To our 9:00 am Shabbat Ark of Prayer and the Mishpacha within,
This week’s parsha is Nasso: Numbers 4:21-7:89, Judges 13:2-25, Acts 21:17-26
Nasso is Hebrew for "lift up". G-d continues teaching Israel about relationships with each other and with Him, a form of lifting up.
I am grateful that G-d has provided clear, simple steps for making amends to those I have harmed. Over and over, both in the Tanakh and Brit Chadashah, we see this pattern: Sin, repentance, restitution, forgiveness and restored relationships. And the steps must always be in this order to end in a truly restored relationship.
In Numbers, the steps include admitting the wrong(s) I have done, repentance, and providing restitution to the injured party, a form of sacrifice, as well as a Temple sacrifice to G-d, also an injured party.
Without following this pattern to deal with the consequences of sin, which include compulsive behaviors, none of us can have the quality of live and relationships G-d intends for each of us.
The passages in Numbers 6:11-31 are designed to protect marital faithfulness and are some of G-d’s commands that I wish He had handled differently. To my modern eyes it looks like it enables a warped and vindictive husband to torment a faithful wife. And just as bad, these regulations do not apply to the husband who, the Bible often shows, is the one more likely to be unfaithful.
But I’m not G-d and do not get to exclude from the Cannon, like some do, those versus that I do not like. The passages here stress the seriousness of adultery and underscores the covenant relationship we have both with Him and with a spouse.
The principle of personal accountability is always necessary for me, or anyone, that seeks to live a covenant life pleasing to G-d. Self-discipline and self-examination both play key roles in my relationship with G-d and those around me, especially as I continue to deal with my hurts, habits and hang ups. The Nazirite Vow would be impossible to keep without self-discipline and self-examination.
Numbers 6:24-26 speaks the Blessing that Greg so faithfully provides on all of us each Shabbat. The Hebrew word for “peace” means much more than an absence of conflict. It implies a complete sense of well-being, health, and contentment. G-d offers this to anyone who is willing to follow Him and especially to those whose lives have been bruised and broken.
So when I’m in the middle of crud falling on my head, while I continue to pursue the path I believe He has set before me, my goal is to be content and peaceful with whatever result G-d provides as I walk His path. Far easier to say here than to do, but an important “First Principle” in my life.
Numbers 7 shows that the way I use my possessions is an important part of my accountability to G-d and my faith community. G-d’s ministry depends on personal and family gifts in order to meet the needs around us. We see that gifts can be physical or time, but the nature and amount are to be voluntary and from the heart with an attitude of generosity and, as needed, sacrifice.
As you are able, I hope you’ll give both me and the Temple the gift of prayer, both during your day, and at the Temple at the 9:00 am Shabbat prayer session.
Blessings on you and yours.
Your brother in Yeshua in the TEVA TEFILAH,
Posted on Thu, May 29, 2014