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Parashah # 34 B’midbar / In The Wilderness

In Weekly Torah Portions | on May, 23, 2014 | by

Parashah #34
B’midbar ~ In The Wilderness
Torah: B’midbar/Numbers 1:1~4:20
Haftarah: Hoshea/Hosea 2:1-22 (1:10~2:20)
B’rit Hadashah: Luke 2:1-7; 1st Corinthians 12:12-31

The wilderness experiences of the Israelites from Sinai to (Keh-nah-ahn) Kena’an / Canaan, the Promised Land, are recorded in B’midbar, which literally means in the wilderness. The English title, “Numbers”, is derived from the initial chapters (specifically 1-4) which begin with a census of the entire (ay-daw) edah (עדה) assembly of (Ahm Yis-rah-ehl) Am Yisra’el/People of Israel. However, B’midbar (the fifth word of the opening verse) seems most appropriate since it actually entails all the events described in the book, which took place over the thirty-nine years when they were LED by a cloud and a pillar of fire in the wilderness. (They did NOT wander!!!)


In spite of their faithlessness and complaints, the Israelites learn The Holy One will fulfill their needs. In the wilderness, The Almighty gives them . . .

• Leaders (B’midbar/Numbers l:1 & 3)
• Food (B’midbar/Numbers 11:6-9)
• Meat (B’midbar/Numbers 11:31-33)
• Water (B’midbar/Numbers 20:8)
• Their Promised Land (B’midbar/Numbers 14:7-8)
• Furthermore, The Holy One tells Moshe/Moses how to bless His people: “May Yehovah bless you and keep you. May Yehovah make His face shine on you and show you His favor. May Yehovah lift up His countenance toward you and give you peace.” (B’midbar/Numbers 6:24-26 ~ known as the Aharonic Benediction)


When the Israelites were eleven days from the Promised Land, “spies” were sent out and all were afraid to go on with the exception of (Y’hoe-shoo-ah) Y’hoshua / Joshua and (Kah-lehv) Kalev / Caleb, who trusted God. Others refused to enter, fearing the “giants within walled cities,” and this choice caused them to stay in the wilderness for forty years. The Almighty punishes their faithlessness by not allowing any of that generation, except Y’hoshua and Kalev, to enter Kena’an / Canaan. The hardships, complaints and wishes to return to Egypt continued. In his anger toward the Israelites, Moshe / Moses strikes a rock, which gushes water for the thirsty. The Almighty shows Moshe the Promised Land but Moshe dies without ever entering it. Moshe defines the borders of Kena’an and selects Y’hoshua as his successor.


In this Parashah (portion), specifically, . . .

• We have the census of all the men twenty years old and over who are subject to military service in Israel.
• The (L’vee’eem) L’vi’im / Levites from one month old and over are counted.
• Additionally, there was the counting of a specific clan of descendants of Levi, those 30 to 50 years old, who would do the work in the tent of meeting.


CHAPTER 1 ~ Dealing With Numbers

Verse 2 tells us, “by their families, by their father’s households . . .” the people were counted. This census in the wilderness illustrates the family structure and relationship of the nation of Israel. All the children of Israel were one large family. The family relationships reveal the Bible’s patriarchal worldview. The breakdown of the nation into tribe, clan and household demonstrates the strong central position of fathers. The entire nation looked back to one common father. They were the descendants of Ya’akov/Jacob. That is why they were called “B’nei Isra-el / children of Israel”. Israel is another name for Ya’akov.


Each Israelite could trace his descent to one of the twelve sons of Ya’akov. This formed his or her tribal identity. Those descended from a common father were referred to as a tribe. The twelve sons of Ya’akov were fathers of the tribes. The tribes of Israel were further broken down into large extended families. The Hebrew word for family is (mish-pah-kah) mishpachah (משפחה). However, when used in the tribal sense, it does not refer to a nuclear family house-hold; it refers to the large extended family of a common forefather within a tribe. A better English word is “clan”. A clan is like a sub-tribe – a tribe within a tribe. Every clan was composed of many households. The Hebrew word for household is (bayt ahv) beit av (בית אב) a term literally translated as house of a father. The father’s household was composed of himself, his wife, children and grandchildren.


