An Astonishing Discovery in Parsha Balak
If one were to ask a reasonably well-read Zionist to justify the creation of the Jewish state in what was British Mandate Palestine one reply (admittedly of several others), would be the Balfour Declaration. In fact even if some UN declaration is given as the justification, it would just take the asking “well, how was that decided?” And we’d be back to the Balfour Declaration.
Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour produced an official document to be handed to British Zionist Federation. It was officiated on November 2, 1917. (* Cheshvan 17)
His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
The text of the letter was published in the press one week later, on 9 November 1917. (**Cheshvan 24 erev Shabbat Mevarchim (Kislev).
The importance of the Balfour Declaration is that it is fundamental to the entire legal chain upon which the State of Israel is internationally recognized. The Declaration was incorporated into the Sèvres Peace Treaty. This is the treaty analogous to the more famous Versailles Treaty imposed upon Germany and Austro-Hungary. At Sèvres, it was the Ottoman Empire that faced the victorious Allies. From there, the Levantine provinces of the Ottoman Empire were carved into British and French Mandates. As is well known, the British took “Palestine” and the territory to be known as “Iraq” and “Kuwait”. Palestine was to be divided into a western Jewish homeland, (from the river to the sea!) and an Arab eastern kingdom, the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. (Trans means across (from), as in Transylvania. Sylvan refers to the forest. Transylvania is the land beyond the forest. Thus Transjordan was the land beyond the Jordan River. In 1946 when the five Arab armies tried to throttle Israel in the cradle the Jews managed to survive. They did lose what is now falsely called “The West Bank”. It was at that time that King Hussein changed the name from Transjordan to Jordan.)
WHAT DISCOVERY? Just a moment is required to make the point. There has been a constant disagreement between secular and religious Zionists. At times it is sotto voce yet it smolders always potentially able to enflame itself. The disagreement is about whether the right to the Land is based on the legalities entrained from the Balfour Declaration through Sèvres to the League of Nations to Independence from Britain, and finally to UN recognition. All secular Israelis will point to this legalistic chain as their right, their deed. Many religious Jews will rely on this argument as well. But there are those who see the Hand of G-d as the hand that moves History.
IT MATTERS because if it is International recognition that is responsible for the State of Israel, then it is vital to keep the “international community” mollified.
None doubt that it was the success of Israeli arms that made good the international recognition. But though many witness of the ’67 War felt the Hand of G-d moving, that generation is passing.
A new generation arose that did not experience the miraculous survival at Independence, nor the seemingly random events that Israeli soldiers saw in ‘67, each either to Israel’s benefit or the Arabs’ detriment.
The new MTV generation, with Gay Pride in Tel Aviv and all the neo-paganism of the decadent West would be scandalized to even hear anyone say that it was G-d, the G-d of Abraham Isaac and Jacob that returned the Jewish People to the Land.
In order to live the decadent Post-Modernist life, none of the justification for possession of the Land is attributed to G-d. Having the appearance of morality despite its absence, the trendy Post-Modern will forebear the “might makes right” justification. All that remains is International Law, and that is based as demonstrated above on the Balfour Declaration.
SO WHAT DID I DISCOVER IN PARHA BALAK? As always I read looking for new Messianic innuendos. After poring over Balaam’s oracles the remainder of the Parsha is anti-climactic and read quickly. Not yesterday, however.
Balaam was unable to curse that which G-d blessed. Only Israel itself can curse Israel. Sexual paganism tempted the Israelites. The daughters of Moab drew out the men. Israelites attended the feasts to their pagan gods. And especially they attached themselves to Baal.
Numbers 25: 3 And Israel joined himself unto the Baal of Peor; and the anger of HaShem was kindled against Israel.
Looking at it in Hebrew is startling. VaYiTzaMeR YiSRaeL L’BaÅL PÅoR VaYiChaR- ǍaF Hashem B’YiSRaeL. To differentiate Alef from Ayin I used Ǎ for alef, and Å for Ayin.) וַיִּצָּ֥מֶד יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לְבַ֣עַל פְּעֹ֑ור וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֥ף יְהוָ֖ה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
It is notable that the Hebrew letters for P and F are interchangeable. Pey פּּּ with a dot, (dagesh) and without is Fey פ. So it is possible to read our verse as “Israel joined himself to BalFor”. Balfour. It is also interesting to notice that Balaam’s name is B’LÅM. Ayin, Å, is far less common than Alef. So the Ayin in Baal’s name BaÅL and B’LÅM’s is significant. If we separate Balaam’s name into two syllables BL ÅM it is possible to read it as “Baal people”.
The anger of Hashem is being kindled even now. The debauched Israeli youth culture, though no worse than that in America, will be judged harshly. And given America’s historic blessings, America’s judgment too will be harsh.
Is there a Pinchas in the house? I am certain the Pinchas Principle is straining at the leash, awaiting only the Word.
Ayn Rand’s Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point,
New York – March 6, 1974
Forty years of water incessantly dripping on a flat plateau can carve out a badlands tableau. Deep furrows, gullies and blind box canyons make its map appear as if it were crumpled up and tossed in wastebasket for a week. We have lived through forty years of acid raining down from Ivory Towers, perverting the innocent minds that are drawn to be educated. Ayn Rand would certainly be persona non grata at any Graduation ceremony nowadays.
