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Commentary - Year 3 Sabbath 21

Numbers 34:1 - 35:8  -   Ezekiel 45:1, Joshua 21:41   -   Psalm 119a   -   Ephesians 1:1 - 2:22

 

Av 25, 5763 / August 23, 2003 

Av 25, 5766 / August 19, 2006

Av 25, 5769 / August 15, 2009

Av 23, 5772 / August 11, 2012

Av 23, 5775 / August   8, 2015

 

Zot haAretz / This is the Land   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

 

Psalm 119 (First half Aleph - Chof)

The first eight verses each begin with the letter aleph. The next eight verses each begin wit the letter bet. The next eight verses each begin wit the letter gimel. And so on throughout the twenty-two letters of the alephbet. This Psalm is called the repetition of eight (Talmud: Berachot 4b).

While seven is the number of the days of creation, the number eight symbolizes the release from the desires of this mundane world. In this Psalm, David charts the stages of growth toward spiritual maturity.

Aleph represents the head, the source of intellect. In the first eight verses, we are taught to walk with Yahweh’s Torah, and to wholeheartedly seek Him. We are to cherish Yahweh’s ordinances (edot – v.2: includes festivals), be firmly guided by His statutes (huqot – v.5: commandments without obvious reason, that bring us closer to God), and study His righteous judgments (mishpatim – v.7: moral laws) – all of His (three categories of) commandments (mitzvot – v.6).

Bet represents understanding (Talmud: Shabbat 104a). Through careful analysis, we are to apply the Word of God to every aspect of life. A young person can purify his walk by observing His Word (v.9). In prayer, we should bless Yahweh, and ask for teaching of His statutes (v.12). Our speech should concern His paths (v.15), and we should be occupied even with His statutes – those commandments without obvious reason (v. 16).

Gimel represents kindness. This set of eight verses begins with “(Gamal) Deal kindly with your servant, let me live that I may keep Your Word.” The ultimate kindness of God is that He would grant us to keep His Word! David asks for his eyes to be unveiled that he may perceive wonders from the Torah (v.18). Yahweh’s ordinances (such as festivals) are our counselors (v.24).

Dalet represents door (delet) and ways / paths (from derek).The first of the eight verses (v.25) reads, “(Davaq) Cleaves my soul to the dust; revive me . . .” Our natural desires are toward worldly things that corrupt the soul, so we need God to open the door and lead us in the way. We need to understand His precepts (v.27), and be sustained by His Word (v.28). We need God to correct our false ways, and graciously grant us understanding of His Torah (v.29-32).

Heh is five, representing the five books of Torah. Here is how the eight verses begin with heh: “(Horeniy) Teach me, Yahweh, how to grow spiritually, and I will cherish every little step” (v.33, paraphrased). “(Haviniy) Give me understanding” (v.34). “(Hadrikniy) Make me walk” (v.35). “(Hat-lebiy) Incline my heart” (v.36). “(Haaver) Turn me away from vanity” (v.37). “(Haqem) Establish Thy Word” (v.38). “(Haaver) Turn away my reproach” (v.39). “(Hineh) Behold! I long for Your precepts” (v.40).

Vav is called the letter of truth, because it is perfectly straight. God’s Word is utmost truth (v.43), in which we can implicitly trust (v.42).

Zayin stands for zachar – remember. Zayin is also the number seven. Seven represents divinity: remember the Sabbath Day – the seventh day that is Holy to the Divine. David asked God to remember (zachar) His Word which preserved him (v.49-50). We are to remember (zachar) Yahweh’s ancient commandments, and be comforted (v.52). We are to remember (zachar) Yahweh’s Name, and keep His Torah (v.55).

Chet stands for chen – grace and charm. “(Chelqiy) My portion is Yahweh” (v.57): while some choose wealth and luxury, David found his satisfaction in serving Yahweh. David (chilitiy) pleaded for God’s grace (v.58). He (chishavtiy) considered his ways, to repent (v.59). He (chashtiy) hastened to keep the commandments (v.60). A friend (chaber) was David to all feared Yahweh (v.63).

Tet is the first letter of tov – good. “(Tov) Good You did with Your servant, Yahweh, according to Your Word” (v.65). “(Tov) Good reasoning teach me” (v.66). “Before I (terem) learned, I was prone to error” (v.67), but “(Tov-atah) You are good . . . teach me Your statutes” (v.68). “(Tov-liy) It is good for me that I was afflicted, so that I might learn Your statutes” (v.71). “(Tov-liy) It is good for me – the Torah of Your mouth – above thousands in gold and silver” (v.72).

Yod stands for yerushshah – inheritance. This smallest of all letters is said to represent the small number of people who will inherit the world to come (Talmud: Menachot 29b). This set of eight begins with “(Yadacha) Your hands made me” (v.73). The Midrash explains this portion, “I am the vessel, and You are the craftsman: make me beautiful so that all who behold me may praise You!”