The common denominator in all these family rankings is the central position of a father. In the biblical world, fatherhood was the essential ingredient for family and identity. Some would consider this chauvinistic; however, not from the perspective of the biblical woman. She regarded her father and husband as her prestige and her identity. They were the affirmation of her femininity. They provided her protection, sustenance and dignity. It’s a different way of thinking compared to what we have today, for sure!!!


There is an interesting side note in B’midbar/Numbers 1:5-15 The first name on the list of leaders is (pronounced Ehl-lee-zoor) Elizur, which means God is my Protector and the last name on the list is (Aye-nahn) Enan, which is synonymous with eye. According to the Sages, these names recall the verse He protected them like the pupil of His eye. (D’varim / Deuteronomy 32:10). This is said to be an allusion to the (Sheh-key-nah) Shekinah / Cloud of Glory, which surrounded the nation in the wilderness.


B’midbar/Numbers 1:2 take a census, in Hebrew, (sah-voe eht roesh) savo et rosh, literally means, lift up the head. In the past, when a census was taken, it was based on the number of (sh’vah-teem) sh’vatim / tribes or clans. However, B’midbar/Numbers 1:18 tells us the whole assembly was gathered to state their genealogies by families and clans, as well as their total numbers. This indicates the members of the sh’vatim / tribes were counted individually, as every one passed in front of Moshe and Aharon to present proof of their tribal descent. This must have been an awesome experience to stand before those two leaders; the greatest prophet who ever lived (other than Yeshua) and Yehovah’s holy servant, to identify themselves and to receive their blessing and guidance. The fact the people were counted as individuals proves the worth of every individual. This set the precedent for The Holy One’s undying love to see every one of His created subjects return to a loving relationship with Him through His unique and only Son.


“For God so loved the world He gave His only and unique Son, so everyone who trusts in Him may have eternal life instead of being utterly destroyed.” (Yochanan/John 3:16)


“For the passage quoted says everyone who rests his trust on Him will not be humiliated. This means there is no difference between Jew and non-Jew – Yehovah is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on Him, since everyone who calls on the name of Yehovah will be delivered.” (Romans 10:11-13) According to the Complete Jewish Bible this is a reference to Joel 3:5 (In other translations it will most likely be Joel 2:32). This same phrase is also quoted in Acts 2:21.


And in another place, “. . . for it is not His purpose anyone should be destroyed, but everyone should turn from his sins.” (Bet Kefa/2nd Peter 3:9c)


Therefore, we see our Abba Father is interested in each individual, not just whole tribes!


Before we move on, I want to share the meaning of some of the Hebrew names. I do not have them all but here is what I do have . . .

• Tzurishaddai        God is my rock

• N’tan’el               Given of God
• Eli’av                   My father, God
• Eli’shama             God is my reward
• P’dahtzur             Redeemed rock
• Avidan                 My father judged
• Ammishaddai        People of God


ABOUT THE WILDERNESS: The wilderness is usually seen as a place of death, primarily because of the lack of water. The lack of water combined with the constant heat makes the wilderness uninhabitable. Therefore, many think it is a place to go and die. For instance . . .


  • Hagar and Ishmael go into the wilderness and prepare to die there (B’resheet/Genesis 21:14-15).

  • Several times in Torah, the people of Israel accuse Moshe of taking them into the wilder-ness to die; two, in particular are . . .
      o They “said to Moshe, “Was it because there weren’t enough graves in Egypt that you    brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt?” (Sh’mot/Exodus 14:11)
      o “Why did you bring Yehovah’s community into this desert? To die there, we and our livestock?” (B’midbar/Numbers 20:4)

  • When the Israelites refuse to enter the Promised Land, The Almighty declared, “In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.” (B’midbar/Numbers 14:35)

  • And Eli’yahu/Elijah, “he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die.” (M’lakim Alef/1st Kings 19:4)


On the other hand, as we will see, the wilderness can be a place of . . .

            • Refuge            • Provision            • Revelation


The wilderness is also a place of refuge. Those seeking to escape find the wilderness can be a safe place where they can hide among the caves.

• Hagar ran into the wilderness to get away from Sarah (B’resheet/Genesis 16:6-7).

• Moshe fled from Pharaoh into the wilderness of Midian (Sh’mot/Exodus 3:15).

