I Adar 20, 5763 / Feb 22, 2003
Adar 11, 5766 / Mar 11, 2006 - see
Al Tachritu /
Do Not Let . . . Be Cut Off
SCRIPTURES (should be read first)
Aaron were responsible for planning and supervising the work of the Kohathites,
so that they did not commit any capital offenses in carrying out their duties.
Each of the 2,750 eligible Kohathites, by name (v. 32), was given a specific
task to be performed in a specific order, so that there would be no accidental
overstepping of boundaries, which would bring death. (V.20) Aaron and his sons
were required to wrap the holiest items, and then the Kohathites could carry
them, without being able to look upon them.
There is a
debate about what the problem was: were the Kohathites afraid to perform tasks
for the Tabernacle, and therefore had to be assigned definite tasks? Or were
they so eager to do the work, that they had to be assigned limited tasks so as
not to accidentally push too far and die?
1 Samuel 6
experienced a great defeat in battle with the Philistines, losing about 4,000
soldiers (1 Samuel 4:2). So, the elders of Israel decided to take the Ark of the
Covenant of Yahweh with them to defeat the enemy. But, the Philistines took the
Ark, and killed the two sons of Eli, who were with it. Upon hearing the news,
Eli, a heavy, elderly man, fell backwards and broke his neck, dying on the spot.
His daughter-in-law gave birth immediately, without showing interest for her
child, because of the news about the Ark of Yahweh.
Philistines took the Ark of Yahweh to the house of their god Dagon. The next
morning, the great stone Dagon was found lying on the floor. So, he was set
upright again. But, the following morning, Dagon was found lying on the floor
again, with his head and hands smashed on the threshold. Never again would the
priests of Dagon tread on the thresholds of his house.
smote the Philistines with rats, and hemorrhoids so severe that many were dying.
The priests of Dagon responded that the Ark should be returned to Israel, with
an offering of five golden hemorrhoids and five golden rats!
Two cows that
were nursing mothers were to pull a new wooden cart with the Ark and a box
containing the offerings. If the cows did not turn after their nursing calves,
but headed straight to Beit Shemesh (House of the Sun), then they were to
know that Yahweh had brought the plagues upon them.
When the Ark
returned, the cart was broken up for fire-wood, and the cows used for an
offering to Yahweh, for the return of the Ark. But, many of the Israelites
looked into the Ark, and died there. So, the people of Beit Shemesh sent for the
Levites to take the Ark to its appropriate place.
tells us that 50,070 Israelites were killed for looking into the Ark, when it
was sent back from the land of the Philistines. The people then said: “Who is
able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God?” The holiness of Yahweh is a
major point of this Torah portion.
Those who take
pride in their own ways, pouring forth their own words, are called “stupid ones”
in today’s Psalm. Do they think that God, who created eyes, does not see? Or He
who created ears, does He not hear? Yahweh knows our thoughts, and blessed are
the ones whom He chastens, that they may learn Torah!
Paul tells us
how each member of the body has different gifts, all to be used for helping the
body to be healthy. Like the consideration of the Kohathite problem, we should
earnestly desire gifts to further God’s work, but not push further than is
proper. We must not arrogantly claim “gifts” to make a front of being spiritual.
We must not pour forth our own words. One who is “prophesying” must expound
God’s Words – Torah, regardless of language. “If they speak not according to
this word, it is because there is no light in them” – Isaiah 8:20.
“Messianic” world, we have at least two major areas of spiritual pride: those
who claim “spiritual gifts”, such as a false “speaking in tongues” or “words of
knowledge”; and Kabalistic teaching, where “reading between the lines” of Torah
is taught by those who lack understanding of the real lines of Torah. Those who
seek salvation and recognition through this kind of “wonderful works” will hear,
“I never knew you; depart from me, you who work iniquity” – Matthew 7:23.
Salvation is by
Yeshua, through faith in Him, not by our “wonderful works”. Our gifts and duties
here are for the purpose of building-up His church (Matthew 16:18), not for our
glory but for God’s glory.
God is holy –
different from us. Our ways are not His ways. We are to learn holiness – a
requirement for seeing Him (Hebrews 12:14).
Amen* 17 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses
and to Aaron, saying, 18 "Do not let the tribe of the families of the
Kohathites be cut off from among the Levites. 19 "But do this to them that
they may live and not die when they approach the most holy objects: Aaron and
his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load; 20 but
they shall not go in to see the holy objects even for a moment, lest they die."