Chof means palm of the hand, and the letter is shaped like a cupped hand. David is seeking shelter in the palm of God’s hand. Chof stands for cheter – crown. He who dwells in God’s hand will be crowned with divine glory. In the last sentences of this first-half of the Psalm, David says, “(Chimat chiluniy) They had almost destroyed me on earth, but I did not forsake Your precepts. (Chitamdecha) Preserve me according to Your kindness, and I will keep the testimony of Your mouth” (v.87-88).

Ephesians 1-2

This Ephesians portion fits with both Numbers 34 – concerning our inheritance, and with Psalm 119 – concerning growing spiritually and overcoming lawlessness.

We were spiritually dead, walking in sin according to the course of this world, in the spirit of those who are disobedient to God’s Torah (v.2:1-2). We were separate from Messiah, having no part in God’s covenant with Israel, being strangers to the promises to Abraham; we were without God in the world and had no hope (v.2:12)

But now we have obtained an inheritance (v.1:11). Through hearing the gospel, and obtaining faith in Messiah, the Spirit of God now works in us to teach us obedience to His Word (v.2:22). We now can have hope and peace.

We are no longer strangers and aliens (v.2:19). We who were far away from God’s covenant people are now made part of them by the blood of Yeshua (v.2:13).

All of this is because we were “predestined – according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” – to obtain the inheritance, and to be to the praise of His glory (v.1:11-12). We are His workmanship – meaning that we have been prepared beforehand, and have been given life in Yeshua, to walk according to Torah (v.2:10) – Torah being the very definition of ‘good works’ (Sin is the transgression of Torah – 1 John 3:4).

So, we have nothing of which to glory in ourselves; it is altogether the work of God that we receive His Word and believe, and have the promise of inheritance in the Land.

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1*  Amen.  1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Command the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance, even the land of Canaan according to its borders. 3 'Your southern sector shall extend from the wilderness of Zin along the side of Edom, and your southern border shall extend from the end of the Salt Sea eastward. 4 'Then your border shall turn direction from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim and continue to Zin, and its termination shall be to the south of Kadesh-barnea; and it shall reach Hazaraddar and continue to Azmon. 5 'The border shall turn direction from Azmon to the brook of Egypt, and its termination shall be at the sea.

Reader 2*  Amen. 6 'As for the western border, you shall have the Great Sea, that is, its coastline; this shall be your west border. 7 'And this shall be your north border: you shall draw your border line from the Great Sea to Mount Hor. 8 'You shall draw a line from Mount Hor to the Lebo-hamath, and the termination of the border shall be at Zedad; 9 and the border shall proceed to Ziphron, and its termination shall be at Hazar-enan. This shall be your north border.

Reader 3*  Amen. 10 'For your eastern border you shall also draw a line from Hazar-enan to Shepham, 11 and the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain; and the border shall go down and reach to the slope on the east side of the Sea of Chinnereth. 12 'And the border shall go down to the Jordan and its termination shall be at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land according to its borders all around.'" 13 So Moses commanded the sons of Israel, saying, "This is the land that you are to apportion by lot among you as a possession, which Yahweh has commanded to give to the nine and a half tribes. 14 "For the tribe of the sons of Reuben have received theirs according to their fathers' households, and the tribe of the sons of Gad according to their fathers' households, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their possession. 15 "The two and a half tribes have received their possession across the Jordan opposite Jericho, eastward toward the sunrising."

Reader 4*  Amen. 16 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 17 "These are the names of the men who shall apportion the land to you for inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun. 18 "You shall take one leader of every tribe to apportion the land for inheritance. 19 "These are the names of the men: of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. 20 "Of the tribe of the sons of Simeon, Samuel the son of Ammihud. 21 "Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon. 22 "Of the tribe of the sons of Dan a leader, Bukki the son of Jogli.

Reader 5*  Amen. 23 "Of the sons of Joseph: of the tribe of the sons of Manasseh a leader, Hanniel the son of Ephod. 24 "Of the tribe of the sons of Ephraim a leader, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan. 25 "Of the tribe of the sons of Zebulun a leader, Elizaphan the son of Parnach. 26 "Of the tribe of the sons of Issachar a leader, Paltiel the son of Azzan. 27 "Of the tribe of the sons of Asher a leader, Ahihud the son of Shelomi. 28 "Of the tribe of the sons of Naphtali a leader, Pedahel the son of Ammihud." 29 These are those whom Yahweh commanded to apportion the inheritance to the sons of Israel in the land of Canaan.

Reader 6*  Amen. 35:1 Now Yahweh spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, 2 "Command the sons of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands around the cities. 3 "The cities shall be theirs to live in; and their pasture lands shall be for their cattle and for their herds and for all their beasts. 4 "The pasture lands of the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits around.