• David took shelter in the wilderness, repeatedly, to escape King Sha’ul/Saul.

• Eli’yahu/Elijah fled to the wilderness of Negev to escape Yezevel/Jezebel (M’lakim Alef/1st Kings 19:3-4).

• Yeshua and His (tahl-me-deem) talmidim/disciples hid out in “the country near the
wilderness.” (Yochanan/John 11:54)

• In Revelation 12, the woman representing Israel escaped from the dragon and “fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by Yehovah.” (Revelation 12:6)


Although the wilderness is a dry and waterless place, it is also a place of provision. Here one has to rely totally upon The Holy One and here The Almighty provides for His people.

• Hagar prepared to die of thirst in the wilderness but Yehovah opened her eyes and she saw a well of water (B’resheet/Genesis 21:19).

• In the wilderness Yehovah provided shelter for the people of Israel with a cloud over them by day and a fire by night (B’midbar/Numbers 9:16). He also provided manna and quail to eat and water from a rock.

• When Eli’yahu/Elijah fled into the wilderness, Yehovah sent ravens with bread to feed him twice a day (M’lakim Alef/1st Kings 17:6).

• And the woman in Revelation 12 fled into the wilderness “so there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” (Revelation 12:6)


The wilderness can be a place of revelation when we are stripped of our daily comforts and come face to face with our Creator.

• In the wilderness of Sinai, Moshe saw the burning bush and received revelation (Sh’mot/Exodus 3).

• Moshe took several forty-day fasts and wrote the Torah in the wilderness.

Eli’yahu/Elijah fasted forty days and forty nights in the wilderness before arriving at
Sinai to seek a word from Yehovah (M’lakim Alef/1st Kings 19:8).

Yochanan/John the Immerser came forth as a “voice of one crying in the wilderness.” (Mattit’yahu/Matthew 3:3)

• Yeshua, after His immersion was compelled to “go out into the wilderness.” (Mark 1:12)


These things happened as examples. The wilderness is not necessarily bad since it requires us to rely solely on our Creator. As we have seen, it can nurture our spiritual health! As time draws closer to the return of Yeshua, we can expect to have wilderness experiences. The Holy One is not a respecter of persons and if Yeshua had a wilderness experience, guess what?, we, most likely, will too!!!


If you have not already started preparation for possible challenging times, let me encourage you to do so. Don’t be like the five foolish virgins who were caught with no oil in their lamps. These things are told to us for our edification. (1st Corinthians 10:11) It is up to us to Shema . . . hear and obey. Torah is not a storybook of fictional fables; it is an instruction book!!!! It’s not only historical, it IS prophetical!!!!!



In B’midbar/Numbers 2, we are told each tribe had its own flag, which bore its specific insignia. The colors of the flags were taken from the color of the stones on the High Priest’s breastplate, which represented each tribe. In the Stone Edition of the Artscroll Chumash, I found the color of each tribe’s banner as well as their insignia. They are as follows:



Reuben       Red                             Mandrakes            Gen. 30:14-15
Simeon       Green                          City of Shechem    Gen. 34:25
Levi           White, black, red          Urim & Tumim      Ex. 28:30
Judah `       Sky blue                      Lion                      Gen. 49:9
Issachar      Blue-black                   Sun & Moon          1st Chron 12:32
Zebulun      White                          Ship                      Gen 49:13
Dan            Sapphire                     Serpent                  Gen. 49:17
Gad            Gray                          Soldiers                  Gen 49:19
Naftali        Pale red                      Doe                       Gen 49:21
Asher         Flaming olive oil          Olive Tree              Gen. 49:20
Ephraim     Black                         Ox                          Deut 33:17*
Manasseh   Black                         Re’em (Bullock)      Deut 33:17*
Benjamin   Mixture of all colors     Wolf                      Gen. 49:27
*Some commentaries show Ephraim & Manasseh as one (Yosef/Joseph)


Additionally, each section had a banner, which bore the colors of each of the tribes in that sec-tion. Have you ever wondered why some nations’ flags are tri-colored? I have and I believe I understand where it came from!


Inscribed on the banners, from each of the four sections, were letters which spelled the names of the Patriarchs. Let’s see . . . there are three Patriarchs but there are four camps. So how does that happen? Their names, in Hebrew, are . . .