I am a great fan of Ayn Rand. However I am not an acolyte. In my opinion she elevates the rational mind into a God. She writes in her address to the West Point grads “Are the things you see around you real–or are they only an illusion? Do they exist independent of any observer–or are they created by the observer? Are they the object or the subject of man’s consciousness? Are they what they are–or can they be changed by a mere act of your consciousness, such as a wish?“
THE THINGS WE SEE? We have never “seen” a thing. We see one thing and only one thing: photons. Photons, quanta of light, impact our retina, causing neurochemical cascades in neurons that interact with other cascades in other neurons. The net output is further integrated with other neurons from other areas of the retina, from the same eye and from the other. These outputs are further integrated in the thalamic nuclei and then “filtered” through associative visual cortex. An image occurs in our mind’s eye.
Yes, Ayn is correct that to a very large degree the image can be assumed to be “thing” itself. But, though it is an image of the thing, it is NOT the thing itself! The mental steps preceding an observation: i.e. I perceive a pattern of impulses that I have learned is associated with photons reflecting off of a certain object may be taken as given. It is not necessary to preface every thought with that disclaimer.
However, though 99% of the time the assumption is correct, it is not always so.
Take the Rainbow for instance. No one doubts the reality of the rainbow. However, it is a case of a mental image having NO basis in the external physical world.
The Rainbow is not in the water droplets, or the atmosphere. It is only in the mind. Ayn asks, “Are they only an illusion?” I suggest that ONLY, is a bad choice of words. Is a rainbow “merely” or “only” an illusion?
It is the example that shows the Truth. Our mental construction of the world is like a dim image traced on translucent paper laid atop of Reality. 99.99% of the time we can rely on it to make our way IN the world, BUT it does not suffice to explain the world. The rainbow is man example of something that exists on the traced paper that does not exist under it. There are perhaps many, many other mental phenomena that are analogous.
The miracle of consciousness ought never be dismissed as a given! And that is what Ayn rand does when she writes “only an illusion”. For, what manner of matter can have illusions?
On The Haftara of Metzora
There are two movements in the world today gathering momentum and converging. They are now within sight of one another and when they meet there will be shock and an awakening around the world. From within the Jewish world there are many who are awakening to the idea that Jesus Christ is not the blue-eyed blond Aryan leader of their nightmares. The Sunday Church has through the ages beaten the Jews with this cross from one end of Europe to the other. But as Churchianity itself seems a spent force in what was formerly known as Christendom, the trepidation of the Jewish people has diminished. No longer a blond blue-eyed crusader, Yeshua is returning to His Jewish identity. And with that Jews are allowing themselves to at least reconsider the possibility of him being Moshiah. In the same manner, from the decaying churches of The Mainline there is a movement out of the religion of Christmas Trees, Easter Eggs, Sunday worship and the deification of the Jesus Christ. It is increasingly difficult to read the Jewish People out of Bible Prophecy, as had been the case for the two millennia of the Age of the Gentiles. Since the IDF entered Jerusalem in 1967, the entire world has been reeling around this reality. Many are reconsidering the position that the Jewish People are no longer relevant to prophecy. Brave souls are reading Yeshua’s words, and Paul’s letters in an entirely new hermeneutic. They are coming to see the value of Yeshua not in “nailing the Law to the Cross” but rather in His being their way into the House of Israel. Initially they recognized themselves as “engrafted” into the people, Israel. But, even more deeply, many are coming to believe that they are not merely wild branches being newly engrafted, but are Lost Branches restored! No, they are not lost Jews. But, the entire understanding of who are, and what is Israel is changing. Yes the Jews are Israelites. But so too were the Lost Tribes, who were lost before the Southern Kingdom of Judah was exiled to Babylon. And it is in Babylon that the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levites were melded into The Jewish People. The Lost Tribes by definition therefore are not Jewish. Israelite, they are, but not Jews. But within both communities, Torah Observant Messianics from the Churches, and Messianic Jews are looked at as either apostates, insane, or suckers. This Haftara can be read as a beautiful metaphor for the current and future status of the brave individuals of both movements groping towards one another. It is read in conjunction with the parsha Metzora is 2 Kings 7: 3-20. The Torah portion is about “leprosy” and its treatment. That makes the connection with this story from Second Kings. The parsha: Lev. 15:31 towards the end of the Torah reading, summarizes the general topic. “31. And you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, so that they will not die on account of their uncleanness, if they defile My Sanctuary which is in their midst.
The story takes place in Samaria. Samaria was first encountered as Shechem in Genesis. The story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah, took place here. Dinah allowed herself to be taken by the son of the king of Shechem. The upshot of this was that Levi and Simeon massacred the Shechemites in their recovery from circumcising themselves. For this Jacob had to pick up and flee the region, being made odious in the nose of the peoples. However later in Genesis (48)as the elderly Jacob is blessing his sons he adds to Joseph “22 Moreover, I am giving to you a sh’khem [shoulder, ridge, share, city of Sh’khem] more than to your brothers; I captured it from the Emori (Amorite) with my sword and bow.” Further, in Joshua 24:32 the connection of Joseph with Shechem is made more explicit: “And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants. Second Kings chapter seven is part of the story of the latter days of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This kingdom is referred to variously as Joseph, Ephraim, Samaria, Shechem, and Israel. (In contradistinction “Israel” is juxtaposed with “Judah”, the Southern Kingdom.) Samaria is besieged by the Arameans. 2 Kings 7:1 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” In a city under siege, where starvation is already occurring, (cannibalism is described in the previous chapter), Elisha is claiming that the next day the finest flour will be dirt-cheap! To the man of the world this was ridiculous prophecy. 2 The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”
“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!” Now we come to the point of relevance to Messianic Jews and Torah Observant Messianic Joes, and the leprosy connection. 3 Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
Those unfortunates diagnosed with Tzaraat or “leprosy”, were excluded much nearly all communal activities. Forced to live beyond the city walls, in a city besieged was to suffer the worst of both worlds: not allowed to enter the walls, yet not allowed to leave because of the surrounding enemy! How many Messianic Jews have been scorned as “traitors” to Judaism even by close relatives? How many formerly secular Jews that have been touched by Yeshua and brought to the Torah and to then to mockery by their suburban relatives? How many Messianic “Joes” have been shunned for merely pointing out that Easter Eggs, and Christmas Trees are nowhere to be found in the Bible?
