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B’ha’alotkha: Torah: B’midbar 8:1-12:16 Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7/ Brit: John 19:31-37; Heb.

ָ‫ת‬ ‫ך‬ ְ ‫ל‬ ֹ ‫ע‬ ֲ‫ה‬ ַ‫ב‬ ְ ּ

The title of this week’s parasha is B’ha’alotekha and taken in context of the literal meaning of the verb in this sentence it means to kindle, to raise up, or to light. The root of the word comes from Strongs number 5927 or Alah and it means among other things ‘to go up, ascend, offer up, extend, reach, and can mean to take a journey. The first time we see this root word is in B’resheit 2:6, ‘There ‘went up’ a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground’. In the sense of kindling we see it used in Vayikra or Leviticus 24:2 ‘Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps ‘to burn’ continually’. The 2-letter root word Ayin-Lamed means work and yoke. Ayin means to see or observe meaning to experience and gain understanding. Lamed carries the meaning of a staff & yoke. The staff was used often as a yoke as it was placed around and over the shoulder to direct and guide the animal in the performing of its designated work. We as YHVH’s set apart people have been appointed to do works as well. In fact, Messiah sent His call out prefacing it by kindly pointing out ‘For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light’ (Mat 11:30 CJB). How many have attempted to make merchandise of GOD in the pursuit of a lifestyle of pleasure only to find it leaves one empty? Make no

mistake, we are called to be sent, to do and to obey and Aharon was not appointed to spend his days with sandals propped up behind a big acacia wood desk tasking everyone else from a fluffy white cloud. When done correctly, service approved unto HaShem will come with a cost and it will require sacrifice. A wise person who numbers their days like the psalmist sang once taught me, that anything worth having—comes with a cost; question is, are we ready to pay? Perhaps the weightier question is ‘So what are you kindling?’ You See? Everything starts with the heart, and Aharon, the Cohen HaGadol cleaned and maintained the Menorah in the Holy place every day; daily working out his salvation in a holy place. There’s something left to be said about that. But Aharon was to kindle the lamps and to light them in such way that the flames ‘faced’ or shone ‘facing forward’. Why is that important? Why did that detail make it into the Word of God? Is it trivial? Is any of God’s Word trivial? Certainly not, even down to the smallest letter and stroke (Mt. 5:18). But it begs the question then, what is so significant about the light facing forward when the Menorah’s lamps are burning? Perhaps drawing from the rich symbolism of the menorah and the room’s contents may ‘enlighten’ us as to its directional significance. Family Reunion In order to understand the greater purpose of The Tent of Meeting we have to briefly examine The Tabernacle. There were two rooms yes? The Holy of Holies which contained the Ark of the Covenant and the cover with the two ‘center-facing’ Keruvim, above which and in

the center The Presence of YHVH would descend and meet Aharon there once a year, but numerous times on The Day of Atonement; and then the veil that separated or created a partition to its adjacent room over called the Holy Place. In this room there were three specific items. The Menorah, the Altar of Incense, and the Table with the Shewbread. One entered the Tent of Meeting through the gateway from the hall and into the sanctuary on the East Side. Once inside one could view to the left, which would be to the south, the Holy Menorah shining its Holy Light illuminating the entire Holy Place; to the West one viewed the Veil, or Curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies where The Ark of The Covenant rest just on the other side. In the center of the Holy Place was the Altar of incense constantly sending up its fragrant offering like the prayers of the saints (Rev.8:4); and to the North stood the Table of Shewbread with its twelve loaves prepared and placed there weekly by the cohanim. Much discussion has been made of these furnishings. Allow me to restate the obvious beloved, all of the furnishings in the Tabernacle point ultimately to Messiah. But because God has called us to be involved in covenant with Him we are able to extract some deeper understanding in the dynamic between God and His covenant people, by way of exploring and understanding the relationship between the placement of the furnishings in The Holy Place. We will return to The Menorah, but we read it was to shine or ‘face forward’ because it not only illuminated the room, but specifically it shined upon the table of

