the Hebrew letters for the word incense which is a kaf,tet,dalet, and tav, if we use an alphabetical system structured so that alef-tav, beit-shin, etc. the letters kaf and dalet are interchangeable. If this is done, the numerical value is 613, alluding to the 613 commandments of Torah.
• The one young bull alludes to Abraham, who used an animal like this as an offering.
• The ram alludes to Isaac, who was replaced on the alter by the ram (Gen. 22:13)
• The sheep alludes to Jacob, who tended Lavan’s sheep (Gen. 30:40).
• The he goat is a sin offering atoned for Joseph’s brothers who sold him into slavery and slaughtered a goat after doing so (Gen. 37:31)
• Two cattle for peace offerings alludes to Moshe and Aharon, who brought peace between Israel and their Father in Heaven.
• The three groups of animals allude to the three components of the nation; Kohanim, Levites, and Israelites, and to three parts of Scripture; Torah, Prophets, and Writings. The number 5 alludes to thet Five Books of Moshe, and the 5 commandments that were on each tablet of the Law.
I hope this stimulates anyone who reads any part of the Bible, takes pride in telling everyone “I read the Bible from cover to cover” or “I read the Bible every year according to the daily readings schedule” to PRAY before and after reading any Scripture, and ask G-d to provide understanding of what He wants you to know at that particular time. We must make time for learning YHVH’s instructions (Torah) or He will not allow us through the finish line of this earthly race. The Bible is our training manual and our earthly lives are but multiple opportunities to learn, be refined by G-d, and to grow in our relationship to Him as we descend in our love of self. We must put on spiritual blinders, walk the King’s Highway, and never allow HaSatan or our animal desires to divert our path. Regardless of what Christianity teaches, we WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE for every thought and deed, according to G-d’s Word and not a well-meaning but misinformed Christian clergyperson’s interpretation. Check it out for yourselves, and study to be approved by our Father.
Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)
Rabbi Tamah Davis