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Parashah 21 Ki Tisah

Exodus 30:11 – 34:35

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted 

Torah Readings:

1.    30:11 – 31:17

2.    31:18 – 33:11

3.    33:12-16

4.    33:17-23

5.    34:1-9

6.    34:10-26

7.    34:27-35

8.    Maftir: 34:33-35

 

Haftarah: 1 Kings 18:1-39 (Ashkenazi); 18:20-39 (Sephardic)

Ki Tisah

         means “When you count”

Comments

The First Aliyah, 30:11 – 31:17

30:12 “When you take a census of the children of Yisra'el, according to those who are numbered among them, then each man shall give a ransom for his soul to HaShem, when you number them; that there be no plague among them when you number them.”(HNV revised) – According to the promise that was given to Avraham, the people of Israel would be too numerous to count, see Genesis 15:5; 32:12. There is danger in counting the children of Israel. When King David tried to take a census of the people, a plague came over them, see 2 Samuel 24:1-10; 1 Chronicles 21:7. In order to avoid a plague, the children of Israel had to give a coin as ransom for each person. This would serve two purposes. The first purpose was that the coins could be counted instead of the people. The second purpose was that the silver coins served as atonement ransom so that no plague would strike the people when they were counted.

30:14 “Everyone who passes over to those who are numbered, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the offering to HaShem.”(HNV revised) – Only the men who were twenty years and older were to be counted and would join the army. The women were not counted. The women did not have to pay this tabernacle-tax, and neither did they have to do military service.

30:15 “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when they give the offering of HaShem, to make atonement for your souls.”(HNV revised) – A ransom of half a shekel was required of every soul. The rich did not pay more, and the poor did not pay less. This teaches us that every person has equal value before the Eternal, despite his or her financial status.

30:16 “You shall take the atonement money from the children of Yisra'el, and shall appoint it for the service of the tent of meeting; that it may be a memorial for the children of Yisra'el before HaShem, to make atonement for your souls.”(HNV revised) – This tax was not collected just once. It would be collected again. The half shekel was used to pay for the ministry in the tabernacle. The first time it was used to pay for the silver objects, see Exodus 38:25-28. Jerusalem’s Talmud[1] says that this annual tax was used to purchase the animals for the collective sacrifices, see 2 Kings 12:4; 2 Chronicles 24:6; Nehemiah 10:32; Matthew 17:24-27. During the second temple period, there were annual reminders of this tax in every city on the first day of the month Adar, the last month of the year. At that time, everyone had to bring half a shekel for the Beit HaMikdash, the temple. The money was collected between the 15th of Adar and the Rosh Chodesh Nissan (the first day of the month of Nissan). From this we know what the time frame was when our Rabbi was approached and questioned about the annual temple tax, as it is told in Matthew 17:24-27.

30:18 “You shall also make a basin of brass, and the base of it of brass, in which to wash. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.”(HNV) – According to Rashi, the basin was placed slightly to the south of the middle line that started at the entrance to the tabernacle. The altar was on that line.

30:19 “Aharon and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in it.”(HNV) – According to Talmud[2], the priest placed his right hand on his right foot and his left hand on his left foot and dedicated them.

30:23 “Also take fine spices: of liquid myrrh, five hundred shekels; and half of fragrant cinnamon, even two hundred and fifty; and of fragrant cane, two hundred and fifty”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, the cinnamon weighed altogether 500 shekels, just as much as the myrrh, since it is written here that half of the cinnamon weighed 250 shekels.

30:24 “and of cassia five hundred, after the shekel of the sanctuary; and a hin of olive oil.”(HNV) – One shekel was approximately 17 grams, so five hundred shekels is then eight and a half kilogram (18.7 pounds). One hin is 1.4 liters (1.08 gallons). The weight of the anointing oil was altogether 34 kilograms (75 pounds). The olive oil was the most important ingredient.

30:25 “You shall make it a sacred anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer: it shall be a sacred anointing oil.”(HNV revised) – According to Rambam,[3] the anointing oil was made in the following manner: First each spice was crushed separately. Then they were mixed and moistened in water so that their sweet smell was in the water. After that the olive oil was added and the mixture was boiled until the water had boiled out completely. Thus only the spices and the oil remained. According to Rashi, the oil was then purified and the roots of the spices removed.

30:31 “You shall speak to the children of Yisra'el, saying, ‘This shall be a sacred anointing oil to me throughout your generations.’”(HNV revised) – This anointing oil must remain throughout all generations. But today, nothing is known of it. According to a Midrash,[4] it was hidden before the first temple was destroyed. It will be uncovered again, however, during the Messiah’s time.

30:32 “It shall not be poured on man’s flesh, neither shall you make any like it, according to its composition: it is sacred. It shall be sacred to you.”(HNV revised) – The fact that this oil is sacred means that it is reserved for use in the temple ministry only.

30:34 “HaShem said to Moshe, ‘Take to yourself sweet spices, gum resin, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be an equal weight’”(HNV revised) – Galbanum smells bad. This teaches us that if there is going be a pleasing smell unto the Eternal, then those who are considered less honorable should not be separated from the crowd, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 12:14-27,

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot would say, ‘Because I’m not the hand, I’m not part of the body,’ it is not therefore not part of the body. If the ear would say, ‘Because I’m not the eye, I’m not part of the body,’ it’s not therefore not part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now they are many members, but one body. The eye can’t tell the hand, ‘I have no need for you,’ or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need for you.’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. Those parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, on those we bestow more abundant honor; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety; whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Messiah, and members individually.”(HNV revised)

According to Rashi, there were altogether eleven different spices in the incense. Today the meanings of the Hebrew words are not known, and therefore the identities of the spices are not certain. The sages argue about which they could be.

30:36 “and you shall beat some of it very small, and put some of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be to you most sacred.”(HNV revised) – The primary reason for the building of the tabernacle was so that the Eternal would have a place where he could meet his people. The root of the Hebrew word that is translated “meet” is ya’ad[5], which means, “make an appointment”. An appointment involves two things, time and place. There are certain times that the Eternal has set in order to meet with his bride, and there is an appointed place for the meeting. The tabernacle was created to be an appointed place for a divine meeting, as it is written in Exodus 25:22,

“There I will meet with you, and I will tell you from above the mercy seat, from between the two Keruvim which are on the ark of the testimony, all that I command you for the children of Yisra'el.”(HNV)

In Exodus 29:42-43, it is written,

“It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tent of meeting before HaShem, where I will meet with you, to speak there to you. There I will meet with the children of Yisra'el; and the place shall be sacred by my glory”(HNV revised)

In Exodus 30:6, it is written,

You shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you.”(HNV)

In Numbers 17:4, it is written,

You shall lay them up in the tent of meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you.”(HNV)

There are one hundred and forty places in the Scriptures where the tabernacle is called “the tent of meeting”, in Hebrew ohel mo’ed. That teaches us the importance of having a personal relationship with the Eternal. There is a place for a heavenly meeting. Where is that place? It is the most sacred place above the mercy seat. That is the meeting place in the temples and in man as well. Within the innermost recesses of our hearts there is a place where man can meet the Eternal.

The text that we are looking at now says that incense is to be placed before the testimony where the Eternal meets each individual. The incense symbolizes the knowledge, see 2 Corinthians 2:14-15. When it says to beat (grind) some of it very finely and to put some of it before the testimony where there is an intimate meeting, we can compare it to what happens when we take a small part of the Scriptures and grind it, think about it, and then take it to prayer in our daily prayer times. Thus we will have a meeting with the Eternal. The foundation for having a meeting the Eternal is the revelation of the Scriptures. When you read the Torah and receive light over a text that moves your soul, then you have found incense. You can then grind it and carry it before the Eternal in order to meet him. Keep that passage close. Study it. Search to find its Hebrew meaning. Learn it by heart and use it when you come before the Eternal. Then you will meet him, as it is written: “the most sacred of the sacred” (“most holy”, KJV). It can also be understood as  “the most intimate of the intimate”, as it is written in Song of Songs 1:2-4,

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for your love is better than wine. Your oils have a pleasing fragrance. Your name is oil poured forth, therefore the virgins love you. Take me away with you. Let us hurry. The king has brought me into his chambers.”(HNV revised)

The Eternal longs for intimacy with you. Use the incense that you have, grind it and come before Him with it, and then you will see…

31:2 “Behold, I have called by name Betzal'el the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Yehudah”(HNV) – Betzal’el,[6] from the tribe of Yehudah, symbolizes the Messiah. His name is mentioned eight times in the Scriptures. It means “in God’s shadow”. According to Rambam,[7] Betzal’el was only thirteen years old at this time.

31:3 “and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship”(HNV revised) – Here we find three words: wisdom (in Hebrew chochmah[8]), understanding (in Hebrew tevunah[9]), and knowledge (in Hebrew da’at[10]). According to Rashi, chochmah is what a person hears and learns from others, tevunah is what the person himself understands from what he has learned, and da’at is the Ruach ha-Kodesh, prophetic inspiration.

31:4 “to devise skillful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass”(HNV) – That teaches us that when God’s Spirit fills a person, he will not just be floating on the clouds, but he learns how to take care of practical things. The Torah teaches that all matter is good, see Genesis 1:31. There is nothing that is evil in and of itself, if it is used properly and in accordance with the instructions in the Torah, see Romans 14:14; 1 Timothy 4:4-5; 6:17; Titus 1:15. The Torah teaches us to elevate physical things up to a spiritual level, so that they can be used to serve heavenly purposes.

Physical matter can serve as a point of contact between man and God. In the same way, physical objects can be used as points of contact for demons, through idol worship and the worshipping of wood and stone.

The spiritual tools that were given to Betzal’el equipped him to work with physical things. The Eternal could then use those things and fulfill his spiritual purposes through them. There is a heavenly purpose for every material object. Man was created to cooperate with the Eternal in order to fulfill His heavenly plan for physical matter. This means that a religion, which separates man from nature, colors, form, sounds, rhythm, scents, harmonies, tones, and creativity, is a threat to the purposes of the creator. Creativity is a characteristic of the Creator, and man was made in His image to be like him.

In the tabernacle, the Eternal met with man through his five senses. With colors, light, and shapes, he met man through his sight. Through the sound of the animals, fires, instruments, and songs he met man through his sense of hearing. Through the scents of the sacrifices, anointing oil, incense, lamps, and bread, he met man through his sense of smell. Through the surfaces of the different materials, animals, firewood, water, and the heat of the fire, he met man through his sense of touch. Through the boiled meat, bread, salt, and first fruits, he met man through his sense of taste. Man’s entire being is involved in the meeting with the Eternal. A spiritual person has the ability to see the Creators hand in all physical matter and make sure that it fulfills it’s heavenly purpose.

31:5 “and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of workmanship.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated “all manner of workmanship” is melachah[11], which means “work”, “task”, “workmanship”, “production”, “manufacture”. It is the same word that is translated as just “workmanship” in verse 3. It is the same word that is used about creation in Genesis 2:2-3, where it is written,

“On the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work (melachah) which he had made. God blessed the seventh day, and consecrated it, because he rested in it from all his work (melachah) which he had created and made.”(HNV revised)

The production of the tabernacle, therefore, was seen as something similar to the work of creation. It is a masterpiece, made according to a heavenly pattern, just as creation was.

31:6 “And behold, I have appointed with him Oholi'av, the son of Achisamakh, of the tribe of Dan; and in the heart of all who are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded you”(HNV) – The tribe of Dan was considered the least of all the tribes. When the Eternal asks us to perform a task that is humanly impossible, he will also give us the ability to fulfill his calling supernaturally, through his Spirit.

31:11 “the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the consecrated place: according to all that I have commanded you they shall do.”(HNVrevised) – They were not allowed to make any changes. They had to make everything exactly according to the plan that the Eternal had revealed to their boss. A worker who is placed under another should not come up with his own ideas, but ought to be faithful to the plan that he has received from the one who is over him. In this case only the leader had a divine revelation. The coworkers must therefore be very close to the leader in order to receive instruction and get a hold of the same revelation. Betzal’el had received the Spirit of God, just as Moshe did. But that did not give him the right to act freely. His job was to fulfill the plan that Moshe had revealed to him. He was not on the mountain. He was not in heaven. He was not chosen to replace Moshe, but to fulfill the heavenly plan that had been revealed to Moshe. Woe unto those who work for leaders in the body and think that they know more than their leaders, think that they know how to do things better, and who believe that they can carry out a heavenly project without submission. It does not work that way. Moshe had the plan. Without Moshe these workers could not fulfill the plan, no matter how anointed they were. By this we learn not to commit the same sin that Avshalom committed, which led him to a horrible death, see 2 Samuel 15.

31:13 “Speak also to the children of Yisra'el, saying, ‘Most assuredly you shall keep my Shabbatot: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am HaShem who consecrate you.”(HNV revised) – In the midst of all these instructions about how the tabernacle is to be built, the Eternal injects a warning. In spite of the fact that the work of the Mishkan was a heavenly assignment, the command of the Shabbat could not be taken lightly. The Shabbat must be respected and kept in the midst of important work, such as building the tent of meeting. A Jew can therefore not come with excuses and say that he is serving the Lord and at the same time break the Shabbat, by driving a car or doing other things that are forbidden on the Shabbat. The Eternal is more important than his work! It is only permissible to break a commandment in order to fulfill another more important commandment. In this case, however, the building of the Mishkan was not more important than the prohibition of doing melachah on the Shabbat. Therefore the Eternal injects six verses here, which talk about the importance of the Shabbat in relation to the construction of the tabernacle.

In the Mishnah[12], there are thirty-nine things listed that are established as forbidden on the Shabbat. They are taken from the work that was done with the tabernacle considered melachah. These are the thirty-nine things: sowing, plowing, reaping, gathering, winnowing, threshing, sorting, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking/cooking, shearing, scouring, combing, dyeing, spinning, warping, constructing two heddles, weaving, removing, tying, untying, sewing, tearing, trapping, slaughtering, skinning, tanning, smoothing, scoring, measured cutting, writing, erasing, building, demolishing, extinguish a flame, kindling, final hammer blow, transferring an object.

In this verse it is written that the Shabbats are the Eternal’s, “my Shabbatot”. It is the Shabbat that is the Lord’s Day, see Exodus 20:10; Leviticus 23:1-3; Isaiah 56:4; 58:13-14. When the expression “mine” or “my” is found in connection with something, it means that it belongs to the Eternal in a special way. When it talks about “my bow”, in Genesis 9:13, it is because in heaven there is a complete bow, a circle, see Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:3. He gave a part of his own bow to man. When he speaks about “my Shabbats”, it is because he has Shabbat in heaven and he is sharing his eternal rest with man once a week. When he speaks about “my covenant”, see Genesis 6:18; 17:4, it is because his covenant stands firm in heaven and he is sharing it with man. When he speaks about “my sacrifice”, it is because the sacrifice exists in heaven and it has been shared with mankind. The expression “my sacrifice” is only found twice in the Chumash (Pentateuch), Exodus 23:18; 34:25. In both places it is referring to the Pesach sacrifice. This teaches us that there is a Pesach lamb in heaven that has been shared with mankind, see Revelation 13:8. The Shabbat, therefore, belongs to the Eternal.

The Shabbat was given to the children of Israel in a special way, as a sign that they were chosen and consecrated. It is one of the signs of the covenant between the Eternal and Israel. It can be compared with a wedding ring. If a woman removes her ring, throws it on the floor, spits and steps on it; what does that mean? It means that she no longer wants to belong to her husband. If an Israelite does melachah on the Shabbat, what is the message he is sending by this?

The Eternal consecrates Israel through the Shabbat. This means that the purpose of the Shabbat is to lift us up to a higher spiritual level. It is a day when one abstains from having any influence over creation and acknowledges the Creator as Lord. It is a day dedicated to fellowship with the Eternal together with the family and the congregation that one belongs to. It is a day when one is consecrated and lifted up.

31:14 “You shall keep the Shabbat therefore; for it is sacred to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.”(HNV revised) – To desecrate the Shabbat means to publicly treat it as any other day of the week. Any Israelite that does this deserves the death sentence from a court, beit din, with twenty-three judges. This only applies, however, if he has committed the crime and been warned by at least two witnesses.

31:15 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Shabbat of solemn rest, consecrated to HaShem. Whoever does any work on the day of Shabbat shall surely be put to death.”(HNV revised) – The Hebrew expression that is translated “Shabbat of solemn rest” is shabbat shabbaton. Here these two words are written together. In the instructions concerning the other feasts, only one of the two words is mentioned at a time, either shabbat or shabbaton, see Leviticus 23. The Day of Atonement is an exception to this, as it also is called shabbat shabbaton, see Leviticus 23:32. The weekly Shabbat and Yom Kippur are therefore linked.

Here it is written that the Shabbat is consecrated unto the Eternal. This means that the Shabbat was created so that man would be able to take time with the Eternal in a special way. If anyone thinks that he can fulfill this command by resting and not doing anything on the Shabbat, then he is mistaken. The Shabbat was made for us to dedicate to the Eternal, as it is written in Isaiah 58:13-14,

If you turn away your foot from the Shabbat, from doing your pleasure on my sacred day; and call the Shabbat a delight, and the sacred of HaShem honorable; and shall honor it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: then shall you delight yourself in HaShem; and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Ya`akov your father: for the mouth of HaShem has spoken it.”(HNV revised)

If you work six days a week and then spend the whole Shabbat playing and watching TV, then you have not fulfilled this commandment. The Shabbat is made to be dedicated to the Eternal in a special way. It is a day to go to synagogue and to follow our Rabbi’s example, as it is written in Luke 4:16,

“He came to Natzeret, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the day of Shabbat, and stood up to read.”(HNV)

There ought to be a mikrah kodesh, a sacred gathering, on the Shabbat, as it is written in Leviticus 23:3,

“Six days shall work be done: but on the seventh day is a Shabbat of solemn rest, a sacred convocation; you shall do no manner of work. It is a Shabbat to HaShem in all your dwellings.”(HNV revised)

Therefore, if we do not have a meeting on Shabbat, then we do not fulfill this commandment. On the Shabbat it is a duty for the Jews to have a sacred gathering. The Shabbat was also given to all who are born of the Spirit, the children of God, and a part of his heavenly family. All who are born again are called to gather on the Shabbat.

Some might then say, “I have no congregation that I can meet with during the Shabbat”. Okay, first of all you need to make sure that there is a sacred gathering in your own family every Shabbat. If you cannot have a mikrah kodesh with the assembly, then you have still fulfilled part of the commandment with the family. However, you do need a congregation that you can meet with every Shabbat. If there isn’t one where you live, then you have two options: move to a place where there is one, or begin one with those whom the Eternal has united you with. The congregational life is very important to the people of the Eternal, as it is written in Hebrews 10:25,

“not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.”(HNV)

31:16 “Therefore the children of Yisra'el shall keep the Shabbat, to observe the Shabbat throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.”(HNV) – Here it says that the children of Israel are to keep the Shabbat. To keep means to have an attitude of watchfulness to protect it from being profaned by melachah. It is also written that we must make it a perpetual covenant throughout all our generations. Anyone who claims that the Messiah ended this word, is preaching a false messiah. This commandment will remain until heaven and earth have passed away, according to Matthew 5:17-19.

God’s righteous children among the nations did not receive the Shabbat as a sign of the covenant and therefore they do not have the same responsibility to keep it. However, they can and ought to keep a great part of the Shabbat to be able to receive its blessings and be consecrated for the Eternal, see Isaiah 56:2-7.

31:17 “It is a sign between me and the children of Yisra'el forever; for in six days HaShem made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he ceased, and was refreshed.”(HNV revised) – The sign of the covenant between HaShem and Israel has to do with the work of creation. They are to do as He did. First it says that he “ceased”. That is the translation of the word Shabbat[13]. Then it says that he was “refreshed”, in Hebrew nafash[14], which can be understood as exhaling. This is second on the list of priorities for the Shabbat. The Shabbat was, therefore, also created for man to rest and renew his strength for the coming workweek.

There are two kinds of sanctuaries, one is a location and one is in time. The account of the construction of the sanctuary in a location, the tabernacle, is interwoven with the account about the sanctuary that is in time, the Shabbat.

The Second Aliyah, 31:18 – 33:11

32:2 “Aharon said to them, ‘Take off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me.’”(HNV) – The men had earrings as well. According to a Midrash[15], they had learned this custom from the Egyptians, who in turn had learned it from the Arabs.

32:4 “He received what they handed him, and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, Yisra'el, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.’”(HNV) – The people were used to the idol worship of Egypt. That is why they did not mention only one god, but several (see 31:1 where the verb is written in the plural form as well). Making a golden calf was a great insult. The bride committed adultery during her betrothal time. The greatest offence, however, was treating the golden calf as if it were the Eternal and to say that it had brought them up out of Egypt. They exchanged the glory of the Eternal for something created, which is the root of idolatry, as it is written in Romans 1:23-25,

“and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”(HNV revised)

32:5 “When Aharon saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aharon made a proclamation, and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a feast to HaShem.’”(HNV revised) – Calling this idol HaShem was the greatest insult. Religious syncretism is very offensive to the Eternal. To take pagan rites and feasts, change their name and call them feasts of the Eternal, is detestable to him. That is what has happened with celebrating Sunday as the day of the Lord, Christmas, Easter, Saint Valentine’s Day, Saint Lucia, and other pagan celebrations. Instead of following the order that the Eternal has outlined in the Torah, worldly celebrations have been taken and declared holy. The day of the sun god was taken and honored as the Lord’s Day. The day of the birth of the sun god was used to celebrate the Messiah’s birth. The Babylonian feast of Ishtar was called “Easter”. The Roman feast of fertility, Lueperkalia, was changed to Saint Valentine’s Day, and so on.

32:6  “They rose up early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”(HNV) – This text was quoted by Shaliach Shaul in 1 Corinthians 10:7, where it is written,

“Neither be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’”(HNV)

Idolatry is intimately connected with unfaithfulness and sexual immorality. Spiritual unfaithfulness produces unfaithfulness in relationships and in marriages. One will produce the other. Idolatry is spiritual adultery.

32:7  “HaShem spoke to Moshe, ‘Go, get down; for your people, who you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves!’”(HNV revised) – Here the Eternal does not say that they are His people. By this act of spiritual adultery, the people lost their position as His people. They were outside of the covenant. Adultery breaks the marriage covenant, as it is written in Hosea 1:9,

“He said, ‘Call his name Lo-Ammi; for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.’”(HNV)

In Hosea 2:2, it is written,

“Contend with your mother! Contend, for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband; and let her put away her prostitution from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts”(HNV)

Adultery breaks the marriage covenant. After adultery has been committed, they are no longer spouses, as it is written in Jeremiah 31:32,

“not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says HaShem.”(HNV revised)

32:10 “Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation.”(HNV) – The Eternal asked Moshe to leave him alone. This means that he asked Moshe to stop praying for the people, see Jeremiah 7:16.

Moshe was given the opportunity to be elevated to the position of becoming the father of a new nation, but he refused. Instead of elevating himself, he humbled himself and was willing to give his life in order to save the people. Yeshua is the prophet who is like Moshe, see Deuteronomy 18:15, 18. Like Moshe, Yeshua did not leave the people of Israel, in order to be the beginning of a new nation.

32:11 “Moshe begged HaShem his God, and said, ‘HaShem, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?’”(HNV revised) – Moshe put forth three arguments in favor of the people. HaShem had said in verse 7 that the people were Moshe’s and that he was the one who had brought them up out of Egypt. Now Moshe throws the ball back in His court and says that the people are the Eternal’s and that it was the Eternal who brought them out of Egypt with great power.

32:12 “Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘He brought them forth for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?’ Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people.”(HNV revised) – Here Moshe argues for the honor of the Name of the Eternal. The gentiles would come to think ill of the Eternal if he killed the people in the desert. The testimony before the nations is very important. Therefore, one ought never to do anything that would cause the nations to think ill of the Eternal of Israel, as it is written in Ezekiel 20:5-22,

and tell them, Thus says the Lord HaShem: In the day when I chose Yisra'el, and swore to the seed of the house of Ya`akov, and made myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I swore to them, saying, I am HaShem your God; in that day I swore to them, to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands. I said to them, Cast you away every man the abominations of his eyes, and don’t defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am HaShem your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not listen to me; they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said I would pour out my wrath on them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I worked for my name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, among which they were, in whose sight I made myself known to them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. So I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. I gave them my statutes, and shown them my ordinances, which if a man do, he shall live in them. Moreover also I gave them my Shabbatot, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am HaShem who sanctifies them. But the house of Yisra'el rebelled against me in the wilderness: they didn’t walk in my statutes, and they rejected my ordinances, which if a man keep, he shall live in them; and my Shabbatot they greatly profaned. Then I said I would pour out my wrath on them in the wilderness, to consume them.

But I worked for my name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I brought them out. Moreover also I swore to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; because they rejected my ordinances, and didn’t walk in my statutes, and profaned my Shabbatot: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless my eye spared them, and I didn’t destroy them, neither did I make a full end of them in the wilderness. I said to their children in the wilderness, Don’t you walk in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their ordinances, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I am HaShem your God: walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them; and sanctify my Shabbatot; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am HaShem your God. But the children rebelled against me; they didn’t walk in my statutes, neither kept my ordinances to do them, which if a man do, he shall live in them; they profaned my Shabbatot. Then I said I would pour out my wrath on them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew my hand, and worked for my name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I brought them forth.”(HNV revised)

In Ezekiel 36:21-24, it is written,

“But I had regard for my sacred name, which the house of Yisra'el had profaned among the nations, where they went. Therefore tell the house of Yisra'el, Thus says the Lord HaShem: I don’t do this for your sake, house of Yisra'el, but for my sacred name, which you have profaned among the nations, where you went. I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am HaShem, says the Lord HaShem, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.”(HNV revised)

32:13 “Remember Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yisra'el, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.’”(HNV) – The third argument that Moshe presented in prayer was the merits of the forefathers and the oath that the Eternal swore to them when he promised to multiply their seed and then to give them the promised land. Since he had fulfilled the first part of the promise, how could he then destroy the people at this point and not fulfill the second part by leading them into the land?

32:14 “HaShem repented of the evil which he said he would do to his people.”(HNV revised) – Can the Eternal change his plans? He cannot change his main plans, but he can change his way of fulfilling them. Can the Eternal have less compassion than Moshe? No, the compassion that was in Moshe’s heart came from the Eternal. Moshe was not resisting the Eternal’s will. The struggle between Moshe and the Eternal was a struggle between the Eternal’s righteousness, which was revealed in the death sentence of the adulteress, see Deuteronomy 22:23-24, and the Eternal’s compassion, which was revealed in Moshe’s intercession and in the final decision to forgive the people. Since the Eternal could forgive his unfaithful bride, a husband can forgive his wife even if she has committed adultery. He does not have to divorce her, as it is written in Hosea 3:1,

“HaShem said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman loved by another, and an adulteress, even as HaShem loves the children of Yisra'el, though they turn to other gods, and love cakes of raisins.’”(HNV revised)

32:15 “Moshe turned, and went down from the mountain, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand; tablets that were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other they were written.”(HNV) – Rashi says that Moshe went up on the mountain on the seventh day of the month Sivan, the third month. He was on the mountain for forty days. This means that he came down on the seventeenth day of the fourth month.

32:17 “When Yehoshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moshe, ‘There is the noise of war in the camp.’”(HNV) – Yehoshua had pitched his tent at the base of the mountain. He was not where the people were. He was a faithful helper, always ready to serve his leader and meet his needs. This faithfulness is what enabled him to later take over the leadership. One who serves the leaders, that the Eternal has raised up, in practical ways, will be richly rewarded, see 2 Kings 3:11; Mark 9:41.

32:19 “It happened, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing: and Moshe’s anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain.”(HNV) – The tablets were destroyed on the seventeenth day of the fourth month. Many tragic events have taken place on that day in the history of the Jewish people. It was on that day that the evil king, Antiochus Epiphanies, desecrated the temple by erecting an idol in it. When the Romans besieged Jerusalem that day, the daily sacrifice, korban tamid, was interrupted. On the same day a breach was opened up in the wall of Jerusalem, three weeks before the temple was destroyed year 70 CE. The three weeks that pass from the seventeenth day of the fourth month until the ninth day of the fifth month, Av, have been established as a time of mourning. Both temples were destroyed on the ninth of Av, in Hebrew tishah be-Av.

32:25 “When Moshe saw that the people had broken loose, for Aharon had let them loose for a derision among their enemies”(HNV) – Idolatry breaks down protective psychological barriers within man, and he can no longer control his animalistic urges. That is why idolatry leads to immorality.

32:26 “then Moshe stood in the gate of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is on HaShem’s side, come to me!’ All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.”(HNV revised) – The tribe of Levi decided not to partake in the idolatry and when all the people were given the chance to show that they were on the Eternal’s side, the Levites showed their faithfulness. That is why they were chosen to be priests instead of the firstborn.

32:29 “Moshe said, ‘Consecrate yourselves today to HaShem, yes, for every man has been against his son, and against his brother; that he may bestow on you a blessing this day.’”(HNV revised) – This consecration meant that they were given the priesthood. Levi used his sword to kill all the men in Shechem, see Genesis 34. His wrath was cursed by Ya’akov, see Genesis 49:5-7. Now his zeal was directed to serve a heavenly purpose. It was done in complete obedience to the Eternal. That is why he received a blessing.

32:30 “It happened on the next day, that Moshe said to the people, ‘You have sinned a great sin. Now I will go up to HaShem. Perhaps I shall make atonement for your sin.’”(HNV revised) – Moshe went up again to stand between the Eternal and the people as a means for atonement.

32:32 “Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin— and if not, please blot me out of your book which you have written.”(HNV) – Moshe offered himself out of love for the people in the same way that Messiah Yeshua did. According to Gemarah,[16] this is talking about the book of life. According to Rashi, it is referring to the Torah.

32:34 “Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”(HNV) – The Eternal no longer wanted to dwell among the people with his shechinah, his presence. He wanted to send an angel instead. The word that is translated “punish” is pakad[17], which also means “take into account”. Because of Moshe’s intercession the people did not receive their full punishment at this time. It would come later. Therefore the Talmud[18] says that every time that Israel is punished for its sins, they have also received a small punishment for what happened with the golden calf.

33:1 “HaShem spoke to Moshe, ‘Depart, go up from here, you and the people that you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya`akov, saying, “I will give it to your seed.”’”(HNV revised) – Whenever you travel to Israel you always ascend. The land of Israel is the highest among the nations. At this point, the Eternal has still not said that Israel is his people. Neither has he said that he will go with them.

