Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashot #27 and #28: Tazria (She conceives) and M’tzora (Person afflicted with tzara’at) Vayikra (Leviticus)
12:1-13:59 and 14:1-15:33
Haftarah: M’lakhim bet (2 Kings) 7:3-20
B’rit Chadashah: Matthew 9:20-26
This year, we read parashot 27 and 28. These scriptures address a condition known as tzara’at or uncleanliness; a disease if you will. However, we must clarify that tzara’at is not equivalent to leprosy. The uncleanliness and contamination spoken of is compared to leprosy. With this understanding in mind, we can apply the lessons from this weeks’ parashot to current events, including articles posted on the Internet in every genre.
It is not difficult to see the damage done spiritually and physically by posts that may seem innocent attempts at communicating with others. Many posts are full of helpful information designed to inform the public of 21st century business, work environments, and philosophy. Unfortunately, there are also deliberate posts that seek to frighten or stimulate rebellious attitudes that are not grounded in G-d’s Torah. Regardless of the motive, in many cases the writer is not educated in G-d’s Torah which includes warnings about what is and will happen in the future. More importantly, G-d provides instructions on how we are to live and cope with all that is happening in our world, including, family life, business, and the work environment. In my doctoral program, the 21st century world of work was emphasized. Anything that “rocked the boat” of the humanistic, self- value-clarification paradigm was and is seen as contributing to or creating a “toxic environment.” A few examples in support of this paradigm shift addressed the Quantum Financial System. One article can be found on dinarrecaps.com which promotes this system of decentralized banking and investment with virtual currency. Another is found on standupamericaus.org. This site states that “Once Donald Trump is re-elected as the first President of the new republic of America in this coming November this sequence of events will take place, it will be up to the awakened readers to help everyone understand what is going on, explaining the positive nature of the changes that already are occurring and those that are underway.” Donald Trump was not re-elected for whatever reason so further investigation into the validity of this article must be undertaken. A conflicting perspective is found on Quora.com by Aaron Brown who holds an MBA in Finance and Statistics. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I encourage you to read the entire article that is beyond the scope of this message. The bottom line in his article is that Quantum Financial System “is a name for a number of conflicting conspiracy theories… like most conspiracy theories, there are come elements of truth.” He maintains that this theory is inconsistent and “wildly beyond reality.”
The above comparison between just three sites stimulates confusion, fear, and anxiety for many people. Hopefully, such articles should also stimulate further serious inquiry, but not at the expense of Torah study. One may ask what the above information has to do with the parashot. Let’s get to the answer.
G-d’s Torah is a book full of instructions and examples on how to live holy as His people, with comparisons to unholy (toxic) behavior. Tzara’at is spiritual impurity described by using physical examples. Health and purity can be mutually exclusive. A series of afflictions demonstrate the stages of impurity that include the skin, hair, clothes, and even the walls of homes. In agreement with quantum thinking in at least this instance, humans are affected in some way by everything around them. This includes nature, sound, speech, and circumstance. Our challenge is to become holy as G-d is holy, just as he states in Leviticus 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:16. How do we do this? By prayerfully, humbly, and consistently studying and integrating G-d’s Torah into our being, consistent with Deuteronomy 6:4-11. This takes us back to the plethora of articles on the Internet, news media, conversations, and other stimuli that often evokes fear and doubt about one’s faith, belief system, values, and even trust in whatever god or higher power to whom/what one subscribes if any. Of major concern is that believers in all stages of spiritual development and maturity may doubt the words of G-d that directly and indirectly address everything that has or will happen as we progress through these end time. Just as people with a single spot had to be brought to the cohen or cohanim for a decision on whether the individual was clean or unclean, we must examine what we read carefully for truth throughout an article that is consistent with G-d’s Torah; His truth. HaSatan is the great imitator and makes falsehoods appear credible with subtle injections of false comments within what appears to be a credible article/video/book/blog/tweet. Here are a few tips for discernment:
Before you research anything, ask yourself what a biblical worldview might have to offer that you know would guide your research. In other words, what is your guide that you need to keep in mind as you visit sites. Everything should be read and examined through the words of G-d’s Torah. Relating to our parashot, the Cohen had to carefully examine a spot very closely; did the hair in the sore turn white? Does the sore extend deep into the skin? Is the sore swollen? Red? The actions of the Cohen were based on the instructions G-d gave him for determining clean and unclean status.
Before you start your search, minimize your own biases. The internet is an enabler that encompasses the world. You can always find support for whatever you want the “truth” to be. Similarly, we must allow scripture to speak to us (exegesis) rather than trying to prove our point by taking scripture out of context (eisegesis). We must set our intellectual pride aside and be willing to change our minds about an issue if we find though comparison to G-d’s Torah, that our perspective or opinion is incorrect. We must be careful that we are not researching an abstract issue or concept in an effort to show others how much we think we know over the majority. In our parashot, those afflicted with tzara’at were humbled in one way or another. First, they were compelled to go to the Cohen for an exam. If declared unclean, they had to be isolated for 7 days, setting them apart in a negative way. Yet, good could come from this spiritual and physical time-out if the individual had a repentant heart. Remember, tzara’at was a physical manifestation of a spiritual problem. Today, pride is a difficult and persistent foe.
Look for credible sources for information concerning the subject of interest. Unfortunately, some don’t trust anything that is mainstream. We must exercise careful discernment in this area as well, remembering that Yahshua’s teachings are not “mainstream” or conforming to social norms. This is where prayer for discernment plays a major role in what we hear or read, and how we develop our opinions. Comparing the information to G-d’s Torah will always clarify the issue. The goal is a reasoned trust in expertise; ultimately based on G-d’s Word.
Become informed about the author’s credentials, but don’t assume because there are numerous titles after a name, that these individuals are honest, or informed on G-d’s instructions/prophecies. The best- intentioned individuals will not be in alignment with the whole truth without wisdom from above. We need to look at the author’s worldview, any statement of faith and what that faith is; what sources did they use or not use, and whether their sources are credible. In our parashot, individuals who were affected with tzara’at did not go to the neighborhood “healer” or self-proclaimed dermatologist. They were required to go to the Cohen or cohanim for examination. In our day, we also need to go to the “Source” for a correct diagnosis of our spiritual state; Yahshua. We have the final comment in Leviticus 31: “In this way you will separate the people of Israel from their uncleanliness, so that they will not die in a state if uncleanliness for defiling my tabernacle which is there with them.” There is nothing new under the sun. May we stick to the basics, the King’s Highway and we will reach our desired destination.
Haftarah: M’lakhim Bet 7:3-20
King Ben-Hadad of Aram had taken the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria). The famine that followed was catastrophic, with many turning to cannibalism (2 Kings 6:28-29). King Jehoram of Israel wanted to kill Elisha, considering that his prayers could have prevented everything that happened. Elisha reassured the king, “So has G-d said, ‘At this time tomorrow, six quarts of fine flour will sell for only a shekel, and half a bushel of barley for a shekel at the gate of Shomron.’” One of the king’s officers scoffed at the prophecy: “Behold, if G-d makes windows in the sky, will this thing come about?” Elisha responded, “Behold, you will see with your own eyes, but you shall not eat from there.” What faith Elisha had in G-d.
Four men suffering from the famine were living in quarantine outside the city. They were suffering from tzara’at. They decided to approach the enemy camp to beg for food. When they arrived, they found the camp deserted. For in 2 Kings 7:6 it reads, “For Adonai had caused the army of Aram to hear the sound of chariots and horses; it sounded like a huge army; and they said to each other, ‘The king of Israel must have hired the kings of the Hitti and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us.” The entire enemy army fled, leaving behind their tents, horses, donkeys, and provisions. They went to the city and reported what they found to the gatekeepers who informed King Jehoram. Although he originally thought this was an ambush, he sent messengers who confirmed what was reported. The people swarmed out of the city and looted the enemy camp, thereby breaking the famine and fulfilling Elisha’s prophecy. The king’s officer who mocked G-d was placed in charge of the city gaits by the king. But he was trampled to death by the crowds after seeing the fulfillment of Elisha’s prophecy.
After researching this haftarah, I thought about the difference between the reaction to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in the United States, and the reaction of the Japanese to the Fukushima disaster of 2018. After Hurricane Katrina, there were people who started looting as soon as they could make their way through the flooded areas to abandoned homes and shops. There was total chaos just as we see in our haftarah. However, in Japan the people did not loot. Rather, they wait patiently in line for food, water, and other assistance. If there is any doubt in our minds about the selfishness and greed that motivates many individuals and corporations, watch how people react in a crisis. We have not seen anything yet. If we remain in Torah, there will be no chaos in our lives, spiritually or manifested physically. G-d is in control and we simply need to follow the King’s Highway to our inheritance.
B’rit Chadashah: Matthew 9:20-26
“A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years approached him from behind and touched the tzitzit on his robe. For she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his robe, I will be healed.’ “Yahshua turned, saw her and said, ‘Courage, daughter! Your trust has healed you.’ And she was instantly healed. When Yahshua arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute-players, and the crowd in an uproar, he said, ‘Everybody out! The girl isn’t dead, she’s only sleeping!’ And they jeered at him. But after the people had been put outside, he entered and took hold of the girl’s hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.”
The first thing we notice is that trust requires action. The woman went to Yahshua to reach for his tzitzit. This is like the lesson we learned last week about Naaman. He had to go to the water (living water in a manner of speaking). The water did not hop up out of its banks and run to Naaman.
This issue takes us back to our parashah. Recall that a bloody discharge of a woman represents the passing of potential life. An unfertilized egg is dead, and thus makes a woman ritually impure, as does her menses (Lev. 15:19-30). In our scenario, this woman with an issue of blood (abnormal bleeding) comes to touch Yahshua’s tzitzit because she knows through her trust in him that simply touching his garment can heal her. It’s interesting that Yahshua felt her touching his tzitzit even though he did not see her touch it. Let’s look at Mark 5:25-35 for confirmation; “Among them was a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years and had suffered a great deal under many physicians. She had spent her life savings; yet instead of improving, she had grown worse. She had heard about Yahshua, so she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his robe; for she said, ‘If I touch even his clothes, I will be healed.’ Instantly the hemorrhaging stopped, and she felt in her body that she had been healed form the disease. At the same time, Yahshua, aware that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples responded, ‘You see the people pressing in on you; and you still ask, ‘Who touched me? But he kept looking around to see who had done it. The woman, frightened and trembling, because she knew what had happened to her, came and fell down in front of him and told him the whole truth. ‘Daughter,’ he said to her, ‘your trust has healed you. Go in peace and be healed of your disease.’”
He felt the energy exchange that occurred. As the Cohen HaGadol (High Priest), Yahshua made atonement for her before Adonai on account of her unclean discharge (See Lev. 15: 30) for an interesting parallel. Yes, G-d’s Torah is just as applicable today as it was when it was written (Matt. 5:18). Let us not lose sight of its applicability and instructions that can guide us to our destination if we but follow them and not get distracted by peripheral white noise.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart