Welcome To Gates To Zion!
Counting Up Toward The Feast Of Shavuot
The Omer count begins Saturday night April 4th. YHWH instructs us in His Torah to begin to count UP toward the feast of Shavuot, the feast of Weeks, the day following the annual High Shabbat after the feast of Pesach. Did you catch that? The world is busy counting down to initiate their plans. YHWH's way is about ascension…going UP! If you are a part of the returning house of Yosef-Ephraim-Yisrael, then you have some counting to do. Click on the link below to find out what the Omer count is about, why you should be couinting, and find the daily Counting Calendar that will help you practice YHWH's instructions. So click and get busy counting UP with the Whole House of Yisrael. You are about to be TRANSFORMED!
Parasha 34: Bamidbar (In The Wilderness) Bamidbar/Numbers 1:1-4:20
*All Scripture References from The Orthodox Jewish Bible- Referred To As OJB- unless otherwise noted
Joe Snipes (Torah Teacher) Gates To Zion Ministries
We are now entering the fourth sefer/book of the Torah. The title for the Hebrew is Bamidbar meaning In The Wilderness. The English title Numbers comes from the fact that the sefer/book opens with the taking of a census. However, as we will see, this is a rather poor name for this parasha. It could be presumed from such that YHWH might be reducing Yisrael to a mere a number. The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth as we will see.
There is in the Torah an undercurrent of passionate love that YHWH has toward His people Yisrael. This was seen in the fact that in Shemot/Exodus the giving of the Torah was in reality a Wedding Covenant, a Ketubah in Hebrew. YHWH betrothed Himself to Yisrael, and they in turn accepted His betrothal and willingly gave themselves to Him. All this is a picture of love. Those who see the Torah merely as Law, have no idea the depth and passion with which YHWH yearns for His beloved Yisrael. It is the reason that one of the Names of YHWH is El Kanah which means Jealous El. Any husband who truly has a passionate relationship with his wife will not stand for the affection of his love to be encroached on by another. All of this plays into the purpose that YHWH has in instructing Moshe to take a census of Am Yisrael.
YHWH Restores The Dignity And Identity To His People
One of the reasons you count something is because it is precious and valuable. You want to establish its worth, so you determine its size accordingly. If you remember as we have been studying the Torah, Yisrael had fallen into a terrible state of declension during their time in Mitzrayim/Egypt. In the opening of Shemot/Exodus we found that the Pharaoh who had come on the scene was not like the one that was alive during the days of Yosef. This Pharaoh was cruel and wicked. He was afraid of Am Yisrael, and so he set out on a determined plan to reduce them to a nothing…to an it. Through a regimen of constant work, terrible conditions, and ever increasing burdens, the psyche of Yisrael was broken. YHWH set in motion His plan to redeem and deliver them. All that He did was to restore His people and provide them the hope of realizing their destiny with Him in showing forth His glory to the entire world. This is the reason for the census.
Verse two of chapter one opens with this statement,
“Take ye the rosh (top amount, census) of kol Adat Bnei Yisroel [all the assembly of the Sons of Yisrael]…” (Bamidbar/Numbers 1:2a OJB- definitions mine)
However even the OJB doesn’t quite get the real picture of what is being done. The literal rendering of the verse is,
“Lift up the heads of the assembly of the Sons of Yisrael…”
This phrase is used two other places in the Torah. (B’resheet/Genesis 40:13; 19) Both involved Yosef during his time in prison. If you remember he met the butler and the baker both former servants of Pharaoh while there. They each had dreams which Yosef interpreted. In both instances the interpretations had to do with each of their heads being lifted up. The butler was to promotion and restoration, but the baker was to judgment and death. So, it is very important who is lifting up your head and for what purpose!
The lifting of the head of each Yisraelite in our parasha has to do with recognition. The rest of verse two tells us that each family, from each tribe, each name of each man’s head was to be lifted up before YHWH. It wasn’t just about a number. It would have been easier to do the census in a corporate manner. However, YHWH asked that it be done individually, as well as by family from each of the twelve tribes. The whole point was to cause every son of Yisrael to sense his worth before YHWH. So much had been lost in Mitzrayim/Egypt. Now, was the time to show His care and restore the hope of Yisrael. They had a destiny. It was a glorious one woven together with their Creator. Thus He lifted up their heads to heal and restore His purpose and renew His call to make Yisrael great among all the nations.