33:2 “I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Kana`ani, the Amori, and the Chittite, and the Perizzi, the Chivvi, and the Yevusi”(HNV) – This only mentions six nations. According to a Midrash[19] and Rashi, the Girgashites had already left the land of their own initiative, before the Israelites got there. Jerusalem’s Talmud[20] says that before they began to take over the land, Yehoshua sent a message to the people of Kana’an, whereby he gave them two choices: to leave the land in peace or to remain. The Girgashites chose to leave the land and move to Africa.

33:3 “to a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of you, for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I consume you in the way.”(HNV) – This would mean that the project of the tabernacle was cancelled. To be stiff-necked could be both positive and negative. When it comes to bowing and accepting the will of the Eternal, it is a bad characteristic, but if it is used in resisting the pressure of the pagan nations, then it is good. The Jewish people have been able to resist idolatry and assimilation among the nations because they are stiff-necked. In that case it has served a good purpose.

The Third Aliyah, 33:12-16

33:12 “Moshe said to HaShem, ‘Behold, you tell me, “Bring up this people” and you haven’t let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.”’”(HNV revised) – Moshe’s prayer was based on the word that the Eternal had spoken. If a prayer is to be successful, then it must be based on the Scriptures.

33:13 “Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight: and consider that this nation is your people.”(HNV) – This longing to know the Eternal is the highest longing that a man can have. Moshe prayed for three things for himself:

·         To know the Eternal’s ways. This is to know the way that he acts and behaves.

·         To know the Eternal. This is deeper. When one knows a person, one not only knows what they say or do, but one also knows the motives behind what they say or do.

·         To see the Eternal’s glory, v. 18. That is the weight of the Eternal’s revealed presence.

Moshe also prayed that the people would be acknowledged as the Eternal’s people.

33:14 “He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’”(HNV) – Here the Eternal promises that his presence, literally his “face”, will go with Moshe. From this time on, the Eternal’s relationship with the people would go through Moshe. Since Moshe found favor, the people found favor.

33:16 “For how would people know that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Isn’t it in that you go with us, so that we are separated, I and your people, from all the people who are on the surface of the earth?”(HNV revised) – We see that the favor given to Moshe reaches the people. The Hebrew word for favor is chen[21], which means “grace”, “beauty”, “favor”, “appreciation”. The root of the word chen is chanan[22], which means “to bend or stoop to show kindness to an inferior”, “to have compassion”, “to bestow favor”. Then word chen occurs six times in this context. The first time that it is used in the Scriptures is in Genesis 6:8, where it is written,

But Noach found favor (chen) in HaShem’s eyes.”(HNV revised)

A Midrash[23] says, “Noach was not saved because he deserved it, but because he found grace”. Moshe found favor in the Eternal’s eyes. The children of Israel received forgiveness from the sin with the golden calf through grace. The covenant was renewed by grace. According to this Parashah, to find favor in the Eternal’s eyes entails five things:

·         Knowing the Eternal’s ways, v. 13.

·         Knowing the Eternal, v. 13.

·         Going with the Eternal, v. 16.

·         Being distinguished from all the people of the earth, vv 16-17, see 34:9.

·         Receiving forgiveness from the Eternal, 34:9.

The Fourth Aliyah, 33:17-23

33:18 “He said, ‘Please show me your glory.’”(HNV) – The Hebrew word for “glory” is kavod[24] and it means “heaviness”, “burden”, “weight”, “nobility”, “majesty”, “glory”.

33:19 “He said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of HaShem before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”(HNV revised) – Moshe asked to see the Eternal’s glory and He answered by speaking of all his goodness. The glory of the Eternal is, therefore, all his goodness, see verse 22. To see his glory is to see the nature of his goodness. According to verse 20, it seems as though all this goodness can be seen in his face. Moshe could not see the face of the Eternal, which is the same as all his goodness and all his glory. He could only see the back of all that goodness. The face of the Eternal beams light, compassion, and peace, as it is written in Numbers 6:24-26,

“HaShem bless you, and keep you. HaShem make his face to shine on you, and be gracious to you. HaShem lift up his face toward you, and give you shalom.”(HNV revised)

33:20 “He said, ‘You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live.’”(HNV) – The angels of God are constantly looking upon his face, as it is written in Matthew 18:10,

“See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”(HNV)

After the resurrection, we will be able to see the face of the Eternal, as it is written in Matthew 5:8,

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”(HNV revised)

In Revelation 22:4, it is written,

“They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”(HNV)

The Infinite doesn’t have any body and therefore He has no face. The Torah speaks man’s language and therefore the expression “face” has to do with the highest revelation possible of the Eternal in this world.

33:21 “HaShem also said, ‘Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock.’”(HNV revised) – By the Eternal, there is a place for Moshe. There is a place for everyone near the Eternal. No one else can take the place that the Eternal has prepared for you. Only you can take that place. If you do not take that place, it will remain empty. The Eternal waits every morning for you to take that place and stand before him together with thousands of his servants.

 The rock symbolizes the Messiah. In order to stand before the Eternal, one must stand on the Messiah. He is the foundation for us to be able to be near the Father.

33:22 “It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by”(HNV) – According to Rashi, Moshe saw the Eternal wrapped in a tallit and praying the thirteen attributes of compassion, so that Israel would learn to pray that way.

33:23 “then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”(HNV) – Maimonides summarized the Jewish faith in thirteen principles. Principle number three says this, “I believe with perfect faith that He is not physical and does not have physical appearance”. When the Scriptures say that the Eternal reveals himself as if he was a person, it is understood in traditional Judaism as a way of speaking in parables about his different characteristics. Moshe asked to see His glory, and the Eternal answers by speaking about his face. Glory, which is something abstract, is therefore compared with a face, which is something concrete. Maimonides teaches that when it is speaking about the Eternal’s back, it should not be understood as something concrete, as physical form, but as a way of speaking about his characteristics.

The Fifth Aliyah, 34:1-9

34:2 “Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.”(HNV) – This is what the Eternal expects of each one of us, that we get ready in the morning and come up to the mountain, pray and take the place that is prepared for us on the rock near the Father.

34:5 “HaShem descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of HaShem.”(HNV revised) – When you come before the Eternal in the morning, he will come near you and be with you to listen to your worship and your prayers. The Hebrew text here is hard to understand. It is not clear exactly who proclaimed the Name of the Eternal; Moshe or HaShem himself. There are rabbis who believe one way, and there are others who believe another.

34:6-7 “HaShem passed by before him, and proclaimed, HaShem! HaShem, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth, keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means (fully) clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation.”(HNV) – This is called the thirteen attributes of compassion. They are the following:

  1. HaShem – the Eternal, who is compassionate before man sins.

  2. HaShem – the Eternal, who is compassionate after man sins and has done teshuvah, repented.

  3. El – the strong one.

  4. Rachum – who has compassion.

  5. Ve-chanun – and is merciful.

  6. Erech apaim – slow to anger, tolerant. He waits for the wicked to repent, therefore he does not punish him immediately.

  7. Ve-rav chesed – and great in goodness. He gives man more than he deserves.

  8. Ve-emet – and truth, faithfulness, and trustworthiness. He is faithful in the way he acts toward everyone.

  9. Notzer chesed la-alafim – he keeps his goodness for two thousand generations who are descendants of a tzadik, a righteous one.

  10. Noseh avon – endures rebellion.

  11. Ve fesha – and purposeful transgression.

  12. Ve-chata’ah – and mistakes, sins committed accidentally.

  13. Ve-nakeh lo yenakeh – he who acquits but does not acquit (fully). He punishes the sinner a little at a time. He acquits those who repent, but not those who do not repent.

When he takes the sins of the parents into account it concerns those children who continue in the sins of their parents. If the son repents, then he is forgiven and the punishment for his parents’ sin will not come over him, as it is written in Ezekiel 18,

“The word of HaShem came to me again, saying, What do you mean, that you use this proverb concerning Eretz-Yisra'el, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As I live, says the Lord HaShem, you shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Yisra'el. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins, he shall die. But if a man is just, and does that which is lawful and right, and has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Yisra'el, neither has defiled his neighbor’s wife, neither has come near to a woman in her impurity, and has not wronged any, but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has taken nothing by robbery, has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment; he who has not given forth on interest, neither has taken any increase, who has withdrawn his hand from iniquity, has executed true justice between man and man, has walked in my statutes, and has kept my ordinances, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, says the Lord HaShem. If he fathers a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood, and who does any one of these things, and who does not any of those duties, but even has eaten on the mountains, and defiled his neighbor’s wife, has wronged the poor and needy, has taken by robbery, has not restored the pledge, and has lifted up his eyes to the idols, has committed abomination, has given forth on interest, and has taken increase; shall he then live? he shall not live: he has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be on him. Now, behold, if he fathers a son, who sees all his father’s sins, which he has done, and fears, and does not such like; who has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Yisra'el, has not defiled his neighbor’s wife, neither has wronged any, has not taken anything to pledge, neither has taken by robbery, but has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment; who has withdrawn his hand from the poor, who has not received interest nor increase, has executed my ordinances, has walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother, and did that which is not good among his people, behold, he shall die in his iniquity.

Yet say you, Why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? when the son has done that which is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes, and has done them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him. But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord HaShem; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live? But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of his righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die. Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, house of Yisra'el: Is my way not equal? Aren’t your ways unequal? When the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and dies therein; in his iniquity that he has done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he has committed, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considers, and turns away from all his transgressions that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet says the house of Yisra'el, The way of the Lord is not equal. House of Yisra'el, are not my ways equal? Are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, house of Yisra'el, everyone according to his ways, says the Lord HaShem. Return you, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, in which you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, house of Yisra'el? For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord HaShem: therefore turn yourselves, and live.”(HNV revised)

34:8  “Moshe hurried and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.”(HNV revised) – This is the proper reaction from man when in the presence of the Eternal’s glory and goodness.

34:9 “He said, ‘If now I have found favor in your sight, HaShem, please let HaShem go in the midst of us; although this is a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.’”(HNV revised) – Moshe bases what he says on the revelation and asks for favor and forgiveness for the people.

The Sixth Aliyah, 34:10-26

34:10 “He said, ‘Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been worked in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which you are shall see the work of HaShem; for it is an awesome thing that I do with you.’”(HNV revised) – The covenant is renewed, but Moshe is the one who receives the covenant and the people partake of it, see verse 27. In a similar way, the covenant was renewed with the Messiah and through him with all those who are in him.

34:12 “Be careful, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be for a snare in the midst of you”(HNV) – Yehoshua was deceived and failed to fulfill this command, see Joshua 9.

34:23 “Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord HaShem, the God of Yisra'el.”(HNV revised) – Here the Eternal calls himself the God of Israel, revealing that he has renewed the marriage covenant with his people.

The Seventh Aliyah, 34:27-35

34:27 “HaShem said to Moshe, ‘Write you these words: for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Yisra'el.’”(HNV revised) – The covenant was made with Moshe and with Israel. In the same way, we have Yeshua as the mediator of a renewed covenant with Israel, as it is written in Hebrews 8:6,

But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”(HNV)

In Hebrews 9:15, it is written,

For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”(HNV)

34:29 “It happened, when Moshe came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moshe’s hand, when he came down from the mountain, that Moshe didn’t know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him.”(HNV) – According to a Midrash,[25] Moshe returned to the children of Israel on the tenth day of the seventh month, Tishri. That day was established as the great Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

HaShem promised to do mighty things with Moshe. This was the first thing. His face shone because he had spoken with God. In a similar way, Yeshua’s skin was transformed on the mountain, see Matthew 17:1ff; Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43; Philippians 3:21; Revelation 1:16. The end of the glory that shone in Moshe’s face is the Messiah, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18,

But if the service of death (that was begun with mortal people), written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Yisra'el could not look steadfastly on the face of Moshe for the glory of his face; which was passing away: won’t the service of the Spirit be with much more glory? For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For most assuredly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses. For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, and not as Moshe, who put a veil on his face, that the children of Yisra'el wouldn’t look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away (the Messiah). But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Messiah it passes away. But to this day, when Moshe is read, a veil lies on their heart. But whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

This Parashah contains 105-113 of the 613 commandments:

  1. The command to give half a shekel (of the silver shekel) every year, Exodus 30:13.

  2. The command for a kohen to wash his feet and hands when he ministers in the sanctuary, Exodus 30:19-20.

  3. The command to anoint every Kohen Gadol (High Priest) and every king in Israel with the anointing oil, Exodus 30:25.

  4. The prohibition of a stranger anointing his body with the anointing oil, Exodus 30:32.

  5. The prohibition of producing an anointing oil according to the recipe that was established in the Torah, Exodus 30:32.