“5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans…” At dusk, as the Israelite day was ending and the new day beginning the four set out. At this point they were taking a leap of faith. All New Days begin with a leap of faith. “…When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!”” And there before these four men only moments earlier outcasts, on the verge of starvation saw something that no one on either side had seen! Neither the Israelites in the city, nor the Arameans who fled understood that a camp filled with food and treasure was abandoned for no natural reason! It would be only natural for the men to eat drink and be merry, keep the treasure for themselves and turn their backs on the city that had in fact turned its back on them. 8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also. They could have hid it all! But… here is the point! 9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace. “A DAY OF GOOD NEWS” is translated from the Hebrew “Yom Besorah”. “Besorah” is also the Hebrew for “The Gospels”. Who in the entire world is able to read this verse in this context and get it? I mean get the connection between “a day of good news” and “The Gospels”? Not the mainstream Jewish reader. Not the Sunday Churchgoer. Only we, who are of the exact same status of the four lepers get it! It is for us! It is for us, because we are the ones kept outside the walls of orthodoxy. And it is for us, because we are the ones who took a leap of faith. And even more so it is for us because rather than keep The Truth hidden, hidden from our Sunday sisters and Jewish brothers we seek to bring the Good News back with us!
A Non-Messianic Jew cites Matthew 2: 14-15. He may point out the foolishness of Matthew for confusing the individual Yeshua with the entire nation Israel.
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother and left during the night for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until Herod died. This happened in order to fulfill what Adonai had said through the prophet,” Out of Egypt I called my son.
In this case it is HOSEA 11:1
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
His argument is that clearly Hosea is alluding to the people, Israel. Further, it is erroneous to imply that this Prophetic verse is relevant to Joseph removing Yeshua to Egypt, in order to save Him from the mortal threat posed by King Herod. But is this so obviously the case?
In Matthew 2 there are two other references to the Prophets, which are applied to Yeshua’s childhood. Perhaps by looking at all three as a unit, a less risible interpretation is possible.
In Matthew 2, there are three citations to the Prophets.
1. Verse 3 When King Herod heard of this he became very agitated, and so did everyone else in Yerushalayim. 4 He called together all the head cohanim and Torah-teachers of the people and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?” 5 “In Beit-Lechem of Y’hudah,” they replied, “Because the prophet wrote,
6 ‘and you, Beit-Lechem in the land of Y’hudah,
are by no means the least among the rulers of Y’hudah;
for from you will come a Ruler
who will shepherd my people Isra’el.”
This refers to MICAH 5:1 But thou, Beit-Lechem Ephrata, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days.
2. Matt 2:14 (our original verse) “So he got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until Herod died. This happened in order to fulfill what Adonai had said through the prophet,
“Out of Egypt I called my son.
This refers to HOSEA 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
3. Matt. 2:16 Meanwhile, when Herod realized that the Magi had tricked him, he was furious and gave orders to kill all the boys in and around Beit-Lechem who were two years old or less, calculating from the time the Magi had told him. 17 In this way were fulfilled the words spoken through the prophet Yirmeyahu,
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and lamenting loudly.
It was Rachel sobbing for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no longer alive.”
This refers to JER. 34:15 Thus saith HaShem: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuseth to be comforted for her children, because they are not.
16Thus saith HaShem: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith HaShem; and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 And there is hope for thy future, saith HaShem; and thy children shall return to their own border.
Looking at all three together it becomes arguable that in fact Matthew was not engaged in “name-dropping”. A case can be made that together the three references all point to a certain viewpoint.
The first prophecy regards the significance of the fact of Yeshua’s birth in Bethlehem. , Micah5:1 out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days.
So, the first prophetic citation is to establish a basis for considering Yeshua as that promised ruler. Of whom is Yeshua to be king? Though He is to be born in Bethlehem, one amongst the thousands of Judah, it is over Israel that He is to be king. Tanakh knows how to say “King of Judah” if it wished. But, no it is the throne of Israel upon which He shall sit.
The second prophecy cited is regarding His going down to Egypt. Matthew’s claim that Yeshua’s sojourn in Egypt was prophesied by Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son” is a stretch. The easy answer is that just as the lives of the Patriarchs are said to foreshadow the history of Israel, so too the life of Yeshua parallels Israel, perhaps even its future.
But the easy answer is just too pat, too glib. Looking deeper we recall the artificial nature of the chapters and verses of Tanakh. Let us look back from chapter eleven of Hosea to ten. Hosea 10 is a very brief summary of the history of Israel. From its initiation as 10:1
Israel was a luxuriant vine, which put forth fruit freely: as his fruit increased, he increased his altars; the more goodly his land was, the more goodly were his pillars.
To the indictment of 10:2 Their heart is divided; now shall they bear their guilt; He will break down their altars, He will spoil their pillars.
3 Surely now shall they say: ‘We have no king; for we feared not HaShem; and the king, what can he do for us?’ Israel’s history, judgment and execution are outlined.
But within the common destiny of Israel two subsets are described. Hosea 10:10-11 When it is My desire, I will chastise them; and the peoples shall be gathered against them, when they are yoked to their two rings.
