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Parashah 35 Naso

Numbers 4:21 – 7:89

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted.  

Torah Readings:

  1. 4:21-37
  2. 4:38-49
  3. 5:1-10
  4. 5:11 – 6:27
  5. 7:1-41
  6. 7:42-71
  7. 7:72-89
  8. Maftir: 7:87-89

 

Haftarah: Judges 13:2-25

The Messianic Writings: John 3:1 – 4:54

Naso

means “lift up”

Comments

The First Aliyah, 4:21-37

4:22 “Take a census of the sons of Gershon also, by their fathers’ houses, by their families”(HNV) – The Hebrew text literally says, “lift up the head”. Here it means taking a census. The head is lifted before HaShem when one is counted.

4:23 “from thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shall you number them; all who enter in to wait on the service, to do the work in the Tent of Meeting.”(HNV) – In Numbers 8:24, it is written that the Levites should start their ministry at age twenty-five, while here it says that the Levites shall be numbered from the age of thirty. Rashi explains what seems to be a contradiction. The Levites were taken at age twenty-five to begin studying the laws about their ministry and at age thirty they could begin their ministry.

4:32 “and the pillars of the court around it, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name you shall appoint the instruments of the charge of their burden.”(HNV) – In order to avoid arguments, tension, and misunderstandings, every Levite received orders about what he was supposed to carry. Every object was managed with order and discipline, and each person had his personal assignment, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 12:12-30,

“For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Messiah. For in one Spirit we were all immersed into one body, whether Jew or Greek, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. 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. God has set some in the assembly: first messengers, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of (supernatural) languages. Are all messengers? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various (supernatural) languages? Do all interpret (supernaturally)?”(HNV revised)

In Ephesians 4:16, it is written,

“from whom (the Messiah) all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love.”(HNV)

This teaches us how important it is to organize every part of a nation, a congregation, a corporation, or a home. Wherever there is disorder in a home, it is caused by a lack of organization and discipline to meet these standards. Before a home can have order, everything must have its own place.

4:36 “Those who were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred fifty.”(HNV) – Out of the 8,600 Levites in Kehat’s family that were numbered, 2,750 were able to serve. That makes up 32% of them.

The Second Aliyah, 4:38-49

4:40 “even those who were numbered of them, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, were two thousand six hundred thirty.”(HNV) – Out of the 7,500 Levites in Gershon’s family that were numbered, 2,630 could serve, which makes up 35% of them.

4:44 “even those who were numbered of them by their families, were three thousand two hundred.”(HNV) – Out of the 6,200 Levites in Merari’s family that were numbered, 3,200 were able to serve, which makes up 52% of them.

4:47-48 “from thirty years old and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who entered in to do the work of service, and the work of bearing burdens in the Tent of Meeting, even those who were numbered of them, were eight thousand five hundred eighty.”(HNV) – Of the 22,300 Levites in the three families, 8,520 could serve, which represents 38% of them. The rest were younger than thirty or older than fifty.

4:49 “According to the commandment of HaShem they were numbered by Moshe, everyone according to his service, and according to his burden. Thus were they numbered by him, as HaShem commanded Moshe.”(HNV revised) – Each one received his own responsibility, his own duty, his own assignment. One of the most important aspects of good management is that every person knows exactly what his assignment is. If all the members of an organization know what their assignments are, then there will be no internal conflicts, and the goal of the organization can be accomplished successfully.

In this Parashah, the Torah brings up two foundational needs within man. The first need is to be included in the count. That is why this Parashah begins by saying that the heads of the Levites were to be lifted. Since HaShem counts them in, their heads are lifted. The second thing is that each person has his own assignment, a responsibility, a mission to fulfill. One who loses the awareness of one of these two things will feel worthless as a person and will feel that life is meaningless. If no one counts me in, why should I live? If I do not have anything important to do, what am I living for? What makes a person feel meaningful is to be counted and to be given assignment.