  6. The prohibition of producing incense according to the recipe that was established in the Torah, Exodus 30:37.

  7. The prohibition of eating or drinking a sacrifice offered to an idol, Exodus 34:12, 15.

  8. The command to let the land of Israel rest every seventh year, Exodus 34:21.

  9. The prohibition of eating meat with milk, Exodus 34:26.


[1]     Shekalim 6:3.

[2]     Zevachim 19b.

[3]     Klei HaMikdash 1:2.

[4]     Vajikrá Rabbah 10:6.

[5]     Strong H3259 yâ‛ad, yaw-ad', A primitive root; to fix upon (by agreement or appointment); by implication to meet (at a stated time), to summon (to trial), to direct (in a certain quarter or position), to engage (for marriage): - agree, (make an) appoint (-ment, a time), assemble (selves), betroth, gather (selves, together), meet (together), set (a time).

[6]     Strong H1212 betsal'êl, bets-al-ale', Probably from H6738 and H410 with prepositional prefix; in (the) shadow (that is, protection) of God; Betsalel; the name of two Israelites: - Bezaleel.

[7]      Klei HaMikdash 9.           

[8]     Strong H2451 chokmâh, khok-maw', From H2449; wisdom (in a good sense): - skillful, wisdom, wisely, wit.

Strong H2449 châkam, khaw-kam', A primitive root, to be wise (in mind, word or act): -  X exceeding, teach wisdom, be (make self, shew self) wise, deal (never so) wisely, make wiser.

[9]     Strong H8394 tâbûn  tebûnâh  tôbûnâh, taw-boon', teb-oo-naw', to-boo-naw', The second and third forms being feminine; from H995; intelligence; by implication an argument; by extension caprice: - discretion, reason, skilfulness, understanding, wisdom.

[10]    Strong H1847 da‛ath, dah'-ath, From H3045; knowledge: - cunning, [ig-] norantly, know(-ledge), [un-] awares (wittingly).

Strong H3045 yâda‛, yaw-dah', A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively instruction, designation, punishment, etc.): - acknowledge, acquaintance (-ted with), advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, [un-] awares, can [-not], certainly, for a certainty, comprehend, consider, X could they, cunning, declare, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with, familiar friend, famous, feel, can have, be [ig-] norant, instruct, kinsfolk, kinsman, (cause to, let, make) know, (come to give, have, take) knowledge, have [knowledge], (be, make, make to be, make self) known, + be learned, + lie by man, mark, perceive, privy to, X prognosticator, regard, have respect, skilful, shew, can (man of) skill, be sure, of a surety, teach, (can) tell, understand, have [understanding], X will be, wist, wit, wot.

[11]    Strong H4399 melâ'kâh, mel-aw-kaw'm From the same as H4397; properly deputyship, that is, ministry; generally employment (never servile) or work (abstractly or concretely); also property (as the result of labor): - business, + cattle, + industrious, occupation, (+ -pied), + officer, thing (made), use, (manner of) work ([-man], -manship).

Strong H4397 mal'âk, mal-awk', From an unused root meaning to despatch as a deputy; a messenger; specifically of God, that is, an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher): - ambassador, angel, king, messenger.

[12]    Shabbat 7:2.

[13]    Strong H7673 shâbath, shaw-bath', A primitive root; to repose, that is, desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causatively, figuratively or specifically): - (cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away.

[14]    Strong H5314 nâphash, naw-fash', A primitive root; to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon, that is, (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air): - (be) refresh selves (-ed).

[15]    Prikei de rabí Eliazar.

[16]    Brachot 32.

[17]    Strong H6845 pâqad, paw-kad', A primitive root; to visit (with friendly or hostile intent); by analogy to oversee, muster, charge, care for, miss, deposit, etc.: - appoint, X at all, avenge, bestow, (appoint to have the, give a) charge, commit, count, deliver to keep, be empty, enjoin, go see, hurt, do judgment, lack, lay up look, make X by any means, miss, number, officer, (make) overseer have (the) oversight, punish, reckon, (call to) remember (-brance), set (over), sum, X surely, visit, want.

[18]    Sanhedrín 102a.

[19]    Vajikrá Rabbah 17:6.

[20]    Strong H2580 chên, khane, From H2603; graciousness, that is, subjectively (kindness, favor) or objectively (beauty): - favour, grace (-ious), pleasant, precious, [well-] favoured.

[21]    Strong H2580 chên, khane, From H2603; graciousness, that is, subjectively (kindness, favor) or objectively (beauty): - favour, grace (-ious), pleasant, precious, [well-] favoured.

[22]    Strong H2603 chânan, khaw-nan', A primitive root (compare H2583); properly to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, bestow; causatively to implore (that is, move to favor by petition): - beseech, X fair, (be, find, shew) favour (-able), be (deal, give, grant (gracious (-ly), intreat, (be) merciful, have (shew) mercy (on, upon), have pity upon, pray, make supplication, X very.

[23]    Genesis Rabbah 28:8

[24]    Strong H3519 kabod, kaw-bode', kaw-bode', From H3513; properly weight; but only figuratively in a good sense, splendor or copiousness: - glorious (-ly), glory, honour (-able).

Strong H3513 kâbad  kâbêd, kaw-bad, kaw-bade', A primitive root; to be heavy, that is, in a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causatively to make weighty (in the same two senses): - abounding with, more grievously afflict, boast, be chargeable, X be dim, glorify, be (make) glorious (things), glory, (very) great, be grievous, harden, be (make) heavy, be heavier, lay heavily, (bring to, come to, do, get, be had in) honour (self), (be) honourable (man), lade, X more be laid, make self many, nobles, prevail, promote (to honour), be rich, be (go) sore, stop.

[25]    Tanchumah Tissá 37.