Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Here are 13 questions that arise from the 9 verses of Scripture concerning the Red Heifer in Numbers 19 (verses 2 through 10). When questions arise from our study of God’s word, many of us want to share our opinions. However; let’s caution against that. Our opinion doesn’t count; what God says about Himself does count. We have to look into God’s Word, itself, for the answers we seek. I’m feeling this is important, so let’s take some time to dig deep. I’m going to make this a special section of the RR until we’re finished. We’ll start tomorrow.
Rabbi Trail: (It’s been a while since I wrote a silly “Rabbi Trail” but here goes.) You do know that the last sentence I just wrote, “We’ll start tomorrow” is a lie. Because when we do start, “tomorrow” will be “today” because tomorrow never comes. If that messes with your head, listen to this… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VxLQZPqI2M End RT.
- Why is the Red Heifer flawless?
- Why is the Red Heifer red?
- Why is the Red Heifer a heifer?
- Why is the Red Heifer never yoked?
- Why is the Red Heifer given to Eliezer?
- Why is the Red Heifer slaughtered in Eliezer’s presence?
- Why is Eliezer commanded to sprinkle the blood 7 times toward the Tabernacle?
- Why is the Red Heifer burned entirely?
- Why is cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool burned with the Red Heifer?
- Why does Eliezer (the priest) have to wash and still remain unclean until evening?
- Why does a clean man (other than the priest) put the ashes in a clean place, outside the camp?
- Why are the ashes of the Red Heifer then used for the community?
- Why are the ashes of the Red Heifer to be used as water of purification from sin?
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Tue 15 Jun-2021 5th of Tamuz, 5781
Nu 20:7-13Jer 46-47Esr 6 (Lk 6:27-49)2 Co 8
My friend, Lars Enarson, author of “The Daily Bread” Bible reading plan, calendar, and diary, is providing (used with permission) the perfect introduction to our further study of the Red Heifer. This is an excerpt from his weekly Torah Commentary. Parashat Chukat is the 39th Torah reading portion. Rabbi’s note – I read this and decided to use it after I wrote the 13 questions. Many of them are repeated below. The rabbis may not know the answers, but not so for the followers of Yeshua. Yeshua told His disciples… Matthew 13:11 And He replied to them, “To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
The Red Heifer
“Now the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, ‘This is the statute of the Torah that the LORD has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and on which a yoke has never come. And you shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him. And 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. And the heifer shall be burned in his sight.” (Nu 19:1-5)
“This is the statute of the Torah that the LORD has commanded…” Notice that it does not say, “This is a statute of the Torah…” but, “This is the statute of the Torah…” This is not just one statute among many. It is the statute that is summarizing the entire Torah. The ashes from the red heifer are actually the key to the entire Temple service. Without the purification through these ashes, no one can approach the LORD. In this statute we find a clear prophecy about the sacrifice of Messiah at Golgotha. Yeshua said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6)
There are several things about this statute that the rabbis are at a loss to explain. Here are some of them:
Why is this statute not mentioned until now, after the Tabernacle has already been set up and all the sacrifices have already been explained and instituted?
Why is this most important ceremony performed outside of the Tabernacle/Temple?
Why does the one who produces the ashes that purifies every worshiper himself become unclean? Job asked the question, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” (Job 14:4a)
It is also strange that it is not Aaron, but his son Eleazar, who was given the task of sacrificing the red heifer the first time.
The rabbis say that these things belong to matters that are impossible to explain. If we could understand everything about God, He would no longer be God. They say that it was about the red heifer that Solomon explained, “All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, ‘I will be wise,’ but it was far from me. That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?” (Ecc 7:23-24)
The learned Paul spoke about the Messiah in many places as “a mystery.” He wrote to the Colossians:
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Messiah, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col 2:1-3)
Paul also wrote that the mystery of Messiah, especially His death and resurrection, is hidden from his people and must be revealed by the Holy Spirit.
“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Messiah is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Co 3:14-18)
Paul also wrote that the entire Torah points to Messiah. “For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts.” (Rom 10:4 Complete Jewish Bible) Since the Torah points to Messiah and is about Him, (Jn 5:46) and since the ashes of the red heifer are described as “the statute of the Torah,” it is obvious that this is a picture of the Messiah.
Memory Verse: Daniel 4:32(35) All the inhabitants of earth are counted as nothing. He does as He wills with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. No one can hold back His hand, or say to Him, ‘What have you done?’
121 6/14 Monday: Jeremiah 31:30(31)-39(40),32–33
*122 6/15 Tuesday: Jeremiah 52; 2 Kings 24-25
123 6/16 Wednesday: Ezekiel 1:1-3; 36:16-38; 37
124 6/17 Thursday: Daniel 1-2
125 6/18 Friday: Daniel 3-4
Question of the Day: Aaaah! The agony!
Answer: It hurts to read about the destruction of Jerusalem, every time. Even so, the “question of the day” is not a question, therefore; we can’t have an answer. The implied question is, “What were they (the various kings of Israel and Judah) thinking?” The lesson to us is that God is not mocked.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’”
Most of the rulers of both Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom) disobeyed God. For most of them, it is written, “He also did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes.” That is our warning that we must be vigilant and steadfast in our zeal to serve God and to love God. We must guard against the false hyper-grace lie that allows grace to be our excuse for every sort of misbehavior.
Philippians 2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you might be blameless and innocent, children of God in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. Among them you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that I may boast in the day of Messiah that I did not run or labor in vain.
And that’s the last word for today…. Until tomorrow, shalom.