Torah – Numbers 8:1-12:16; Haftarah – Zechariah 2:14-4:7(8); Brit Chadesha – 1 Corinthians 10:6013, Revelation 11:1-19
Parasha Beha’alotekha means, ‘when you set up.’ This study has so much in it that it is hard to limit myself to a single topic. Or even two!
We start our overview in chapter 8 of Numbers. It opens with a description of the Menorah and moves quickly into instructions given to Ahron regarding the cleansing of the Levites.
Chapter 9 deals with a very interesting encounter between Moses and men who were unclean because of contact with the dead man and therefore were excluded from participation in Pesach (Passover). They would be exempt from this Holy Feast of ADONAI and were upset that they would have to bear their sins. Moses took the matter to the L-RD and the remedy that G-d gave for this instance was to institute a second Pesach exactly 30 days after the first one. You see, Passover is required for all to participate. These men who were ceremonially unclean were actually doing a good mitzvoth, or good deed in that ‘the dead man’ they were in contact with was none other than Yosef Ha Tzadik (Joseph thoe Righteous). Remember that Joseph wanted his bones to be buried in the Promised Land one day. So it is amazing to see here that his wishes were carried out, but that some very interesting things transpired in carrying it out. G-d is many things, but here we see He is the G-d of second chances. He knew that Passover was to be celebrated 7 days and that the men would have to go through 7 days of purification in order to be clean and would miss it and as a consequence of their good deed be punished by being forced to bear their sin! This second Passover was not for everyone though. If you were clean and local you were required to observe the command of Pesach. But for those who were afar off travelling or unclean there was provision made for this second chance. All of the statutes involved in the first Passover were to be observed just as though it was that time. Num 9:10-11 “Say to the children of Yisra’el, if any man of you or your generations is unclean by reason of a dead body, or is on a journey far away, he shall still keep the Pesach to the L-RD. In the second month, on the fourteenth day at evening they shall keep it: they shall eat it with Matza and bitter herbs.”
Chapter ten of Numbers gives the instructions of the making of the Shofars. Instructions are given as to when and how they are to be sounded and what the meaning of the alerts shall be. Also it gives the order in which the people were to move.
Numbers 11 tells the story of when the children of Yisra’el were complaining and tired of Manna. They longed for the days when they were in Egypt and had fish and onions and leeks and so on to eat. This kindled the anger of the L-RD who was upset that the people weren’t satisfied with what they had been given, and oh yeah, that G-d Himself was in their midst. He sent a wind which brought them meat to eat in the form of quail. There was so much that it was enough for everyone to eat a whole month. Before they could eat it, they were struck with a plague.
Finally the Torah portion concludes in Numbers 12. We read here where G-d’s anger was kindled against Miriam for speaking ill of Moses. He told her that she would not utter a word against the prophets who only heard G-d in dreams or visions or in riddles. Moses, He pointed out, spoke to G-d mouth to mouth and saw His form. In other words, they spoke to each other in conversation unlike any other prophet, making Moses the greatest among prophets. But, because she dared speak against him she was stricken with leprosy and was charged to leave the camp for 7 days so she could be made clean again. The entire camp of Yisra’el waited until this time was over and she returned to the camp, and then the cloud of Glory lead them on.
Zechariah 4:2-3, “”He said to me, ‘What do you see?’ I said, ‘I have seen, and, behold, a menorah all of gold, with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes to each of the lamps, which are on the top of it. And two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl, and the other on the left side of it. “There are many layers that are woven through the readings this week. It is far too involved for me to adequately teach in great depth but what I will now start to illustrate for you how Scripture interprets itself. Above we read the prophets description of the seven lamps in the menorah, and in the previous chapter the seven eyes upon the rock. If you go to Isaiah chapter 11 you will read about the seven spirits of G-d. What this refers to are the seven characteristics of G-d. Not a literal 7 spirits, because we know there is only ONE Holy Spirit. In chapter 4 you also read about the two olive trees which the portion from Revelation gives us the interpretation that these two olive trees are “my two witnesses” which are testifying before the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. They are testifying that Yeshua was indeed the Messiah and the man claiming to be is nothing more than the false messiah.
One final point I’d like to bring out is the thought process that goes with the account of the murmuring Israelites over their plight to endure the manna. The sages tell us that the Tzadik, or the ‘righteous’ found the taste of the manna to be something wonderful while the Reshaim or the wicked found it to be dry and boring. Now we know that Yeshua (Jesus) is the bread of life and He was the Word made flesh. In other words He and Torah are one! Now let’s apply this idea of perception of the manna by the righteous and the wicked and look at it with respect to the Word. For people who love and serve G-d and spend time growing in His Word, we find it to be wonderful, alive, refreshing and utterly amazing! But how often do you speak of the Word and you hear a non-believer or someone who isn’t right with the L-RD say something like, “I tried reading the Bible but it is so dull and boring and doesn’t mean anything to me.” Just an observation of mine and I hope you see what I do. I hope your time in the Word is a sweet savor!