Reader 7*  Amen. 5 "You shall also measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, with the city in the center. This shall become theirs as pasture lands for the cities. 6 "The cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to; and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. 7 "All the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be forty-eight cities, together with their pasture lands. 8 "As for the cities which you shall give from the possession of the sons of Israel, you shall take more from the larger and you shall take less from the smaller; each shall give some of his cities to the Levites in proportion to his possession which he inherits."

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Joshua 21:41

41 All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands.

 

Ezekiel 45:1

1 "And when you shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, you shall offer an allotment to Yahweh, a holy portion of the land; the length shall be the length of 25,000 cubits (8 miles), and the width shall be 10,000 (3 miles). It shall be holy within all its boundary round about.

 

Psalm 119:1-88 (first half)    (To be sung.)

Aleph. 1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of Yahweh. Aleph.2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. Aleph.3 They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. Aleph.4 You have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently. Aleph.5 Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes! Aleph.6 Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Your commandments. Aleph.7 I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I shall keep Your statutes; do not forsake me utterly!

Bet 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. Bet 10 With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Bet 11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. Bet 12 Blessed are You, O Yahweh; teach me Your statutes. Bet 13 With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth. Bet 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. Bet 15 I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. Bet 16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.

Gimel 17 Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word. Gimel 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your Torah. Gimel 19 I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me. Gimel 20 My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times. Gimel 21 You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Your commandments. Gimel 22 Take away reproach and contempt from me, for I observe Your testimonies. Gimel 23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Gimel 24 Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors.

Dalet 25 My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Your word. Dalet 26 I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; teach me Your statutes. Dalet 27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate on Your wonders. Dalet 28 My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Your word. Dalet 29 Remove the false way from me, and graciously grant me Your Torah. Dalet 30 I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. Dalet 31 I cling to Your testimonies; O Yahweh, do not put me to shame! Dalet 32 I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.

Hey 33 Teach me, O Yahweh, the way of Your statutes, and I shall observe it to the end. Hey 34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart. Hey 35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Hey 36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to dishonest gain. Hey 37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways. Hey 38 Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You. Hey 39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your ordinances are good. Hey 40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me through Your righteousness.

Vav 41 May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O Yahweh, Your salvation according to Your word; Vav 42 So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word. Vav 43 And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I wait for Your ordinances. Vav 44 So I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever. Vav 45 And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts. Vav 46 I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed. Vav 47 I shall delight in Your commandments, which I love. Vav 48 And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes.

Zayin 49 Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope. Zayin 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me. Zayin 51 The arrogant utterly deride me, yet I do not turn aside from Your Torah. Zayin 52 I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O Yahweh, and comfort myself. Zayin 53 Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Your Torah. Zayin 54 Your statutes are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Zayin 55 O Yahweh, I remember Your name in the night, and keep Your Torah. Zayin 56 This has become mine, that I observe Your precepts.

Het 57 Yahweh is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. Het 58 I sought Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your word. Het 59 I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies. Het 60 I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments. Het 61 The cords of the wicked have encircled me, but I have not forgotten Your Torah. Het 62 At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances. Het 63 I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts. Het 64 The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Yahweh; teach me Your statutes..

Tet 65 You have dealt well with Your servant, O Yahweh, according to Your word. Tet 66 Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments. Tet 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. Tet 68 You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes. Tet 69 The arrogant have forged a lie against me; with all my heart I will observe Your precepts. Tet 70 Their heart is covered with fat, but I delight in Your Torah. Tet 71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. Tet 72 The Torah of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Yod  73 Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Yod  74 May those who fear You see me and be glad, because I wait for Your word. Yod  75 I know, O Yahweh, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Yod  76 O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, according to Your word to Your servant. Yod  77 May Your compassion come to me that I may live, for Your Torah is my delight. Yod  78 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Your precepts. Yod  79 May those who fear You turn to me, even those who know Your testimonies. Yod  80 May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, so that I will not be ashamed.

Koph 81 My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word. Koph 82 My eyes fail with longing for Your word, while I say, "When will You comfort me?" Koph 83 Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes. Koph 84 How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? Koph 85 The arrogant have dug pits for me, men who are not in accord with Your Torah. Koph 86 All Your commandments are faithful; they have persecuted me with a lie; help me! Koph 87 They almost destroyed me on earth, but as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts. Koph 88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.

 

Ephesians 1:1 – 2:22

1 Paul, an apostle of Messiah Yeshua by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Messiah Yeshua: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Yahweh Yeshua the Messiah. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Yeshua the Messiah to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Messiah, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Messiah would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. 15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in Yahweh Yeshua which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Messiah, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Messiah (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision " by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands-- 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Messiah Yeshua you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 and He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in Yahweh, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words.

 


© 2003  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)