Dear Reader, do you want HaShem to count you in? Then do as the Levites did on the day that Israel sinned with the golden calf. When all the others were following the stream of this world, the Levites answered this call, “Who belongs to HaShem?”, compare with Exodus 32:26. The Levites said “no” to sin and went to Moshe, who was representing HaShem. Therefore they were rewarded with these special censuses where each one of them was counted in a special way. Besides that, they received important assignments at the tent of meeting. This teaches us that every person who gives his life to HaShem will have one or more important assignments in his life. You were born to serve HaShem. If you do not stand with him when others are going in the opposite direction, then you will not be counted among the righteous. Neither will you be able to fulfill the purpose that HaShem has for you life. You are important to him. He has a very personal assignment for you. Find out what that assignment is and live for it. Then you will never fall, as it is written in 2 Peter 1:10,

“Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.”(HNV)

The Third Aliyah, 5:1-10

5:2    “Give orders to the children of Israel to put outside the camp every leper, and anyone who has any sort of flow from his body, and anyone who is unclean from the touch of the dead.”(BBE revised) – These three types of ritual uncleanness separate the person from the camp of the Israelites. According to Rashi, each of the types of uncleanness represents one of the three camps: the camp of the Shechinah, the camp of the Levites, and the camp of the Israelites. One who had tzaraat, “leprosy”, had to live outside the three camps, compare with Leviticus 13:46. The one who had a disease in his reproductive organs, in Hebrew zav, compare with Leviticus 15, could not be within the camp of the Levites or the camp of the Shechinah. He was, however, allowed to be within the camp of the Israelites. One who had touched a dead body could not come into the tabernacle, but he could be in either of the other two camp areas.

5:7    “then he shall confess his sin which he has done, and he shall make restitution for his guilt in full, and add to it the fifth part of it, and give it to him in respect of whom he has been guilty.”(HNV) – Restitution is a part of repentance, in Hebrew teshuvah. If one does not make restitution for what was done, then the repentance is not complete. If it is impossible to make restitution for the damage that was done, one still has to do everything possible for it to be a full restitution including 20% added to the damages, as it is written in Luke 19:8-9,

“Zakkai stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor. If I have wrongfully exacted anything of anyone, I restore four times as much.’ Yeshua said to him, ‘Today, salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Avraham.’”(HNV)

Salvation had come to Zakkai’s home. Therefore he was willing to make restitution for the financial damage that he had caused others. He was even willing to go further than what was written in the Torah. The proof that salvation had come to his home was that he gave back money to those that he had stolen from and deceived. If you do not give back what you have stolen and make all possible restitution for the damage that you have caused others, then you have not repented and salvation has not come to you.

Do not let yourself be deceived by the idea that everything has become new in the Messiah and that you need not take responsibility to make restitution to those that you hurt before you gave your life to the Messiah Yeshua.

The way to salvation is through repentance. There are seven steps to true repentance:

  • Acknowledgement of sin, compare with 2 Samuel 12:13.

  • Remorse, compare with Jeremiah 8:6.

  • Open confession before HaShem and before people, compare with Joshua 7:19; 1 John 1:9; James 5:16.

  • Prayer for forgiveness to HaShem and to people, compare with Psalm 25:11; Luke 15:18.

  • A resolve to change, compare with Proverbs 28:13.

  • Restitution of damages, compare with Numbers 5:7; Exodus 22:1-15; 2 Samuel 21:3.

  • Faithfulness in the tests that HaShem sends in order to strengthen those who repent, compare with Genesis 31:7; Numbers 14:22.

This verse contains commandment number 364 of the 613 commandments. It says that there must be a confession of sins that have been committed. This is one of the commandments that bring eternal salvation to the one who fulfills it.

5:8 “But if the man has no kinsman to whom restitution may be made for the guilt, the restitution for guilt which is made to HaShem shall be the priest’s; besides the ram of the atonement, by which atonement shall be made for him.”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, this is talking about a proselyte who has died without having any heirs. He had been deceived by someone who swore falsely about a loan. A childless proselyte is the only one in Israel that does not have any relatives.

The Fourth Aliyah, 5:11 – 6:27

5:12 “Speak to the children of Yisra'el, and tell them: If any man’s wife goes astray, and is unfaithful to him”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated as “astray” is tisteh. This word comes from the root satah,[1] which means, “going astray”, “going wrong”, “deviating”. This is where the word sotah comes from, which means “she has gone astray” and is the name of a book in the Talmud that deals with this subject.

