B’ha’alotkha / In Your Setting Up
Numbers 8:1-12:16
HafTorah Portion  Zechariah 2:10-4:7
Brit Chadasha 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

     This is the 36 parasha, ‘In Your Setting Up’, or ‘When You Kindle’.  This portion contains the setting up of the lamps, the setting apart of the Levites, the second Passover and the cloud that covered the Tabernacle.  Chapters 10 through 11 contain the two silver trumpets, the Israelites leaving Sinai, fire from the Lord and the gift of quail.  In Numbers 12 we read about the opposition of Mirian and Aaron against Moshe. This Torah portion is filled with dynamics that enlightens our path as we walk towards and with Adonai.
     Numbers 9: 9-13 states: ‘Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the Lord’s Passover. 11 On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it. 13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of the Lord at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.’
     This is the gift of a second Passover for those for whatever reason were unable to partake in the Passover. If the person makes the choice to not partake in any Passover, they will be cut off from among the people. This is really non-debatable, as God finishes this part with: ‘‘And if a stranger dwells among you, and would keep the Lord’s Passover, he must do so according to the rite of the Passover and according to its ceremony; you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land.”  One set of ordinances for all people who love the LORD.
    All peoples who claim to know the Lord are expected by God to do the Passover. There is one ordinance directed by God for His people.  However, sadly the ordinances were neglected and changed.
      In the Christian world, Passover was changed when Easter became the holiday of the nations. The history of Easter and the egg goes as far back as ancient Egypt and other civilizations. The pagans believed all creation came out of a giant egg. Believers in God inculcated eggs into the holiday to symbolize both life and death. Briefly, the introduction of Easter Sunday first began after Roman Emperor Hadrain crushed a Jewish rebellion known as the Barkokeba revolt (132 - 135 A.D.). After his victory Hadrian rebuilt the ruins of Jerusalem and expelled all Jews.
Passover became Easter.
     At the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 Roman Emperor Constantine and the Catholic Church established Sunday as a day of rest. And at the Council of Laodicea around 365, the Catholic Church made it illegal to “Judaize” or be idle from work on the seventh-day Sabbath.
     “Historian Paul Johnson details some of this influence: “Constantine was almost certainly a Mithraic, and his triumphal arch, built after his ‘conversion’, testifies to the Sun-god, or ‘unconquered sun’. … Constantine never abandoned sun-worship and kept the sun on his coins. He made Sunday into a day of rest, closing the lawcourts and forbidding all work except agricultural labour” (A History of Christianity, 1976, pp. 67-68).”   So, a royal decree to rest and worship on Sunday instead of Saturday was made by the Roman emperor, a sun worshipper.  Fast forward, now thanks to Constantine, Christians are celebrating on the same day the Mithraics (Roman mystery religion centered around the god Mithras) worshipping the sun. This is a blatant example of pagan influence in Christian practices.
     “Surging anti-Semitism in post-apostolic times also played a major role in the change to Sunday. The Council of Laodicea in A.D. 365 decided: “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honoring the Lord’s Day, and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be Judaizes, let them be anathema (hateful/repugnant) from Christ” (Canon XXIX).
     So, keeping the Sabbath on Saturday was considered “Judaizing,” which was considered a great evil.  Constantine, at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, was reported by the historian Eusebius as saying, “It appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast [Passover] we should follow the practice of the Jews …  Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd.” Sabbath became Sunday.
     Exodus 12:49 ‘The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.”
     Leviticus 19:34 ‘The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.
     Leviticus 24:22 ‘There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’
     Deuteronomy 4:35 ‘To you it was shown that you might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him.’
     Deuteronomy 32:39 ‘See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.’
     In Numbers 11, Moshes pleads and complains to Adonai regarding the people and meat to eat. At one point, he suggests that God just kills him right there on the spot. In Numbers 11:23 during the discussion God declares: ‘And the Lord said to Moses, “Has the Lord’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.” Some verses translate: Is the LORDS arm too short?’ This can also be translated: ‘Is the LORD’S power limited?
     וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה הֲיַ֥ד יְהֹוָ֖ה תִּקְצָ֑ר עַתָּ֥ה תִרְאֶ֛ה הֲיִקְרְךָ֥ דְבָרִ֖י אִם־לֹֽא׃
     The arm of God is a mighty vision of His power.
     Isaiah 59:16 ‘He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.’
     Deuteronomy 4:34 ‘Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?’
        What power is revealed in the arm of God? Isaiah 53:1 asks: ‘Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’
       The word arm in Hebrew comes from the primitive root zawrah - Strongs #2232. It means to sow; to disseminate (publicize, announce, declare, advertise), plant, fructify:—bear, conceive seed, set with a sower, yield.
  Each Hebrew letter has a distinct meaning.

ZAYIN -Sword of the Spirit, Dagger, Weapon or Seed.
RESH - Head, Chief, Beginning, Highest, Most Important’
AYIN - Eye, to See, Understand, Experience, or to be Seen, Window of the soul.

     One God, one life, one ordinance, one way.   “I and My Father are one.” John 10:30.



Beha’alocha / When You Kindle
Numbers 8:1-12:15
Haf Torah Zechariah 2:10-4:7
Brit Chadasha 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

   One Light…
Beha’alotcha contains the instructions of the lampstand, dedication of the Levites, the instructions for the second Pesach, the making of the two silver trumpets, the departure from Sinai,  manna, quail, murmuring and the dissension of Aaron and Miriam.
     This parsha opens with the directions of the lampstand. ‘And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron, and say to him, ‘When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.’ ” And Aaron did so; he arranged the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses.’ 
    The importance was to arrange the lights so that the light shines in front of the menorah. Not behind it, but in front of it. What a metaphor for our lives.  The menorah is the main component, and the seven lights shine from it. There is one light and we are to shine from it, outwardly, for the Main Light does not need our light, but rather we need the base of The Main Light and we represent that true One Light.
     Psalm 119:105 ‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
     Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
     Isaiah 60:1 ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.’
     John 8:12 ‘Then Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
     Acts 13:47 ‘For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’
     We cannot shine His light without walking in the truth, His ways. The light of the menorah alludes to the Torah, the light of which is the eternal flame, lighting the pathway of men. The whole and truth of God’s instruction is to be the spiritual light of man.  King Solomon speaks of God’s grace in giving His Torah His people:  Proverbs 6:23 - “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” God’s commandments are clear as they “enlighten the eyes” as Psalm 19:8 states.  
    In chapter 11 the people complain and long for the lifestyle they had in Egypt.  Interesting that God consumed the people outside the camp‘…when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.’ Numbers 11:1. 
     However, the complaining continues at which point Moshe pleads to God ‘I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!” Moses seems to blame God, blames himself and asks for death in a self-pity mentality.
     In Numbers 12 Miriam and Aaron are filled with jealousy and speak negatively about Moshe. Miriam is stricken with leprosy, where she is placed ‘outside’ the camp.  Leprosy is a form of death, caused by lashon ha’ra, and therefore, as in Numbers 11:1, she is outside the camp.
     These three incidents are the polar opposite of the light coming from the Menorah and the seven lights shining in front of the One True Light. These three incidents represent the flesh, the human mindset of self, where the light represents the oneness of Elohim.
    Haven’t we all murmured? Haven’t we all had self-pity?  Haven’t we all spoken negatively regarding someone?  Are we consumed with jealousy?  Do we let entitlement and desires of the heart rule our thoughts?
     Adonai seems to preface this Torah portion with the Light of the World, His perfect Light, and the perfect example for us.  Psalm 119:130 ‘The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.’  Psalm 37:5-6 ‘Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.’
    May we find favor from Elohim as we walk in His light and shine in the darkness.

Behaalotcha/When You Kindle
Numbers 8:1-12:16

       B’ha alotcha has several translations, ‘When You Kindle’, ‘When You Set Up’, ‘When You Step Up’ and begins with the instructions for the seven lamps which are to cast their light in front of the lampstand. Psalm 139:7-12 speaks of the spirit and the light of God, never ending, never dulling even in the dark, just as the light of the lampstands were never ending. Psalm 139:11-12 ‘If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me;12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.’
    Chapter Eight continues with the consecration of the Levites as they themselves become the wave offering. They also become the holy firstborn unto Elohim. ‘Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to the Lord. 14 In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.15 “After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the tent of meeting.16 They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman. 17 Every firstborn male in Israel, whether human or animal is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself. 18 And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel. ‘
     Chapter Nine gives instructions for the Passover when a person is unclean. In Numbers 9:14 God is clear that His statues are for all and not to be debated. Fast forward to Yeshua, and He becomes the Passover. Yeshua’s lineage, His teaching, His grace and love are for all, just as His death was for all. This is in conjunction with Numbers 9:14; the Passover is a statue for all, to be carried out the same for every person that comes under the guidance of the Torah. Yeshua’s death cannot be regulated according to man. ‘A foreigner residing among you is also to celebrate the Lord’s Passover in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for both the foreigner and the native-born.’ Numbers 9:14.
    One – Echad. One Torah, Exodus 12:49. One right ruling, Leviticus 24:22. One Torah and statutes, Numbers 15:15. All in One, Galatians 3:28. One flock under One Shepherd, John 10:16. ‘I and My Father are One’ John 10:30.  Analytically and logically speaking, how could there be two separate teachings from One God?
    In Numbers 11 Moses becomes distraught and it seems to be the lowest point in his life, for he begs The Lord in verse 15 to kill him. Numbers 11:14-15 ‘14 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”
     Even though it was the people that were giving him grief, Moses turns to God, equating his despair directly on God. ‘If You treat me like this…’   But what was the difference between the role of Moses in Exodus and Numbers? In Exodus, the problems were so large that only God could solve it. God sent signs and wonders, the 10 plagues, He divides the sea, He sends manna from heaven, and water from The Rock. When a problem arose, God gives Moses the solution, God does the solution. In Numbers however, Moses has the chore of getting the people to change. They have gone through the Exodus, reached Sinai, and made a covenant with God, and are on their way to the Promised Land. Moses’ role is now different. He has to get the people to change, to take responsibility, to learn to do things for themselves while trusting in God, instead of relying on God to do things for them. But he realizes that they haven’t changed at all, for they are still complaining about the food, just like they did before Mount Sinai, before their covenant with God, before they themselves had built the sanctuary, which was their first amazing undertaking together.
     This is an unconventional role, not expected by Moses.   Is it foresighted by any of us? It seems that we are fine when God solves all the problems for us, but when the responsibility is upon our shoulders, it is easy to shrink and wonder. But the Psalmist has the cure in Psalm 121. ‘Where does my help come from? It comes from The Lord.’
     This parsha ends with the lashon ha’ra from Miriam and Aaron in regards to the Ethiopian woman that Moses married. Numbers 12 begins with the complaining and the statement that ‘the Lord heard it…’  He calls the three out and asks Miriam and Aaron why they' weren’t afraid' to speak against Moses? That’s an interesting question that God posed to them. So, why aren’t we afraid to speak against someone that is clearly appointed by God to serve God? Do we not fear the consequences? Maybe it wasn’t just that Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, but that they weren’t afraid to speak against him, they had no fear/awe/Yirah of God, therefore being haughty, thinking they were on an equal playing ground with God, they could speak how they wanted.
   Behaalotcha ends with the leprosy of Miriam, the waiting of the people to move and finally the moving of the camp of the Israelites.
    We are, we were and we will be likened to the children of Israel. In our light that shines, in our murmuring, in our complaining, gossiping, in our obedience of One Torah, one right-ruling and One God, and of course His love. It is because we have such a merciful God, whose loving-kindness is never-ending, that we are allowed the full grace that He offers.
     May you be richly blessed as you study B’ha alotcha!
Rabbi Jay