This Week’s Torah Portion | July 16 – July 22, 2017 – 22 Tammuz – 28 Tammuz, 5777


Matot (Tribes) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

MATTOT/MASSEI 

TORAH : NUMBERS 30:2-36:13

PROPHETS : JEREMIAH 2:4-28, 3:4,4:1-2

GOSPEL : MATTHEW 23:1-39/MATTHEW 24:1-25:46

TORAH PORTION — ALL READINGS ›

Matot/Massei – July 16-22, 2017

PORTION READINGS:

Torah

  1. Numbers 30:1—32:42

  2. Numbers 33:1—36:13

Haftarah

Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4; 4:1-2

 PORTION SUMMARY

The Parashah for this week 16-22 July 2017 is a “Double Reading”:

I. Matot—“Tribes”

TORAH: Numbers 30:1—32:42

Numbers 30. Vows and oaths to the LORD are extremely serious transactions in God’s eyes; such words, coming out of the mouth of a person and binding his or her very soul, must be taken seriously and honoured by all humankind who are made in God’s own image (vss. 2, 6). In Ancient Israel, vows and oaths were binding absolutely on all males (30:2). Yet within the authority structure God had set up, there were certain circumstances in which the positioning of a human father or husband could (as with the divine Father/Husband of which they are a reflection) allow release of a special grace to cover the guilt of a young daughter living at home, or of a wife (the protection and oversight of both for which God held the father or husband ultimately responsible). Thus, if a father, on the day he heard of a vow his daughter had made deemed it unwise, he could overrule her vow and the LORD would forgive her (30:5). Similarly, on the day a husband became aware of a vow made by his wife, he might, if he believed it unwise, choose to “overrule” (Hebrew verb: lehani) and “make void” (Hebrew verb: lehaphir) the vow which she had made –“and what she uttered with her lips, by which she bound her soul, and the LORD will forgive her.”

[It is interesting that both of these Hebrew verbs are used in Psalm 33:10, “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing (Hebrew: lehaphir); He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect” (Hebrew: lehani). Here also, faulty counsel is cancelled out by a greater authority in an ultimate mercy.]

*Numbers 30:15. “But if he does make them void after he has heard them, then he shall bear her iniquity”. In a holy sanctuary built and maintained by fallen man, those of the House of Levi were called to “bear the iniquity” of that sanctuary. (Numbers 18:1, 23), while Aaron and his descendants would “bear the iniquity” of his priesthood. There was a special grace given to those in these positions—but if the rest of the Israelites came near to the tabernacle of meeting, they would “bear their sin and die.” Likewise, it appears here that a measure of this same grace was given to a man in his role as “priest” or “Levite” over his home. Ultimately, just as one goat was slain for sin on the Day of Atonement, but another was necessary to be taken into the wilderness to “bear on itself all their iniquities…” (Leviticus 16:22), so would come Another who not only would offer Himself up to die as a sacrifice for sin—but as the Lamb of God, also would bear away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

*Numbers 31:1-2. “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”

It is important in reading the grim even shocking events of the first half of this chapter, to realize Who had issued the order. In Psalm 94:1 the LORD (YHVH) is twice called El-Nekamot—literally, “God of all Vengeance”. Isaiah 61:2 speaks of the Spirit’s anointing One to proclaim “the day of the vengeance of our God” (as well as to “comfort all who mourn”). II Thessalonians 1:8 prophecies a Day when Yeshua will be revealed from Heaven with mighty angels “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah.” Romans 12:17-20 cautions against believers taking their own revenge for perceived offenses, and quotes Deuteronomy 32:35, “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the YHVH”. Hebrews 10:30 also quotes this same verse from the Torah as relevant to those who “know Him” today. Vengeance is always His and not ours. Yet Psalm 149:7 makes clear that “Saints” will on occasion be used to “execute [His] vengeance on the nations.”

It is obviously this, the righteous vengeance of God, which is being released through His people in Numbers 31. “It is appointed for [all] men to die once…” (Hebrews 9:27). The time was at hand for these Midianites, including the women who had “caused the children of Israel (even as they were poised to cross into the Promised Land) to trespass against the LORD” (Numbers 31:1).

II. Massei—“Journeys of…”

TORAH: Numbers 33:1—36:13

CHAPTER 33

“Now at the end of the long chain of Wilderness stories that began in Exodus, as the Israelites are poised to cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, we get a grand recapitulation of the whole narrative in the form of an itinerary of all the “way stations” in the Wilderness march” (Alter, Robert: The Five Books of Moses, W.W.Norton & Co: New York, London, 2004 (p. 852, n 1).

*Numbers 33:1. “These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. (Emphases ours)

As noted when this ‘going forth’ from Egypt was first recorded (Exodus 12:41, 51; 13:18), although the Children of Israel may not yet have been fully aware that they were an “army” (with each member assigned his/her positioning in its arraying), YHVH Tz’vaot, Elohei Ma’arkhot Yisrael (“Yehovah of Armies, God of the Arraying of Israel”—I Samuel 17:45) was well aware! When people are brought out of the slave-house of sin into the Kingdom of Heaven, they will soon discover that they are in a war—but also that they each have a place especially reserved in the army of the Captain of the Hosts of the LORD!

*Numbers 33:2. “And Moses wrote down their departure points for their journeying by the word of the LORD, and these are their journeying by their departure points” (Robert Alter, trans).

“Departure points” (Hebrew: motz’a) is also sometimes translated into English as “starting points” or “places of origin”. All have validity, albeit resulting in slightly different perspectives. In fact, this word is related to that used of God in the traditional Hebrew blessing over meals, “Ha’motzi lechem min haAretz”—“Who brings forth bread from the earth”. So the passage might even be interpreted to read, “Moses wrote down those places from which they were brought forth for their journey”. An old Jewish proverb goes something like this, “You can’t know where you’re going ‘til you know where you came from.” It was important that the Hebrews keep a record of these starting/departure points from which, in the timings of the LORD, they had been continually drawn forth—back into the path of their journeying (Numbers 9:18).

*Numbers 36:7. “And an estate of the Israelites shall not turn round from tribe to tribe, but the Israelites shall cling each man to the estate of the tribe of his fathers” (Robert Alter, trans.).

“Cling” comes from the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 2:24 regarding a man and his wife. It was this charge as related to inherited land which likely fueled Naboth’s response to Ahab in I Kings 21:3, “YHVH Forbid! That I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!”

It is important to pray for Israelis returning to the Land of their Fathers—that they will receive from the Lord a fierce, strong zeal after that land, a holy jealousy in valuing this inheritance passed down from the Fathers, who received it as an eternal Covenantfrom the God who chose them and met with them there!
*After Numbers 36:13:

KhaZAK! KhaZAK! V’Nit’khaZEK!—“Be Strong! Be Strong! And we Shall Become Stronger!!

It is traditional to chant this admonishment after reaching the end of each of the Five Books of Moses.

HAFTARAH (“Haftarah of Affliction/Admonition 2): Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4; 4:1-2

During the three-week period “between the straits” (the 17th of Tammuz through the 9th of Av) the usual Haftarah portions are replaced by special “Haftarah’s of Affliction/Admonition”), calling Israel to sober contemplation of her sin and her deserving of severe judgment—and of the Love of her God still drawing her to repent and return to Him.

*Jeremiah 2:13. “For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the Source of living water, and they have hewed themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

*Jeremiah 3:4 [Read in Ashkenazy Synagogues]: “Will you not from this time cry to Me, ‘My Father, You are the guide of my youth?’”

*Jeremiah 4:1-2 [Read in Sephardic Jewish Synagogues]: “ ‘If you will return, O Israel,’ declares the LORD, ‘then you should return to me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, and will not waver, and you will swear ‘As the LORD lives’ in truth, in justice and in righteousness; then the nations will bless themselves in Him, and in Him they will glory.”

It has always been the divine plan that as Israel comes into a right relationship with her God repercussions will be felt throughout the world—the nations will come into a new revelation of His Glory, and “bless themselves in Him!”

[The Parashah for next week 23-29 July 2017 is called Dvarim—“Words…”. TORAH: Deuteronomy 1:1—3:22; HAFTARAH: Jeremiah 8:13—9:23.]

In A Nutshell

In this portion Moses alerts the heads of the tribes about the commandments connected to the making and untying of vows. The portion also speaks of Pinhas, who leads Israel into a war with Midian and emerges triumphant. Following the war, the text details the division of the spoils (some of which are dedicated to the Creator) as well as the commandments to make the Kelim Kosher, detailing the process of dipping and immersing them in boiling water.

At the end of the portion, the tribes of Gad and Reuben ask to stay on the Eastern bank of the Jordan River because of its good soil for their voluminous cattle herds. They infuriate Moses because he thinks they are seeking to avoid the war for the conquest of the land. In the end they commit to participating in the war and Moses grants their wish for a lot outside the land of Israel.

Commentary
Kabbalists attain the forces and discernments of the spiritual world. These are the forces that operate and manage our world, including the still, vegetative, animate, and human, each of which has a force that runs it. This is why it is impossible to ask anything of people who are not Kabbalists, as they have no free choice, as it is written, “They are all as beasts (animals).” When we read a story in the Torah that seems to be happening in this world, we need to understand that its roots are in the spiritual world, in the network of forces that governs the world.

Today we already feel and understand that we are approaching the network of the forces of the integral nature, which closes in on us and compels us to behave accordingly. It is the appearance of Godliness, which is gradually nearing us.

We see that we can no longer manage the world. Each day we are feeling more and more clearly that nothing in the world depends on us. We are losing our ability to manage the world because we can no longer act in life using our egos.

Kabbalists discovered the upper network and told us how it manifests on the upper level. They did so using words and stories of this world, our world, because everything that exists in the upper one descends to the lower one.

During the forty years in the desert, and even before, Moses wrote his five books, the Pentateuch. Through his attainment, Moses wrote part of the Pentateuch about the times preceding his own. He wrote it in the language of the branches, in the connections between upper and lower. Moses wrote about everything that takes place in the upper world and how the forces are managed. He spoke of them as results, as “marionettes” that move about our world and change.

This is why it is pointless trying to deal with this world; it is utterly governed; there is nothing in it of its own. To know everything, we need to rise to the upper degree, the place where decisions are made, where forces operate and influence our world.

We cannot change anything in this world, and we are well aware of it. Yet, there is one way by which we can change. If that happens, a person can be in bestowal and love according to one’s nearing to the forces in one’s nature. In this way one can change one’s fate here in this world.

In fact, only by changing ourselves can we achieve, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice,” because “The light in it reforms them.” Only through the light that we draw from the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah can we change ourselves and rise to the upper degree. From that upper degree we can influence the decisions and the mechanism that operate our world. This is why Moses turned to the heads of the tribes and explained to them about untying the vows, about going against Midian, etc.

We need to imagine man as a small world, and everything that happens in the world as happening within. Indeed, within us are Moses and the entire structure called “the people of Israel,” with its priests, Levites, and Israel, being the three lines that comprise our soul. There are also the nations of the world within us, the Midianites, Pharaoh, and everything else that the Torah narrates.

When we discover ourselves and detect within us all those forces and qualities, we perceive the Torah as an instruction. Accordingly, we act to change and adapt ourselves from a person in this world to a higher, spiritual human, aware of the spiritual world, at the spiritual degree known as Matot (tribes).

This is a very high degree, working out of Hesed, the highest Sefira (singular of Sefirot) of the structure of the soul. Out of the ten Sefirot, Keter, Hochma, and Bina are the top Sefirot. They are above our attainment and are the ones that manage us. We approach them through our inner qualities, through arranging them properly as Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut, which are the seven remaining Sefirot.

We correct these seven Sefirot repeatedly on each degree, and they are called “the seven days of the week.” Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod correspond to the weekdays, and Malchut corresponds to the Sabbath. By correcting them we go through the weeks in a circle that eventually brings us to Keter, Hochma and Bina, the top three Sefirot, meaning to the end of correction.

Each week in the year has its Torah portion or portions. These are degrees by which we gradually elevate ourselves to the top degree, by opening up to our interior. As we do that, we find the forces within us and act alongside them.

The quality of Moses in us turns to the heads of the tribes in us, according to the division of the soul into twelve tribes, the tribes he arranged correctly while working with the growing ego from a state called “reception of the Torah” to a state called “entrance to the land of Israel.” The process one undergoes between the states is called “the forty years in the desert.” The desert represents our need to sort out the desires within us and correct them from reception for ourselves into the altruistic form of bestowal, to the right approach toward others, which can be summed up in the maxim, “That which you hate, do not do to your friend.” On the degree of “tribes,” one scrutinizes one’s qualities and how to work with the will to receive.

At first, a person can scrutinize the vows. Vows are states and conditions by which one attains a higher degree. The vows indicate the limitation one can take upon oneself and not fail. However, when one cannot persist with them, it is possible to rid oneself from them much like the untying of vows before Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

There are fundamental laws in spirituality that concern man and the scrutiny that takes place within—to what extent one can ask for correction for oneself and work with the force that corrects. Following these preparations, a person becomes aware of one’s ability to work with one’s ego on the level of Midian. Such a person works with the force known as Pinhas, which is the next stage of the force of Moses.

This is when one can truly go to war. A person goes against one’s ego in order to conquer it and works with part of it in order to bestow. We ascend to a spiritual degree by correcting the evil inclination into a good inclination. There is no other substance but our own—the will to receive.

First, it comes with only the intention to receive. At that point it is called “the evil inclination” because it prevents itself from participating with others. When it turns into the good inclination, it connects to everyone. This means that a person has succeeded in the war and has conquered the ego.

Once a person has conquered one’s ego, he gives spoils to the tribes, the priest, the Levite, Israel, the women, and the children. He gives spoils from everything he could take from the still, vegetative, animate, and the speaking degree (human). The Torah details what we must do with the masculine part, which is the right side of the Klipa (shell/peel), and what we need to do with the feminine part, the left side of the Klipa.

On Yom Kippur there is a custom to untie vows. Why then is there a need for vows in the first place?

We cannot grow without a vow. When approaching a higher degree, we have to annul ourselves before the upper one because we have not yet reached that degree and therefore cannot accurately evaluate it. As we study we constantly correct and “update” ourselves.”

There are also complementary actions such as the Second Passover where if we did not prepare ourselves for the correction known as Passover, where we “pass over” the ego, we can come to it a month later.

This sounds like a negotiation. We make vows so we can complete the work later, that if we do something we will receive so and so.

No, there is no such thing. It is not how spirituality works. A person does everything honestly until one discovers that it is impossible to keep moving forward, or that the conditions have changed. We are in a system of interconnected souls that supports us when we fall. We learn about our being in an integral system from Moses, who did nothing wrong except for the striking of the rock, yet the whole nation suffered because of it.

There was only one Moses, but we are just beginners.

There is nothing to say about this world. Here we are nothing more than outcomes of the spiritual world. If we can influence the spiritual world through the study of Kabbalah we will change this world, as well. If we do not, we will change nothing.

In fact, we can impact the spiritual world just by aspiring to ascend to spirituality, and this will impact this world favorably. If we have no ability or desire to change our spiritual situation even if we can, our world will still advance, but on a path of suffering.

How can we change our world if it is only a world of results and we are being operated on, without any free choice?

As soon as we begin to ascend toward the spiritual world, we begin to change this world. Nothing in this world changes it but the forces that influence it from above. Therefore, our only choice in this world is to rise above it.

Is this done by connecting and uniting with others?

Yes, through unity with others.

Will we improve our financial situation, too, by studying Kabbalah?

Everything will change. All the outcomes in this world depend only on the connections between us. There is nothing truly worth doing but securing our sustenance, and dedicating the rest of the time to spiritual ascension. This, in turn, will change everything.

Is the correction personal or does it affect everyone?

The correction is both personal and general, but today it is primarily general.

Why is it so hard to understand it even though it sounds so simple?

We are built according to our individualistic egos. We view the world egotistically. And precisely because of it, today the systems of economy and education are becoming dysfunctional. We cannot succeed anymore because everything is broken and scattered. Throughout history we have become used to advancing using our egos, by trying to profit and benefit ourselves the most. But today these egotistical, linear systems have stopped functioning. We are moving into systems that are round, integral, connected.
Is the reciprocal impact sensed immediately?

Yes, people will feel more important, more successful, and even stronger than the government. Governments act egotistically, like a linear arrow. Conversely, the connections between people are circular. Today we are in a global mechanism in a nature that is integral and global. As a result, we cannot continue to advance egotistically, linearly, as before. Now we have to learn how to ascend, how to increase the aim to connect “as one man with one heart,” because only through unity can we change the way things are.

Matot (Tribes)

“‘And you who cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.’ What is the reason? It is because the soul of Israel comes from the spirit of the living God. ‘For the spirit before Me will enwrap.’ ‘Before Me,’ meaning before Divinity, from ZA, the living God.”

Zohar for All, Matot (Tribes), item 5

What is the spoil?

The spoil is a result of man’s work with the evil inclination. In this war, a person turns the evil inclination into good inclination using the light that reforms. As a result, a person receives light through that inclination. The light that fills a person—the attainment, that sublime sensation—is a great possession. This is the spoil.

The division of the spoil refers to how one divides the light among all of one’s parts, all of one’s desires and qualities. It denotes how one operates that division mechanism, who receives more, and who receives less.

This portion seems to discuss the root of the conduct of making utensils kosher.
The root of the matter is in our Kelim (vessels), the will to receive. This is where we receive the light. The light may appear in our desires on condition that they are not working only in order to receive, but also in order to bestow—to share them with others. When we connect ourselves to others in this way, the light appears in us. It follows that all our corrections are really qualifications of our Kelim, making them kosher.

Put differently, we need to qualify our will to receive so it aims to bestow, so it is connected to others. The water, which represents Hesed, qualifies the Kelim. If we need to correct a metal Kli (singular of Kelim), meaning make it kosher, it requires a deeper correction. It has to be passed through fire, representing Gevura. A metal Kli represents a desire that was used egotistically and that must be corrected and cleaned more powerfully through “whitening” (heating to the point where the metal becomes white), Mikveh Kelim (a tub used for ritual immersion of utensils), and Hagaalah (dipping in boiling water).

Correcting our Kelim is all that we have in the wisdom of Kabbalah. The correction of the Kelim takes place once a person has acquired them and has shifted them from the aim to receive into the aim to bestow, having conquered one’s desires. This is not only about correcting Kelim in the sense of utensils, or dishes, but about correcting the Kelim when one makes offerings.

The offering is a Kli on the animate level. One “kills” one’s will to receive, meaning the manner in which the will to receive was used before, egotistically, and brings it as an offering (Korban), from the word Hitkarvut (nearing), toward bestowal, in favor of others. Only then can one bestow love upon others using that same will to receive, which then becomes holy.

This is not the only Torah portion where there are wars and struggles.

We are always at war, always struggling, until we reach the end of correction.

If a person has already attained a certain degree and enjoys the light in it, why should one relinquish it?

Because that person would want to pass it on to others.

But that person still has no desire to pass the light to others.

Wanting to pass it on is a precondition for receiving the light.

You mean, in order to receive the light, you first need to want to give it away?

Of course. We already want to receive it because we heard it is good. But we will not receive it until we desire to share it with others. Our world mandates that we become connected because we are approaching the end of the correction process.

Once a person has tasted the light, what would stop one from wanting it all the time?

We advance “on two legs.” One receives Kelim, corrects them, fills them with light, shares them with everyone, and thus does a very good deed, a Mitzva (good deed/commandment). Using the will to receive in favor of others is called a Mitzva. Once a Mitzva is done, another part of the person’s ego that was hidden inside rises and appears.

Eventually, the entire “Egypt” of a person appears, and one is now immersed in an ego that is spreading over the good. The bad suddenly becomes dominant over the good. When that happens a person becomes wicked, and the struggle begins anew: the previous degree disappears inside, “drowning” in the bad.

When Israel enter Canaan and conquer it, there is the Eastern side of the Jordan river. Gad and Reuben wanted that lot. Why did Moses suddenly object to their dwelling on the Eastern bank of the Jordan?

Our will to receive is in the three worlds Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. There is also the Temple, Jerusalem, Mount Moriah, and the rest of the degrees: The land of Israel, around which is the Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Babylon. Additionally, there are the rest of the lands in the world, but they are not considered as having anything meaningful.

The Eastern bank of the Jordan is the first boundary outside the land of Israel, and therefore does not have the same level of sanctity as the land of Israel itself. This is why Moses, the force that manages all the corrections within us, opposes the children of Israel’s presence there. All the children of Israel must first be inside the land of Israel, and only afterward are there the conquests of David, which include Lebanon, Syria, and Babylon, from the Niles to the Euphrates.

This Week’s Torah Portion | July 09 – July 15, 2017 – 15 Tammuz – 21 Tammuz, 5777


Pinhas Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : NUMBERS 25:10-30:1

PROPHETS : 1 KINGS 18:46-19:21

GOSPEL : MARK 11:27-12:37

PORTION SUMMARY

Note: During the three-week period “between the straits” (the 17th of Tammuz through the 9th of Av) the usual Haftarah portions (for this week, I Kings 18:46—19:21) are replaced by special “Haftarah’s of Affliction/Admonition”), calling Israel to sober contemplation of her sin and her deserving of severe judgment—and of the Love of her God still drawing her to repent and return to Him.

The Zeal of the Lord

“I have been very zealous for YHVH God of Armies…”

(II Kings 19:14; From the Haftarah usually accompanying Parasha Pinhas)

*Numbers 25: 11, 13. “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aharon the Priest has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with my zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal…He was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.”

The Hebrew word Kinah Biblically may be translated either zeal (NKJV) or jealousy (NASB). Holy zeal is a burning passionate jealousy on behalf of something or someone good and deeply loved. Phinehas was zealous for “the honour of his God” (25:11,13 NIV). In a psalm foreshadowing the coming Messiah, David sang of his zeal for God’s House (Psalm 69:9; John 2:17), which consumed him. Zechariah 1:14 records YHVH’s zeal for Jerusalem—and Isaiah 9:6-7 speaks of His zeal for His Son and the establishment of His Righteous Kingdom on Earth.

(Note: But zeal must be based on a knowledge of what is righteous before God (Romans 10:2), otherwise it may be released in indiscriminate human anger which cannot work that righteousness (James 1:20). It is important also to know that kinah may be used for a kind of unholy jealousy ignited by the flesh, in which case it is refers to mere envy—Proverbs 23:17).

Please Pray:

For the awakening believers in Israel of a burning zeal, a holy jealousy for the things of God, based on truth and knowledge (Rom 10:2)—a zeal which will be necessary in turning away God’s wrath so that his people in this later generation are not consumed.

The Voice in the Still Silent Moment

*I Kings 19:11-12. (From the Haftarah usually accompanying Parasha Pinhas—I Kings 18:46—19:21). . “And the LORD was not in the wind…the earthquake…the fire; and after the fire a still small voice”.

The “still small voice” can also be translated, “A voice—a silence—a moment.” Apprehending this moment, pregnant with the Word of God, is essential for those aflame with zeal. In the cave, Elijah protested that he had been “very zealous” on God’s behalf—yet God had to show him that the roar and shaking and flame accompanying his zeal had not been enough—the intense persecution it had aroused had left Elijah with feelings of alienation, rejection and fear.

There must also be the stabilizing presence of the quiet Word within, at the center of the storm. When He yielded to that Word, the Lord was able to release instructions for Him to “return to his way” (vs 15) and proceed onwards towards the culmination of his call.In the roar of Israel, it is difficult, yet essential to apprehend and embrace that “still silent moment.” Psalm 4:4 literally says, “Become agitated and do not sin—speak in your hearts on your beds and be still (same Hebrew word as “still” in the I Kings verse).

PLEASE PRAY THAT WE TAKE THE TIME TO HEAR AND ENTER INTO THESE MOMENTS WHEN THEY COME.

A New Generation—A New Numbering

*Numbers 26:1-2: “And it came to pass, after the plague, that the LORD spoke to Moses and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying: ‘Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel from twenty years old and above, by their fathers’ houses, all who are able to go to war in Israel.”—

Numbers 26:64-65: “But among these there was not a man of those who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest (Numbers 2) when they numbered the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Sinai. For the LORD had said to them, ‘They shall surely die in the wilderness.’ So there was not left a man of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.”

With the 24,000 who died in the plague brought on by the seduction of the women of Moab, the older generation which had rebelled forty years before is finally passed. A new numbering of the people must take place—a new accounting in which each knows his/her positioning—but the ‘old’ has been left behind.

*Numbers 27:16. “Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying ‘Let YHVH, the God of Spirits of all Flesh set a man over the congregation…’”

This name for the diety (almost exactly the same as was used in Numbers 16:22, only this time using the personal name YHVH) implies the sovereign knowledge the LORD has of the inner workings of all human beings. It is noteworthy that Moses uses this name in requesting the LORD’s appointment of a new leader—and the Lord responds by referring specifically to the “spirit” within Joshua (27:18).
The Transfer of Mantles

*Numbers 27:18-20: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient” (NKJV)

I Kings 19:16, 19. “…and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place…Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him.”

It was not enough that Joshua was skilled and experienced after serving over forty years under Moses’ leadership. Something more was necessary; something beyond Moses’ own natural abilities, something supernatural bespeaking the high authority of Heaven had affected the rebellious people in such a way that they had continued to follow and respect Moses’ leadership in the desert for 40 years.

This particular “authority” of which he was commanded to pass some on to Joshua is Hebrew hod –“a grandeur or majesty related to royalty” (“splendor” in Psalm 45:3 NASB). This sovereign enabling for leadership, which would influence the congregation to listen to and obey his word. was passed on here by the laying on of hands and the public releasing of God’s charge (“inaugurating”) into Joshua.

In the usual Haftarah reading for this Parasha, after Elijah threw his mantle on Elisha, the younger prophet immediately arose and “ran after” him.

Please Pray:

For leaders in the Body in Israel to “hear” and be obedient in passing on their mantles to faithful ones upon whom God will release favour in the generation rising up behind.

A Reminder of Appointed Times and Seasons

*Numbers 28:2. “Command the Children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time.”

Timing is an important aspect of our worship. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 speaks of times and seasons, and of the necessity of timing in the manifesting of the beauty God desires to bring forth in His creation. Here in Chapters 28-29 are presented anew for the next generation the “appointed times” of the LORD (along with the sacrifices to be made during each):

Daily (morning and evening), Weekly (Sabbaths), Monthly (Rosh Chodesh—Head of the Month),

Springtime:

Pesach (Passover), Matzot (Unleavened Bread), Shavuot (Weeks, Pentecost),

Fall:

Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Feast of Booths/Tabernacles, with instructions for each of the eight days).

All these times of the LORD (with their relevant offerings) are here laid out afresh before His army, before moving forward into their new Land.

The Parashah for next week. July16-22. 2017 will be a “Double Reading”:

I: Matot—“Tribes”:
TORAH: Numbers 30:1–32:42

II Massei—“Journeys of…”:

TORAH 33:1—36:13;

HAFTARAH (2nd “Haftarah of Affliction”): Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4

In A Nutshell

In the beginning of the portion the Creator thanks Pinhas for stopping the plague and gives him a “covenant of peace,” and a “covenant of an everlasting priesthood” to him and to his descendants. All the while, the children of Israel are preparing to fight the Midianties.

Following the instructions of the Creator, Moses divides the land into lots, following censuses held in the people by tribes and by families. At the conclusion of the censuses, the daughters of Zelophehad, from the tribe of Menashe, complain to Moses that their father died and as women, they did not receive their lot. Moses looks into the matter and the Creator rules that to do justice, the daughters of Zelophehad will be given a lot in the land, which will be named after their father.
The Creator commands Moses to climb up the Mountain of Avarim to see the land of Israel, which he will not enter, and to appoint Joshua, son of Nun, as his successor.

At the end of the portion there is a detailed description of the offerings that needed to be sacrificed each day and on different occasions during the year.

Commentary
According to The Book of Zohar, the portion, Pinhas, is profound and evokes many questions. The story tells of people such as Pinhas, who are seemingly greater than Moses. The Creator blesses and praises him that he is as great as Joshua, that he is replacing Moses, who is climbing down from center stage. There is also the issue of women’s rights, some of whom can be as the men, receiving a lot.

As we know, the Torah does not speak of corporeal events or physical bodies, but of souls. The souls are what is important, the eternal part in each of us. This is why we need to understand that the text describes the “human within us,” which must experience all the portions of the Torah along the spiritual development.

This portion speaks of a very special point that awakens in us, a special desire called Pinhas.Only this point, this desire, achieves the “covenant of peace”—peace and wholeness with the Creator. The desire known as Pinhas unites in Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, in a covenant of complete and eternal connection, which lasts forever and does not wane. This is the first of the stages of correction and connection that the soul goes through. In that correction it becomes attached to the highest degree in its correction and development.

The second stage comes after all the successes of the children of Israel. Now all the forces within us are called Israel, Yashar El (straight to God), having received the previous corrections. A person begins with an egoistic will to receive that has come out of Egypt in its entirety. In that stage, a person has hardly escaped one’s ego, and wants to avoid using one’s egoistic qualities. In that stage a person has nothing. It is as though one is standing in the desert with nothing to eat. “Eating” is an attainment of spirituality, which fills the soul until it is completely satiated with Godliness, with the revelation of the Creator. “Return, oh Israel, unto the Lord your God,” consciously, with understanding, fulfillment, and a sensation of the attainment of the Creator. These are the stages of the correction of the soul from the entrance to the desert through the wars, and up to that point, Midian.

Once we have a grip of a high degree, a part of the common soul, then we are all parts of a single soul, “as one man with one heart.” We are all in mutual guarantee, in that covenant that we agreed on for the first time when we received the Torah.

The children of Israel constantly keep strengthening the covenant. Each day we pass through the “desert” in our empty lives, not knowing what to do, immersed in struggles and corrections. Each transgression and mistake that the children of Israel make is because the evil inclination is surfacing. However, it is a descent in order to ascend.
We discover that we are broken and cannot bestow, so we cry out and demand the light that reforms. The light, meaning the Creator, comes and corrects, and guides us on how to act against the will to receive. It is called “punishing the ego,” so the man in us ascends.

This is the process we go through. It is a stage of deep egoistic discernments in a person, which one can correct. These discernments are called Midian.

This is how Moses—who emerged from Pharaoh’s house—grows. His wife comes from the house of Midian because Jethro was the priest of Midian.

Moses nurtures Pinhas. Pinhas is in fact Moses on a higher degree, and in this progression it is a complementation of the degree.

On that stage, all the forces, all the elements within a person are ready to wage war on Midian. A “war” is a reawakening of all the corrupted desires in a person that seemed to have calmed down, but which have yet to be corrected. We must reawaken them and mend them. It is a time to calculate, to find out the number of Israel, who is on the camp, who is outside the camp, and for counting the heads of the tribes.

Calculating means reaching a degree in which the light of Hochma (wisdom) dresses in light of Hassadim (mercy). Seeing a calculation (accounting) is the light of vision, the light of Hochma that we see. On that degree we can already count what is in it and what is not. It is not a degree of VAK, the degree of the desert. Rather, it is already the GAR of the degree.

On a complete degree there is light of Hassadim and light of Hochma. Using one’s desires is done both in bestowal and in the intention to receive in order to bestow. These are acts of Gadlut (adulthood) of the degree, with which one corrects one’s soul on a very high level.

It is a profound correction of part of the will to receive, of the deficiency in the soul. This is why the women come and say, “We need the correction and we cannot receive it. How do we do it?” It is the point of deficiency in a man, the profound will to receive that is corrected into working in order to bestow. This is also the reason for Moses’ reply to the daughters of Zelophehad.

For this reason, when the biggest desires appear, the desires called “a woman’s desires,” it is possible to correct them as with those of a man’s. With the men it is an intention to bestow in order to bestow, while with the women it is an intention to receive in order to bestow—bigger desires and deeper corrections.
The portion, Pinhas, narrates a stage in the advancement toward the end of correction. The portion details very deep corrections in the soul, in the corrected part of the soul. Our soul is the entire desire that the Creator created. It appears as broken in us, as our ego that must be corrected.

We should be happy when a piece of ego appears because it is written, “I have created the evil inclination,” which is the appearance, “I have created for it the Torah as a spice,” because “the light in it reforms.” That is, after the revelation of the evil inclination in us, once we have learned that we have no idea how to work with it, we discover the spice of Torah. Through the Torah we can correct the evil inclination.

The spice is the hidden light that is called Zohar (brightness), or Ziharah Ilaa (Aramaic: upper brightness). This is the light that corrects and reforms, and this is the process we must undergo.

Afterward, the portion speaks of Moses climbing Mount Avarim and watching the land of Israel from there. This is the conclusion of the degree of Moses, who is the “faithful shepherd,” entirely adhered to Bina, bestowal, the aim to bestow in order to bestow. That state does not allow him to enter the will to receive called “the land of Israel,” in which the correction is to work in order to bestow. The Hebrew word Eretz (land) comes from the word Ratzon (desire). The word Ysrael (Israel) comes from the words Yashar El (straight to God), meaning straight toward bestowal. This is why that stage was given to Joshua and not to Moses.

The Creator said to Moses that his place was given to Joshua, that he is the one who will enter the land of Israel, while Moses will stay outside, on Moses’ degree. The next degree is the next stage, which Joshua, son of Nun, must correct. Joshua is an extension of Moses’ degree, just as Pinhas is an extension of the same soul.

The quality called Moses in each of us develops into the quality called Pinhas, then advances to the next quality, Joshua. Moses, the observer, brings the light of Hochma, the light of seeing. He brings that degree to all of Israel. However, the one who carries out this action is the corrected part in the soul, which is called Joshua, son of Nun.

The portion also speaks of the offerings (sacrifices). When a person discovers that one’s nature is bad, a person wants to rid oneself of it and escape it. Such a person is willing to sacrifice, burn, kill, slaughter, anything to rid oneself of the evil inside. In sacrificing, a person does not slaughter something outside, but only the beast within. Such a person slaughters the vegetative, and even the still (inanimate) within, using water and salt, as it is written, “On all your offerings you shall offer salt” (Leviticus, 2:13).
We “process” the desires below the human degree—on the degrees of still, vegetative, and animate—through the human degree in us. We turn desires that were with the aim to receive, egoistic desires with the evil inclination, into such that work with the aim to bestow. We sacrifice them. In Hebrew, Makriv means both sacrificing and bringing closer. Thus, we bring the desires closer to correction, and through it we draw closer to the Creator and become like Him.

This is called the “work of the sacrifices,” “holy work,” “work of the priests,” the “Levites” that exist within us. Israel is the part that brings the offerings. The part of Israel within us brings the part in the desires on the levels of still, vegetative, and animate to the Levites and the priests. In this way we take all the desires within and raise them to correction through the work of the sacrifices.

Keeping the Covenant

“It is written in Pinhas, ‘I give to him My covenant of peace,’ meaning peace from the angel of death, who never controls him and in whose judgments he is not judged. Should you say that he did not die, he died but he certainly did not die as do the rest of the people. He lived longer than all his contemporaries because he clung to that upper covenant. When he passed away from the world, in sublime passion and in comely Dvekut (adhesion), he departed from the rest of the people in the world.”

Zohar for All, Pinhas, item 22

Each time, we correct our corrupted desires and add them to the structure of the soul in us. The corrupted desires are called “desires that comprise the soul, the “Kli (vessel) of the soul,” the “body of the soul.” The desires are corrected to work in order to bestow, for the sake of others, and from the love of others to the love of the Creator.

The soul has a body: the desires outside a person, which work for the sake of others. These are desires that act out of the evil inclination, in favor of oneself, but receive the form of working in order to bestow, the good inclination, working in love and bestowal, as it is written, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” this is the great rule of the Torah. To the extent that a person acts within those desires, performing acts of bestowal and true giving, one feels the “clothing of the Creator,” the “clothing of the upper light.”

This is why it was said that Pinhas did not die like others. Rather, it is a stage within us that only grows. It is that corrected degree of attainment of Godliness within the corrected Kli with the light that fills it.

Can spirituality be passed on by inheritance?

There is an unbreakable law here: it is all one man. There aren’t many people in the world, there is only one. In other words, the Torah is written for a single person, who includes within the entire world. It is written that “Man is a small world” (Midrash Tanchuma, Pekudei, item 3). Everything is included within us; we perceive the whole of the outer reality within us.

We have no idea whether anything exists outside of us. All we know is that we feel it within. For example, when we touch something, we cannot tell whether we are actually touching it, but we can feel it as solid, liquid, warm or cold.

We feel that it exists and that we are touching it. But in the end, all we feel is ourselves. We see ourselves existing in some reality, but that reality is depicted within us, in the back of our minds. The people and the objects around us are not really there; they are within us.

The reality we perceive is divided into still, vegetative, animate, and human. We are the ones who sense all of them in this way because this is how our will to receive is built. It is divided into four stages—1, 2, 3, and 4—where it perceives sensations and impressions.

As far as the history of the Jews is concerned, it is as though the Torah describes a play, but these are all things that happen within us. If we want to read the Torah as it truly is we should ascribe everything that is written there to ourselves. We should read every word in the Torah as an explanation of what exists within us: Pinhas, Joshua, Midian, a Priest, a Levite, Israel, the tribes, and everything else.

A priest, for example, is a degree of a person. It arrives when the will to receive is entirely corrected into working in order to bestow. This is why priests have no lot.

When the degree of Moses ends and the degree of Pinhas begins, Moses climbs Mount Avarim and looks at the land of Israel. It is a certain degree called “seeing.” Through it he makes a correction for the entire nation. What is the correction of seeing?

Moses performs a great correction. There is a correction in potential, and there is a correction in actuality, de facto. A correction in potential is when there are still no Kelim (vessels) that are large enough to fit the correction. Moses is a degree in which one does not work with vessels of reception with the intention to bestow. This is why he did not enter the land of Israel—the desire that must be turned into Yashar El (straight to God), Israel.

His following degree, Joshua, son of Nun, will do it, as it is a more practical degree. Joshua is an extension, a degree that is annulled before the degree of Moses. This is why Joshua was Moses’ assistant, always supporting and always by his side, and he was chosen to succeed him.

The relationship between them was such that Joshua would set up the benches at Moses’ seminary. However, Moses, too, made great spiritual corrections. He belonged to the degree of Bina. But because Bina is detached from Malchut, Joshua was the one who implemented the corrections.

This Week’s Torah Portion | July 02 – July 08, 2017 – 8 Tammuz – 14 Tammuz, 5777


Balak Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : NUMBERS 22:2-25:9

PROPHETS : MICAH 5:6-6:8

GOSPEL : MARK 11:12-26

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. 

We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.

The Parashah for this week July 2-8, 2017 is called Balak:

     TORAH: Numbers 22:2—25:9

     HAFTARAH: Micah 5:7—6:8

This week’s Portion focuses upon the story of the pagan prophet Balaam (Hebrew pronunciation: Bil’am). He was called by the Moabite king Balak to come from his homeland in the Euphrates area and curse Israel, at that time spread out on the plain just east of the Jordan from Jericho. But Israel’s God takes authority over the vocal chords of Balaam, and the intended curses pour forth as blessings over Israel and doom for those which arise against her. Portions of these oracles are recognized as among the most magnificent examples of Hebrew poetry in the Bible, while elements of the blessings continue to awaken prophetic resonance into our own day!


*Numbers 22:8. “And he [i.e. Balaam] said to them, ‘Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD [YHVH] speaks to me.” 

This as well as vs 18 (“YHVH my God”) might seem to suggest that Balaam was a worshipper of the LORD. However, Joshua 13:22 describes him as a “soothsayer”—an occult occupation strongly condemned in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. As such, it is more likely that he wished to present himself to Balak as an ‘expert’ on all gods, including YHVH the God of Israel. It is interesting that in the Deity’s early dealings with Balaam in 22:9, 12, 20, 22, the term “God” (Elohim) is used, instead of “YHVH” as would likely have been the case had he truly been a follower of the LORD of Israel.

Although God speaks to Balaam, and in fact takes over his mouth to speak through him, it is obvious from later allusions in the New Testament (II Peter 2:15-17, Jude 11, Revelation 2:14) that this magician was divided—he “loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:15-17); he “ran greedily into error for profit” (Jude 11)—and, after the failure of his attempts to curse Israel by his magic arts (Numbers 24:1), he later “taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children if Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality” (Numbers 25:2; Revelation 2:14). For such he was eventually slain (Joshua 13:22)—and believers in the Church age are warned against falling into his evil ways.

*Numbers 22:20. “…only the word which I speak to you shall you do.”

In the Hebrew, this is not a command but rather a simple statement of fact—“This is what is going to take place.”

PLEASE PRAY: that God’s living, creative Word be released in Israel. It comes best through His willing servants—but He is Lord, and as such exercises sovereignty over the lips of all humankind (and even the beasts).

Pray for spiritual discernment among the Body in Israel—to recognize His Word, to discern “between the righteous and the wicked— between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:18).

*Numbers 22:22. “But Elohim was angry because he [Balaam] was going, and the messenger/angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as an adversary [Literal Hebrew: “as a satan”] against him.” 

The Hebrew word “satan” originally meant “one who is an adversary.” In this case (vs. 22, 32), the adversary was good— “The Angel of the LORD.” In Zechariah 3:1-2, “The Satan” standing to accuse Joshua the high priest was evil. “Against whom one stands” as adversary is the issue. Better that the LORD’s adversaries be also ours and His angel standing with us against them, than that the Holy One Himself come to be revealed as adversary against us!

*Numbers 22:31. “Then the LORD opened [Hebrew: revelated] Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.” 

PLEASE PRAY: that God will open the eyes of those who are allowing themselves to be honored as spokespersons to the Gentile church regarding Israel, albeit with impure motives—that they will see that they are playing with fire. Pray that the eyes of the hearts of Israeli believers be opened to see into the heavenliest, where we are seated with Messiah. Pray that we will flow with God’s heavenly armies rather than contrary to them (Ephesians 1:3,18-21; II Kings 6:16-17).

*Numbers 23:3b. “So he went to a desolate height…” 

This is exactly the same word (only in the singular) used in Isaiah 41:8, “I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys.” What God was about to release through Balaam was a torrent of prophetic truth which would stream through the centuries, and which is still nourishing Israel today!

*Numbers 23:9. “…Behold, a people who dwells apart, and will not be reckoned as being among the nations.

PLEASE PRAY: that modern Israel would rise up to her place of calling—that God would wean us away from the habitual longing to be “like other nations.” Pray that the believing Body of Messiah in the Nations will release Israel to “be set apart” to what God has called her to be.

*Numbers 23:21. “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. The LORD his God is with him, and the shout [or royal shofar blast] of a King is among them.” PLEASE PRAY: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done—in Israel—as it is in Heaven!”

*Numbers 24:7, 20. “His [i.e. Jacob’s] King shall be higher than Agag, and His kingdom shall be exalted…Amalek was first among the nations, but shall be last until he perishes.” 

As we have mentioned during our traversals of Exodus 17:8-16 and Deuteronomy 25:17-19, Amalek signifies a covenant-hating spirit which has historically manifested in seeking to destroy God’s covenant-people Israel; this spirit is at the heart of all anti-Semitism. Agag was an Amalekite king (I Samuel 15:8) and Haman, the “Enemy of the Jews” (who sought to exterminate them out of the Persian Empire) was a descendant of Agag (Esther 3:1, 10). God’s covenants with Israel are covenants of Life, through which flows blessing for all humankind made in His image. Therefore, He has sworn war with Amelek from generation to generation until He has utterly blotted out his memory from under Heaven (Exodus 17:14-15). “His King”—(His Son, Psalm 2:6-7) “was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).

*Numbers 23:23. “For there is no sorcery [In Hebrew, the word used here for “sorcery” and that used for “serpent” are identical] against Jacob and no magic against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’”

*Micah 5:12 (Haftarah). “I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no soothsayers. Your carved images I will also cut off, and your obelisks from your midst; You shall no more worship the work of your hands.”

Both this passage from the Torah and that from the Haftarah are very pertinent for us in Israel today. The enemy knows that his time is short—and he has sown sorcery throughout the land. In secular schools, children are often taught the horoscope and New Age in the early grades (we have seen the homework papers ourselves). Much of ultra-Orthodox Judaism is permeated with the occult.

A week ago an Israeli weekend newspaper magazine “In Jerusalem” presented a cover story related to “the role of magic here in Israel, and in Judaism”. At the end, a “Part 2” was promised in which “the writer will delve deeper into divination, examining the breadth of practices available, from tasseography to tarot cards.” Often Israelis flocking to Asia (particularly India and Thailand) after military service, bring back Eastern mysticism to fill the void within. And there are New Age festivals several times a year which attract thousands.

Please Pray: that the works of the serpent (who hates all those made in God’s image) will be exposed and cut off in Israel. Pray for the Body of Messiah in the Land, for release of signs and wonders and deliverance from demons in the Name of Yeshua through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pray that curses made against this Land and people from outside will hit a wall and fall to the ground. Pray for God to raise up leaders like Josiah who will work with holy Zeal and Jealousy for the cleansing of our land.
*Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the YHVH require of you but to do justly, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”  

PLEASE PRAY this verse over Israel—God “resists the proud but gives grace to the humble,” and He longs to “walk” closely with His people again!

The Parashah for next week July 9-15, 2017 is called Pinhas—“Phinehas”: 

TORAH: Numbers 25:10—29:40

HAFTARAH: I Kings 18:46—19:21

In A Nutshell
The portion, Balak, begins with the people of Israel conquering the land of the Amorites. Balak, king of Moab, understands that the children of Israel are nearing him, and prepares to face the nation that came out of Egypt. He sends messengers to Balaam, son of Beor—who was famous for his great wisdom and power of his curses—and asks him to curse the people of Israel.

Balaam leaves for the land of Moab having accepted the harsh stipulation to say only what the Creator will permit him to. Along the way his mare stops. Balaam beats her but the mare won’t move. Balaam cannot see the angel stopping the mare. The mare opens her mouth and speaks to him, and instead of cursing Israel he blesses them.

Balak is furious with Balaam. As a compensation, Balaam tips him that Israel has a weak spot: the daughters of Moab. Balak sends the daughters of Moab and the people of Israel fornicate with them so much that even Zimri, son of Salu, one of the presidents of the tribe of Shimon, takes a Midianite woman.

This situation leaves Pinhas, son of Elazar, with no choice. He takes a spear and stabs them to death, thus stopping the plague that has spread in the nation claiming twenty-four thousand lives.

Commentary 
This story does not happen on the corporeal level. It is not about a process unfolding between two nations, but rather an internal correction process that one experiences. The story itself comes to show us how to correct the evil inclination. It is not a tale about children or grownups, nor is it a story about nations, countries, wars, prostitutes, or mares. All it describes is the correction of the evil inclination. It is the only thing that the Torah (Pentateuch) describes from the very beginning, from Adam—who began the correction—to the end.

The text speaks of a person who went through this path as Adam HaRishon (Adam), as Abraham, and as Moses, and who went through the whole process in Egypt and in the desert. During the gradual correction of the desire, a person gradually nears the land of Israel until one is faced with the “conquest” of the land.

The “desert” is a desire that a person still cannot use correctly, and therefore cannot see the fruits of the work with it. These corrections precede the ones known as the “land of Israel.”

The spies discovered that the land of Israel is a desire that, if aimed entirely at the Creator, yields beautiful fruits [Israel means Yashar El (straight to God)]. A person who approaches that correction initially acquires the land of the Amorites followed by the land of Moab, which is a higher degree. Man’s egoistic desire known as “the king of Moab,” Balak, begins to seemingly rebel against him because it does not want the corrections.

All our desires are initially evil inclination, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination.” This is why the desire called Balak seeks out a way to resist. It is resistance to a person who is trying to correct one desire at a time, degree by degree, until all the desires are Yashar El, straight to the Creator, aiming to bestow upon the Creator.

The desire called Balak cannot do anything by itself. A desire is just that—a desire—devoid of any strength. The power is found in the intention that directs the desire and works with it. The desire is called Balak, and the intention is called Balaam. The intention of working in bestowal in order to receive is called a “curse.” In this manner, the evil inclination operates in its fullest form.

This is why Balak invites Balaam and tells him, “Come, let’s work together.” In the meantime a conflict breaks out between the substance (mare) and the angel (human) who is walking straight to the Creator and aiming himself toward success. On the one hand, within man is the next degree, Moab, the will to receive in Moab, which is Balak. On the other hand, a person intends to control the desire in order to receive, which is Balaam, who is awarded the real egoistic benefit from it.

The inner substance in that degree, the mare, cannot advance because it detects the resistance, the angel standing before it, not letting the substance advance, which is help from above. However, the man cannot detect it because he is on the degree of Balak and Balaam. In other words, we cannot advance in the intention, but the evil inclination can no longer fail us with the intention because the previous degree, the Amorite, has been corrected and there is no reason why we should fall now.

A person is in a position in which he does not make mistakes in the intentions or desires. The people of Israel stood before the next degree but could not advance further. On the one hand they were blocked by Balaam and Balak, and on the other hand there was no other way to advance.

After his blessing, Balaam did not let Israel advance because the blessing had nothing on which to rely. The blessing must “ride” over the will to receive of the next degree in order for advancement to occur. “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice,” because “the light in it reforms him.” This is how we advance with a bigger desire, a desire that is corrected in order to bestow, and we continue degree by degree.

This is why there is nothing we can do in the next degree. We advance by failing, but that failing is not because of our corrupted intention. Rather, it is because of the heightened will to receive on the left line.

This is why Balaam advises Balak to make the people fail by increasing the evil inclination, the “women” in them. The deficiencies begin with hardening the hearts of the children of Israel with a desire that is more egoistic, more toward oneself. This desire is called a “fornicating woman.” A woman has two “directions”: either a righteous or a whore, meaning in order to bestow or in order to receive. This is why it is possible to make a person trip and fall because in truth, it is impossible to advance without falling.

The Torah tells us about the degrees we must all experience. All the actions and names in the Torah are holy. When we kiss a word in a book of Torah during a service, we pay no attention to the word we are kissing. It might very well be Balak or Balaam, yet we kiss and make the blessing of the Torah.

The stages of the progress all aim toward our correction. However, there are steps along the way called Balaam, Balak, countries, Midianites, their wives, and we reach a state where we correct them.

When we kill the desires to receive with the intention to receive, we are actually killing the intention. Along with those desires, we should kill the connection between Israel and Midian, which is a degree of twenty-four thousand, twelve and twelve, corresponding to the tribes, in Direct Light and in Reflected Light. The “thousand’ is the height of the high degree of twelve-twelve on the level of Zeir Anpin. When rising to the high degree of Arich Anpin, it is called “one thousand.”

The Difference between a Blessing and a Curse

A blessing is an act that a person can do, an act that aims to bestow. A curse, however, is an act in order to receive. We should note that an act in order to receive is necessary because without it we would never discover the evil inclination. On each degree there is a process of disclosing the evil and correcting it through the Torah. This is how we are reformed—rise to the next degree—as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”

Once on the degree, the left-right-middle “ritual” repeats itself, meaning a curse from which one is corrected and ascends. Correction is impossible without curses, without the evil inclination. Without Hell it is impossible to rise to the degree of Heaven.

Pinhas, Son of Elazar the Priest—the Power or the Light?

Pinhas, son of Elazar is the highest degree that appears. The light is what makes the correction using the Kli (vessel). Everything happens in the Kelim (plural of Kli). Even when we speak of “lights,” we actually refer to an impression of the Kelim, an impression we call “light.”

Similarly, we cannot sense the electricity that runs through a lamp, but we sense its manifestation. In other words, we can only sense manifestations, not the forces themselves. The forces must “express themselves” through a substance.

In our case, Pinhas, son of Elazar, was from the priests, from whom we have all the corrections.

Can a person curse another person, cast an evil eye on another?

If we are talking about our world, regardless of this Torah portion, then of course. All our desires have an impact, even the smallest ones. People are connected; our thoughts are connected. We are living in a global and integrally connected network.

We can prove for a fact that there are instances when people think of something on one end of the world, and people on the other end of it think of the same thing at the same time. It was said that this concept was also proven in monkeys. The book, The Hundredth Monkey, reports a study of macaque monkeys on an island near Japan in 1952. The scientists observed that some of the monkeys learned to wash sweet potatoes, a behavior that spread through the pack. Once it spread among a critical number of monkeys—the so-called hundredth monkey—this behavior instantly spread to monkeys on nearby islands.

Fear Not, My Servant Jacob

“That wicked one, Balak, was wise in all the degrees of above, in those who tie ties by which to perform witchcraft and magic, in all those degrees above them by which they would force the lower degrees. …Balak and Balaam said to him, ‘All through that time, we witches, magicians, and soothsayers have certain degrees and certain angels that are known to witches and magicians. But henceforth, you should look elsewhere, higher.”

Zohar for All, New Zohar, Balak, items 60-61

A person knows only about one’s own degree, which is the degree of Balak. Here Balak rules over the piece called Moab. The will to receive in order to receive that operates in a person from one degree to the next, with the aim to receive, is called Moab.

Does a person know of the limitation, that there is another, higher place?

Yes, this is why we need to draw a bigger force and not let the correction happen.

Will we be able to see Moab as we advance in our studies and scrutinize within?

Even without reading the weekly Torah portion we would discover the Torah within us. This is also how Kabbalists discovered and wrote—by sensing it within. The Torah comes out of the will to receive that is gradually corrected.

When a person discovers the portion Balak within, does one also discover a speaking mare?

He or she will speak just as it is written in the Torah, and at the same time know the details in their true sense.

What does it mean that a mare speaks in a person?

It is the will to receive. The mare is the female of the donkey. That is, out of Malchut’s ten Sefirot, nine are the donkey and the tenth is the mare.

Is it specifically the will to receive that senses the angel?

Yes.

Is the will to receive unable to see? Is it blind?

It is specifically the will to receive that will perform the act, that will sense—either in order to receive or in order to bestow. It is there that all the operations of the forces take place. This is why all the forces of correction or corruption aim toward it.

Is this why it is said that the Messiah will come riding a white donkey?

A white donkey means that a person needs to make the donkey white. Only then will one feel it.

What does the whitening mean?

It means that a person completely “whitens” the substance, making it entirely in order to bestow, which is called “white.”

There is a strange process happening here. Balaam is the will to receive in order to receive, or even the will to bestow in order to receive. Balaam undergoes a process: in the beginning he wants to curse, but then he swears that he will act only by the command of the Creator, and finally he blesses. Balaam acts with the intention to bestow.

Was he corrected?

No, he cannot do it on the next degree. In fact, Balaam performs no actions here, neither does Balak, nor does the Creator. Only Israel acts. That is, if we want to rise to the next degree, the blessing is before us and we can advance, except we do not have the strength.

We need to discover that we cannot advance using Balaam, Balak, the Creator, the mare, or any other factor, until we stand bewildered, not knowing how to advance to the next degree, how to acquire this desire called Moab. The children of Israel must conquer Moab, something needs to appear, and it appears only by connecting to the women of Moab.

A person needs to take the females from there, the deficiencies of that degree. When taking those deficiencies, there is plenty of substance to move ahead. Once a person connects to all of the substance, a correction appears that is known as “the killing of the intention to receive.” We correct the will to receive into aiming to bestow. This act is called “the conquering of Moab.”

There is a sexual element here. On the one hand, the sexual desire is very natural, but on the other hand it seems to be a bad example because they took Midianite women.

We are not dealing with morals here, or with ethics. In our world, sexuality is animalistic, meaning it exists in animals.

But in this portion the sexuality is presented as an obstruction, with the president bringing a Midianite woman into the tent.

True, it appears as negative. However, all the measures discussed here are necessary steps along the way. We cannot succeed without them. It is written, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin.” That is, we must go through the sin; we have no choice, even if we do not want it.

The order of degrees is such that a person falls and then rises. But the fall is not of one’s own volition, though it is how one builds the ascent.

Therefore, Israel did not seek to mingle with the Midianites; they simply had no choice because a person must mingle with all the females of the next degree. To mingle means to be at the degree of the female, Malchut of the next degree, the fornicating woman, entirely immersed in her intention to receive, and afterwards correct it.

When rising from one degree to the next, a person needs to seemingly despair, and then ask for help. Clearly, there is a force that opens it before us and helps, but we forget it from one degree to the next.

Why do we forget it? Why does it seem to become more difficult? After all, if we got the idea once, it should have been easier. The thing is that we got it, but in the previous sin that we corrected. In the current sin we perceive nothing. Everything we had is in the past, and it is as though we have forgotten everything because we are rising from below upward. It is not that we really forget, but the old ways simply do not work on the new degree.

In the correction of “killing the Midianite,” the president of the tribe of Shimon is killed, as well. Why is this so? After all he was part of Israel and was supposed to be corrected?

He belongs to the previous degree.

So he could not cope with the new degree?

He could not cope with it because he connected to her, and they are both in the intention to receive. Both need to correct. It is not only the evil inclination that is corrected; it is also the force that comes down to the evil inclination and connects with it. They both rise together.

A person who descends, descends entirely into the intention to receive, down to the Klipa (shell/peel) with all the previous success. Afterwards the light takes effect and saves them both, which is considered that along the way it kills them because they are aiming to receive.

This Week’s Torah Portion | June 25 – July 01, 2017 – 1 Tammuz – 7 Tammuz, 5777


Hukat (The Statute) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : NUMBERS 19:1-22:1

PROPHETS : JUDGES 11:1-33

GOSPEL : MATTHEW 21:1-17

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. 

We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.
The Parashah for this week June 25—July 1, 2017 is called Chukat—“Ordinance Of…”

 TORAH: Numbers 19:1—22:1

 HAFTARAH: Judges 11:1-33

40 YEARS IN THE DESERT

Because of the dead who would be constantly in Israel’s midst as an entire generation passed away, Chapter 19 deals with a special ‘decontamination’ procedure with which to cleanse away the defilement released into the camp by death. Then 38 years pass silently by—there is very little that the Holy Spirit chose to pass on to us regarding that rebellious generation “with whom He was angry for 40 years, whose corpses fell in the desert” (Hebrews 3:17). With the death of Miriam at the beginning of Chapter 20, those years are already drawing near to their close. In this week’s reading Moses and Aaron themselves enter into a rebellion which will bar them from entering the Land, and, after the passing of his mantle to his son Eleazar, Aaron dies on Mount Hor. Shortly thereafter a further remnant from the “complaining generation” are slain by serpents—but the younger, second generation begins to move into warfare and to prevail against those giants still barring the pathway towards their inheritance.

*Numbers 19: Ordinance of the Red Heifer. With the death of those offering incense in Korah’s rebellion, the 14,700 who died by plague in the uprising shortly thereafter, and the prospect of hundreds of thousands more passing away in the desert wanderings ahead, the stigma and defilement of Death hung over the camp continuously. There was need for an especial cleansing for those who came in contact with one who had died. “The wages of sin is death.” In Hebrew the very word for “purification” or “decontamination” (vs. 12) bears within itself the word for sin chet. A red cow (there is actually nothing in the Hebrew to denote “heifer” or young female), perfect and never yoked, was burned in totality outside the camp, with cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet fed into the burning. Then the ashes were stored, also outside the camp. When needed, these were to be mixed with “living water” (vs17, Hebrew: mayim haim) and used as a decontaminant (literally, “water kept apart to expel, serving as a sin offering”, vs 9b) for those who had come into contact with death.

PLEASE PRAY: from Hebrews 9:13-14, a letter in the New Covenant written specifically to Messianic Jews of the First century: “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God?”.

*Numbers 20:10, 24: MOSES: “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” YHVH: “…because you both (i.e. Moses and Aaron) rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah.”

A great leader of courage, compassion and humility, Moses nevertheless appears to have had a ‘blind spot’ regarding anger. One sees it quietly mentioned or alluded to in the Scriptures throughout his life (Exodus 2:12, 11:8, 32:19, Lev 10:16, Numbers 11:10, 16:15). Titus 1:7 speaks of the necessity that God’s stewards be “not quick-tempered”. Although there is a place for anger, if it is released “in the flesh” or outside of God’s timing, it will “not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19). In the end, it betrayed Moses into the very rebellion against God’s command which he accused the people of when he shouted at them (20:10) rather than speaking to the Rock.

PLEASE PRAY: For leaders in the Body of Messiah in Israel to be trained by the Holy Spirit in self-control. Pray that we will deal with personal issues which the Holy Spirit discloses, which might otherwise cause us, in critical moments of decision under pressure, to operate out of our emotions or woundings rather than in the integrity of the Spirit.

*Numbers 21:9 (Alter): “And Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it on a standard, and so then, if the serpent bit a man, he looked on the serpent of bronze and lived.” The word ness here translated “standard” or “flag pole” happens also to have evolved into a modern Hebrew word for “miracle.”

o John 3:14-15: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” 

II Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

*Numbers 21:34-35: “Do not fear him (i.e. Og, King of Bashan), for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people and his land. So they defeated him, his sons, and all his people, until there was no survivor left him; and they took possession of his land.”   

Deuteronomy 3:11: “For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants.” 

As Israel arrives 38 years later at the border of Canaan, only one of the fabled “giants” which had terrified their fathers remains. God gives them exactly the same directive he’d given their fathers; this time they take Him at His word and destroy the giant. The significance of defeating this “Og” was huge—he will be mentioned many times in Deuteronomy, Joshua, I Kings, Nehemiah and the Psalms.

The territory which this text says God Himself “delivered into Israel’s hand” would eventually became part of the territory allotted to the tribe of Manasseh. It is this same area, today known as the “Golan Heights,” which modern Israel took from Syria in the 1967 War. The territory southward to the Arnon River was taken from King Sihon of the Amorites and eventually became territory of the tribes Reuben and Gad. This area is presently occupied by the north-western part of the Kingdom of Jordan.

PLEASE PRAY: That the “different spirit” of Caleb and Joshua which motivated this younger generation of Israelites would awaken again in Israel—that we would come to trust God for defeat of the many giants which have arisen again in the land to which we have returned.

 *Judges 11:23-24: “And now YHVH Elohei-Yisrael (Yehovah, the Israel God) has dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel; should you then possess it? Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever the YHVH our God takes possession of before us, we will possess!” 

Jephthah (Hebrew pronunciation: Yiphtakh) has come today to be often dismissed due to of an unfortunate vow he made regarding his daughter. This is regrettable, and has not always been the case. The Bible remembers Jephthah as a heroic warrior (gibor-hayil) who, although born of a harlot, despised and dispossessed by the rest of his family, rose nevertheless to command the respect of both friends and enemies. He was a leader who trusted in the LORD for victory (vs 9); a wise judge who made his agreements and pacts in the Presence of the LORD (vs 12). As with any skilled military strategist, he was intimately acquainted with the history of his land (vss. 14-29), acknowledging the LORD’s hand in that history, and bringing it to bear in reasoning with his enemies so as to avoid if possible conflict if. For Jephthah, judgment rested with the LORD. So highly respected was this man before both God and man, that he is included in the chapter of Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11.

PLEASE PRAY: For warriors like Jephthah to be raised up in Israel in the Last Days. Pray for God’s oversight of those from broken families (there are so many), or no families at all-that seeds of grace and faith will be sown which will catch and germinate in fertile soil! 

Pray for God’s Kingdom to come in Gilead, that section of land in which the action of this chapter took place and which today is a part of the western territory of the Kingdom of Jordan. It was from this land that the Prophet Elijah “who is coming first and will restore all things” (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:11) came forth-and to which he returned before being taken up into Heaven. Under the power of the Spirit of God, the prophet Zechariah foretold a day (Zech. 10:10) in which Gilead would be among the areas to which Jews from the houses of Judah and Joseph would be eventually returned. This has yet to be fulfilled.

The Parashah for next week July 2-8,2017 is called Balak: 

TORAH: Numbers 22:2—25:9

HAFTARAH: Micah 5:7—6:8

In A Nutshell

The portion, Hukat (The Statute), deals with Israel’s continuing journey, with the Mitzva (commandment) of the red cow (heifer), the laws of the impurity of the dead, and the episode known as Mei Meriva (waters of Meribah [Heb: quarrelling]). In the episode, the children of Israel complain about the lack of water, and the Creator commands Moses to speak to the rock. However, instead of speaking, he strikes the rock. Moses and Aaron are punished for this act by being banned from entering the land of Israel. The people of Israel reach the land of Edom, and the king of Edom forbids them to pass through his territory.

Aaron dies, and Elazar, his son, succeeds him as the high priest. The people of Israel continue to complain about the difficulties along the way, and the Creator sends snakes to bite the people. Moses makes a copper snake and shows it to the people, and anyone who sees the copper snake is healed.

The people of Israel reach the boundary of the land of Moab and sing “the song of the well.” The people fight Sihon, King of the Amorites, and Og, King of the Bashan. Israel wins and inherits their land.

Commentary
This story details the primary correction in the corrections of the souls. Because our souls are initially the desire to receive, to enjoy, in order to correct it we must invert the intention of that desire toward bestowal. We must correct our souls to have the aim to bestow, to love others, by which will resemble the Creator. This will endow Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator—which is the purpose of creation—to each and everyone in the nation. This is why we need to mingle and become integrated with the force of bestowal, called Bina, and with the force of reception, called Malchut.

Connecting the two forces—the two Sefirot just mentioned—results in four options: Malchut in Malchut, Malchut in Bina, Bina in Bina, and Bina in Malchut. When Bina is inside Malchut, it is the evil force because Malchut governs Bina, and when that happens, all the evil forces emerge.

While these forces may occasionally appear as good, they appear so only to lure and entice a person, leading toward the evil. It is a special Klipa (shell/peel), cunning and shrewd, which is in Malchut. This is how Malchut acquires Bina and uses it. This is also why it was said that evil can exist in the world only if it initially appears as good.

At first, the only forces that exist in man are the still, vegetative, and animate, meaning Malchut at the degree of still, vegetative, and animate. This is a straightforward will to receive. A person who possesses the power of Bina within the will to receive becomes very clever and very shrewd. Such a person knows how to appear as giving to others, as serving them, while in fact that person takes from others and uses them as much as possible. This is how the negative forces operate when the force of bestowal is “taken captive” by the force of reception.

Conversely, when we raise Malchut to Bina and become included in it—when we want to permeate Bina and be there as servants, as an embryo inside its mother’s womb—Bina is called “upper Ima (mother).” At that time we want to develop only by integration, by being dominated by the power of bestowal, under the “protection” of the power of the Creator. These are the good forces, which gradually take bits of the egoistic desire and correct them.

The portion, Hukat, begins with the red cow, which corrects some of the desires and corrupts others. It is that pendulum between Bina and Malchut that purifies the impure and defiles the pure. That topic is scrutinized all through the portion on different levels, such as the ashes of the cow, the well, and the pit.

The pit is dry, absorbing everything but remaining completely empty. On the other hand, a well is full of water. This compares to Bina in Malchut and Malchut in Bina. If the well is empty, it is Malchut. If there is water in the well, it is the right kind of integration. And when Malchut ascends to Bina, Malchut’s deficiency rises to Bina, to heaven, and brings down water from heaven, which is the rain.

Afterwards the serpent is mentioned. The serpent isn’t just the will to receive; it is a person in whom there is integration of Bina, opposite which there is the copper serpent.

In the story of the waters of quarrelling (Meribah), there is the rock, the ground. If a person is integrated in Malchut, and speaks with it at the level of the desert (the level of Bina), that person elicits water out of it. Conversely, one who strikes elicits waters of quarrelling. This water is called “waters of Gevurot,” which is dominated by Malchut. Hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis share the same root as the forces dominated by Malchut.

As for the red cow, the text does not relate to any corporeal cow whatsoever. The word Adumah (“red,” in the feminine) comes from the word Edom, meaning connected to the Adamah (earth). The cow symbolizes the power of Bina, giving milk, which is one of the symbols of the festival of Shavuot, on which we eat dairy products. It is a symbol of the power of giving.

However, when connected to Malchut, Edom, she has the powers of the mingling with Malchut opposite the power of Bina. When the force of bestowal and the force of reception—Bina and Malchut—are together, everything depends on the individual. If a person wishes to be corrected, to achieve bestowal, then specifically by combining these forces, a combination known as the “red cow,” a person elicits the force of bestowal and becomes purified.

Conversely, if that person was pure, the mingling of Bina and Malchut has the opposite effect. We need to understand that this opposite form is only a person’s discovery that he or she is on a good degree. That is, a person discovers an additional desire, with which one cannot work.

The Meaning of the Acts of Purification

These are rituals, a sort of idol-worship. It is not that simple to find a red cow, burn it, and then deal with the whole business with its ashes. It doesn’t exist in our world, but we are still looking.

It is said that in the past there was indeed a red cow, at the time of the Temple, when the whole nation was on a spiritual degree using the wisdom of Kabbalah. It is written, “They checked from Dan to Beer Sheba and no ignoramus [uncorrected person] was found from Gevat to Antipris, and no boy or girl, man or woman was found who was not thoroughly versed in the laws of purity and impurity [corrections according to Moses’ law].”[1] That is, the laws of impurity and purity (Tuma’a and Taharah, respectively) explain precisely what it means to work in order to receive and what it means to work in order to bestow with all the desires, all the problems, and all the communications with everyone and with Godliness.

In the past, the majority of people achieved complete attainment, except for a few, as we know from history about the quarrels that took place even at the time of the First Temple. The people who attained a spiritual degree knew the laws of impurity and a target,they were at the level of connection of Bina and Malchut, a level known as “red cow (heifer).”

The Torah details an order of correction, instructions on how to correct the soul. These people lived by it and corrected themselves from the state of “Egypt” to the state of “reception of the Torah,” going through the “desert” and into the “land of Israel,” names that represent spiritual degrees.

Why Israel Could NotPass Through Edom, Even though It Is Bina

The red cow is Bina. The land of Edom is the connection between Bina and Malchut as it should be according to the degrees. The king of Edom is a desire that sits within us. Even though the people of Israel wish to go through the land of Edom, they must first enter through the Klipa (shell/peel) that is in Edom—the king of Edom. They must go through the mingling of Malchut and Bina on the degree of Edom. That Klipa does not let them through. The passage depends on correction—either they go around Edom or they fight and go through it.

Moses, the greatest of the prophets, leads the nation. He is man’s most sublime quality, and it seems as though he is not doing what the Creator told him.

In fact, it is not that he is disobeys the Creator. Rather, there is the nation, meaning individual desires, there is Moses, and there is a possibility to absorb “waters of Bina” by raising Malchut (the will to receive) to Bina. In the state of the people at the time, Moses could not muster the strength to rise and draw all of his desires that are called “people” or “nation” to the level of Bina. Thus, instead of climbing a degree and speaking and acting there, he acts on the degree of performing actions. This was his transgression.

Why Does It Seem as Though He Was Punished?

All the punishments in the Torah are corrections. Although it is clear that one must attain the level of speaking—a level of connection between Malchut and Bina that is simpler, shorter, and more correct—a person cannot find another manner of correction, but performs it in actual fact. It is similar to Moses using his staff.

Is it like an experiment, where we are given the tools to carry out a task, yet we must fail.

Indeed we have to fail. Although it seems as though we are punished in our corrections, in truth, there are no punishments.

But when Moses wished to enter the land of Israel he was refused.

Of course he was refused. The land of Israel is not the degree of Moses. Moses is “the faithful shepherd,” whose highest degree is Bina. There needs to be an upgrade here, which must be performed by his followers, those who are not from the generation of the desert, such as Joshua.

They Journeyed from Mountain to Mountain

“And Israel journeyed … and they went after the slant-serpent that was ruling in the land of Edom.”

Zohar for All, New Zohar, Hukat (The Statute), item 3

“Slant” means that it keeps twisting and walking ahead of a person so it is impossible to discern what is good about it and what is bad.

They seemingly “detoured” the mountain. In truth, they could not climb the mountain—the thoughts along the way, the doubts in the faith, in the attainment of mutual bestowal and unity. And because they were unable to attain, they “went around” that situation. On the one hand it is not the right way, but on the other hand, if they do not circumvent the mountain, they cannot go above it. For now, this is the way—by the hardening of the heart. The correction is always done on an egoistic desire that is very hard to cope with, but after which one obtains abundance.

They Journeyed from Mountain to Mountain

“They complained about everything—about the oral Torah, the written Torah … for there is no bread, oral Torah, and no water, written Torah, and the words of the oral Torah were trivial in their eyes.”

Zohar for All, New Zohar, Hukat (The Statute), item 3

“Trivial” means that the oral Torah was not very important. This was the problem, since the oral Torah comes to us from above, from the degree of Zeir Anpin, while the written Torah is in Malchut. This creates a disconnect between Zeir Anpin and Bina for reception, to receive the quality of bestowal. Also, it is clear that they did not have the strength, and therefore went around Mount Horeb.

Concerning the serpents, we know the story of the serpent and Adam, and the story from The Book of Zohar about the snake that bites the doe and retreats. However, the portion before us presents another aspect: a copper serpent that heals anyone who sees it.

We cure the flaws in us, our egos, according to the way we connect to the serpent, by how we look at it and take from it the strength we want. It is the will to receive that we can extract for our Kelim (vessels), and the desire to bestow for our intentions, by which we are corrected.

Our advancement is according to our egos, through forms of serpents—a slant serpent or a copper serpent—turning all those desires that currently hide within us and are initially cruel and cunning, in order to receive—from Adam’s first serpent—into desires with the aim to bestow.

As then so now, there is nothing worse than the snake, the venom, the destructive force. We must turn the power of the serpent into a healing force, just as in the symbol of medicine, because the healing comes from the same place. It is all a question of approach: if one knows how to use that force correctly, it is a healing force; if one does not know how to use it correctly, it is a potion of death.

The Serpent as a Messenger of the Creator

The serpent is our will to receive, which comes from the Creator. The Torah, which is called “the potion of life,” as well as “the potion of death,” also comes from the Creator. In our means, in our desire, intentions, in every thing and in every detail there is good, as well as bad, and we can use them for better or for worse.

It is written that everyone loved Aaron, even more than they loved Moses. What is the quality of Aaron within us, and what does it mean that something dies?

Priests are on the degree of actions; they are the power within us that performs the corrections de facto. Moses is the only force that connects to the upper one, to the next degree, to Godliness, while Aaron prepares the actions and carries them out. This is why his whole work is the Temple.

What about his son, who was appointed after him, is it hereditary?

These are two degrees, just as in our world there is a custom that the father inherits everything to the son. It is likewise in kingship, and even in biology, in genes.

It seems as though the story repeats itself—there is a will to receive that needs correction. It needs to receive light and turn from reception to bestowal. Why then are there all those subtle differences, as though each portion is a different story altogether?

Indeed the only thing that was created is the will to receive. That desire is used egoistically, and the Torah depicts its process of correction. The will to receive contains 613 “sub-desires,” all of which must be shifted from being used egoistically into being used altruistically—for the sake of others, to love of others. This is called “observing 613 Mitzvot (commandments).” The whole Torah consists of instructions by which to receive light in these corrected desires, a light called “Torah,” or “the revelation of Godliness.”

Therefore, these are not subtle differences, but consecutive degrees, appearing one at a time in a manner of cause and consequence. At each stage we correct all 613 desires from “In the beginning” to “In the eyes of all Israel,” the final words in the Pentateuch. Only when we achieve it do we actually become Israel—Yashar El (straight to God).

[1] [1] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Sanhedrin, p 94b.

This Week’s Torah Portion | June 18 – June 24, 2017 – 24 Sivan – 30 Sivan, 5777


Korah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

TORAH : NUMBERS 16:1-18:32

PROPHETS : ISAIAH 66:1-24

GOSPEL : LUKE 18:35-19:28

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. 

We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.

The Parashah for this week, June 18-24, 2017 is called Korach—“Korah”

 TORAH: Numbers 16:1—18:32

 HAFTARAH: I Samuel 11:14—12:22*

  • Because this Sabbath falls on or immediately before a Rosh Chodesh (Head of a new Hebrew Month), some synagogues will conclude with either or both of the following passages: I Samuel 20:18, 42; Isaiah 66:1-24, 23.

This week’s Portion focuses on the rebellion of Korah

*Numbers 16:3; 16:7b: 

KORACH AND FOLLOWERS TO MOSES: “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” 

MOSES: “Take censers, Korah and all your company; put fire in them and put incense in them before the LORD tomorrow, and it shall be that the man whom the LORD chooses is the holy one. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi.”

Perhaps we see here one reason for the severity with which the LORD dealt with Miriam and Aaron in Chapter 12. If those in the office of Prophet and Priest are discontent with their “place” in relation to the positions of others whom the LORD has chosen and appointed, will not their behavior be seen as license by their followers to do likewise? Moses had not appointed himself as leader over Israel, God had. Ironically, Korah was speaking a truth when he claimed that “all the congregation is holy, every one of them.” The congregation as a whole was holy (i.e. “set apart”) from other nations. And within that congregation, tribes and families and individuals were also “set apart”. Being set apart implies boundaries both from without and from within which must be respected by those whose “setting apart” is to other purposes and responsibilities.

PLEASE PRAY: for unity amongst believers in Israel—for humility, respect and honour towards the gifts and callings of each. For realization that it is the Holy Spirit who makes these distinctions; it is ‘taking too much upon ourselves’ when we criticize or envy them.   

PRAY ALSO, that within Israeli congregations godly discipline be exercised in the love and fear of the LORD. It may be helpful to read the Book of Jude in this respect (especially verses 8-11), which prophecies how rejection of authority and “peaking evil of dignitaries—“the rebellion of Korah”—will resurface in latter days. Verses 20-22 address how it must be responded to when it occurs.

*Numbers 16:22. “Then they fell on their faces, and said, ‘O God, the God of the Spirits of All Flesh, shall one man sin, and You be angry with all the congregation?’” 

As noted in past readings, throughout the Torah names for God surface whose elements reveal new perspectives on His attributes. This name—“God of the Spirits of all Flesh” will appear again in Numbers 27:15-16, “Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying: ‘Let YHVH, the God of the Spirits of All Flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of YHVH may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.’” This man was, of course, Joshua—“a man in whom is the Spirit…” (vs 18).

*Numbers 16:30. “But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have rejected YHVH.” 

Better renderings of the Hebrew word here rendered ‘rejected’ would be “spurned,” “abused,” “treated with contempt,”“blasphemed.” 

*Numbers 16:48: “Then Aaron took the censer as Moses had commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.” 

In the midst of a rebellious people, the LORD is searching for those who will “stand in the gap” on their behalf and on behalf of His land (“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found no one. Therefore, I have poured out My indignation on them…” –Ezekiel 22:30).  

PLEASE PRAY: For sensitivity and readiness on behalf of God’s Intercessors—willingness, surrender and resolve to share His burden, so as to be released at just the right time to “stand between the dead and the living” (and with discernment to differentiate between the two)—to “make a wall” and stand in the gap so that plague will be stopped.

*Numbers 17:10. “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.’” 

“Rebels” is literally b’nei-meri—“sons (or children) of bitterness.” Lest we be too quick to distance ourselves from those who fell in Korah’s rebellion and the mutinous disruptions which followed, we should note that in the Hebrew translation of Ephesians 2:1-3, exactly the same words b’nei-meri are used to translate “sons of disobedience”—“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God…” (Emphasis ours).

*I Samuel 12:21-22: “You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself” (NASB).    

The word “futile” (or “emptiness”) is Hebrew tohu, the same word used of the state of the earth (Genesis 1:2) before Elohim began breathing His Life into it (Psalm 33:6).

PLEASE PRAY: For Israeli believers and those who intercede for her, that our faith would not be distracted into reasonings which are emptiness or void—but rather that we would base our hope and prayers on God’s faithfulness to honour His Name. That we would be encouraged in the knowledge that it is “His pleasure” to make Israel a “people for Himself.”

The Parashah for next week June 25—July 1, 2017 is called Chukat—“Ordinance Of”: 

TORAH: Numbers 19:1—22:1

HAFTARAH: Judges 11:1-33

In A Nutshell

The portion begins with the story of Dathan and Abiram, and 250 of the presidents of the congregation who rebelled against Moses and Aaron with what seemed like a just argument: Since the entire nation is holy, Moses and Aaron should have the same status as the rest of the people. The reply they received was that although they are all equal, Moses and Aaron are the leaders that can be in contact with the Creator. Following the mutiny, the ground swallowed the 250 presidents of the congregation, as well as Korah and his company, and the people suffered from a plague until Moses asked the Creator to end it.

The end of the portion debates the question of leadership in the nation. A test was held between all the staffs (rods) of all the leaders, and the only one that blossomed was Aaron’s staff, which signaled his unequivocal leadership.

Glossary of Terms Used in the Korah Weekly Torah Portion

Commentary
We can interpret the explanation of the Torah (Pentateuch) on two levels—the level of this world and the level of the hidden, spiritual world. On the level of our world, the story of Korah is very relevant even today.

For thousands of years, our world has been developing through our egos. 3,800 years ago we lived in what is now known as Ancient Babylon. This is when Abraham—the quality of Hesed (mercy)—rose, as well as the priests that followed him, who are also from the quality of Bina, Hassadim.

Abraham discovered that the whole world must develop and achieve a state of unity and connection, and shared his revelation with the Babylonians. While many followed him, they were only a handful compared to the majority that rejected his ideas. Abraham had to flee from Babylon, chased by Nimrod, the king of Babylon.

Abraham established a method for correcting human nature. Today we call that method, “the wisdom of Kabbalah,” whose purpose is to elevate man from the depth of egoism to the level of bestowal and love.

This ascent is in fact the goal of our development—to rise from the level of this world to the level of the spiritual world. Spirituality is bestowal and the love of others, by which we acquire eternity and wholeness. This is the meaning of the text in this portion, as well as in The Book of Zohar, which talks about freedom from the angel of death.

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, initially everyone in Babylon was united as one nation speaking the same language. But then the ego “plague” broke out and people started hating each other, eventually moving away from one another. Because the Babylonians didn’t take upon themselves Abraham’s method of correction (but rather that of Nimrod), humanity dispersed throughout the globe.

Kabbalah explains that from the moment when people chose between the methods, it became necessary to reunite people. That unity will come because we are compelled to reach it. Had we corrected ourselves then, we would have achieved unity back in Babylon, and would have reached the purpose of Creation—being “as one man with one heart”; we would have achieved the revelation of Godliness and would have concluded the correction. But since the Babylonians chose a different path, we are now being compelled to follow through with the correction process.

We went down to Egypt and came out of it, ascending in spirituality to the degree of the FirstTemple, followed by the SecondTemple. We went through destructions, exiles, redemptions, and today we are at the end of the last exile—beginning to rise toward the last, complete redemption.

Today we are in a very similar situation to the one that formed in Babylon. The difference is that today we have nowhere to disperse, since we have already covered the globe. While there can be many “Nimrods” today, they cannot say anything because we have already recognized the negativity in us; we are already aware that our egos are destroying human society. Reality shows that unless we unite we will disappear from the face of the earth. The worst-case scenario is that we will finish ourselves off, or that ecology and the rest of Nature will finish us off since we’re living opposite to Nature, which is God.

In Gematria, Hateva (Nature) is Elokim (God). We must achieve balance with Nature, and this is achieved by uniting “as one man with one heart.” Unity pertains not only to the small number of people that fled from Babylon, stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai, received the Torah, and became a nation. Rather, it pertains to everyone.

Jews must be “a light for the nations,” explaining to them Abraham’s method, by which we all unite, as it is written in the Torah, “They shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” and “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples,” and also, “And all the nations shall flow unto Him.”

We are faced with a huge, crucial challenge: to finally achieve the purpose of creation. We will succeed in it only through unity between all people.

That unity can take place after great pains, which the wisdom of Kabbalah and prophets have prophesied concerning the days of the Messiah, but we can also take the method of Kabbalah, which is intended to draw the light that reforms.

Kabbalists warn us that unless we use the wisdom of Kabbalah, a third and even a fourth world war will break out, that only a handful will survive them, and they will still have to implement the purpose of creation. Hence, we have no choice but to do it. We can do it in a favorable manner, which is short, pleasant, and easy, through The Book of Zohar, the writings of the ARI (Rav Isaac Luria), and the writings of Baal HaSulam (Rav Yehuda Ashlag), using them to unite us through the light that will affect us. Kabbalah is called “the interior of the Torah,” “the true Torah (teaching/instruction),” due to the light within it. For this reason, today we must explain to everyone the need to disclose and utilize this method.

The story of Korah is a perfect example of our aforementioned words. Korah came from the tribe of Levy. Dathan, Abiram, and 250 representatives from the entire nation, all the tribes, apparently objected to the unity. They rejected the hierarchy, but there was no other choice. There must be a leader, Moses, connecting the Creator to the priests, followed by his priest brother, Aaron, the right line, the quality of mercy that they taught to the people. The ones who actualized the entire work besides the priests were the Levites, followed by the rest of the tribes, which were arranged according to the structure of the common soul.

The Creator created one soul, one desire. The people of Israel is arranged by that structure, and the rest of humanity should be connected around it. When people suddenly rise and say, “No! We want a different order; we don’t want to be so tightly connected,” it goes against the purpose of creation, against unity itself.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is the rule that induces the connection between us. It is the great Klal (“rule” but also “collective”) of the Torah. It is a Klal that is a common Kli (vessel) that we build and in which the light—the Creator—appears. We have no other means but unity between us, to be “as one man with one heart,” in mutual guarantee, connection, just as when we received the Torah. This is how we, the creatures, achieve the revelation of the Creator.

This is why there is nothing worse than what Korah did. It is called, “a dispute not for the sake of the Creator,” which is unlike other disputes, such as the one between the house of Shammai and the house of Hillel, which are “disputes for the sake of the Creator,” where matters are discussed and scrutinized.

There is right, and there is left. Each time we acquire a little more spirituality, a bigger ego—left line—appears in us. When we acquire a little more spirituality—the right line, Aaron—Dinim (judgments) reappear. This is how we rise, as though walking on two legs, climbing from one step to the next, as though on a ladder.

The right and left lines appear alternately, one by one. The left line gives the substance, and the right line corrects it into having the intention to bestow. An egoistic desire on the one hand, and the right line that comes and corrects it to being in order bestow upon others on the other hand.

This is how we advance, and this is why the wisdom of Kabbalah encourages the increase of the desire, hence its name, “the wisdom of Kabbalah (reception).” It teaches us how to receive everything—all the light, to achieve the goal in its entirety. Kabbalah is intended specifically for the most egoistic of people, but who also know how to correct their egos.

This is Abraham’s method, which differs from all the other methods that originated in Babylon. Abraham taught other nations, too, such as the children of the mistresses that he had, which he sent eastward. He taught them the opposite method, since if you don’t correct the ego using the wisdom of Kabbalah—by drawing the light that reforms—it’s best to keep the ego in check and not let it grow.

For that purpose, he gave them methods, religions, and faiths that encourage decreasing desires and cravings and treating others kindly, diminishing the will to receive as much as possible. He did that because if a person doesn’t know how to correct a desire, it is best to have a small ego rather than a large one, thus causing less harm to oneself and to others.

But when we use the wisdom of Kabbalah, we use the biggest ego. And when it grows we’re even happier because “He who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him,” except that that inclination is corrected.

This is why Korah wanted to divide, to tear the connection. What he really wanted was to break that ladder. He wanted for the people of Israel to not be connected, that we would not be under that hierarchy, according to the proper structure of the tribes.

The tribes are Yod–Hey–Vav–Hey. When multiplying the four letters by the three lines included in each of them, you get the twelve tribes. Korah wanted to break the structure, but this is impossible because without that structure it’s impossible to reach the goal. This is why his sin is so grave, and it is called “a dispute not for the sake of the Creator,” not in the direction of the progress.

The argument of Korah and his company was seemingly right. All they asked for was equality. They didn’t say they did not want to unite, at least not openly. They only asked why Moses and Aaron were of higher status, and for proof that they were superior to the rest of the people.

It is impossible to break the correction process midway. You don’t show a fool a job half done. Korah was right in saying that we will all reach equality, “as one man with one heart,” one desire. However, this is the end of the process, which will happen at the end of correction, not in the middle, in the stage of the desert.

The desert is an intermediary stage that we go through in order to acquire the quality of Bina, the intention to bestow in order to bestow. Only afterwards comes the entrance to the land of Israel, where we turn the will to receive into complete bestowal—an intention to receive in order to bestow. In the desert, a person is still only conquering one’s own ego, not letting it burst out in order to receive for itself and against others. It is a degree called Hafetz Hesed (desiring mercy).

On these degrees it is impossible to do what Korah says. On the one hand he’s right, but on other hand it is the wrong timing. There will come a time when that desire is fulfilled, but it isn’t now. The desires and claims of people, whether good or bad, become fully satisfied only at the end of correction.

The solution is in the Mateh (staff/rod). Mateh means that we know where to go and how to get there. We receive a sign that we cannot advance on the way we are going, unless by using the light of faith, following Aaron’s staff and Moses’ staff.

How Patronizing Eventually Becomes Positive

The Torah explains our internality, our qualities, our thoughts, emotions, and our desires. The struggles we have are not only between us, but also within us. We want to advance egoistically but we know that it’s wrong and we have to overcome it and follow a path of bestowal and love of others. After all, it’s written so, and this is the purpose and the quality of the Creator—bestowal and love—and we are opposite from the quality of the Creator.

These calculations always work within us and toss us from side to side. Each of us has an inner Pharaoh, an inner Korah, Haman, Moses, and Aaron. We are “small worlds,” made of all the forces. As we advance along the spiritual path, these forces grow and become contradicting, and we find ourselves amidst mighty inner battles.

This is why people are correct, when viewed from their own subjective perspective. These are Nature’s forces, which the Creator created, and there’s a good reason why a person thinks one way or the other. After all, all these forces—from worst to best—exist in Nature.

The question is how a person uses them. We mustn’t erase anything that exists within us. In the end we correct even the Korah within us. A person cuts out the beast within, burns it, and spills the rest of its blood.

For now, when we perform such physical actions, we have no idea what internal actions they represent. At most, we only “freeze” the desire, but that too is a correction, so as to use it later.

Why Korah Sees It as Patronizing

There is always a struggle between the forces within us. We put ourselves on the scales and must make sure that one force doesn’t override the other, that the right line isn’t much lower than the left. We must constantly keep the right higher than the left. It is called “walking on the right line.” The commandment is to always be on the right, although the left line will grow accordingly and will balance us so we will still advance on the right.

That sensation of internal struggle is a very good feeling. Each time, we feel how much we are immersed in these changes. It’s like a wheel, where the top moves forward and the bottom appears to move backwards, but the wheel is constantly moving forward.

The Correction of Being “Swallowed” in the Ground

“The earth” is the general will to receive, the force that we currently cannot use correctly, with the aim to bestow. Its correction is similar to the one we make with a dead body—we bury it.

A “deceased” desire is one that we cannot use with the aim to bestow, and which appeared in us with the aim to receive. That aim to receive is Korah. The desire itself is neither good nor bad; what matters is the intention—whether I use this desire for myself or for the sake of others. The Torah instructs us how to accurately examine our intention, whether it’s for ourselves or for others, and we must turn the intention to receive for ourselves to the benefit of others, to bestow.

A person either “buries” the intention to receive in the ground, or burns it. That is, either the ground swallows it or it is offered as a burnt offering (Hebrew: Korban, from the word Karov—near) in order to draw closer. When we correct that aim from reception to bestowal, we bring ourselves closer to the Creator, hence the name Korban.

These corrections have nothing to do with flesh and blood people or such tragic events as being swallowed in the ground, burned, or dying by a plague, although these things do occur in our world. Rather, these descriptions relate to corrections that occur within us. This is why it is said that man is a small world.

We need to check and find Korah, Abiram, Dathan, and the 250 presidents within us, what it means to be equal or unequal, and what is the purpose of creation. This is why we need to sort out our desires and our intentions.

Also, we should seek and find what are Aaron’s staff, Moses’ staff, and what their blossoming means within us—that along the way a person opens the vessel for reception of the upper light, and thus advances.

And Korah Took

“Korah went by way of dispute, which is removing and repelling above and below. And one who wishes to repel the correction of the world is lost from all the worlds. A dispute is removing and repelling of the peace. And one who disagrees with peace disagrees with His Holy Name, since His Holy Name is called Peace.”

Zohar for All, Korah, item 5

Shalom (peace) refers to Shlemut (wholeness), a state we achieve when the left and right lines complement one another. Our nature and the nature of the Creator equalize and reach connection and Dvekut (adhesion). This is the desirable outcome that yields peace, so we will never be opposite, detached, or distanced, but rather so connected that it will be impossible to tell us apart.

We must achieve Dvekut with Godliness, when He and we become one. As unrealistic as it may seem, it is the goal, and we must move toward it. The more we advance by ourselves, the more we will spare ourselves suffering.

The Reason for the Doubts along the Spiritual Path

The reason why we are constantly filled with questions and uncertainties is that we must develop. When we encounter serious doubts, we might come to a state where we ask for the ground to “open up and swallow us whole.” We may seem like the operators, but it’s actually the Creator who operates. We only observe the events happening before us, as though a movie is playing within us.
Gradually, we develop an inner vision that detects qualities such as Moses, Aaron, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, tribes, staff, and the earth within us. We sort out these elements in our qualities and see the situation as a picture within us. This illuminates how we advance while examining the network of connections between the elements.
Within that inner network of qualities—the 613 egoistic desires that aim to receive—we redirect our desires so they work in order to bestow. This is called “observing the 613 Mitzvot (commandments).” The light that comes and corrects the intention to receive into an intention to bestow is called “performing a Mitzva (correction/good deed).”

As we perform the Mitzvot, we discover our inner world, and in that world we see how we connect to others. This is how we discover our souls and learn how to fulfill them. These are the scrutinies, struggles, and connections that we undergo, and the fulfillments we receive. It is how we discover the work of the Creator. This is the real work of God that we perform.

In this way we come to a state where we understand the purpose of creation, the correction of creation, and how to carry it out. In the end we come to a state where we understand everything. It is called “And they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” We obtain a complete Kli (vessel) that is called “a house,” “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” It is the house of all our desires; they are all there, and in all of them we actually feel Godliness in our entire soul.

This Week’s Torah Portion | June 11 – June 17, 2017 – 17 Sivan – 23 Sivan, 5777

Shlach Lecha (Send Forth) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

             SHELACH TORAH : NUMBERS 13:1-15:41| 

            PROPHETS : JOSHUA 2:1-24| 

            GOSPEL : MARK 10:1-45

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. 

We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.

The Parashah for this week June 11-17, 2017 is called Sh’lach L’kha—“Send for Yourself”

    TORAH: Numbers 13:1—15:41

    HAFTARAH: Joshua 2:1-24

This week’s reading focuses on the 12 scouts sent out by Moses at the command of the LORD to spy out the land of Canaan soon after Israel left Mt Sinai. It relates the differing reports which were brought back and the spirits behind those reports. It then recounts the judgment released over the entire adult generation of those who followed the spirit of fear and unbelief released by ten of the spies. In the Haftarah, it is almost 40 years later and spies are once again being dispatched, this time from the next generation and from a different border.

*Numbers 13:16: “These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.”   

Hoshea means “Salvation”. Joshua (in Hebrew pronounced YehoSHUah), is a contraction meaning “YEHOVAH SAVES.” By the time of the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon some 900 years later, his name had been shortened to Yeshua (Hebrew: Nehemiah 8:17. Other men with this name (spelled “Jeshua” in most English translations) appear some 25 times in 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah). Still 600 years later, an angel would appear to Joseph in Galilee (Matthew 1:21, and in Luke 1:31 to Miriam—“Mary”, his wife) with the promise of a son, “…and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.”

*Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9: “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’” “Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh…spoke to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.’” 

It is remarkable that the Hebrew root for the word “war” and that for “bread” are identical (the two-edged sword in the hands of God’s warriors (Psalm 149:6) is literally a “many mouthed” sword to devour His enemies, while the mouths of the warriors themselves are filled with His praise)!

*Numbers 13.33. “There we saw the nephilim—the sons of Anak came from the nephilim—and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Nephilim are mentioned by name only one other place in the Bible, Genesis 6:4. It is by no means certain that the spies saw nephilim—nor in fact that these fearful beings have ever existed on earth since the Flood. II Peter 2:4 appears to be referring to them as having been cast into a place “below the earth” where they were delivered “into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.” The “parentheses” placed around the statement “the sons of Anak [giants] came from the nephilim” in many English translations are not in the Hebrew. We believe it likely that this statement was itself a spur-of-the-moment amplification made by the terrified spies, allowing stories from antiquity about the monstrous pre-Flood beings to color their perception of the large people they had actually seen. The author of the Biblical narrative itself only mentions the “children of Anak” (13:22) as had the spies themselves earlier (13:28).

*Numbers 14:24 “But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.” 

PLEASE PRAY against Israelis responding to the giants we face in a spirit of fear…that we realize that if we trust in God, he will not allow the land to devour us. 

Pray against cynical conversation amongst older believers in the Land about the land devouring those within it; this only serves to discourage and dishearten the generation God wishes to raise up for strength, victory and governance here. 

Please pray that men and women of “a different spirit,” who “know their God” and have heavenly insight (Daniel 11:32) would rise up in Israel, not focusing on the giants but trusting in the God who made the heavens, and Who has promised to give us a land flowing with milk and honey in which righteousness dwells. 

*Numbers 15:37-40: “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners… [See this week’s Israel Prayer Update]

*Joshua 2:12; 2:18: 

RAHAB: “Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token.” 

SPIES: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home.” 

There is a wonderful picture here. Rahab requests that the spies show her and her family “loving kindness” (Hebrew: hesed) and give her a token of “truth” (Hebrew: emet). The token of loving kindness and truth (hesed and emet) is a scarlet thread which, when seen, will protect them from a destruction of judgment soon to come upon all of her wicked nation. When God the Father sent His Light into the world, we are told that although the Torah had been given through Moses, “Loving kindness and Truth (Hebrew translation: hesed and emet) came through Yeshua the Messiah” (John 1:17)—“in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of God’s Loving kindness (Hebrew: hesed) (Ephesians 1:7). 

Please pray for revelation in Israel regarding the urgent necessity of being saved from the wrath to come—and of the loving kindness and Truth which are offered to those who will put their trust in the finished work of the Messiah! Psalm 33:18-19 says that “the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him and whose yearning hope is in His hesed—to deliver them from death and to keep them alive in famine!”

The Parashah for next week June 18-24, 2017 is called Korach—“Korah.” 

TORAH: Numbers 16:1—18:32

HAFTARAH: I Samuel 11:14—12:22

In A Nutshell

The portion begins with Moses sending the twelve heads of the tribes to spy in the land of Israel, to examine it and prepare to enter it. The spies return and describe a land flowing with milk and honey, but occupied by giants that will make it impossible to enter the land, conquer it, and rule it. Their words spread fear in the people, except for Joshua Ben Nun, and Caleb Ben Yephunneh. This angers the Creator and He wants to destroy the entire people. Moses prays and asks for mercy on the people. As a result, only the ten spies that slandered the land die in a plague. The other two, Joshua Ben Nun and Caleb Ben Yephunneh continue to accompany the people. Later in the portion, the children of Israel trip once more and seek to run back to Egypt. In the end they repent and abort their decision. Afterward Israel make another mistake: they try to fight and conquer the land without instructions to do so, and therefore fail. The portion ends with the instruction to wander another forty years in the desert until the entire generation of the spies passes away, except for Joshua Ben Nun, who is to lead the people into the land of Israel. 

Commentary

We have to develop from our will to receive, from our ego, into a state in which we come to be “the people of Israel,” when we are all Yashar El (straight to God), having the quality of the Creator: bestowal and love. We will all be in “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] in love of others, because we have no other choice. We must not go by our own reason, which alternates between dictations to advance and retreat. Rather, we must fight while examining if we are doing what is right, and if the way is right. The portion explains that we cannot know what to do or even where to start. It is a problem because we are accustomed to work by the mode of “A judge has only what his eyes see.”[2] It seems as though we must advance by following our essence, according to our Kelim (vessels/tools), using our minds and hearts. The Creator demands that we develop and do something. But how can we do something if we cannot tell between right and wrong, if we do not know whether to move forward into war or run back to Egypt? We can see that there are giants in the land of Israel. And while there are also fruits there, we cannot tell who rules there, which desires, or how big they are.Hence, the portion, Shlach Lecha (Send Forth) explains how we should advance correctly. There is a demand by which a person must check the road with one’s reason and see how to advance in spiritual development. The whole Torah speaks of spiritual development, how we can move from a state of egoism into one of love of others, as in, “love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.”[3] This is why we must go by what our eyes see and examine our egos, our ill wills, and see how we hate others, repel them, think only of ourselves, and how isolated we are from others and cannot even think of them. Instead, we should picture what love is, if and how much we love others others, how much can we think of others and unite with them (as the global crisis demand of us to do these days). We feel that we are facing this great assignment, which is why the wisdom of Kabbalah is appearing, so we may ask for help to rise to the degree of connection and unity, of real love of others, since without it we will not survive in this developing world. The time has now come for us to begin to actualize the Torah. This is why we have come to the land of Israel and settled here after the exile, after all the preparations we have experienced all through history. Today we must be as spies, scrutinizing the meaning of “being a spy” and the meaning of “love your neighbor as yourself,” to see if we can do it or not, and what we must in order to achieve it. When we consider our current state compared to the state we must achieve we see it is impossible. This is the problem of the spies. They were not told that they had to do anything except check and see that it was impossible, yet want it so much as to make us feel we have to achieve love of others because this is the Creator’s will. This is how our entire development should be. We must reach one of two pressure points: the first is that we cannot achieve love others because without it we have no life, and the second is that we must achieve it nonetheless. We have to come to a great cry with faith above reason, and then comes the light that reforms, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice”[4] because “the light in it reforms.”[5] The light embedded in the Torah, in the proper study of it, in the internality of the Torah, namely the wisdom of Kabbalah, comes and corrects us. Therefore, there is no need to run back to Egypt or cry that we cannot do it because “It is not for you to complete the work, neither are you free to idle away from it.”[6] Rather, all we need is to act, as it is written, “Whatever your hand finds to do by your strength, that do” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). And the minute we come to a point of complete shattering, then “The Lord will fight for you” (Exodus 14:14). Therefore, we need not go to war and think that we will win by our own strength. Who are we after all? One the one hand, before us is the massive, bursting ego that is stopping us, as those giants that live in the land of Israel portray.”[7] In truth, they are our own desires facing us, and we cannot fight them. However, we must confront them although we know we cannot overcome them. On the other hand, we must rise to faith, to a great power of demand until the light comes and corrects these desires from hostile ones into desires of the land of Israel. Indeed, it is a dilemma that we face prior to entering a new degree, to which we must prepare. It always happens, every time. The inner war is against our desires and qualities because “the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). We are all born with an ego that keeps developing. If we advance toward spiritual ascent it develops even more, as it is written, “He who is greater than his friend, his inclination is bigger than him.”[8] This is why we cannot fight the ever growing ego. However, if we are in the right environment and annul ourselves before it, regarding the people around us as the greatest in the generation, we begin to absorb from them the importance of the goal. The friends give us the sensation that it is possible, that we can burst in such a way that will lead to a genuine prayer, to the “gate of tears.” On the one hand, we are aware that we cannot that correction in us; on the other hand we know that the light, the Creator, can make it in us, if we only ask, if the goal is more important to us than anything. This why our work is in a group, in the right environment, because this is the only way we can muster the strength to advance on the right path. Questions and Answers It takes time before one can adopt a new environment. True, there are many inner struggles and things to overcome, but it does not always feel like that. That is, we experience different situations, some good, some not as good, and some frightening. It depends on the pace of progress and the time we dedicate to tit. What are the spies? Whom are we fooling? The spies are within. When we want to know how to advance despite everything, we need to examine the road. After we examine it we must not go with the spies, favor them, or listen to them since we examine the road with only our five egoistic senses. In other words, should we not believe what we think and feel? Of course not, how can you believe them? Assume we are at a certain degree, and need to rise to a higher one. The gap between the degrees is an entirely different life, and different mind and heart. How can we rise from degree to degree when we do not know what the next degree is like because it is in a different, spiritual dimension? In that dimension, the qualities and thoughts are different, the perception of reality is different, and so is the worldview. When do we understand that we have risen a degree? We understand it only once we are there. The question is how can we reach it? The desires and the fruits in the land of Israel are so big; everything is big. From the point where we stand we cannot ascend by ourselves because only the upper light that created the ego can correct it. This is why it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice” because “the light in it reforms.” That is, only through the light are we reformed. And once we are corrected we rise to a higher degree. What does it mean that ten spies say one thing and two of them say something else? It is very confusing. They are qualities within us. “Man is a small world.”[9] All the portions in the Torah deal with the development of man’s soul. This portion describes the spies, where ten think one way and two think another. However, this is a good situation, when the soul advances properly, this is why ten are against and two are in favor. How do we know to whom we should listen? It is a problem. We have to make mistakes. It is written, “A person cannot understand words of Torah unless he has failed in them,”[10] and also, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and will not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). At each step, we sin, fall into wickedness, and taste our own evil. Our lack of progress is caused only by us. We see how we make our own lives bitter, as though retreating further from our initial point. This is the sign that we are advancing correctly. Henceforth, we move on. That is, we must go through everything that is happening in the Torah, all the mistakes, problems, and everything that is on the way. Is there nothing we can do? We cannot avoid doing. We must examine our evil inclination to the fullest and ask for help each time we are stuck. If we do not taste the bitter, we also do not demand the light that will come and correct our evil. Then the light enters the evil, corrects it, and we receive a soul. The evil, along with the light that corrected it and fills it is called a “soul.” This is the only way to obtain a soul. Prior to that, we have none. Is this what “a land flowing with milk and honey” means? Yes. Eretz (land) means Ratzon (desire), a desire that is all milk and honey. That is, it is the degree of Bina, light of Hassadim, the desire to bestow, with light of Hochma inside, meaning attainment, closeness to the Creator. The spies point out the nations that live in the land; why is it important? These are desires within us that we need to correct in three lines. We need to correct them in the twelve tribes—Yod–Hey–Vav–Hey in three lines, to make it Yod–Hey–Vav–Hey times three. The land is also called “the land of Canaan”. Did Moses not lead them to the land of Israel? Before it was called “the land of Israel,” it was called “the land of Canaan”. Before it was “the land of Canaan”, it was Egypt, then a desert. It is the same desire; there is only one, but it is given different names each time according to its corruption or correction. Is Canaan a desire that is scrutinized before it becomes Israel? Before one conquers the desire in the proper manner, it is called “the land of Canaan”. What are the giant fruits? The fruits are what a person receives as a result of one’s work. It is the flavor of the intention to bestow that one performs and feels in the will to receive. These are truly huge fruits, 620 times bigger. We taste pleasures because we develop and understand what bestowal means, what is the sensation of the Creator in a corrected desire. The children of Israel are still in the will to receive, yet they are told about fruits that exist in the desire to bestow. How can they grasp what it is about or know it is good? When a person stands before the next degree to which one ascends, it is possible to see that degree “from afar,” similar to Moses who saw the land of Israel from Mount Nevo. What does it mean that we taste the good, which is then taken from us so we may climb another step? A person can take these fruits, carry them on one’s back, and possess them, but not taste them. There is still no Kli (vessel) in which to fill oneself with all the attainments, pleasures, and fulfillments that exist in the desire to receive in order to bestow in a corrected soul. It sounds like a great promise; why would anyone want to run from it? It requires substantial, difficult corrections, which are impossible to do. The reward for doing them is wonderful, but this requires fighting huge desires—all the nations that dwell in the land of Israel. But it is not a war that one fights alone; rather, the light does it. It is not easy to attain it, understand that we do not correct the desire. The children of Israel want to advance, which is a mistake. Alternatively, they want to run back to Egypt; this is a mistake, as well, or go to the land of Israel by themselves, and again, it is a mistake. So what do you do? Cry out and demand. Where does one find the strength to endure not being able to fight or run? Is it the group that gives strength? Yes, the strength of Arvut (mutual guarantee). The Creator broke the single soul that He created into myriad pieces. Other than that, the Creator created nothing. And it is all so we may feel that we are independent in our own shares, and be able to acquire the rest of the parts, thus becoming similar to the Creator. Each of us acquires that great soul; each one becomes as great as the Creator and is in Dvekut (adhesion) with Him. Our whole work is to keep acquiring parts of our soul, which seems to us as though it is not ours, but others’. The means to do it is the group, as it is written, “Either friendship or death.”[11] When we connect to a group and to people who want the same goal, we create unity among us, which elevates the importance of the goal until we are ready to demand it, and then comes the light and reforms. The Creator wanted to destroy the people of Israel and Moses prayed for them. What kind of a solution is that? It is a struggle within. Moses is the point that pulls us forward, the point of Bina. He is the faithful shepherd. We constantly advance with faith, with the power of bestowal. The term “faith” does not refer to blind faith, as we normally think, where we do what we are told. Rather, faith is the quality of bestowal. It is when one is willing to give to everyone, as it is written, “That which you hate, do not do to your friend,”[12] and “love your neighbor as yourself,” meaning give everything we have. This is the goal we must achieve. Moses is that point within each of us, the spiritual gene that pulls us toward that quality. It gradually develops in us and through it we can reach the land of Israel. Why did the ten spies die? It is not life and death in the sense we think of it. Their death means that their role has ended because in the form that they have it is impossible to advance. These are all qualities within us. It is possible to advance with the qualities known as Joshua and Caleb, but not with the rest of the qualities. Joshua and Caleb are two lines, Gematrias, qualities. From The Zohar: The Spies However, do not rebel against the Creator. We must not rebel against the Torah because the Torah does not require wealth or vessels of silver and gold. And you, do not fear the people of the land, for if a broken body engages in the Torah, it will find healing for everything. It is written, “And health to all their flesh.” All the slanderers over a person turn into his helpers and declare, “Make way for so and so, the King’s servant!” In other words, let no one stop him from coming to the King to serve Him.

Zoharfor All, Shlach Lecha (Send Forth), item 67

It is impossible to advance to the next degree, the land of Israel, unless we see it as a great, sublime degree, the degree of Bina. When entering the degree of the land of Israel, when we acquire it, it becomes Keter (crown), meaning the world of Ein Sof (infinity). When we see what fruits grow there and how incapable we are of getting them we enter the desert. We cannot go around the desert or avoid walking through it. Forty years is the distance between Malchut and Bina, the distance of the ascent to that level. After forty years we are ready to reacquire the quality of bestowal, to reenter the ego and begin to correct it into the intention to receive in order to bestow, namely the degree of the land of Israel. Following the desert, we enter the land of Israel, where wars over the conquest of the land take place. There we turn the will to receive into the desire to bestow. In all forty years of the desert, we only had the intention to bestow in order to bestow. That is, we corrected ourselves only to the point of not harming others. But once we enter the land of Israel we do good to others. Why did the Creator not let the people win? After all, they awakened with a certain desire and He seemingly prevented it from them. The Creator did not prevent it; He only showed how unprepared to enter the land of Israel they still were. However, by seeing that they were unprepared they understood which Kelim they had to acquire. These are the forty years in the desert, the great corrections we have to undergo, and which we cannot avoid.

[1] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b. 

[2] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Baba Batra, 131a; Masechet Sanhedrin, 6b.

[3] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.

[4] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b.

[5] Midrash Rabah, Eicha, Introduction, Paragraph 2.

[6] Mishnah, Seder Nezikin, Masechet Avot (a.k.a. Pirkey Avot), Chapter 2, Mishnah 16.

[7] Deuteronomy 1:28. [8] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Sukkah, 52a.

[9] Midrash Tanchuma, Pekudei, item 3.

[10] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Gitin, 43a.

 [11] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Taanit, 23a.

 [12] Masechet Shabbat, 31a.

This Week’s Torah Portion | June 04 – June 10, 2017 – 10 Sivan – 16 Sivan, 5777


BeHa’alotcha (When You Raise The Candles) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BEHA’ALOTCHA 

TORAH : NUMBERS 8:1-12:16

PROPHETS : ZECHARIAH 2:14-4:7

GOSPEL : LUKE 17:11-18:14

“At the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out…even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep the LORD’s charge and not set out.” 

(Numbers 9:19, from this week’s Torah Portion; see below. )

THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. 

We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.

The Parashah for this week June 4-10, 2017 is called B’ha’alotcha— “When you Light Up” (i.e. the lamps):

TORAH: Numbers 8:1—12:16

HAFTARAH: Zechariah 2:10—4:7

As we travel through the desert of Numbers (remember, the Hebrew name for the book is “In the Desert”), we will actually discover areas of very fertile soil for understanding both the human condition as manifest in Israel, and the “goodness and severity” (Rom. 11:22) of God as demonstrated towards His chosen people. Of the many important points present in this week’s narrative, we would point out the following:

*Numbers 8:14: “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine.” 

“God so loved the World”—yet in expressing that Love, He may in His own sovereign, holy purposes choose to set particular peoples (Israel), tribes (Levites), families (Cohenim-Priests), prophets (Miriam) and individual leaders (Moses, Joshua) apart. These are only a few examples as related to Israel—and He continues this in the Body of Messiah today. It is extremely important that we accept and honor those lines which it is plain He has drawn for us and for others. By the end of this Torah Portion, both Israel’s prophet (Miriam) and her priest (Aaron) get into serious trouble for becoming resentful regarding the ‘place’ of their brother Moses. Please pray for a generosity and humility in the Body of Messiah in Israel, with regards to race, spiritual gifts, age, sex, and talents and acquired skills.

*Numbers 9:18-21; 23: “At the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out…even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep the LORD’s charge and not set out. If sometimes the cloud remained a few days over the tabernacle, according to the command of the LORD they remained camped…At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORD’s charge…” 

The word “charge” is the same as that used for a military “watch,” and “kept” also means “guarded.” So, twice here an essential element of Israel’s camp routine is described as “guarding the Watch of the LORD” –keeping alert and obedient for His directive, whether it required immediate galvanization into action or the watchful patience necessary for an open-ended waiting.

*Numbers 10:25: “Then the standard of the camp of the children of Dan (the rear guard of all the camps) set out according to their armies…” 

We wrote two weeks ago of the place of Judah in taking the lead (followed closely in leadership by Issachar and Zebulon). Dan was to bring up the rear. His name is related to “godly judgment” (Genesis 30:6). The word for “rear guard” (Heb: me’aseph) bears within it the concept of “gathering.”. A rear guard not only protected the rear from outward attack, it also kept stragglers from fraying-out behind—it was responsible for “gathering” loose ends, keeping the rear tight and pressing forward. Often, the older moreexperienced warriors held oversight of this position.

*Numbers 11:1a, 4, 33-34 (NASB): “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD” … “

Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving…. the LORD struck the people with a very great plague. So he called the name of that place “The Graves of Cravings” because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving.” Cravings” is Hebrew T’aveh which is related to physical appetites awakened into strong lusts.

*Numbers 11:29: “ …O, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

(cf: I Corinthians 14:5; 39-40: “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied…Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.”). 

This section and all of chapter 12 show that prophecy—the proclaiming forth in spiritual authority and timing of what the LORD is speaking—is an essential element of His government for His people. But it is also essential that recognized prophets know and work within their place of authority. When Miriam leaves that place, it is, because of her recognized position, an extremely serious matter which must be dealt with strongly and, in her case, publically.

A REPEATED WORD FROM THE PROPHETS

It seems safe to assume that when the Holy Spirit allows God’s Word to be repeated twice, there is something within it which warrants His people’s special attention and understanding (Genesis 41:32). This week’s haftarah from Zechariah is exactly the same passage as that used during the week of Hanukkah. This is presumably because the Zechariah 3:2 mentions a menorah— “lampstand” (this week’s Torah Portion begins with instructions regarding the menorah in the Tabernacle; the Hanukkah season is traditionally celebrated with a special menorah). This passage contains so very much prophetically about the “Light” who would come into the world to cleanse us from our filthiness, whose Word would be our defense against that of our Adversary, whose oil would “keep our lamps burning”, whose Spirit would be our Victory!

PLEASE PRAY: the illumination of the Holy Spirit on these words as they are read at the close of Hebrew services around the world this weekend. Pray that many Jews will realize and believe that the LORD has come to dwell in their midst–the BRANCH whose name is Yeshua, and that His Father, the LORD of Hosts, has sent Him!

*Zechariah 2:10-11. “‘Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says YHVH, ‘Many nations shall be joined to YHVH in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that YHVH of Armies has sent Me to you.’”

We find this passage to be “Messianic” indeed! First, YHVH-the LORD says, “I am coming and I will dwell in your midst”—then presumably the same Speaker says, “Then you will know that YHVH of Armies has sent me to you.” There is nothing in the construction of this passage which demands that the last sentence is by Zechariah and the next-to-last the LORD. Only one who was “One with” the LORD would fit here. Yeshua/Jesus said something remarkably similar in John 11:41b-42, immediately before calling Lazarus forth from the grave, “‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

*Zechariah 2:12-13: “And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Hush! all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!”

As the warfare intensifies over Israel, Jerusalem, the ancient City of David and the Temple Mount, PLEASE PRAY for believers here—that we will not pray nor worship nor act merely out of our emotions—that in the power of the Spirit we will silence our flesh so as to hear clearly what the Spirit is saying to the Body of Messiah, finding our confidence in God alone who will ‘take possession’ and ‘again choose Jerusalem’.

*Zechariah 3:1-2: “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and the satan standing at his right hand to “satan” (i.e. be an adversary to) him. And the 

LORD said to Satan, ‘YHVH rebuke you, satan! YHVH who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” 

All of Israel today stands as a ‘brand plucked from the fire’ (the Hebrew for this expression is in fact sometimes used as a euphemism for ‘Holocaust Survivor’). She is continually under accusation. Yet within her is an awakened Messianic Body, coming into its place as a “Kingdom of Priests.” This remnant is also bombarded by the satan (the adversary, accuser). Please pray for grace and growing maturity in spiritual warfare in the Body of Messiah in Israel to stand against the Adversary in the name of the LORD—while allowing, as did Joshua in this chapter, the LORD to provide constant cleansing from sin, and clean garments— including a head covering to protect her mind.

**It rings significant to us that part of the “word” wielded against the Adversary by the Angel (“YHVH rebuke you, Satan!”) is the LORD’s identity as the One who has Chosen Jerusalem (“YHVH who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!”). Today, we may use the Name YESHUA, which bears within it in condensed form the words “YHVH Saves,”. From this example it can be inferred that a part of the “Word of our Testimony” (Revelation12:11) which defeats the Enemy is a confession of the LORD’s choosing of Jerusalem! Suspicion of the truth of this terrifies the evil one, who knows that Yeshua will one day dwell and rule from the Temple Mountain in Jerusalem.

*Zechariah 3:7. “If you will walk in My ways and guard my watch, then you shall also judge My house and likewise have charge of my courts; I will give you places to walk among those who stand here.” 

It is God’s desire that we walk in His path and watch over the things to which He assigns us. As we are faithful in this, we will grow in judgment so as to be entrusted with other responsibilities and positionings—including, when necessary, movement among and in harmony with those other “armies”—the angelic beings.

*Zechariah 4:6b: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of Armies.” 

This Scripture is written across the bottom arms of the menorah which stands in front of Israel’s Knesset Building.

PLEASE PRAY: that more and more in Israel will come to see the necessity of spiritual power for finding hope and a future—through a HOLY spirit provided by her Father!

The Parashah for next week, June 11-17, 2017 is called Sh’lach L’kha— “Send for Yourself.”

TORAH: Numbers 13:1—15:41; HAFTARAH: Joshua 2:1-24

In A Nutshell
The portion, BeHa’alotcha (When You Raise the Candles), takes place a year after the reception of the Torah. The people of Israel is getting ready to journey and holds a special ceremony for the inauguration of the altar. The portion details the laws concerning making the offering of Second Passover for those who were far and could take part in Passover.

The portion speaks of the tabernacle, on which there was constantly a cloud. It is an indication to the children of Israel when they must rise and journey, and when they must settle down. The portion also tells of the two silver trumpets that were used to assemble the people at times of war, when making an offerings, on Sabbaths, festivals, and special occasions.

Toward the end of the portion, several events take place that point to the heightening of the ego. The wicked in the nation complain about Moses and the Creator, and a consuming fire is sent to the wicked at the camp’s edge. The rabble, who is a group of proselytes that joined the children of Israel upon their exit from Egypt, complains about their condition, and the Creator showers quails on the camp. Anyone who jumps on the quails voluptuously is put to death. This is why the place is called “the graves of voluptuousness.”

The end of the portion talks about Miriam—Moses’ and Aaron’s sister—slandering Moses. She says to Aaron, “The Creator appeared to me, as well as to you, so why is Moses the leader? Why are we listening only to him?” She is punished for it with leprosy, and the nation waits for seven days until she returns.

Commentary

All the events are spiritual states within us. Each person needs to correct him or her self and achieve equivalence of form with the Creator, as it is written, “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God” (Hosea 14:2). The text speaks only about correction. It is not about having to cross the desert and reach the Jordan River, cross it, and reach the land of Israel. Rather, it is about ascending, as in BeHaalotcha (When You Raise).

Ascending refers to building the soul. Each of us builds his or her soul. We gradually build the soul—called “a portion of God from above” (Job 31:2). One begins the spiritual work, wanting to build oneself and achieve bestowal and love of others, connection with everyone, because by these acts one becomes similar to the Creator, as it is written, “From the love of man to the love of God,”[1] from loving of people to loving the Creator.

We achieve the love in stages, although we hate it because we are the complete opposite of it. These are the stages described in all the portions. To begin with, the Torah speaks only about a person receiving the spark called the “point in the heart.” With that spark we begin to correct ourselves. The Torah describes the way we go until the end of correction, through what is called “in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:12), through the end of the Torah (Pentateuch).

Therefore, when we begin to work and correct ourselves we immediately find all kinds of problems within us. It is written in the portion that a year after all the preparations, when the children of Israel began to move, problems began to arise in the camp. A person begins to find the problems only after all the preparations, when it seems that we are ready for the spiritual ascent. We begin to encounter many obstructions such as thoughts and desires that go against spiritual ascents.

The obstructions that appear are actually revelations of the desires and the thoughts, the mind and the heart we must correct. It is precisely by correcting them that we ascend. Hence, we need not see them as obstructions, but as a means for ascent, a springboard. We can see on ourselves and on groups in Israel and elsewhere in the world that problems begin the moment everything is organized and everyone is ready, eager, and must begin to act in the center of the group, begin to correct the connections. This is when trouble starts. But this is the right way, the only way to ascend.

The problems that appear reveal different desires and layers of desire in us. Our general desire is divided into many layers, so it is no surprise that “people” suddenly appear, meaning those desires within us. The whole of Israel is called Adam. He includes everything, even the nations of the world within us. However, Israel is the desires with which we can advance for the time being, while the nations of the world are kept “frozen” so as to not deal with them.
When we want to go only with desires with which we can go up to spirituality, we discover that even with them it is not that easy. There are desires that have not sanctified themselves, and this is the purpose of Second Passover. All those who did not do it during the exodus from Egypt can now be corrected, so now we sanctify them. “Sanctifying” means that we bring the desires to the quality of bestowal, which is called Kodesh (holiness), bestowal, or love of others.
We should learn how to sort the desires that are ready to be corrected in a person, and those that are not ready. The same goes for thoughts, working in the tent of meeting, and in the tabernacle. These are works of scrutiny and correction.

The work of the sacrifices or the Mitzvot (commandments) connected to the offerings are the most important because they entail instructions how to separate each desire from the rest of the desires, how to process it and understand it, what it is, and how possible or impossible it is to advance with it.

Our only way to advance is by turning our egoistic desires into desires of bestowal and love. There are always problems in this process, such as leprosy or plagues, as described about Miriam or the people who wanted meat. It happens because our desire divides into still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. “Speaking” refers to different kinds of people that the Torah mentions: priest, Levite, and Israel. Yet, we find that there are also strangers, proselytes, mixed multitudes, and kinds that seemingly do not belong to Israel yet joined it.

The sorting and the scrutiny are not done all at once upon the exodus from Egypt, but later, when it turns out that there is more to correct. We need to separate the sanctified part from the rest of our desires, which we temporarily “put on hold.” Some of these desires can be corrected, and through them it is possible to be sanctified and advance. It is possible to bestow with them, to ascend on the ladder. But with some desires it is impossible to do so.

The parts that can already be in bestowal and receive in order to bestow have already awakened. The light shines in them, as it is written, “When you raise the candles” (Numbers 8:2). There are clear signs in the scrutinies, which indicate when to take certain actions. If we are under a cloud, sitting, it is preparation. If the cloud wakes up, the heaviness and scrutinies awaken in us and we can start moving. The whole Torah is only about how to correct the will to receive, which parts, and how it becomes scrutinized.

Questions and Answers

What is Second Passover? Do desires we have not brought out suddenly make a higher discernment and discover that they, too, deserve to come out?

It is not a higher discernment, but a more accurate, finer one. We discover that desires with which we thought we could come out of Egypt and continue toward the reception of the Torah and the land of Israel do not really support bestowal. Eretz (land) means Ratzon (desire), and Ysrael (Israel) means Yashar El (straight to God). After taking a few steps forward we discover some “uncleanness” within us that we previously did not notice. Only now that we advanced we discern desires with which we cannot advance, so we sort and correct them.

We sort and correct our desires in stages. It is possible to ruin the desires, to kill them, separate them, or some how mend them, as with the work of the offerings. We divide our desires into still, vegetative, animate, and speaking, and we sort the desires at the level of speaking into priest, Levite, and Israel. We should also remember the mixed multitude, the proselytes, and the nations of the world, the various gentiles that awaken within us.

There are primary desires on the animate level because the soul consists of Shoresh (root), Neshama (soul), Guf (body), Levush (clothing), and Heichal (house/hall), or Moach (marrow), Atzamot (bones), Gidin (tendons), Bassar (flesh), and Or (skin), depending on how we divided. When referring to Moach, Atzamot, Gidin, Bassar, and Or, we cannot correct the Or. The correction of the Or is making parchment out of it, on which to write the book of Torah. The Or is divided into two—the outside, and the Duchsustus (inner part). This is how it achieves correction.

Before that, we correct a Kli (vessel) of Bassar, on the animate degree. This is our main work at the altar. While there are salt, water, and other elements at the altar, the main one is the flesh. This is the Kli by which we correct our will to receive, which is the most important. The flesh is red; its structure is the great will to receive, hence the work of the offerings, as the Torah describes, is primarily in the Kli (vessel) of Bassar (flesh).

Before that, a person does not know or thinks there is a need to perform these corrections. A person understands it only as one advances at each stage, parks at the stops, prepares all the camps, each with its own banner, and each in its place in the division. If we take the entire people of Israel that is divided into camps, tribes, according to location and form, we either advance or stand still. Instead of finding the tent of meeting, all the desires stand around the tent. The Levites, the priests, and the whole camp is only describing the structure of the soul.

Bigger problems surface each time in the camp—whether it is external thoughts and desires that want to join the ranks, tribes along the way that attack them, or people in the desert who have not corrected themselves from their desires into a desire that is entirely Yashar El, which is the land that is full of milk and honey. That is, there are light of Hassadim and light of Hochma, while in the desert everything is dry; there is no water, no light of Hassadim; hence everything is only scrutinies.

There are many “physical” descriptions, such as the cloud going in front of the camp, and when the children of Israel rest, it rests, too.

This is the concealment: we only see our measure of concealment from the revelation of the Creator. If the cloud, meaning concealment, departs from us, we advance. If the concealment descends on us, we lower our heads, sit, and scrutinize. Indeed, most of the forty years in the desert were spent sitting and making scrutinies, only to move a little forward and stop again for scrutiny.

Why is it written that the cloud is going before the camp?

We follow the concealment because we want to accept it, since according to the concealment we discover the process by which we are going.

What is the concealment in relation to us?

Concealment is when a person receives it from the will to receive, when one wants to be in it, as it is written, “wisdom is with the humble” (Proverbs 11:2), or Safra de Tzniuta (Book of Humbleness, part of The Zohar), meaning disclosures. Safra means book (in Aramaic), and a book is disclosure, a Megillah (scroll), from the word Gilui (disclosure). When one hides oneself, agreeing to receive concealment from the Creator, this is when one advances.

True, it contradicts commonsense, since what does it mean to walk in bestowal? It is when a person does not want any disclosure, seemingly rejecting it. That person advances with Ohr Hozer (Reflected Light) because we are in the forty years in the desert.

What does it give us?

This is how Malchut rises to Bina. We acquire the qualities Bina’s qualities of bestowal in our Kli of Malchut. With the qualities of bestowal we walk with our eyes shut because we are following the concealment, the cloud, until we reach the entrance to the land of Israel. Upon entering the land of Israel, the light of Hochma begins to appear through the light of Bina acquired during the forty years in the desert. This is when we begin to see.

The land of Israel is a land where the Creator is present, a desire filled by the Creator, when one has already discovered Him. But before that, when Malchut only rises to Bina, one acquires the concealment and consents to work only in bestowal without anything in return.

From where is the strength to walk in such concealment?

The strength is given from above. It is the strength of the light when receiving the quality of bestowal. The whole problem is that spirituality is not like corporeality, where everything is in our hands, in our vessels of reception and this is how we advance. It is not hard to advance this way because this way we remain in the ego. But in spirituality we do not advance egoistically. Rather, we have to receive from above additional strengths, the added desire, a new desire called “a new land,” “a new heaven.” Everything is new. “Through the desert” means that we cannot find any answers in our will to receive, any fulfillment.

So what motivates us? Why do we advance?

The motive comes from beginning to feel that we are following the upper force. It is good to feel it, but only if we are willing to follow the cloud, the concealment, with our eyes shut.

What does it mean to walk “with our eyes shut”?

Walking with our shut means that we do not receive any justification to advance in bestowal, neither in our minds nor in our hearts. Our hands, namely our corporeal, egoistic Kelim (vessels), is where we feel in the heart and understand in the mind. Here we do not feel or understand anything. All we want is the chance to go above these worldly Kelim and rise to another, higher dimension. We exist there in completely different Kelim from the ones we understand and feel.

How do we know that we are even making any progress there?

The cloud, concealment, is showing us the way, but only to the extent that we are willing to make constant sacrifices. That is a person sacrifices parts of the flesh, of the various desires. If a person sacrifices and does not want to engage in them, and is also willing to leave them with no rhyme or reason, as a result of these sacrifices that person will draw closer. Korban (sacrifice/offering) comes from the word Karov (near/close). In this way we draw closer to the quality of the Creator, to pure bestowal, Bina.

What is the meaning of what happens to Miriam the prophetess? She makes a just complaint regarding Moses’ leadership. If a person wants to lead, then why only Moses?

Moses’ quality of Bina is perfect, complete, GAR of Bina. It is not so with any other desire.

How does the Creator speak to Moses, and how did Moses speak to Him?

This is the revelation. In spirituality we have no sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Rather, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:9). A person does not taste in the mouth, but in the new Kelim that appear.

Does a person taste beyond the five physical senses?

There are Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut, Yod–Hey–Vav–Hey. Hochma is vision, Bina is hearing. Some prophets said, “I saw,” and some said, “I heard.” The Creator spoke to Moses. Moses is the degree of Bina, GAR of Bina, pure, faithful Bina. He was faithful, at the degree of faith. He heard; he was primarily at the degree of hearing, which is the degree of Bina. This is how the Creator appeared to him.

Did Miriam not know this? What is the punishment she got? We know that there are no punishments, so how come after the leprosy she understood?

All punishments are corrections. When Miriam is made ill and sits for seven days outside the camp, the whole camp waits for her return, and only then do they advance in the desert. “As they walked” speaks of corrections. The Nukva (female) is a deficiency that stands opposite Moses. She does not speak at the degree of GAR of Bina, as does Moses, but from the degree of VAK of Bina. That is, the whole degree is connected to that hearing. The Creator speaks to everyone; but Moses also knows because he is in the part of Bina where the light of Hochma (wisdom) dresses, in GAR of Bina.

Aaron and Miriam are not in GAR of Bina.

No; this is why Moses is considered the Creator’s house trustee, as it is written, “He is faithful in all My house” (Numbers 12:7).

Miriam is a woman, and almost everywhere in the Torah it is men who lead.

Not quite. Women exist in every stage and every action, but they are not mentioned. For example, Abraham begot Isaac, but he also had daughters.

Where it writes Et (the) in the Torah, does that refer to a female?

Yes, of course. The woman is the primary part of the Torah; she carries the deficiency that the man corrects. The reason why we talk more about men than about women is that the male part is the Masach (screen) that brings Ohr Hozer (Reflected Light) that discloses the Zivug de Hakaa (coupling) on the deficiency of the woman. In this portion it is quite clear that without Prophetess Miriam it would not be possible to draw near. In other words, she is at the degree of Bina, the degree of revealing the Creator.

[1] Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Love of God and the Love of Man,” p 482.