5:13 “and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and is kept close, and she is defiled, and there is no witness against her, and she isn’t taken by force in the act”(HNV revised) – The Talmud[2] teaches that the bitter water is only given when a woman has hidden herself in secret with another man for a long enough period of time that she could have had sexual relations with him. If they were discovered or if she was raped then this method does not need to be used.

5:14 “and the spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, and she is defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, and she isn’t defiled”(HNV) – The Talmud[3] teaches that the husband must have suspected his wife before she hid herself in secret with another man in order for this process to be performed. The word “jealous” is interpreted to mean that the man gives his wife a warning saying, “Do not hide yourself with that man” before she hides herself with the man.

5:15 “then the man shall bring his wife to the priest, and shall bring her offering for her: the tenth part of an efah of barley meal. He shall pour no oil on it, nor put frankincense on it, for it is a meal offering of jealousy, a meal offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to memory.”(HNV revised) – Barley meal was the cheapest flour. Barley was given to the animals.

5:18 “The priest shall set the woman before HaShem, and let the hair of the woman’s head go loose, and put the meal offering of memorial in her hands, which is the meal offering of jealousy. The priest shall have in his hand the water of bitterness that brings a curse.”(HNV revised) – Here it says that the priest shall uncover that woman’s head. This teaches us that a woman ought to have her head covered when she is in public. It also teaches us that it is a shame for a married woman to uncover her hair publicly, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 11:5-16,

“But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man; for neither was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this cause the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is the woman independent of the man, nor the man independent of the woman, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, so a man also comes through a woman; but all things are from God. Judge for yourselves. Is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled? Doesn’t even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God’s assemblies.”(HNV revised)

5:21b-22a “HaShem make you a curse and an oath among your people, when HaShem allows your thigh to fall away, and your body to swell; and this water that brings a curse will go into your bowels, and make your body swell, and your thigh fall away.”(HNV revised) – These words were written on parchment with water-soluble ink. Notice that the Name of the Eternal was written twice.

Twice it says that the thigh will fall and the body will swell. According to the Talmud[4] and Rashi, it is talking about the woman the first time since it starts by mentioning the thigh, and the second time it is talking about the man who committed adultery with her, because it mentions the body first. He will suffer the same consequences from the curse when the woman drinks of the bitter water.

5:23 “The priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out into the water of bitterness.”(HNV revised) – Even though it is forbidden to erase the Eternal’s Name, it is permitted in this case in order to make peace between the spouses. Marriage is so important to HaShem that he is even willing to allow his name to be blotted out in order to create order in the family, as it is written in Hebrews 13:4,

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.”(HNV revised)

The prohibition of erasing the Eternal’s Name is found in Deuteronomy 12:3-4, where it is written,

“and you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their Asherim with fire; and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods; and you shall destroy their name out of that place. You shall not do so to HaShem your God.”(HNV revised)

5:31 “The man shall be free from iniquity, and that woman shall bear her iniquity.”(HNV) – This verse can be understood in different ways. First of all it teaches us that the man who does not make the sins of his wife known, will bear guilt because of her. This is based on collective thinking, which teaches that when one part of the body sins, the whole body is responsible before HaShem. Since the man reported his wife, then he is free from the responsibility for her sin.

Naturally, the bitter water is not given to a woman who has confessed her sin. It is only given to a woman who is suspected and who refuses to admit to her crime. The law about sotah only applies when she has not confessed her sin, or when the husband has unfounded suspicions about his wife.

Do we fully understand what collective guilt means? Do we take it seriously? Many times we say, “That is his problem!” not understanding that his sin affects us as well. If we are part of the same body as sinners, then we partake of their sins and will partake of the consequences that will come because of the sins in the body. Therefore, sin in a corporate body must be fought, so that others are not affected by them, as it is written, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump”, and “drive out the evil from among you”, and “Come out of her, my people, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don’t receive of her plagues”, compare with Deuteronomy 13:5; 17:7, 12; 21:21; 22:21; 1 Corinthians 5:6, 13; Galatians 5:9; Revelation 18:4.

The second interpretation of this text is that the man does not need to feel guilty because he caused his unfaithful wife to die by taking her to the priest.

The third way this text can be understood is that the man can continue living with his wife after the priest has given her the water. Before she is examined it is forbidden for him to have intercourse with her, but not afterward.

