It’s time for a 40 year recap. As we prepare to enter the last day of Moshe’s life, also known as Deuteronomy, Moshe is taking stock, literally, as his fourth book draws to a close. Legal cases are wrapped up and Moshe’s status with Father YHWH is confirmed as Moshe must face the twin challenges of marshaling for war and preparing for his own death. He also faces yet another quiet rebellion but one no less dangerous as two tribes ask to settle east of the Jordan before there brothers complete the war with Midian to enter the Jordan on the west. What Moshe decides here will literally change the fate of millions for all time.
Pinchus refers to the man whose righteous example of purging evil from Israel’s ranks moved Abba YHWH to stop a plague that would have otherwise destroyed all Israel. More than that, the portion starts with Pinchus getting a particularly high honor from Abba YHWH, the covenant of peace that rests on him alone and ensures his progeny the high priesthood.But with the population of Israel decimated by the plague, a new census had to be done in chapter 26. When that counting was concluded, Moshe is then given a very interesting issue to deliberate on: Should women be allowed to inherit their father’s estate under certain special circumstances? Abba YHWH’s answer back to Moshe and Israel then shows us literally the most progressive law regarding women’s rights in the entire ancient world!
A female donkey proves herself more righteous than the prophet Father Yah sent on a special mission. It’s not some kind of sit-com nor is is it a weird off-Broadway play. It’s our parsha this week, Balak, and there is so much more going on that just having that special beast of burden,. It is also the story of a king who, fearing he cannot destroy Israel militarily, engages in spiritual warfare that hilariously backfires, but those laughs don’t last as that same king will find a far more deadly weapon–a bunch of party ladies–that proves far more deadly than anything else he could have used. Stay tuned for what is by far one of the most eccentric yet essential sections of the Torah this week.
This is a parsha with a stark study in contrasts. Here the red heifer instructions are given though they had clearly been in place previously and well understood, and it is in this parsha also that both Miriam and Aaron die. The other significant part of Chukkat is that within an instant of time in terms of the text, 38 years are skipped and we go from being at the start of the wilderness journey to almost its end. Here also Moshe makes his last tragic error–the one that directly guarantees he will not live to enter into the Promised Land. His story is nearing its end as Moshe prepares his people for some of the greatest challenges that lie in their immediate future.
SHOWDOWN! In this corner, Moshe, Yehoshua, Caleb and Aaron, while in the other corner, the “away team” of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, along with a bunch more leaders and the people they lead. In short, pretty much everyone else is in rebellion or knows someone who is. When it’s over nearly 15,000 are dead and it could have been a lot worse. This three-in-one rebellion nearly brought the entire nation of Israel to destruction, and all because one small argument among siblings got overheard. If you want to see how tough a job can be that gets really “in the pits” this parsha is for you!
We are literally in the calm before the storm, between the end of one rebellion and the commencement of a much worse one on the immediate horizon. Moshe’s challenges ramp up this week as he does not realize that even though Father Yah commands him to send out spies, it’s a test that he fails. It is in essence the lapse in judgement that leads to the tragedy of Korah next week. Also enjoy a very special member Q&A on the Sacred Name and a very revealing Torah Thought…Nehemiah and the Jubilee!
What happens when Father Yah deliberately withholds information to see if Israel will care about resolving a contradiction? What happens when, after all that time at Mount Sinai it is suddenly time to head out to an uncertain future? How about the calendar codes inherent in the way they march out or how a simple request of Moshe leads to finding Mount Sinai? All these questions, and more, will be answered in this most unusual and eclectic parsha.
From censuses to the only parsha that deals with marital problems. From the curious rules of the Nazirite to the Aaronic blessing. Naso is a fascinating study in contrasts and scope. And it all culminates with what may be the most thorough (90+ minutes long) and perhaps even most shocking and unflinching look at biblical marriage and divorce we’ve ever done. This parsha will most definitely be thought provoking and deeply informative at the same time.
The days at Mount Sinai are coming to an end as Moshe takes stock–literally–and tries to figure out what to do next. But before he can prepare to move on, he first has to count what he has for warriors priests and regular Israelites. Even the Kingdom of Israel needs some “government oversight”to figure out how the spread the wealth, but this is under YHWH’s rule, not Washington’s.
From foreshadowing from the early days of the patriarchs to prophetic and apocalyptic warnings about our future, Shavuot has been linked to so many critical events. From the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai to spectacular outpouring of the Ruach Ha Kodesh in Acts 2 and beyond, Shavuot has roots in it all. Sort through the political and religious spin, explore ancient controversies to find the truth. It’s all here so enjoy! Keep Reeding
Now begin the last days of Israel’s stay at Mount Sinai and the final commandments they will receive there are given over these last two parshas of Leviticus. Now finally past the major ramifications from the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, Israel may think the worst is behind them, when in reality this is just the calm before the next proverbial storm, with Bamidbar, the book of Numbers, soon beginning. Meanwhile however this parsha also helps us prepare for the 2019 Shavuot Special, coming next week.