Avram, spelled alef, vet, resh, mem
Yitzchak is spelled yod, tzadi, chet, kuf
Ya’akov is spelled yod, ayin, kuf, vet.

The first of the four banners had an alef, yod, and yod. As you can see, those are the Hebrew letters which begin the names of Avram, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov.

The second had vet, tzadi, and ayin, which is the second letter in each of their names.

The third banner bore the letters resh, chet, kuf and

The fourth banner had a mem, kuf, and vet.

This may have been more information than you wanted but the purpose is to show, only through working together can we accomplish what our Abba, Father wants for us.


HUMILITY ~ KNOWING OUR PLACE: One of the more interesting aspects of this Torah portion, has to do with the placement of the tribes during their encampment and when moving from place to place.


First, the (mish-kahn) Mishkan / Tabernacle and the L’vi’im / Levites were in the middle of the camp. The L’vi’im / Levites had “charge over the tabernacle of testimony, its equipment and everything else connected with it”, according to B’midbar/Numbers 1:50. Surrounding them, were the 12 Tribes, according to some, making a large square. There were three tribes in each of the four sides of the square ~ east, south, west and north.


Several years ago, Yehovah gave me a vision. I would like to submit this possible option, for your consideration. Let me see . . . how do I explain this without a chalkboard? Okay, on a blank piece of paper, draw a large triangle, then, overlay it with an upside down triangle. Does it look like a six–pointed star? Okay, at each point where the lines intersect, make a visible dot. How many dots do you have? There should be twelve. As we look at the drawing, we will notice there are three tribes in each of the four sections of the camp. There are some, who will tell you the camp in the wilderness was set up in the shape of a cross. If this were true, there would be gaping holes. This would leave the Tabernacle, in the center, and the camp in general, strategically very vulnerable!


Our Abba Father is concerned about detail. He took into consideration the “like interests” of each tribe in planning their placement. Did you notice He kept family groups together? For instance . . .

• in B’midbar/Numbers 2:3-9, the descendants of Ya’akov/Jacob and Leah were Judah,
Issachar and Zebulon and . . .

• according to B’midbar/Numbers 2:10-16 the tribes of Re’uven/Reuben, Shim’on/Simeon and Gad were together and their mother was Zilpah.

• Then the coupling of Efrayim/Ephraim with M’nasheh/Manasseh and Bin-yamin/Benjamin were the lineage of Ya’akov/Jacob and Raquel/Rachel (B’midbar/Numbers 2:18-24).

• Lastly, the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naftali, who came from Bilhah (B’midbar/Numbers 2:25-31)


Apparently, the Holy One was putting tribes together in a way He felt they would be able to love one another. I am convinced The Almighty is extremely interested in details. We must realize He has a role for each of us as we seek to honor, worship and praise Him.


In our Torah reading, we are not told of any reactions to each tribe’s placement. But given human nature, can you almost imagine the murmuring which could have taken place? “Well, how come Y’hudah gets to be in first place?” And, “why do we have to be last in line?” But The Holy One leaves nothing, absolutely nothing, to chance. Years earlier, when Ya’akov / Jacob died, his 12 sons carried the coffin in a specific order and it is in this same order the tribes were arranged in the camp in the desert. This is how each would know their place. When we know “where” our place is, there is peace and tranquility. After describing who will travel first and who will travel last, the Torah says, “The people of Israel did everything Yehovah had ordered Moshe.” (B’midbar/Numbers 1:34)


Y’hudah / Judah was the leader of all the tribes and he led the first formation. It was as-signed to the East, the direction the light comes to the world, both naturally and spiritually. Yissakhar / Issachar and Z’vulun / Zebulun accompanied Y’hudah. The Sages tell us Issachar is the Tribe of Torah and Zebulun, the Tribe of Wealth. The symbolism of the finest in leadership is coupled with the Sanctity of Torah study and those who support Torah scholars. The partnership of Issachar and Zebulun was great and the two are treated as equals (B’midbar/Numbers 2:3-9).


The second formation was led by Re’uven / Reuben who symbolized repentance. He was as-signed to the South, which is the source of dew and rain, representing God’s mercies and bless-ings. Reuben’s companions are Gad symbolizing strength and Shim’on / Simeon, who needed atonement. It was good for Simeon to have strength and repentance on each side of him. We are told this group was second since repentance is second only to Torah (B’midbar/Numbers 2:10-16).