6:2 “Speak to the children of Yisra'el, and tell them: When either man or woman shall make a special vow, the vow of a nazarite, to separate (nazar) himself to HaShem”(HNV revised) – There is a sharp contrast between chapter five and chapter six. In chapter five we see a person who cannot control his urges and in chapter six we see one who can. The unfaithful wife did not control her emotions, but a nazarite man or woman, is one who gives a special promise to control his or her emotions and to refrain from certain privileges in life, thus showing dedication and passion for HaShem.

The nazarite ministry is something that the Eternal produces in certain people, men or women, as it is written in Amos 2:11,

“I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirim. Isn’t this true, You children of Yisra'el? says HaShem.”(HNV revised)

The prophet says that HaShem raised up nazarites. He places the desire to live for him in a special way in certain young people. Some have been set apart as nazarites even before they were born. This was the case with Shimshon, as it is written in Judges 13:5,

“for, behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazir to God from the womb: and he shall begin to save Yisra'el out of the hand of the Pelishtim.”(HNV revised)

It is also possible that the prophet Shmuel was a nazarite his whole life, as it is written in 1 Samuel 1:11,

“She vowed a vow, and said, HaShem of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget your handmaid, but will give to your handmaid a man-child, then I will give him to HaShem all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come on his head.”(HNV revised)

It seems as though Rabbi Paul made a nazarite vow in Cenchreae, as it is written in Acts 18:18,

“Sha'ul, having stayed after this many more days, took his leave of the brothers, and sailed from there for Aram, together with Priscilla and Aquila. He shaved his head in Cenchreae, for he had a vow.”(HNV)

There is another example of a nazarite vow in Acts 21:23-27,

“‘Therefore’ do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them, that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been informed about you, but that you yourself also walk keeping the Torah. But concerning the gentiles who believe, we have written our decision: that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality.’ Then Sha'ul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them. When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and seized him”(HNV revised)

“the vow of a nazarite, to separate (nazar) himself to HaShem” – The Hebrew word that is translated as “nazarite” is nazir,[5] which means “abstain”, “separate”, “dedicate”. The verb nazar,[6] which is found in this verse, was translated as “separate himself”. Rashi understands the second part of this verse to say, “to separate himself (from wine) for the sake of the Eternal”.

6:3    “he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of fermented drink, neither shall he drink any juice of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or dried.”(HNV) – The same word nazar comes again in this verse. It is translated as “separate himself”. A nazarite cannot touch anything that comes from the fruit of the vine. However, he may drink beer, cider, liquor, and other drinks that do not come from the vine. The separation has nothing to do with alcohol but with the fruit of the vine.

6:4    “All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is made of the grapevine, from the seeds even to the skins.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated “days of his separation” is nezer,[7] which comes from the same word we mentioned earlier meaning “abstention”, “separation”, “dedication”, “crown”. The consecrated diadem that the High Priest wore is called nezer hakodesh, “the crown of consecration”, compare with Exodus 39:30. The nazarite has a sign on his head that speaks of his dedication to HaShem. This teaches us that there is a connection between the High Priest and the nazarite and the sign being on his head. A nazarite is on the same level of consecration as the High Priest. This means that any Israelite, man or woman, has the opportunity to dedicate himself or herself to HaShem in a special way and to come up to the same level of consecration as the High Priest. However, as long as there is no temple, it is impossible to make a nazarite vow.

In Judges 14:5, it is written,

“Then went Shimshon down, and his father and his mother, to Timnah, and came to the vineyards of Timnah: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.”(HNV)

The vineyards of Timnah reminded Shimshon of his calling as a nazarite. It was also a reminder of his childhood during which he was socially isolated. He was not allowed to participate in the grape-harvest feasts during his childhood. At those times, everyone in the village was happy. The grapes were tread in the middle of the village. All his friends played and had fun together, but he could not be with them. He had to sit on the side and watch because it was forbidden for him to touch the grapes. How did that make him feel? The nazarite calling produced social isolation since wine is an important part of the Jewish culture. The Jews use wine in all the feasts except Yom Kippur. A nazarite will therefore be in a lonely place socially. This prepares him for a special assignment. All heavenly assignments demand sacrifice and the denying of certain natural desires.

6:14 “and he shall offer his offering to HaShem, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for shalom offerings”(HNV revised) – Why did he have to make a sin offering after finishing the nazarite vow? According to one interpretation that is found in the Talmud,[8] the sin consisted of not having enjoyed part of creation that HaShem gave man for his good. HaShem created everything for us to enjoy. When we do not enjoy his creation, we are not fulfilling the purpose of things, as it is written in 1 Timothy 6:17,

“Charge those who are rich in this present world that they not be haughty, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy”(HNV revised)

From the text in Acts 21, we learn that Shaliach Shaul, the apostle Paul, even planned to offer a sin offering in the temple after Yeshua had been raised from the dead. The Messiah did not do away with animal sacrifice. Until heaven and earth pass away, the laws about sacrifices will still apply. After the Messianic thousand year reign, there will be a significant shift after which the Levite ministry will be no more, as it is written in Hebrews 8:13,

“In that he says, ‘A new covenant,’ he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.”(HNV)

6:22-27 “HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Speak to Aharon and to his sons, saying, “This is how you shall bless the children of Yisra'el.” You shall tell them, “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.” So they shall put my name on the children of Yisra'el; and I will bless them.’”(HNV revised) – This blessing is called birkat kohanim, the priestly blessing. The Torah commands all priests to bless the children of Israel. Shulchan Aruch teaches us that even though there is no temple today, this positive command still applies. It is fulfilled when the priests speak the birkat kohanim during certain prayers in the synagogue. Even a sinful kohen can speak the birkat kohanim since the blessing comes from God and the priest is only a connecting element that conveys the blessing. A kohen who has lost his priestly rights, through marriage to a divorced woman or another woman who is prohibited to the priests, is excluded from the birkat kohanim.

Before the priests give this blessing, they wash their hands. In the synagogue, the blessing is spoken from the place called the duchan, in front of the cabinet where the Torah scrolls are kept. While the priests are approaching the duchan, they say, “I am now preparing myself to fulfill the commandment of the Torah to bless Israel”. They also pray this prayer from the prayer books, “Let this blessing that you commanded us to utter for the good of Israel be a complete blessing without hindrance or flaw”.

The birkat kohanim is only read before an audience of at least ten men, including the kohen, and it is done in the following manner: the priests remove their shoes and approach the Hechal haKodesh, the place where the Torah scrolls are kept. They cover their heads and their body with the tallit, lift their hands to shoulder height with the palms facing the floor and the right hand being slightly higher than the left. They separate the middle fingers from the ring fingers and the index fingers from the thumbs, letting the rest of the fingers stay together. This way the hands make five gaps, four gaps between the fingers and one between the two hands. Then the chazzan, the cantor, calls on the priests and they utter the berachah, the blessing, “…asher kidshanu bikdushato shel Aharon vetzivanu levarech et amo Israel…”, meaning “… who has consecrated us with the consecration of Aharon and commanded us to bless his people Israel…”. Then they turn to the people and finish the blessing with the last word, “…beahavah”, “…with love”. The blessing of a kohen includes three verses of the Torah, Numbers 6:24, 25, 26, which we mentioned earlier, “Yevarechecha HaShem veyishmerecha. Yaer HaShem panav eleicha vichuneka. Yisa HaShem panav eleicha veyasem lecha shalom.” The chazzan quotes these verses slowly word for word and the priests repeat each word. Each word must be spoken in unison by the priests and with the same melody. After each verse the congregation responds by saying, Amen. The chazzan does not need to respond. After the blessing, when the chazzan begins to say, sim shalom, the priests turn again toward the Hechal haKodesh and remain standing in that position until the end of the berachah, “hamevarech et amo Israel bashalom. Amen”.

When the priests bless the people they ought to have their gaze directed downward as when reading the amidah prayer. The congregation ought to be concentrating on the blessing from the priests. Anyone who is talking during the birkat kohanim, or is not paying attention, will not partake of the blessing and is sinning. During the birkat kohanim, the congregation who is receiving the blessing ought to be in facing or to the side of the kohen, but not behind him, in order to be included in the blessing. A kohen who is not appreciated by, or is in disharmony with the congregation, ought not to speak the birkat kohanim, because he would not be blessing the people in love, and it would be dangerous for him. If there is no kohen present, the chazzan speaks the prayer “barchenu baberachah” and continues by speaking the three verses that the birkat kohanim contains. After each verse the congregation says, “ken yehi ratzon”, (yes, may it be pleasing).

In Psalm 67, it is written,

“May God be merciful to us, bless us, and cause his face to shine on us. Selah. That your way may be known on earth, and your salvation among all nations, Let the peoples praise you, God. Let all the peoples praise you. Oh let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you will judge the peoples with equity, and govern the nations on earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise you, God. Let all the peoples praise you. The earth has yielded its increase. God, even our own God, will bless us. God will bless us. All the ends of the earth shall fear him.”(HNV)

This psalm is based on the priestly blessing. It teaches us that all the gentile nations are blessed when the children of Israel are blessed. The purpose of the blessing that comes over Israel is that salvation will come to all peoples.

In Psalm 80:3, 7, 19, it is written,

“Revive us again, God. Cause your face to shine, and we will be saved… God Tzva’ot, cause your face to shine, and we will be saved… Turn to us again, HaShem God Tzva'ot. Cause your face to shine, and we will be saved.”(HNV revised)

If HaShem’s face shines on someone, he will be saved. The word salvation has a very broad meaning. It could mean deliverance, help in time of need, support in hard situations, deliverance from distress, protection from dangers, healing from disease, among other things.

“HaShem bless you, and keep you” – There is a strong connection between blessing and protection. What good is a blessing if one cannot keep it, or if one loses the ability to make any use of it? Blessing and protection are foundational needs in creation. We need both blessing and protection in order to live and develop.

Adam was given the task of cultivating and keeping the Garden of Eden. In other words, he was to bless it and protect it. These are two foundational characteristics of proper administration; to produce, and to protect. Not only to keep, but to expand as well. A congregation that is only focused on growth without caring for the souls that have been harvested will not be stable. A congregation that only focuses on self-preservation without expansion is doomed to die. Both things are necessary for a congregation to be living and healthy.

The same principles can be found in other texts in the Scriptures, as it is written in Ephesians 5:29,

“For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes (blesses) and cherishes (protects) it, even as the Lord also does the assembly”(HNV)

In Psalm 84:11, it is written,

“For HaShem God is a sun (blessing) and a shield (protection). HaShem will give grace and glory. He withholds no good thing from those who walk blamelessly.”(HNV revised)

Blessing and protection are two fundamental principles for success. There is also a third fundamental principle: guidance. If one receives blessing and protection and then goes astray, what good does it do? We also need guidance, council, so that we will know how to act rightly. We need commandments to fulfill so that we do not stray away from the right road.

According to Rashi, the blessing that birkat kohanim is referring to is material prosperity, and when it talks about HaShem lifting his face, it means that he will hold back his wrath.

“I will bless them” – This means that whenever the priests spoke this blessing, HaShem would bless the people unconditionally.

The Fifth Aliyah, 7:1-41

7:1    “It happened on the day that Moshe had finished setting up the tabernacle, and had anointed it and sanctified it, with all its furniture, and the altar with all its vessels, and had anointed and sanctified them”(HNV) – If this was written in chronological order, this section would have come directly after Leviticus 8:11. It is included here because the carts that were given by the leaders were given to the sons of Levi, so it would be easier for them to transport the parts of the tabernacle. Kehat’s sons, however, did not have the help of carts to carry the objects of the mishkan since they were supposed to carry the consecrated objects on their shoulders. This teaches us that the human body is on a higher level of consecration than material things.

7:5    “Accept these from them, that they may be used in doing the service of the Tent of Meeting; and you shall give them to the Levites, to every man according to his service.”(HNV) – The Eternal does not receive just any offering. It was not a given that he would accept these offerings. Therefore HaShem had to give them a special word saying that these offerings were acceptable.

Are we allowed to receive the tithe of the earnings of a prostitute? Or the profit of illegal work? Can we accept offerings from people who deceive the state by not paying their taxes according to the laws of the land? Are all offerings acceptable? If HaShem does not receive all offerings, should we receive them in our congregations?

In Deuteronomy 23:18, it is written,

“You shall not bring the hire of a prostitute, or the wages of a male prostitute, into the house of HaShem your God for any vow: for even both these are an abomination to HaShem your God.”(HNV revised)

7:9    “But to the sons of Kehat he gave none, because the service of the sanctuary belonged to them; they carried it on their shoulders.”(HNV) – This teaches us that when the consecration increases, the burden also increases.