Shewbread. The twelve loaves were symbolic of Messiah, but also of the obvious connection with the number twelve being the twelve tribes of Israel. The Holy Light of the Menorah shined on the twelve tribes as they were united, together on the table. If we take a moment to examine the word in Hebrew for ‘table’ it is ‘shulchan’ and it literally means to spread out. It also means ‘where one sends his hand to receive food’ (Ancient Hebrew Lexicon, Benner). YHVH says in the book of Ezekiel speaking of restoring His Holy People that ‘They will enter my sanctuary, approach my table to minister to me and perform my service.’ (Eze. 44:16). We read elsewhere in Tehillim 23 that YHVH prepares a table for us in the midst of our enemies and in Psalm 78 we read how our ancestors tempted God asking after He had already, many times over, prepared a ‘table’ in the ‘b’midbar’, or wilderness for His stiff-necked people. But the emphasis in context to the light that shone facing forward was to illuminate God’s provision for His people. Metaphorically speaking it ‘evoke[s] the picture of the fellowship shared by those seated around the table, such as the beautiful family scene in Psalm 128:3’ (Theo. Wordbook of the OT, p.928) ‘A song of ascents: How happy is everyone who fears ADONAI, who lives by his ways. 2 You will eat what your hands have produced; you will be happy and prosperous. 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in the inner parts of your house. Your children around the table will be like shoots from an olive tree’. (Psa 128:1-3 CJB) Yeshua Messiah—The Etz Chayim

So the light illuminates God’s provision for His people, their unity, their fellowship and relationship operating as a Holy family, prospering and lifting one another up as they walked in obedience with God’s Word! But the Menorah could only illuminate the table of Shewbread as it was properly maintained. The Menorah we read now and as at first when Moshe’ was first shown the pattern in Shemot, that it was to be of pure Gold, and it was to be one piece of hammered Gold. Consulting Ruth Lascelle’s book ‘A Dwelling Place for God’ we observe that Gold specifically speaks of Divinity. Recall that all the furnishings in the Tent of Meeting were constructed or overlaid with Gold! But it also speaks of offering our very best. When we have been tested and are refined His Word says we will come forth as Gold (Job 23:10). If we examine the Haftarah portion in Zechariah, reading from chapter 3 verse 8 we read of the prophet being shown a vision of God’s restoration being accomplished through His Branch, or –Tsemach! Used only a handful of times the Tsemach, or Branch as studied in the Septuagint specifically refers to ‘One rising like the sun in the east, blossoming with strength’. This Branch is none other than the one depicted in the Menorah that gives light to YHVH’s set apart people. It is Messiah! He is the Vine, we are the branches. We are called to overcome by His Ruach as foretold in the Haftarah in chapter 4. Read Zechariah 3:8-4:6 Crushed to Bring Light The Menorah is fashioned like a tree. It has the central trunk or stem, and out from the central trunk sprout the branches. It is our responsibility to bring in fresh

pressed olive oil to supply to the lamps of the menorah so that it can burn daily (Exo.27:20). While Aharon tended, cleaned and replaced the wicks and refilled them, the Menorah symbolizes not only our participation in allowing our lives to be used in service to YHVH by way of sacrifice and obedience, but it reveals as we do so, the character of The One who came and allowed Himself to be crushed in order to bring God’s empowering Holy Spirit, His provision, His light to reveal His Way to walk and His restored favor upon His set-apart people—Hallelu-YAH! The Menorah is not only a constant testimony of our Redeemer Yeshua, but also of the appointed work and reward for those who enter into covenant with YHVH, to submit themselves to the hard-pressing work of sacrificing oneself in order for the God’s Love to burn brightly to a confused and blinded world of sleepy Israelites! Waving, Sifting, Separated A brief word about Wave Offerings. When we read about Shavuot wave offering of the two leavened loaves, and in this week’s parsha we see they share a noteworthy quality. Here in Numbers chapter 8, and in the two leavened loaves we read that there is to be a grain offering, and both are to be of ‘fine flour’. Webster’s Dictionary defines flour as a ‘product consisting of finely milled wheat’. In order to become fine—the wheat has to undergo a refining process. First it’s to be threshed on the threshing floor where it’s trampled in order for the heads of grain to be cracked open. It is then sifted so that the wheat is separated from the chaff, and it is also placed on a millstone where it is ground into a fine powder. The

longer the grinding, the finer the flour. When complete, this product bears forth a high quality grain cake that is fit to offer our King. In my honest opinion I believe the waving of the offering was how it identified to those observing what special process it had undergone. It had been cleaned and milled to be used for a special purpose by God. And so we see just like the acceptable grain offering that was laid upon the altar and the grain offering that was waved, so Aharon offered The Levites as a ‘Wave offering’ unto YHVH; at which point the people laid their hands on the Levites, who in turn laid their hands on the animals to be sacrificed and then the animals who were without blemish were sacrificed an offered to YHVH upon the altar. The point I observe in my limited understanding however is just this—God can use a person set apart for His High Calling to make atonement for another person. That is revolutionary, but we’ve been doing it without realizing it oftentimes. Do you pray for family members or friends struggling through a difficult time? How about for someone you love who is lost and confused or even in a place of rebellion? Does God answer those prayers? Yes He does. So, do our prayers sometimes move the hand of God to do acts of restoration, mercy and covering in the lives of those we pray for? Absolutely. We need to pray more. In the English we read in the space of eleven verses the word ‘Wave Offering’ used four times. Do you think YHVH is trying to get our attention? If we examine the word for Wave Offering in Hebrew it’s the word ‘Tephunah’, and it means to wave, to quiver, or

to vibrate. But if we explore the root word found in the Paleo Hebrew it reveals the word ‘noof’. Comprised of a Nun, a Vav and a Fey, its two-letter root is a Nun-Fey and it is a picture of a seed, and an open mouth; it means to use the mouth as a tool to separate the seed. and it’s literal meaning is to shake, and to sieve! The Levites were selected by YHVH to be sifted, crushed and separated for a special purpose to serve God in the Tabernacle. Did this discount the sons and daughters of YHVH from the various other tribes? Absolutely not. But what we find reveals that God’s chosen set apart people have a special responsibility to walk in the fear of Adonai. Too many people today lack that I fear. Too many people would prefer to assume too much. Just as we began with the menorah facing forward, shining it’s Holy Light upon the twelve united tribes of Israel, we see what happened in chapter 12 at the conclusion of this parsha. Miriam and Aharon spoke ill of Moshe’s wife and thus of Moshe’. This sinful dialogue resulted in a plague didn’t it? Let me ask you a question. Why did the Levites camp all around between the Tabernacle and the other eleven tribes? We read in chapter 8, verse 19 of B’midbar ‘and I have given the L'vi'im to Aharon and his sons from among the people of Isra'el to do the service of the people of Isra'el in the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Isra'el, so that no plague will fall on the people of Isra'el in consequence of their coming too close to the sanctuary." (Num 8:19 CJB) You see? All of this sifting and crushing, this humiliation was a refining process designed to put an

end to self, to the lifting up of self, the kindling of lust, and of vanity. Beloved we are so in need of doing as Rav Shaul stated, ‘I die daily’. But do we? Do we put our selfish desires aside daily to address the weightier matters of serving YHVH? Or do we like recorded in Chapter 12 of B’midbar engage in casual sinful conversation inviting death into the camp of God’s people? We read, ‘"Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?" 9 So the anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed. 10 But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward (paniym) Miriam, behold, she was leprous. (Num 12:710 NAS) Aren’t we so often just like our ancestors? But so much has been recorded for our learning, ‘11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come’ (1Co 10:11 NAS). We conclude this study with the question then. Are we learning? Because if we are, then by receiving His Word our hearts should be changing. Or are we like those who possess great amounts of knowledge but are never really coming to that place of real change as stated in 2 Timothy, ‘always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Ti 3:7 NAS). Let us learn to be changed so that we can be filled with His Ruach HaKodesh and not only prevent

uncleanness in the camp but be a blessing to our brothers and sisters Ahmein!