Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #21 Ki Tissa (When you take) Sh’mot (Ex) 30:11-34:35
Haftarah: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 18:1-39
B’rit Chadashah: Luke 11:14-20; Acts 7:35-8:1; 1 Corinthians 10: 1-13; 2 Corinthians 3: 1-18
In this Parashah we read that B’nai Yisrael sinned by making a golden calf while Moshe was on the mountain. I want you to pay special attention that YHVH told Moshe to descend because YOUR people have sinned. I find that interesting. Aren’t they YHVH’s people also? Or… because of this sin is He alienated from them and they are no longer His? It reminds me of parents whose offspring have gone astray. All of a sudden it is YOUR child not our child. I’ve often wondered what YHVH is teaching us by His choice of words. Could it mean we could lose our salvation by gross sin even if we believe? They certainty believed in YHVH. They had witnessed YHVH’s miracles first hand. They had even experienced His presence. Yet not one of them set foot into the Promised Land. Or perhaps, it is to teach us that we are responsible for those we teach in the Way of YHVH Elohim. They are our people and as such we have a responsibility for them. We must be careful to guide and even correct them when they leave the path of Torah. It is certain that nothing in the Torah is by chance. There is a lesson to learn here and the Ruach will teach it to us if we listen.
In Chapter 31:2629 we read another interesting narrative that also has a parallel verse in the B’rit Chadashah. This narrative reads “ Moshe stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted,’Whoever is for Adonai, come to me!’ “All the descendants of Levi rallied around him. he told them, ‘ here is what Adonai, the G-d of Israel, says” ‘ Each of you, put his sword on his side; and go up and down the camp, from gate to gate; and every man is to kill his own kinsman, his own friend and his own neighbor!’ The sons of Levi did what Moshe said, and that day three thousand of the people died. Moshe said ‘ You have consecrated yourselves today to Adonai, because every one of you has been against his own son and against his own kinsman, in order to bring a blessing to yourselves today.”
In the B’rit Chadashah we read a narrative in Luke 14:26 where Yahshua is speaking to large crowds that were following him. he said “ If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, his mother, his wife, , his children, his brothers and his sisters, yes, and even his own life besides, he cannot be my disciple. We need to understand what the word “hate” means in this context. It is not as we translate in English to mean a mean spirit towards someone. We can find the answer in Matthew 10:37: “ Whoever loves his father and mother more than he loves me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than he loves me is not worthy of me;and anyone who does not take up his execution stake and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his own life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for my sake will find it.” This is to say that G-d demands that he be first in all things, just as our parashah states in Exodus 24:14 “… you are not to bow down to any other god: sine Adonai- whose very name is Jealous- is a jealous G-d.” G-d is only trying to protect his Children from assimilating into pagan societies and prostituting themselves to other gods.
We also see Moshe “arguing” with YHVH in defense of the people to save them from destruction. A Midrash tells us that Moshe appealed to YHVH by bringing up the Patriarch’s merits in defense of the nation. Moshe is reported to have replied to YHVH’s offer of making him the father of a new nation thusly: If a stool with three legs (Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov) can’t stand on its own then a one legged stool founded upon Moshe doesn’t stand a chance of remaining upright. Clever, but doesn’t quite fit the narrative.
More likely, YHVH was testing Moshe’s compassion for his charges. YHVH knew Moshe’s response, but like Avraham and Isaac, Moshe and Avraham did not know how they would respond to a given situation until they were in the circumstance. YHVH allows and tests our trust of Him, and He knows the outcome before the beginning, but we do not know until our trust is put to the test. We learn from going through YHVH’s tests of our faith. They make us more faithful and stronger when we succeed in meeting these challenges.
One other lesson is to be learned from Moshe’s actions. He realized that the people’s failure rested with him, their teacher, for a teacher must never blame the students alone when they fail, and he/she must find a way to rectify the situation if at all possible.
Haftarah : 1 Kings 18:1
In the Parashah, B’nai Yisrael committed the first very grave sin. Moshe was gone longer than they thought he should be so they constructed and worshipped an idol. The Sages in a half-hearted attempt to justify Israel say that it was only supposed to be representation of YHVH, but it cut into the Commandment not to bow down to idols.