7:10 “The princes gave offerings for the dedication of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes gave their offerings before the altar.”(HNV) – Leaders must always give more than others. A leader must offer more than the people. The precious stones that were on the breastplate of judgment came from the leaders. In order to be a leader one must be willing to suffer more, offer more, pray more, watch more, give more money, give more of what one has and of one’s abilities, and to abstain from privileges that others enjoy.

This chapter contains repetitions that can slightly bore us as readers. Why does HaShem name the offerings of each person when they are all identical? Would it not have been better for him to name the first offering and then say that the other offerings were the same? The reason that all the offerings are named with the same enthusiasm is that they are all equally important. The last one will receive the same honor as the first one. HaShem’s attitude toward an offering does not change. He does not tire of receiving gift after gift, day after day. He is not like man that easily gets used to things and does not pay the same attention to that which demands attention when it comes with tiring repetition.

One who has been going through a time of lack is more grateful when he receives something than the one who has always had everything in abundance. One who always gets what he wishes for does not value things like the one who has not had that privilege.

Gratefulness for food ought to be just as great every day. We ought not take anything for granted. We cannot demand anything. It is not our right to have something good to eat everyday, it is a grace given from heaven. If you have to eat the same thing two times in a row, or two days in a row, are you just as grateful the second time as you were the first time?

HaShem did not get tired of the leaders’ offerings. He considered all the offerings equally valuable and he named their gifts in detail and wrote them in the Torah for all eternity in order to show the whole world throughout all ages how much he appreciates each and every one of these leaders and their offerings. They had given from hearts that were dedicated to him. That is why all of them were listed in detail.

Now as we read this section, let us not skip a single word, because then we belittle the one whom the Father honors.

The Sixth Aliyah, 7:42-71

7:48 “On the seventh day Elishama the son of `Ammihud, prince of the children of Efrayim”(HNV) – This teaches us that they did not stop bringing these offerings on the Shabbat.

The leader of Yehudah’s tribe brought his offering the first day, compare with verse 12, and Efrayim’s tribe’s leader brought his on the seventh day. If we compare the days with months, we come to the conclusion that Yehudah will have special attention during the first month and Efrayim during the seventh month. Mashiach visited the Jewish people in a very special way during Pesach when he himself became the offering of the first month. In connection with the Messiah’s second coming, however, Efrayim will be in focus in a special way. Then Efrayim, the younger son, who is the head of the ten lost tribes, will come home, and there will be a feast, compare Luke 15:11-32.

This text also teaches us that we need a daily dedication to the Eternal. During the Chanukkah celebration, the text in Numbers 7:1 – 8:4 is read in memory of the dedication of the altar. Every day in our prayers, we must dedicate ourselves to the Eternal. We offer ourselves every morning when we come before him in prayer.

7:49 “gave his offering: one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a meal offering”(HNV) – The silver platter and the silver bowl represent our money. The flour and the oil represent our work.

7:50 “one golden ladle of ten shekels, full of incense”(HNV) – The golden ladle represents the material possessions that we value the most. The incense represents our knowledge as well our prayers and worship.

7:51 “one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering”(HNV) – The young bull represents our body, the ram represents our soul, and the lamb represents our spirit.

7:52 “one male goat for a sin offering”(HNV) – The goat represents our yetzer ha-rah, the evil nature. All this we dedicate to HaShem every day as a pleasing offering before his throne.

7:66 “On the tenth day Achi`ezer the son of `Ammishaddai, prince of the children of Dan”(HNV) – Dan means “he judges”. Here we find a connection between the tenth day and judgment. The lamb was appointed for sacrifice on the tenth day of Aviv. That was the day that judgment fell on him and the end was determined. The tenth day of the seventh month is the great Day of Judgment, Yom Kippur. On that day sin will be judged for eternity and eternal righteousness will be established in all of creation.

The Seventh Aliyah, 7:72-89

7:89 “When Moshe went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with HaShem, he heard his voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the Testimony, from between the two Keruvim: and he spoke to him.”(HNV revised) – Moshe had free access to the most consecrated place. That is where the place of meeting is, in the most intimate place of our inner being. During our daily dedication we ought to enter the most consecrated place of the heavenly mishkan through Yeshua the Messiah in order to be alone with our beloved Dad and listen to his words of wisdom.