There is much speculation concerning the exact placement of the Tent of Meeting during the journey. Some believe it was between Y’hudah / Judah and Re’uven / Reuben, while others believe it continued to be in the middle and came after Re’uven and still others think parts of the structure came after Judah and the more sacred parts moved after Re’uven. The vital lesson to be learned here is Torah observance should not be restricted to the home, synagogue and every day activities. Rather, one should maintain observance even while traveling.


Efrayim / Ephraim led the third formation, which was to the West, the source of extreme weather, i.e. cold, hail, and heat. All three tribes, Efrayim / Ephraim, M’nasheh / Manasseh and Binyamin / Benjamin, possessed the strength to withstand harsh elements. Strength is a necessary companion to Torah (Y’hudah) and repentance (Re’uven) since dedication to both Torah study and repentance require strength of conviction and character (B’midbar/Numbers 2:18-24).


The last formation, to the North, was led by the tribe of Dan (B’midbar/Numbers2:25-31). North is symbolic of darkness and in Hebrew, (zah-foon) tzafun means hidden. Dan is symbolic of darkness as well, probably because of the graven image (idolatry) set up in Dan, by King Jeroboam to keep his people from their Temple pilgrimages. Idolatry is considered the darkest of all moral conditions. Asher and Naftali accompanied Dan. Asher was famous for its olive oil, symbolizing illumination in the darkness. It is said this formation is described as last instead of fourth because it symbolizes idol worship and is the last in terms of worthiness.


Earlier in the year, one Torah teacher encouraged us to “live” each Parashah. So, thinking about the arrangement of the encampment, first thing one saw when leaving or returning home was the Tabernacle. (This is another reason, I believe, The Almighty gave me the vision of the camp being laid out in the form of a (mah-gen dah-veed) Magen David. With straight–line encampments, it would be impossible for each tribe to see the Tabernacle from their tent.) With the Tabernacle in the center of the encampment, it seems the Tabernacle and the Ark would become the center of each soul. Granted, each of us sees The Holy One from a different perspective, depending on where we are encamped in life. However, He should remain the focal point, our anchor and compass in bad times and good. Keeping our eyes and hearts focused on our Abba Father and His Torah will help us regain our direction when we are “in the wilderness” of life. It would be wise for us to keep Him in the center of everything we do. He should be the first one we see in the morning and the last on our hearts and minds as we retire each day. Perhaps this is why those who are truly Torah Pursuant recite the Shema upon awakening and before falling asleep at night.



Moshe, at the direction of Yehovah, assigned the tribe of Levi to Aharon / Aaron and his sons as assistants. They were to help the Kohanim / Priests carry out their duties. They were to be in charge of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting but they were NOT to perform any of the priestly duties (verses 5-9). Then in verse 10, there is a very stern admonishment: Should any-one try to involve himself at the Mishkan / Tabernacle, who is not a priest, he “is to be put to death”.


Just as there was specific tribal placement during encampment, the L’vi’im / Levites were placed around the Mishkan / Tabernacle. The names of the sons of (Leh-vee) Levi / Levy were (Gehr-shone) Gershon, (K’haht) K’hat / Kohath and (M’rah-ree) M’rari / Merari.

• The Gershon clan numbered 7,500 males one month old and over (verses 21-26).
      o This clan was to camp on the back or West side of the Tabernacle
      o They were to be in charge of the Tabernacle itself
      o The inner and outer coverings
      o The screen for the entrance of the tent of meeting
      o The curtains surrounding the tabernacle and the altar
      o All the fixtures and ropes for these items
      o And their maintenance

• The K’hat clan numbered 8,600 males one month old and over (verses 27-32).
      o This clan was to camp next to the Tabernacle on the South
      o They were in charge of the Holy Place
      o They were responsible for . . .

           • the ark,
           • the table,
           • the menorah,
           • the altars,
           • the utensils, and
           • the curtain

     o The maintenance of all these things.

