Torah Commentary – B’midbar “In the Wilderness”
Luke 2:1-7; 1Cor 12:12-31
Many people may look at this Torah portion as just names, facts and figures. I see so much more that speaks deep inside.
The Book of B’midbar (Numbers) begins with instructions to take a census. The census is not to give Yah a head count of the people dwelling in the massive encampment. Nor is it about informing Moshe how many he has to keep track of. The census shows Yah’s love for his people by communicating to the multitude each man and his family was significant in the camp. This is revealed in a couple of ways. First, the word “Take a census” is the Hebrew word nasa which means “to lift up”. The census was not as much about counting heads, but rather changing the gaze associated with those heads.
Remember, the Hebrews are not too many days removed from their lives of slavery in Egypt. The root of bondage from the slavery mindset is still prevalent in the camp. Decades of the slavery lifestyle does not disappear overnight. The posture of a slave is to look down for they do not have a future. Life is just about enduring and surviving the day. In lifting their heads, Yah is teaching them that deliverance from slavery restores the future. Hope is renewed.
I know I speak of reciting the shema quite often. As I am with others who are joining in this daily practice I see many traditions come forth. To me, there is not a right or wrong way, just different ways. I see many people who while reciting the shema will cover their eyes and bow their heads. I prefer to stop what I am doing, raise my head, many times toward Jerusalem, and recite the words. Why? For me it is a break in my day of looking down at a keyboard, a computer screen or a camera lens and reminding myself life is not just about my daily tasks, but my destiny. In fact, destiny gives my daily tasks meaning.
The greatest part of these verses for me is found in B’midbar 1:20. There it states each man 20 years old and older was to be recorded by name, family and clan. In slavery they had been a number. Now they are a name. They are significant!
Stop and look at these few verses before you go on: Isaiah 56:5, “in My house, within My walls, I will give them power and a name greater than sons and daughters; I will give him an everlasting name that will not be cut off.” Malachi 3:16, “Then those who feared ADONAI spoke together; and ADONAI listened and heard. A record book was written in His presence for those who feared ADONAI and had respect for His name.”Revelation 3:5, “He who wins the victory will, like them, be dressed in white clothing; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life; in fact, I will acknowledge him individually before my Father and before His angels. Revelation21:27, “Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” What do we see in these verses? We are being recorded by name! He knows each one of us. He knows you! You and I are significant to HaShem and to His Kingdom!
In B’midbar 2 we see the order the tribes were to travel in given. In Chapters 3 and 4 we see specific jobs certain people and families were to do. Significance does not mean doing our own thing, but rather finding our calling within the greater task. The greater task for the Hebrews was to be a model of righteousness for the nations to see. When each man with his family lifted their heads, became engaged in the task they had been given and did so with their destiny in mind the Hebrews as a whole became significant. Sounds like a familiar message to me.
Just a few days ago we counted day 40 on the Counting of the Omer. It is my favorite day in the counting. It was on this day the disciples were gathered on the Mt. of Olives and the Book of Acts began. In Acts chapter 1 the disciples were given the greatest task ever assigned to man, the Good News of His Kingdom approaching. As Yeshua began to rise to the heavens, He lifted their heads, (Nasa).
The Book of Acts shares the journeys of men and women who walked in significance toward His Kingdom. It is a book of 28 recorded chapters with more stories to be added. These stories are still being written of the acts of many more people of significance. Some who are right now reading these words. (Click to Source)
Shalom and Be Strong,
Joined To HaShem
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