11And Ephraim is a heifer well broken, that loveth to thresh, and I have passed over upon her fair neck; I will make Ephraim to ride, Judah shall plow, Jacob shall break his clods.
Finally, in the context of the punishments handed down the last verse in Hosea 10, the line immediately preceding 11:1 is
So hath Beth-el done unto you because of your great wickedness; at daybreak is the king of Israel utterly cut off.
The King of Israel (is) utterly cut off! Is this not word for word from Daniel? Daniel 9:22-27
And he made me to understand, and talked with me, and said: ‘O Daniel, I am now come forth to make thee skilful of understanding.
At the beginning of thy supplications a word went forth, and I am come to declare it; for thou art greatly beloved; therefore look into the word, and understand the vision.
Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place.
Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times.
And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and upon the wing of detestable things shall be that which causeth appalment; and that until the extermination wholly determined be poured out upon that which causeth appalment.’
By citing Hosea 11 in association with Yeshua’s sojourn and return from Egypt, Matthew brings reference to Israel’s blessing, her disobedience, her indictment and her punishment. In addition an association is made with a cutting off of a King. And there is recognition that there are two separate sets within the rubric “Israel”, namely Ephraim and Judah. In the context of the first of the three prophecies, this second adds the description of Yeshua to be that king, born of Judah, who shall be utterly cut-off as part of Israel’s punishment yet is to rule Israel (Ephraim).
Finally the third prophecy cited by Matthew in the second chapter is meant to connect Herod’s massacre of the innocents with Jeremiah 34.
Thus saith HaShem: 13 A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuseth to be comforted for her children, because they are not.
16Thus saith HaShem: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith HaShem; and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
There are several traditional explanations and Midrashes about this verse. All of them pertain to either the Babylonian or Roman exiles. As one who looks to the very exact genealogy given in Torah as meaningful, the detail of this being Rachel, and not Leah catches my eye. Rachel is the mother of Joseph and died in delivering Benjamin. Given Rachel’s and Joseph’s treatment at the hands of Leah and her sons, one would wonder why the Jewish People would believe she would be mourning over their exiles? “and thy children shall return to their own border”? Rachel’s children would be Ephraim (and Manasseh) and not Judah!
So the final prophetic piece in Matthew 2 further describes the role of Yeshua. The three prophecies applied to Yeshua define Him as being born in Bethlehem as a son of Judah who will be cut-off utterly for the sins of Israel, and though a Judean will rule Joseph. And in the latter days will be the One leading Joseph home.
1. Pharaoh orders the midwives to destroy the infant boys of the Hebrews. He discovers that they have not. Then in 1:22 So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.”
He does not say “Hebrew sons”. Though implied, it is not said. It may be read as applying to all the sons of Egypt. So the generation of Egyptians he spoke this to in fact became the men who drowned in the Red Sea.
2. The word “bank” is given (i.e. river bank) in 2:3 and 2:4 but the Hebrew is two different words. In 2:3 the mother of the Son placed him in the basket and the basket upon the “bank of the River”. The word here is “S’fat (שפת)” or LIP. The daughter of the mother of the Son watches to see what will become of him. In 2:4 the daughter of the Pharaoh and her maidens were walking along the “bank of the river” where she saw the basket. Here the “bank of the river” is “Yad (יַד)” or HAND.
Of what significance is the use of two different words, two different body parts in the description of the river-bank? Do you think I know? LOL! Some thoughts: LIP produces sound, HAND produces action. The male child is passing from WORD/LOGOS/POTENTIALITY to ACTION/PRAXOS/ACTUALITY. This parallels John 1:1 and 14 “14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
3. The various names given for Moses’ father-in-law: the first “Reuel”. (רעואל). The name is given shortly after Moses rescues Reuel’s seven daughters her were watering their flocks (i.e they were shepherdesses) from shepherds. Shepherds is “re-im (רעים)”. Sp Reuel’s name is EL- Reu. EL, God of Shepherds. So this is a title rather than the name. Later we see the name as Jethro. So before Moses meets the God of the Israelites he becomes son-in-law to the God of Shepherds.
4. Moses pastures his father-in-law’s flocks on Mount Horeb. (חורבה). There he meets the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob who informs Moses that He will rescue the Israelites in Egypt and bring them to a good and spacious land, flowing with Milk and Honey. “And Spacious” is “ur’chava (רחבהו). Not only is Mitzraim the Torah’s name for Egypt, but it also means “a narrow, confining place”. Thus at Horeb, a good and spacious land is promised. The Hebrew for “Horeb” and “and Spacious” are anagrams. This reinforces the possibility of generalizing the story of Exodus. From a particular historic event it maybe read as a Soul’s journey from harsh confinement to spacious halls in the Kingdom of God. And on a psychological level is it not consistent with the developing fetus in the wound, passing through Narrow places into a good and spacious world of Creation? And further on that point: to what does the mention of the Puah and Shifra, the midwives who protected the Israelite boys speak of in regard to the sanguinary fanatics of Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood? If the good midwives were praised, what will the judgment be upon all those who encourage and facilitate and actualize the destruction of developing humans?
5. In the Artscroll Interlinear Chumash for Exodus there is a note at 2:5 that is interesting. The Egyptian Princess is named, Bisyah.
As I often do when confronted by new words or names I attempted to discover the Hebrew underpinning. B I S Y A H. Hmm: בסיה? בשיאה? Then it hit me. This was transliterated from the Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation. But I have been learning Sephardic (or modern Israeli) pronunciation! Therefore the “S” sound might be written as ת (Tet). Bet-Yah! Daughter-of God!