During the reign of King Ahab, the ten northern tribes, Israel served Ba’al, a false god. The prophet Eliyahu confronts them and proves there is only one true El. The Haftarah takes place 600 years after the sin of the golden calf and B’nai Yisrael still has not learned her lesson.
B’rit Chadashah: Luke 11: 14-20
14 He was expelling a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the man who had been mute spoke; and the people were astounded. 15 But some of them said, “It is by Ba‘al-zibbul, the ruler of the demons, that he expels the demons.” 16 And others, trying to trap him, demanded from him a sign from Heaven. 17 But he, knowing what they were thinking, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, with one house collapsing on another. 18 So if the Adversary too is divided against himself, how can his kingdom survive? I’m asking because you claim it is by Ba‘al-zibbul that I drive out the demons. 19 If I drive out demons by Ba‘al-zibbul, by whom do your people drive them out? So, they will be your judges!” 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of G-d, then the Kingdom of G-d has come upon you!
Ba‘al-zibbul here is an implied connection between Satan and Beelzebub (originally a Semitic deity called Baal , and referred to as Baal-zebul,(lord of the fly) … Ba´al, the supreme male divinity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations, as Ashtoreth was their supreme female divinity. Some suppose Baal to correspond to the sun and Ashtoreth to the moon; others that Baal was Jupiter and Ashtoreth Venus. There can be no doubt of the very high antiquity of the worship of Baal. It prevailed in the time of Moshe among the Moabites and Midianites, Num. 22:41, and through them spread to the Israelites. Num. 25:3-18; Deut. 4:3. In the times of the kings it became the religion of the court and people of the ten tribes, 1 Kings 16:31-33; 18:19, 22, and appears never to have been permanently abolished among them (2 Kings 17:16).
What does the phrase “finger of G-d represent?
In Exodus we read at 31:18 “And he gave unto Moshe, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of G-d. The Torah… Living and Written…
In Matthew 10:24 we also read Yahshua’s comment upon the accusations in this verse:
24 “A talmid is not greater than his rabbi, a slave is not greater than his master. 25 It is enough for a talmid that he become like his rabbi, and a slave like his master. Now if people have called the head of the house Ba‘alzibbul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! 26 So do not fear them; for there is nothing covered that will not be uncovered, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim on the housetops.”
Wisdom of the Sages:
“Everyone included in the census must give a half-shekel.” (30:13)
Moshe asked everyone to give a half-shekel in order to count the people. Why not just give a whole shekel?
There is a saying, “No man is an Island unto himself.” Perhaps we are being told no one can achieve perfection by themselves. In order to become whole you need someone else. In life we should have a mate to make us whole or Echad and before YHVH Elohim we need the covering of the blood of Yahshua to make us whole, Echad.
Michelangelo created a sculpture of Moshe with horns on his head. How could he make such a mistake? When Moshe descended from the mountain the Torah says his face glowed. The Hebrew word for “glow” is karan. The same root word in Hebrew also means, “horn.” Michelangelo read an incorrect translation of the Torah and because of this many people think Jews have horns.
In the census from the age of 20 every Israelite had to give a half-shekel. Why was the age 20 chosen for this assessment? The Sages say that only those accountable for their sins could bring a half-shekel. The numeric value of shanah vamaalah, which means “20 years and up,” is 506.
The numeric value of the phrase “for punishment,” li’onashim, is 506. The Jerusalem Talmud points out that the age of 20 was chosen as the earliest age to bring the half-shekel for that is the earliest age a person is accountable for his sins. We know that children know right from wrong much earlier and the age of accountability cannot be ascertained without controversy. Only G-d knows the heart whether a child of 5 or an adult of 95. This is why children should be taught G-d’s Torah as soon as possible; generally from the age of 3. The sooner one learns how G-d expects us to relate to Him, to man, internalizes those truths, and lives them, the more prepared the individual will be for the race to win the prize. It is never too soon or too late to teach the Word of G-d; the Living and Written Torah. To glorify Him and make His Name known is our destiny (Ecc. 12:13).
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart