22, 5765 / April 2, 2005
22, 5768 /
Mar 29, 2008
20, 5771 /
Mar 26, 2011
22, 5774 /
Feb 22, 2014
I Adar 18, 5776 /
Feb 27, 2016
/ Heifer (Cow)
SCRIPTURES should be read first
Huqqat / Statute (Numbers
A note of interest from an Orthodox
Rabbinic viewpoint (Qoute without comment):
“The key thing to remember, in all this
mythological murk, is that no religious Jew is allowed to set foot on the Temple
Mount, for fear of desecrating the sacred ground. In any case, the Temple can
only be reconstructed when the Messiah returns to save his people, and, so far,
no Messiah, and no Third Temple. But not all Israelis are willing to assume such
a passive stance, tradition or no tradition. Ever since Israel came into
possession of old Jerusalem, in 1967, a fanatical group of Israeli nationalists
have tried to kick-start the eschatological machinery, plotting the destruction
of the Muslim shrines and busily constructing the various ritual objects for use
in the rebuilt Temple. These Israeli nutballs have forged a natural alliance
with our Christian nutballs, who have their own theological rationale for
hurrying Apocalypse along. They are dispensationalists, who believe - among
other things - that the colonization of the Holy Land by the children of Israel
signals the second coming of Christ: the efforts of these "Christian Zionists"
account for the uncritical support for Israel among many "born again" Christian
Okay, so now we get to the part about the red heifer: it turns
out that, although no religious Jew is allowed on the Temple Mount, there's a
loophole - it's okay if he or she is first purified in the ashes of a pure red
heifer. These creatures are exceedingly rare. One was born a couple of years
ago, in Israel, but it soon began sprouting white hairs on its tail and was
deemed insufficiently pure by the rabbinical authorities. Ah, but science found
a way around the fickleness of God's creation, and through the modern miracle of
genetic engineering - and funding provided by "Christian Zionists" in America -
a red heifer has been bred, and pronounced pure.”
– Historical Review Press – Jewish Studies.
We have studied Judgments (Mishpatim),
Ordinances (Edot), and Statutes (Hukim), the three categories of
Torah commandments. Statutes are the category of which it is said, their reason
is not obvious, but they bond God and man. The Statute of the Red Heifer is
considered, by the sages, to be beyond human reasoning, as Solomon said, “I
said I would be wise, but it is far from me”.
The Midrash on this portion notes a
paradox: one who has become defiled (a niddah) is purified by the ashes
of the red heifer, but one preparing the ashes becomes defiled thereby. It
further notes Job 14:4, “Who can draw a pure thing out of an impure one? Is
it not the One God?”
This paradox pictures a greater one:
a sinner is purified through the crucifixion of Yeshua, but one involved with
preparing His crucifixion – such as Judas – becomes condemned as a sinner. So
God draws a pure thing (a purified sinner) out of an impure (the crucifixion).
Because it is far above our understanding, God gives us many kinds of pictures,
called ordinances (such as baptism and the Passover).
It may be noted here, that
preparation of the ashes is one of several acts required by Torah, which
nevertheless makes one unclean. Thus we see that becoming defiled does not
indicate one has sinned, but defilement always relates to a result of the fall –
such as death, disease, or unfulfilled reproductive cycles.
Yeshua did not die because of a sin
He committed, but because of results of the fall of Adam. “For since by a man
came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all
die, so also in Messiah all shall be made alive” - 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.
Numbers 19 (v.16-19), “Anyone who
. . . touches . . . a grave, shall be unclean for seven days. . . . on the
seventh day he shall purify him from uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes
and bathe himself in water and shall be clean by evening.” ‘Washing one’s
clothes and bathing in water’ is a reference to immersion in a mikvah –
Biblical baptism. Being “clean by evening” means on the eighth day.
Now, Yeshua was baptized, even though
John the baptizer questioned why Yeshua should have such a need: “I have need
to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” – Matthew 3:14. So then, in
order to fulfill all Torah (Matthew 3:15, 5:17), should He not be baptized seven
days after leaving the grave? While we are not specifically told that He was
‘untouchable’ until a seventh day baptism, Mary was told to stop touching Him on
the first day (John 20:17), but Thomas was told to touch Him on the eighth day
(John 20:27). Why is a special point being made of this eighth day? Also,
ascending from the mikvah represents ascending to Eden / Paradise: this
is especially represented be being baptized in the Jordan River – Jordan meaning
“Descender from Eden”. So, in instructing Mary to stop touching Him, Yeshua said
(v.17), “for I have not yet ascended to the Father”.
Paul (1 Corinthians 15:29) speaks of
being “baptized for the dead” – according to some English translations. A better
rendering would be “baptized because of death”. This may to refer to today’s
subject, the baptism on the seventh day after dealing with a dead body. Paul is
speaking of resurrection, and its relationship to baptism. Since baptism –
specifically coming up from the mikvah – symbolizes resurrection (Romans
6:4), if a dead body could not be resurrected, what would be the significance of
the ritual: why would we picture “newness of life” after dealing with the
results of the fall?
Furthermore, being clean on the
eighth day symbolizes our being holy – fit for the “eighth day assembly”
(Leviticus 23:36) of the saints in Paradise. That requires our cleansing from
sin here, prior to resurrection.
Sadducees did not believe in
resurrection. Therefore, Yeshua said to them (Matthew 22:29-32), “You are
mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God. For in the
resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels
in heaven. But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that
which was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of
Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
Therefore, we are to purify ourselves, showing that we are alive to God in
holiness, and dead to sin.
A certain man wanted to take care of
things of this life before following Yeshua (Matthew 8:21-22): that is the
meaning of his Hebraism, “Let me first go and bury my dead father.”
Yeshua responded, “Let the dead bury the dead. You follow Me.” In other
words, “Let the spiritually dead care for the things of this world.” We should
care for following Yeshua – being holy.
At this end of a Festival Year, as we are
approaching the time for the Passover memorial, we are taught by the
Apostle Paul that we should be clean in order to worship.
Corinthians 5:7-11 – “Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new
lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has
been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old
leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the
unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote you in my letter not to
associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral
people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with
idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world.
But actually, I wrote to you not to associate (in worship) with any
so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an
idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler -- not even to eat
(the Passover) with such a one.”
Numbers 19:20 – “But the man who is unclean
and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off
from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of
36:16-17 & 21) “Then the word of Yahweh came to me saying, ‘Son of man,
when the house of Israel was
living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds;
. . . but I had concern for My Holy Name, which the house of Israel had
profaned among the nations where they went.’
I John 1
If we think that we do not sin, we
are deceived (v.8), and need to learn God’s Word (v.10). We need to confess our
sins (v.9) – and that means specifics, which means that we need to learn from
God’s Word just what sin is. Then, as symbolized by the water of the ashes of
the red heifer, Yeshua cleanses us from all sin. Purity is a requirement for
entering God’s Holy Place.
“Who shall ascend into the hill of
Yahweh? or who shall stand in his Holy Place? He ths hath clean hands, and a
pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully”
– Psalm 24:3-4.
“. . . and nothing unclean, and no
one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those
whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life” – Revelation 21:27.
Yeshua is our Passover Lamb, that was
slain for us to be cleansed (Revelation 13:8)!
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who chose us from among all peoples by
giving us Your Torah.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
(Zot huqat haTorah asher
/ This is
the statute of the Torah that Yahweh commanded)
Reader 1* Amen. 1 Then Yahweh spoke
to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 "This is the statute of the law which
Yahweh has commanded, saying, 'Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you
an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never
been placed. 3 'You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall
be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence.
Reader 2* Amen. 4 'Next Eleazar the
priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its
blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 'Then
the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood,
with its refuse, shall be burned. 6 'The priest shall take cedar wood
and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning
Reader 3* Amen. 7 'The priest shall
then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the
camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening. 8 'The one who
burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and
shall be unclean until evening. 9 'Now a man who is clean shall
gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean
place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to
remove impurity; it is purification from sin. 10 'The one who gathers
the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; and
it shall be a perpetual statute to the sons of Israel and to the alien who
sojourns among them.
Reader 4* Amen. 11 'The one who
touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days. 12
'That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day
and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean; but if he does not purify
himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. 13
'Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not
purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of Yahweh; and that person shall be cut
off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he
shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.
Reader 5* Amen. 14 'This is the law
when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is
in the tent shall be unclean for seven days. 15 'Every open vessel,
which has no covering tied down on it, shall be unclean. 16 'Also,
anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who
has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days.
Reader 6* Amen. 17 'Then for the
unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from
sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel. 18 'A clean
person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent
and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who
touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying naturally or the grave.
19 'Then the clean person shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day
and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him from
uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and shall
be clean by evening.
Reader 7* Amen. 20 'But the man who
is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be
cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of
Yahweh; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean.
21 'So it shall be a perpetual statute for them. And he who sprinkles
the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for
impurity shall be unclean until evening. 22 'Furthermore, anything
that the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it
shall be unclean until evening.'"
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living
Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who selected good prophets, delighting
in their words which were spoken truthfully.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the
Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,
and the prophets of truth and
Reader 8* Amen. 16 Then the word of
Yahweh came to me saying, 17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel
was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds;
their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. 18
"Therefore I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on
the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 "Also I
scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands.
According to their ways and their deeds I judged them.
Reader 9* Amen. 20 "When they came
to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said
of them, 'These are the people of Yahweh; yet they have come out of His land.'
21 "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had
profaned among the nations where they went. 22 "Therefore say to the
house of Israel, 'Thus says Lord Yahweh, "It is not for your sake, O house of
Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy Name, which you have profaned
among the nations where you went. 23 "I will vindicate the holiness
of My great Name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have
profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am Yahweh," declares
Lord Yahweh, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. 24
"For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring
you into your own land. 25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all
Reader 10* Amen. 26 "Moreover, I
will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the
heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 "I
will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will
be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 "You will live in the land
that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your
God. 29 "Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I
will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.
30 "I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the
field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the
Reader 11* Amen. 31 "Then you will
remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe
yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. 32
"I am not doing this for your sake," declares Lord Yahweh, "let it be known to
you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!" 33
'Thus says Lord Yahweh, "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities,
I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt.
34 "The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a
desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35 "They will say,
'This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate
and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.' 36 "Then the nations
that are left round about you will know that I, Yahweh, have rebuilt the ruined
places and planted that which was desolate; I, Yahweh, have spoken and will do
it." 37 'Thus says Lord Yahweh, "This also I will let the house of
Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock. 38
"Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed
feasts, so will the waste cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they will
know that I am Yahweh."'"
I John 1:1-10
Reader 12* Amen. 1 What was
from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we
have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- 2
and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you
the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- 3
what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have
fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His
Son Yeshua the Messiah. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may
be made complete. 5 This is the message we have heard from Him and
announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light
as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of Yeshua His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we
have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not
sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh
our God, King of the Universe,
Rock of Ages, righteous
throughout all generations.
You are the faithful God,
promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,
for all Your words are true
Faithful are You, Yahweh
our God, and faithful are Your words,
for no word of Yours shall
You are a faithful and
merciful God and King.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our
God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."