I learned in a quick Google search that “Medrash Talpiyos quoting the Zohar” teaches “Bisyah and Tziporah were twins… whom Paroh and Yisro respectively, found in the market-place. On account of their beauty, they took them home and brought them up as daughters.” These names are more recognizable to many of us as Pharaoh and Yitro (Jethro). If true Moses would be Bisyah’s adopted son, and thus Tziporah’s nephew! But the Tziporah- Bisyah connection is just something I came across in trying to discover on what the Artscroll note at 2:5 is based.
I found this amazing resource online. I was researching the Naqod in today’s Parsha, Pinchas. At Numbers 29:15 occurs one of the strange “Extraordinary Dots” which appear in 10 places in the Torah. Their meaning or meanings are unclear.
In this case the extra dot appears over the second vav in the word vav ayin sin raish VAV final nun. The verse “One tenth a tenth for one lamb for each of the fourteen lambs.” It is taken to mean a tenth of an ephah (of fine flour) for EACH of the fourteen lambs.
By clicking on the link the extremely detailed discussion of this singular point is accessed from a text written in 1910. In brief it attributes the naqod to scribes taking into account the variant manuscripts. Other than the now standard Masoretic Version, there were many many variants. At this particular verse many do not have the repetition “a tenth a tenth”. Some have more than one naqod.
This all is interesting. But. Before I looked into the whys and hows of the naqodoth (plural) I played numerology theories. I found an interesting answer not relevant to textual variants but meaningful numerologically.
The verse mentions 14 lambs. If one counts 14 letters before the VAV Naqod and 14 letters afterwards both are dalet. Dalet Vav Dalet. This is a spelling used by or for David. ד ו ד. Interesting, but more. The gematria (number value) is 4 + 6 + 4 = 14. 14 = the number of David, the number of lambs and in Matt. 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
So this naqod marks a letter from which 14 letters can be counted backward and forward that produce the name David and the value 14. A number the Gospel writer of Matthew linked to Yeshua.
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SUBMIT YOUR SWEETEST MEMORY OF A VISIT. MY ENTRY.
There are several caves on Mount Carmel associated with Elijah the Prophet. One of them is inside the Church of the Stella Carmelite Monastery. In Israel it is not unusual to find special sites actually enclosed within a church building.
After spending an infernally hot day walking down the Bahai Gardens and a quick shower in my el-cheapo hotel, and I was off to see the cave.
I got there just as they were locking up. I drove my Eldan rental to Stella Maris from the Hotel, with the AC as always on full blast. I parked just above the monastery. Haifa is nearly a vertical city, perched on Mount Carmel. Up and down are directions as well as left and right. And to traverse that verticality there is the upper terminus of the cable car just down the block.
The Monastery was closing just as I arrived. There is a trail descending down from Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery to the sea. Down it, I was told, are several other caves. Learning of the other caves I decided to walk down. So I walked down the trail as the sun was going down to my left. The trail winds down from the hilltop. After a little while I saw the cement skeleton from some abandoned building or bunker. I noticed the sun shining through an empty window and casting a bright rectangle on the wall.
I had been traveling alone and was very aware of my intuitive thoughts. Often times hiking about the many Nature areas I sought out, I would come to forks in the trail. Nearly always I picked what turned out to be the most fortuitous choice. That fiery orange rectangle must be significant, I knew! I strolled off on a subsidiary trail to check it out. As the sun was going down the air was cooling. Birds were singing. The sky over the Med was shades of mauve and pink with the formerly fierce sun now casting a whisper and shadows.
The bunker (or whatever it was) was cool and hushed. The orange rectangle on the wall opposite the empty window was at hand. Whatever was in that rectangle was there for me. I knew that. What would it be?
I thought of the day’s sights and travels. I thought of the precise sequence of the day that lead me to this place at this particular time on this exact day to see this beam lighting this rectangular space. Inside, stepping over broken glass, Coke bottles and beer cans and signs of bonfires past I was greeted by a welcome cool moist feeling. As only the glass and small stones underfoot broke the silence I proceeded to see just what I was supposed to see.
There, as if framed perfectly by the sun beam was writing. I knew it! But what does it say?
It was the Ten Commandments! Someone had written the Ten Commandments in graffiti. And whoever did, did so at this precise location. They must have been here at the same time and solar day as I was. Another year maybe. Another decade?
I was stunned. I was grateful that G-d brought me there at that time with eyes to see and a hunch. Still stunned I walked on. The trail descended down into shaded and hushed forest. And down to the sound of the highway. Across the road there is a restaurant on the sea. It is in the building that also serves for the bottom terminus of the cable car. I watched the sun finish setting, had a bite and a cold drink and ascended in the cable car back to my car. TRUE STORY GOT THE PICS
We have been counting the Omer, from the eve of the second Passover Seder. We count seven weeks and on the next day i.e. the fiftieth we celebrate Shavuot. This holy day is called “The Festival Of Weeks” in English. The Torah’s typical verbal parsimony states that from the day of the first fruits of the barley harvest are brought, count seven weeks and on the next day celebrate Shavuot. Shavuot literally means “weeks”. It is on the face of it a purely agricultural event.
However, Shavuot has been attached, or anchored into the Exodus saga. There are many commentaries and opinions on the question of “which day do we begin the count?” The Torah only tersely states that the count is to begin after the Sabbath.. The mainstream of rabbinic opinion and Jewish practice is to consider the Passover to be the “Sabbath”, a rest day, and therefore the count begins on the next day. Others have read it to mean what it says: from the next Sabbath after Passover. In any case there is a clear connection made between what was once a purely agricultural holiday and the Exodus from Egypt. (Similarly, there appears to have been an ancient festival of unleavened bread to which a newer meaning is overlaid; that we eat unleavened bread in recognition that the Israelites fleeing Egypt had no time to allow natural rising of leavened dough.)
The written Torah takes us no further in regard to Shavuot. But there is a major addition made in its understanding through the Tradition that it was on this day that the Torah was given to Moses. Much apocryphal writing exists on that theme, to which we shall turn to later.
The Christian holiday of Pentecost is Shavuot. It is well known that pente refers to fifty, and the holiday is the fiftieth day from Easter. For Messianic Jews, an understanding of this day of Shavuot and its parallels with Pentecost can illuminate many levels of meaning. One approach is through a deeper understanding of the Book of Ruth.
The Jewish Bible, (or Tanaach) contains the Torah (the five books of Moses), the Prophets, the Writings, and Poetry. The Book Of Ruth is from the Writings. Other Writings include Ester, (read at Purim), Lamentations, (Tisha b’av), The Song Of Songs (Shabbot within the week of Passover) and Ecclesiastes (Shabbot within Succoth).
The Book Of Ruth is read on Shavuot. The mainstream consensus is that it was chosen because its plot unfolds within the time of the barley harvest, and Shavuot is celebration of that same first harvest. (In The Land, barley is the first harvest and wheat is the next. And only toward the end of the agricultural season comes the harvest of grapes and olives.)
When Ruth is read quickly on the assumption that its only connection to Shavuot is that they both relate to the barley harvest, its profound symbolism and indeed prophetic qualities are completely missed. Ruth has much to say to Messianic Jews.
Initially the book seems little more than a sweet story of loyalty and generosity. It is not classified with the Prophets, but as Writings. And yet there seems more to it than a mere source of homiletic exhortation. Something clearly messianic is being whispered between the lines. It is about David’s ancestry; and to a Messianic Jew that must say something about Messiah, whether Yeshua or One as of yet unrevealed. The expectation of the Messiah is considered a cardinal tenet of faith according to Maimonides. And of course in the daily prayers we pray for the Son of David to return to and restore Jerusalem.
What might we find when we look closer at this book? This Scroll, Ruth, is the story of the genealogy of David, and as said above, is read on Shavuot, the celebration of the first, the barley harvest. Shavuot has also become linked with the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. And in the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) it is on Shavuot that the Ruach HaKodesh (holy spirit) fills the group of believers and allows them to speak in the various tongues. Jewish believers and believers from all the nations were present in “one place” (Acts2: 1-4) and yet were able to “hear the great things that God has done” in their own languages! So upon this Day of First Fruits the Holy Spirit invited the first Yeshua believers from the nations to become engrafted into God’s nation, Israel!
The Book Of Ruth is the story of the Moabite woman who somehow became the Great Grandmother of David and earned a whole book in the Tanaach to be named for her, and to be listed in the genealogy of Yeshua HaMoshiach. (Mt 1: 5)
The story of Ruth takes place “In the days when the Judges judged (ruled)”. And because of a famine Elimelech his wife Naomi, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion left Bethlehem-Judah. All of these names have meaning. Eli My God, melech King, so Elimelech means “God is my king”. We learn later in the text that Naomi means “pleasant”. Mahlon, and Chilion mean Sickly and Frailty, respectively. And because of the famine they must leave Beit LeChem, (Bethlehem: ironically means house of bread). Further, the family is called Ephratim (that term reappears toward the end of the book and we will deal with it there.) And they left to sojourn in the fields of Moab.
Elimelech died leaving Naomi and her two sons alone in Moab. The sons married two Moabite women. The rabbinic commentators perform feats of contortion to circumvent the plain reading of Deuteronomy 23: 4. “No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted into the congregation of the lord; none of their descendents even in the tenth generation shall be admitted into the congregation of the lord, 5. Because they did not meet you with food and water on your journey after you left Egypt, and because they hired Balaam…to curse you”. One such commentary claims that the taboo only included Moabite males since the term Moabitress is not in the commandment. Many are content to say that this law in Deuteronomy was not known at this time and place. I think it is ducking the issue, and if pursued the question may give answers that shed light on other points.
For a brief and uneventful ten years nothing of any import occurs in the story. That “nothing” actually becomes the “something”, for both young men die, childless. Their death following their father’s leaves Elimelech’s estate “intestate”, in need of a Redeemer. As 4:7 later makes clear, when the Israelites came into their land it was divided by lot between the tribes, and then between the clan’s of the tribes and even to the males of the families. Their allotment was to be considered adherent to their families, and passed from fathers to sons. It could not be sold. It could only be leased out if necessary but it had to be returned in the Jubilee years. In this case, Elimelech’s holdings near Bethlehem had no male inheritors (when one considers the etymology of “intestate” the similarity is apparent!). Therefore it was in need of being redeemed. The Redeemer was the male who had the right and/or obligation to take the land in the name of the deceased so that it would not pass out of his clan, or tribe, or out of Israelite ownership itself. This becomes very important to the story later on!
Back at the ranch, the mournful, lonesome trio of widows, Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, were in an untenable situation. Naomi arose to leave Moab because she heard that the lord had remembered the people (exactly as Moses spoke to the Israelites in Egypt) giving them food (lehem as in Beit Le-hem, Bethlehem!). As the three started on the road back to the Land of Judah, Naomi blessed her daughters-in-law for all their loving support and loyalty and told them to return to the homes of their mothers. “May Adenoi deal as kindly with you as you have dealt with the deceased and me.” The girls cry and cling and desire to return to Judah with Naomi. She reminds them that she is too old to have any more sons, and even if she miraculously married and conceived a son, could Ruth or Orpah wait for him to mature so as to fulfill the levirate marriage custom. (Levirate marriage was the means for a man’s name and land allotment to be perpetuated if he died without male offspring. His brother was obliged to take the widow and conceive a son to carry on his brother’s line.)
Finally Orpah said good-bye and went back to the home of her mother. Ruth did not. Despite Naomi almost scolding her to do like Orpah and return to her people and her “gods”, Ruth declared her unshakeable commitment: “For where ever you go I will go, where you lodge, I will lodge, your people are my people and your God is my God.” And she declares that nothing but death will separate her from Naomi.
So Naomi quit arguing and the two continued on until they reached Bethlehem. When they arrived there the city was in a tumult over them. (“When he entered Jerusalem the whole city was stirred. ‘ Who is this?’ they asked” MT 21:10-11.) And the crowds asked, “is this Naomi?”
And so returned Naomi with Ruth, the Moabite, …from the fields of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
Chapter 2 begins with the narrator telling us that “And, Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a man of substance from the family of Elimelech whose name (was) Boaz. Boaz means, “in him is strength”. The narrator knows this, but the text seems to indicate that Ruth was unaware of this. Ruth, the Moabite (again the book refuses to allow that fact to be swept under the rug), asks permission of Naomi to go and glean in the field. It is very interesting that (1.) Naomi is aware of the Torah’s command, in Lev.23: 22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the lord your God.” And interesting that (2.) this pasuk occurs immediately after the explicit instructions given for establishing the holy day of Shavuot! (Lev. 23: 15-21) Which just to remind, is the day on which this book is read!
So, Ruth goes and gleans in the field behind the harvesters. When the harvesters pass and miss an ear of grain, or one drops to the ground, that ear is not to be harvested, but is to be left for the gleaners. “And it happened that she came to the part of the field of Boaz.” (I think we are meant to ask ourselves if she truly happened upon it, or perhaps planned to do so.) And then coincidentally, Boaz, himself, the important man of the area, and from the family of Elimelech, happens to arrive at the fields, returning from Bethlehem, the regional center. Boaz immediately blesses his workers (who were probably day-laborers and not people to whom important big shots to would typically defer!) His workers blessed him in return, both using the name HaShem, the name of God associated with mercy. (Previously, upon returning, Naomi tells the excited townsfolk not to call her Naomi (pleasant) but Bitter, because Shaddai had dealt bitterly with her. Shaddai is the name of God in His attribute of strict Justice.)
Boaz notices Ruth, and his foreman tells him that she is the Moabite girl (na’ra young woman, “lass”), who returned with Naomi. He also tells how she asked if she might glean and then worked without rest almost the whole morning. Boaz is impressed, perhaps by her beauty, her loyalty to Naomi, and her humility and willingness to work hard. He speaks to Ruth “Hear me well my daughter” do not glean anywhere else; stay nearby and close to my female workers. He makes it known to her that he has warned his male workers to keep their distance and that she is to feel free to drink from the jugs that his workers draw. She falls on her face before him and humbly asks “Why have I found favor in your eyes that you should take note of me, though I a foreigner?” Boaz’s answer is worth repeating verbatim: “It was fully reported to me all that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband; that you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth and went to a people whom you had not known yesterday or the day before that. May HaShem repay your actions and may your reward be complete from HaShem the God of Israel, Whom you have come, to seek refuge under His wings.”
He gave her roasted grain to eat and had her continue gleaning, though he made sure that his harvesters “missed” many ears of grain! Ruth loyally returns to Naomi with an ephah of barley. When Naomi learns from whom Ruth gleaned she says Baruch hu HaShem, (notably, no longer does she use the name Shaddai.) “Blessed be the lord Who has not abandoned His kindness with the living and with the dead!” And Naomi informs Ruth that Boaz is in fact a relative, one of “our” redeemers! And she instructs her to stay close by his female workers and Ruth does so, and completes the barley harvest and then the wheat harvest as well.
Chapter 3 begins after Ruth spent some time home with Naomi after the harvests were in. Now the two women sit and Naomi sketches out a general plan to help Ruth find the contentment that she so very much deserves. Basically the plan is direct and simple. Ruth is to be bathed, perfumed and dressed in her best outfit. She is to go down to the threshing floor where Boaz will be found.
Threshing floors are places of importance in Biblical stories. Perhaps, because they must be open and level spaces they have been the sites of gatherings for various purposes. Goren, Hebrew for threshing floor, HaAtad, the thorns, is the site where Joseph accompanied by his brothers, and Egyptian elders mourned Jacob’s death. For seven days they mourned at the Threshing Field of Thorns, (Gen. 50: 10, 11). More significantly, the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite was bought by David in order to build there an alter to the Lord, the future site of the Temple. (2Sam 24: 18- 25.) We will return to this connection, for it pertains to the barley harvest as well!
Enough with the threshing floors! Back to the story: Naomi continues to coach Ruth in the wiles of seduction. Let Boaz finish eating and drinking but do not let him see you. Watch where he beds down and then you go, uncover his feet and lie down. Naomi tells Ruth that Boaz will tell her what to do. And Ruth says “All that you have said to me I will do”, and she does.
Boaz ate and drank and merry was his heart. And she came stealthily and uncovered his feet and she lay down. In the middle of the night he “trembled and turned about and there was a woman lying at his feet”! When asked she said “I am Ruth your handmaiden, you should spread your wing over your handmaiden for the redeemer are you”.
“May you be blessed by the lord, for your last act of kindness is better than the first inasmuch as you have not turned to young men, poor or rich.” Boaz appreciates that the young and beautiful Ruth might have reasonably set her sights on other younger men. Yet, for the sake of Naomi’s husband’s inheritance she is giving herself to Boaz. He has no illusions and she has given him none to suggest otherwise. Her first kindness, caring for Naomi in the tragic and lonely years in Moab, and loyally following her back to Bethlehem is superseded by her sacrifice of her youthful life to secure Elimelech’s portion. In recognition of this Boaz echoes Ruth’s statement to Naomi “And now my daughter, do not fear. All that you say I will do for you.”
Ruth’s declaration of love and oath of allegiance to Naomi were not enough. As commendable as that was it did not change her status of being a Moabite, and therefore being ineligible to marry an Israelite; and there is nothing in the story to supersede the direct statement in Deuteronomy that not even the tenth generation of Moabite is allowed to do so. Rather than just accept that the author of Ruth was not knowledgeable of Deuteronomy, or that the Torah is imperfect I have been trying to reconcile this apparent contradiction.
Elimelech died; (name= My God Is King). Then Ruth’s and Orpah’s husbands (his sons) died. Therefore Naomi’s land had no male heir. Only since both of Naomi’s sons died without producing any children did their property revert to Naomi. And since Naomi was widowed their land in Moab was in need of being redeemed. So Boaz redeemed Naomi’s property. Ruth, who could not inherit, instead became inherited by Boaz with the land! In the name of Yeshua are not the nations redeemed and engrafted into the tree of Israel? And of course this book involving the barley harvest (first fruits), is read on Shavuot celebrating the first fruit, and states that Ruth also gleaned into the wheat harvest.
Yeshua ate the Pesah Lamb with His disciples on the First Seder of Passover, recalled in Christendom as The Last Supper. Although one can say He was like the Pesah Lamb, He could not be it, for he ate it! But He was like another Lamb. Leviticus 23: 9 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord.
Every year there are debates about which “Sabbath” is the Sabbath of Lev. 23:11. It is important, for it is from that day that the counting down to Shavuot begins. Ironically mainstream Jewish practice is to consider the 15thof Nisan to be that Sabbath. Many newly Torah Observant Messianics will count from the next seventh day Shabbot. But if done with Jewish custom we will see that Yeshua was elevated, taken up off the cross before the sun set on the 15th. Jews count the Omer from the day Yeshua was elevated. Yeshua is the Perfect Yearling Lamb given as and for the First Fruits!
Passover, and the First Seder begin as the light of Nisan 14 fades away into Nisan 15. Yeshua finished the Seder, requested that the last of the Seder table Matzo (the Afikomen) and the last cup of wine be done in remembrance of him. Returning to Gethsemane to sweat out the last night aware that in the morning his torment will ensue, it was still the 15th. When the Romans, brought by Judas Iscariot arrived to arrest Him it was the 15th.
So… perhaps Elimelech stands for Yeshua the suffering servant whose death initiates the story. Yeshua the son of Mary, son of Israel would have affirmed the sentiment “My God is King” (Elimelech). And despite Churchianity’s dogma, Yeshua never equated himself with God! God is HIS king
Boaz, at the other end of the story, whose name means “With Power”, is the Messiah, The Lamb in Revelation, whose return at the end of history will be with power and glory.
I think it is very relevant that Paul is of the tribe of Benjamin.
Think of King Saul. There is a similarity in the roles of Saul and Paul (Saul) of Tarsus. Both absolutely can be described as exhibiting the tendency to accept small loss for a greater gain.
Both were perhaps overly “pragmatic”. King Saul would not await Samuel’s arrival. The tactical situation demanded military action then ad there. It was also impractical to slaughter the choicest of the Amalekites cattle, and women. And having a King alive as one’s captive is perhaps more useful than having him dead. (A captive King could be made a puppet, or ransomed.)
King Saul was physically strong, large, an alpha male type. He was able to unify the Israelites to expel the Philistines from at least enough contiguous space for a Kingdom to arise. How he did so may not have been entirely up to Samuel’s standards.
Paul, as self-described Apostle to the Gentiles was out to spread the news of Yeshua. What he did was to take Judaism, which by definition can be said to be the religion of the Jews, with its particularity as to place, Jerusalem, and to its God, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, and deracinate its essence so as to allow universal entry.
He succeeded because it was God’s will that Christianity would become the religion of Rome, and thus Europe, and thus be spread throughout the entire world. Like Joseph said to his brothers, though the Church Fathers meant it for evil (the anti-Judaizing and anti-Semitic blood bathes), God meant it for good. Like Joseph whose suffering saved Israel and the surrounding nations, the suffering of the Jews, the Aztecs, Incas, the natives of all the world allowed the Church Militant to spread the Bible throughout all the world. This allows individuals to read, to pray, and for THE FEW to choose the Narrow path. The Gift of opening the door to the world to come; i.e. membership in Beit Yisrael, cost Yeshua, and the Jews much suffering. But, though Popes, Priests, Princes, in pomp and pride meant it for evil, God meant it for GOOD.
King Saul, and the Apostle Saul, the two Benjaminites were necessary but NOT sufficient. The one had to give way to David and the tribe of Judah; and the other, Paul’s Church will give way to the very few who are called out of her.
The Church is the Plant. Its purpose is not to be a plant, but to produce fruit. The Fruit are the Torah Observant returning yet still unaware Lost Israelites, and the few true Gentiles whose salvation is the crumbs at the children’s feet.