• The M’rari clan numbered 6,200 males one month old and over (verses 33-37).
      o This clan camped next to the Tabernacle on the North side

      o Their responsibility was for the frames of the tabernacle, including its . . . Crossbars, Posts,   Sockets & fittings and the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their sockets, pegs & ropes

      o The maintenance of all these things.


Only Moshe/Moses, Aharon/Aaron and his sons were allowed to camp to the East, in front of the Tabernacle. Only these were in charge of the Holy Place and carried out their responsibility on behalf of B’nei Yishra’el/Children of Israel. As previously stated, anyone else who involved himself was to be put to death (verse 38).


The total number of L’vi’im/Levites, one month old and over, counted by Moshe and Aharon was 22,000 (verse 39). (My calculator shows 22,300.  I don’t know why nor do I understand the discrepancy.)



In this chapter, we have yet another census. This time from the clan of K’hat, who has 8,600 members from one month old and over. However, this time the census is for “all those from thirty to fifty years old” (verse 3).


Torah Teacher, Mark Ensign from Amarillo, TX shared some interesting information concerning the stages of man’s development found in the Mishnah, Division Nezikin, Tractate Avot 5:21. Judah ben Tema used to say,

• At five years of age one is ready for the study of the Scripture;
• At ten years of age one is fit for the study of the Mishnah;
• At the age of thirteen for the fulfillment of the commandments (Bar Mitzvah)
• At the age of fifteen for the study of the Talmud;
• At the age of eighteen for marriage;
• At the age of twenty for pursuing (as in the army or a vocation);
• At the age of thirty for entering into one’s full vigor:
• At the age of forty for understanding;
• At the age of fifty for counsel;
• At the age of sixty, one attains old age;
• At the age of seventy for the hoary head;
• At the age of eighty for special strength;
• At the age of ninety for bending beneath the weight of old age;
• At the age of a hundred, one is as though he were already dead and had passed away and ceased from the world.


Given the information from verse 3 and then the above list, it all makes sense! During the ages of 30-50, men were in their prime and were physically able to render the taxing demands of transporting the most holy things.


Then add the scripture Luke 3:23, “When He began His ministry Yeshua Himself was about thirty years of age” and we find another example of the importance of knowing Hebrew culture and tradition. It definitely affects the things we were taught from the Brit Hadashah if we know the background.


Detailed instructions follow in verses 4-14. Aharon and his sons are to cover all of the pieces of the Tabernacle furniture. The Almighty directs the color of cloth and the specific animal hide to use. Everything was to be covered before the appointed tribe of K’hat could transport the Tabernacle furniture. Additionally, Aharon and his sons were to assign each one a task. However, the descendents of K’hat were not to go in and look at the holy things being covered because they would die.


In many synagogues the inscription over the holy ark reads, “Know before whom you stand!” Every day and in every moment, in a place of prayer or a common place, it is compelling for us to remember the One before whom we stand.


In verses 16-20 we learn the L’vi’im couldn’t enter the Tabernacle, to transport the furnishings, until the holy furnishings had all been prepared and covered. Then the other Levite families took down the Tabernacle, its curtains, posts and planks and loaded them in wagons. The elaborate care in handling the elements of the Tabernacle reflects a heightened level of reverence, wonder and amazement in the reality of The Holy One’s presence. When in the presence of the King, the servants of the King conduct themselves with the utmost decorum. The careful dismantling and carrying of the Tabernacle teaches us reverence for Yehovah and His holy things.


Reverence for the Holy One of Israel has been discarded in many modern versions of our faith. Reverence, awe and wonder have been replaced with ecstatic, emotionally charged entertainment called “worship”. Assembly has become a casual affair. It has become a social event rather than an encounter with the Divine. What is perceived as easy access to Him through Messiah has diminished the holiness of The Almighty. This should not be! Of course, this is not true of everyone. However, the Master’s gift should increase our respect, reverence and sense of holy fear for The Father, not diminish it!


Everyone agrees we should fear Yehovah and respect holiness. However, in real terms, what does this mean? How is it translated into our daily lives? Fear of The Almighty and reverence for His sanctity can too easily be relegated to abstraction. In Hebraic roots tradition, respect for the sacred is taken seriously even in the seemingly mundane things of life. Sacred books are handled differently than other books. A book in which The Almighty’s name is printed is handled reverently. It is not left face down, under a pile of other books, or lying on the floor. When it is dropped, it is immediately picked up and reverently kissed. In the synagogue, when the Torah scroll is removed from the ark, everyone turns to face toward the word of Yehovah. We need to recapture a sense of proper reverence for the things of The Almighty. We are His army. He commands us to take up order and rank as He leads us to the Promise of the Ages. He is the Lord of Hosts and we are His hosts!


At the beginning of our Torah portion, we saw, through the letters on each sections’ banner, we are to work together. No one person, nor any one tribe, can accomplish the Father’s will alone. It takes everyone working together. This is true unity. All working together, pursuing Torah, accomplishes HIS will. (His will is delineated in Torah!)


B’midbar ~ במדבר ~ In The Wilderness  ~  ~  Haftarah: Hoshea/Hosea 2:1-22 (1:10 ~ 2:20)

The opening words of this Haftarah compare the future numbers of the nation to the sand of the sea. This is a comparison to the counting of the Israelites in the Torah portion.


One of the most forgiving lovers in all of literature is Hoshea / Hosea, who loved his wife, Gomer, even though she was an unworthy woman. This book, like (Sheer Ha-Sheer-reem) Shir HaShirim / Song of Songs, uses marriage as a symbol to describe the relationship between The Almighty and the House of Israel. Both Hoshea and The Holy One love the unfaithful with such a deep and steadfast love, nothing Gomer or the Israelites do can alienate them. Hoshea is a prophet of grace or unmerited favor. The Creator’s love is a gift, unable to be deserved. Through his forgiveness of his own wife, Hoshea learns of The Creator’s willingness to forgive and restore Israel.


B’nei Isra’el / Children of Israel was the smallest of the nations. Ten of its original tribes have been scattered through out the world. However, The Almighty knows every one of their descendants, wherever they may be. The remaining tribes, collectively known as the Jews, repeatedly have been battered throughout history. Rabbinical commentary has this to say about this passage of Scripture:

“The Talmud (Pesachim 87a) gives the background of this prophecy. God told Hoshea Yisrael had sinned, to which the prophet replied, “All the world is Yours. [If they are unworthy] exchange them for another nation.” God responded by commanding Hoshea to marry a harlot and have children with her, even though he knew she was unfaithful. Chapter 1 of Hoshea relates he had three children from this marriage and, at God’s command, named them as follows: The first was a son named . . .

Yezreel / Jezreel, God of powerful mercy will plant, which means God will gather in the exiled Children of Yisrael and plant them in their land. Then they had a daughter named . . .

• Lo-ruhamah, Object of No Mercy, for God was resolved no longer to be merciful with the unrepentant Yisraelis. Finally, another son born, was named . . .

• Lo-ammi, Not My People, for the Yisraelis had forfeited their claim to chosenness.


After the three children were born, The Almighty ordered Hoshea to send his family away. Hoshea pleaded he could not part with the children! Yehovah then said: “Your wife is a harlot whose children may not even be yours but the products of adultery, yet you say you cannot abandon them. Yisrael is the offspring of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov – how dare you say I should exchange it for another nation!”


These are mighty powerful words written by the rabbis of old. This prophecy lets us know even though the Israelites would go after the gods of other nations and become like them, The Almighty promised He would still love them. They are His children and one day He will return them to HaAretz / The Land and they will become His people once again and one King will be over them all. That day is soon coming and the King will be Yeshua HaMashiach.


In scripture, prophesies concerning the still unfulfilled return of the descendants of the Northern Kingdom will refer to the “House of Israel” as opposed to the “House of Judah” already in The Land.


B’midbar ~  במדבר ~  In The Wilderness
B’rit Hadashah: Luke 2:1-7; 1st Corinthians 12:12-31

Luke 2:1-7 “This registration, the first of its kind, took place when Quirinius was governing in Syria.” Verse 2 parallels our Torah portion and was a census of the Israelites. Re-member the time of year this took place. It was actually the beginning of Sukkot / Feast of Tabernacles. The Children of Israel / B’nei Isra’el were to go to Jerusalem. This was one of the seven moedim / appointed times of The Holy One. They were to come to the place where He put His name, The Temple. The Roman Emperor certainly chose an excellent time to decide to “register” everyone!


Two other things to remember with regard to “there was no room at the inn” (verse 6).

1. Since everyone was going to Jerusalem for Sukkot all of the “Motel 6s”, “Motel 8s”, and “Holiday Inns”, etc would naturally have been full. There was no mastermind plot to make Yosef / Joseph and Miryam / Mary “street people”.


2. For that matter, Beit Lechem / Bethlehem (House of Bread), was a small, poor village and most likely would not have had an inn. Most homes, at that time, kept the animals downstairs (ground level), while the upper part of the house consisted of a work-room where the children slept with a separate bedroom for the parents. In a pinch, the down-stairs space for animals would have afforded guests some privacy.


1st Corinthians 12:12-31 These verses, written by Rav Sha’ul / Rabbi Paul, parallel two areas from our Torah portion.

• In chapter two of our Torah portion, we learned each tribe had its specific place to camp and its specific place when they were on the move.

• In chapter three, we learned only certain ones were to help Aharon / Aaron and his sons. The L’vi’im / Levites were to assist Aharon and his sons, the Kohanim / Priests, carry out their duties BUT they were not to perform any of the priestly duties.


Mike Clayton, Joined To HaShem Ministries, (www.joinedtohashem.org) has an excellent teaching concerning Paul and his ministry to the Gentiles. According to Brother Mike, Paul probably did not realize the difficulty of the task which lay ahead of him. Paul was raised as a Hebrew; he understood Hebrew life, its customs and it traditions. He knew how to communicate with others who had been raised in the same way. Now he was being sent to people who had never sat through even one class on Torah. For that matter, they didn’t have a clue when it came to the history of the Hebrews. These non-Jews were being adopted into a family they knew nothing about and Paul had to teach them. In 1st Corinthians (above), Sha’ul/Paul is talking to the “former Gentiles” about how to function within The Almighty’s family. He uses the metaphor of working together as a body just as the human body works to accomplish a task. He was telling these people God had placed each of them in a specific place for a specific reason. Each one was to accept the task given and carry it out to the best of his/her ability. One was not to look down on another who had been given a job that did not seem glamorous; they were not to place anyone on a pedestal. Each function of the body must work together.


If Sha’ul / Saul/Paul had been speaking to Hebrews, he would not have needed to go into such detail. He would simply have reminded them of the twelve tribes in the wilderness and the functions of each. Each tribe had its place in the camp and each had a different personality and function. If the Corinthians had been Hebrews who had come to faith in Yeshua, Sha’ul could have simply said to them, “Remember our ancestors in the wilderness, how they camped and how they worked together. You all do the same.”


Brother Mike goes on to tell us scripture is written in metaphors and shadows, which spoke to a specific audience. To forget this principle can lead us into error. If we understand this and apply it, we can find an abundance of truth. For instance, when Paul gave correction concerning Torah, he was NOT speaking to 21st century Christians who have, for the most part, twisted scripture to say the Torah has passed away. He was speaking to a Hebrew audience who had twisted Torah into legalistic observance. He was bringing correction by telling the people to get the horse in front of the cart, not behind it!!!!!


As believers in Yeshua, we are all part of the Body of the Messiah. Each of us has a place determined by our Creator. We all have appropriate ministries empowered by the (Roo-ahk Ha Koe-desh) Ruach HaKodesh / Holy Spirit. Each of us should appreciate, not envy, others’ ministries and gifts. The purpose of the gifts should not be self-promoting but build the whole body in love. The whole purpose is to show, as I have said before, only through working together can we accomplish what our Abba, Father wants for us.


The corresponding Psalm for this Torah portion is: Psalm 122


Next week’s lesson: Parashah #35
Naso ~ נשא ~ Take
Torah: B’midbar/Numbers 4:21~7:89
Haftarah: Shof’tim/Judges 13:2-25
B’rit Hadashah: Yochanan/John 7:53~8:11; Acts 21:17-32


Who fills his mind with Torah clears it of fear and folly.
Rabbi Chanina Sgan HaKohanim

The giving of Torah happened at one specific time, but the receiving
of Torah happens all the time, in every generation.
Meir Alter, the Gerer Rebbe


Organize yourselves into classes for the study of Torah,
since it can best be acquired in association with others.
Talmud: Berkot 63b


Shavuah tov (have a good week)!!!

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