1 Samuel 6
1 Now the ark of Yahweh had been in the
country of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the
priests and the diviners, saying, "What shall we do with the ark of Yahweh? Tell
us how we shall send it to its place." 3 And they said, "If you send away the
ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but you shall surely return to
Him a guilt offering. Then you shall be healed and it shall be known to you why
His hand is not removed from you." 4 Then they said, "What shall be the guilt
offering which we shall return to Him?" And they said, "Five golden tumors and
five golden mice according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for
one plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 "So you shall make likenesses
of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that ravage the land, and you shall
give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will ease His hand from you, your
gods, and your land. 6 "Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and
Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them, did they
not allow the people to go, and they departed? 7 "Now therefore take and prepare
a new cart and two milch cows on which there has never been a yoke; and hitch
the cows to the cart and take their calves home, away from them. 8 "And take the
ark of Yahweh and place it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you
return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it away that
it may go. 9 "And watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh,
then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we shall know that it was
not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance." 10 Then the men did
so, and took two milch cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their
calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of Yahweh on the cart, and the box with
the golden mice and the likenesses of their tumors. 12 And the cows took the
straight way in the direction of Beth-shemesh; they went along the highway,
lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. And the
lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh. 13 Now the
people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, and they
raised their eyes and saw the ark and were glad to see it. 14 And the cart came
into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stood there where there was a
large stone; and they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt
offering to Yahweh. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of Yahweh and the box
that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large
stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed
sacrifices that day to Yahweh. 16 And when the five lords of the Philistines saw
it, they returned to Ekron that day. 17 And these are the golden tumors which
the Philistines returned for a guilt offering to Yahweh: one for Ashdod, one for
Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18 and the golden mice,
according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the
five lords, both of fortified cities and of country villages. The large stone on
which they set the ark of Yahweh is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua
the Beth-shemite. 19 And He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because
they had looked into the ark of Yahweh. He struck down of all the people, 50,070
men, and the people mourned because Yahweh had struck the people with a great
slaughter. 20 And the men of Beth-shemesh said, "Who is able to stand before
Yahweh, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?" 21 So they sent
messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, "The Philistines have
brought back the ark of Yahweh; come down and take it up to you."
1 O Lord, God of vengeance; God of
vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O Judge of the earth; Render recompense to
the proud. 3 How long shall the wicked, O Yahweh, How long shall the wicked
exult? 4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; all who do wickedness
vaunt themselves. 5 They crush Thy people, O Yahweh, and afflict Thy heritage. 6
They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the orphans. 7 And they have
said, "Yahweh does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed." 8 Pay heed, you
senseless among the people; and when will you understand, stupid ones? 9 He who
planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see? 10 He
who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke, even He who teaches man knowledge?
11 Yahweh knows the thoughts of man, that they are a mere breath. 12 Blessed is
the man whom Thou dost chasten, O Yahweh, and dost teach out of Thy law; 13 That
Thou mayest grant him relief from the days of adversity, until a pit is dug for
the wicked. 14 For Yahweh will not abandon His people, nor will He forsake His
inheritance. 15 For judgment will again be righteous; and all the upright in
heart will follow it. 16 Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Who will
take his stand for me against those who do wickedness? 17 If Yahweh had not been
my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. 18 If I should
say, "My foot has slipped," Thy lovingkindness, O Yahweh, will hold me up. 19
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul.
20 Can a throne of destruction be allied with Thee, one which devises mischief
by decree? 21 They band themselves together against the life of the righteous,
and condemn the innocent to death. 22 But Yahweh has been my stronghold, and my
God the rock of my refuge. 23 And He has brought back their wickedness upon
them, and will destroy them in their evil; Yahweh our God will destroy them.
concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You
know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the dumb idols, however
you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the
Spirit of God says, "Yeshua is accursed"; and no one can say, "Yeshua is Lord,"
except by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same
Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 And there
are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the
word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same
Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the
effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the
distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another
the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these
things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 For even as
the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body,
though they are many, are one body, so also is Messiah. 13 For by one Spirit we
were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free,
and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member,
but many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part
of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And
if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,"
it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body
were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would
the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them,
in the body, just as He desired. 19 And if they were all one member, where would
the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye
cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet,
"I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members
of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the
body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and
our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, 24 whereas our
seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more
abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 that there should be no division
in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is
honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Messiah's body, and
individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first
apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of
healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not
apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are
they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of
healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret,
do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more