 Mashiach in this Parashah

4:27, 28, 33 The High Priest and his sons are the ones who give orders in the tabernacle. – The Messiah is the one who is in charge in the Eternal’s house.

4:30, 35, 39, 43, 47 The Levites began their ministry at age thirty. – Yeshua began his public ministry at age thirty.

5:21, 22, 27 “you thigh will fall” – The Messiah’s thigh was bruised before he died to take away the curse from the woman who repents of the sin of adultery.

5:24 “He shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that causes the curse; and the water that causes the curse shall enter into her and become bitter.” – The Messiah drank the cup of the curse that the Father gave him in order to free us from the curse of sin, compare with John 18:11.

6:10 “on the eighth day” – The day that the Messiah was raised from the dead (the day after the seventh day of the week, 7+1=8).

7:10, 84, 88 First the altar was anointed and then there sacrifices were offered on it. – Yeshua was anointed to be sacrificed.

7:12 Yehudah, the Messiah’s tribe, was the first to bring his offering. The Messiah’s offering was the first offering, then came the others.

7:66 See above.

This Parashah contains commandments number 362 – 379 of the 613 commandments.

  1. The command to separate one who is ritually unclean from the camp of the Shechinah, Numbers 5:2.

  2. The prohibition for the ritually unclean one to enter any area of the sanctuary, Numbers 5:3.

  3. The command to confess sins, Numbers 5:6-7.

  4. The command about a woman who is suspected of committing adultery [sotah], Numbers 5:12, 15.

  5. The prohibition of pouring oil on an offering from a woman who is suspected of committing adultery [sotah], Numbers 5:15.

  6. The prohibition of putting incense on an offering from a woman who is suspected of committing adultery [sotah], Numbers 5:15.

  7. The prohibition for a nazarite to drink wine or any other drink that comes from the vine, Numbers 6:3.

  8. The prohibition for a nazarite to eat fresh grapes, Numbers 6:3.

  9. The prohibition for a nazarite to eat raisins, Numbers 6:3.

  10. The prohibition for a nazarite to eat the seeds of grapes, Numbers 6:4.

  11. The prohibition for a nazarite to eat the skin of grapes, Numbers 6:4.

  12. The prohibition for a nazarite to shave any part of his body as long as he is a nazarite, Numbers 6:4.

  13. The command for a nazarite to let his hair grow for as long as he is a nazarite, Numbers 6:5.

  14. The prohibition for a nazarite to enter a place where there is a corpse, Numbers 6:6.

  15. The prohibition for a nazarite to become unclean by a corpse or any other source of uncleanness, Numbers 6:7.

  16. The command for a nazarite to shave and present his offering after the completion of his time as a nazarite, Numbers 6:13.

  17. The command for the priests to bless every day, Numbers 6:23.

  18. The command about carrying the ark on the shoulders, Numbers 7:9.


[1]     Strong H7847 sìâtòâh, saw-taw', A primitive root; to deviate from duty: - decline, go aside, turn.

[2]     Sotah 4a; 31b.

[3]     Sotah 3a; 5a.

[4]     Sotah 28a.

[5]     Strong H5139 nâzîyr nâzir, naw-zeer', naw-zeer', From H5144; separate, that is, consecrated (as prince, a Nazirite); hence (figuratively from the latter) an unpruned vine (like an unshorn Nazirite). (The translation, Nazarite, is by a false alliteration with Nazareth.): - Nazarite [by a false alliteration with Nazareth], separate (-d), vine undressed.

[6]     Strong H5144 nâzar, naw-zar', A primitive root; to hold aloof, that is, (intransitively) abstain (from food and drink, from impurity, and even from divine worship (that is, apostatize)); specifically to set apart (to sacred purposes), that is, devote: - consecrate, separate (-ing, self).

[7]     Strong H5145 nezer nêzer, neh'-zer, nay'-zer, From H5144; properly something set apart, that is, (abstractly) dedication (of a priest or Nazirite); hence (concretely) unshorn locks; also (by implication) a chaplet (especially of royalty): - consecration, crown, hair, separation.

[8]     Nazir 19a; Taanit 11a.