From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2012 2:29 PM
Welcome to our Torah study on this week’s portion of Scripture, which is
called Naso (Lift up).
This portion of Scripture will be read in synagogues all over the world this
Shabbat (Saturday). Please read it along with us. We know you will be blessed!
NASO (Lift up)
Numbers 4:21–7:89; Judges 13:2–25; Acts 23:20–24
“Take [naso] a census also of the Gershonites by their families and clans.”
(Numbers 4: 22)
The men’s section of the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem, where tens
of thousands gather to pray during the Biblical festivals.
Last week, Parsha Bamidbar (In the Desert) was read just before the Biblical
holiday of Shavuot, which is regarded as the day when the Torah was given
on Mount Sinai and as the wedding of Israel to God. In that Torah portion,
God commands that a census be taken of Israel.
This week’s Torah study continues with the numbering of the Levitical families,
detailing their duties. Each man was to be named for a specific task.
“At the Lord’s command through Moses, each was assigned his work and told
what to carry.” (Numbers 4: 49)
This ensured an equitable distribution of the work.
An orthodox Jewish man recites prayers during the morning weekday
service. Although the tallit (prayer shawl) is worn at morning services
on weekdays and Shabbat, tefillin (the black box on the head and
windings on the arm and hand) are only worn during weekday services.
Wearing it is considered obedience to Deuteronomy 6:8, a literal sign
upon the hand, and frontlet between the eyes.
A Model for Community Living
“Count the Merarites by their clans and families. Count all the men from
thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work at the tent of
meeting.” (Numbers 4: 29–30)
This Parsha models community living, especially in regard to serving
When we live and work together in community, and everyone has their own
assigned tasks so that each carries part of the load, the burden does not fall
too heavily on a few key individuals.
This is the ideal behind the communal lifestyle of the Israeli kibbutz
movement. It’s also the lifestyle of the early kehillah – the early community
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold
their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”
(Acts 2: 44–45)
Reciting prayers at the Western (Wailing) Wall: The spaces between the
massive stones of the Western Wall are stuffed with slips of paper containing the
prayers of those who have visited the wall.
We are called to fulfill the Torah of loving one another by helping bear
one other’s burdens. We may accomplish this in practical ways for those
overloaded with responsibilities, but also through the act of encouraging and
comforting those who are carrying heavy emotional burdens.
But the Lord did not leave us relying totally on one another. Yeshua (Jesus)
gives us rest when we are tired and burdened.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you
rest.” (Matthew 11: 28)
But to experience that rest, we must be willing to go to Him, laying aside our
self-sufficiency, and trust Him with our worries, cares and anxieties down.
“Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Women praying at the Western (Wailing) Wall
Jealousy and Trust
“…if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and
she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not
impure—then he is to take his wife to the priest.” (Numbers 5: 14–15)
This Parsha also deals with the law of jealousy. God gave Israel a way to
manage jealousy and suspicion in marriage. Interestingly enough, the Hebrew
word for marriage is nissuin, which is plural for naso (lift up), the name of
this week’s Parsha.
God’s intention for marriage is to lift us up.
Sometimes, however, the green-eyed monster of jealousy drags a relationship
down. According to this Parsha, if a husband became jealous and suspected his
spouse of unfaithfulness, his suspicions might be valid or invalid.
Thus, to resolve this issue of trust, which is necessary for the success of any
relationship, the Cohen (priest) would bring the woman in question before
the Lord and administer a test to determine her guilt or innocence.
A Jewish man wearing tefillin (black leather straps, see above for explanation)
for morning prayers.
The Cohen (priest) would utter an oath that, if she were innocent, would
protect her from the curse; however, if she were guilty, she would come under
the curses that were written on a scroll and dissolved into bitter waters.
The woman would commit to this oath by responding, “Amen. Amen.”
(Numbers 5: 22)
Although the word amen is traditionally considered an acronym for “Eli
Melech, Ne’eman” (God, Faithful King), the Hebrew word amen comes from
the root that means believe, confirm, and support. Amen is also related to the
Hebrew word emunah (faith), which is derived from the same root.
When people respond “amen” to a vow or oath, they are coming into
agreement with it, and it’s as if they swear the oath themselves.
The woman would then drink the waters of bitterness that the priest had
prepared. It would either bring her guilt to light or clear her as innocent.
An Jewish mother with her children in an orthodox
Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.
It’s evident from Numbers 5:30 that a spirit of jealousy (ruach kinah) can
come upon a person.
“…when the spirit [ruach] of jealousy [kinah] comes upon a man.”
(Numbers 5: 30)
Jealousy, when it is suspicious, overbearing, possessive and demanding, is
ugly and sinful.
Jealousy, however, can also be virtuous, and it’s not necessarily a negative
thing in an intimate relationship. It’s appropriate to be passionate and to
desire undivided loyalty, devotion and faithfulness. No moral spouse wants
to share a partner with someone else.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as
strong as death, its jealousy [kinah] unyielding as the grave. It burns like
blazing fire, like a mighty flame.” (Song of Songs 8: 6)
In fact, the Hebrew word for jealousy (kinah) is also often translated zeal,
as in the following Messianic prophecy:
“Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will
reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal [kinah]
of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9: 7)
A Torah scroll
Can a Holy God be Jealous?
It’s supremely evident in Scripture that God regards Israel as His
special treasure, even as a wife (Hosea 2: 19). He protects Israel because
she is precious to him.
Indeed, in Exodus 34: 14, we see that one of the names for God is El Kanah
(Jealous God). Since God is holy, we can know that there is an expression
of jealousy that is not rooted in selfishness, but in love and holiness.
This theme carries over into the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant), where we
read that our God is passionately devoted to us, and therefore jealous of our
“Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”
(1 Corinthians 10: 22)
Lifting the Torah so that all can see it at the Western (Wailing) Wall
The Aaronic Benediction
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you
peace.” (Numbers 6: 24–26)
This week’s study ends with one of the most famous passages in the Book
of Numbers: The Aaronic Benediction (Numbers 6: 24–27).
Since this blessing was pronounced over the people by the priest, we
understand from this passage, that words are important and powerful.
In fact, Scripture says that the power of life and death is in the tongue
(Proverbs 18: 21).
Let’s examine this meaningful passage that so beautifully states God’s will
for our lives.
The Lord bless [y’varech’cha] you: The first element of the
benediction is blessing. The Hebrew word bless is barak. This word
shares the same root as knee (berech). In fact, the word barak means
to bless and to kneel. It takes real humility to get down on our knees
and receive the blessing of God.
and keep you: The word keep is shomer which means to guard,
watch over and protect from all evil, sickness, poverty and calamity.
The Lord make his face to shine on you: In this benediction, the Hebrew
word panav (His face) is repeated twice, which indicates that we can
enjoy an intimate, face-to-face relationship with God. God’s face
shining on us indicates His attention, favor, light and friendship.
and be gracious unto you: When we seek the face of God, instead of
just His hands – what He can give us, He will cause His favor and grace
to be poured out upon us.
“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them
victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face [panim],
for you loved them.” (Psalms 44: 3)
The Lord lift up [naso] His face [panav] upon you: Here toward the
end of this week’s Parsha, we once again see the name of the Torah
reading: naso, which means lift up or elevate. We also see the second
usage of the term panav (His face) in this meaningful benediction.
and give you peace [shalom]: The pinnacle of this blessing is shalom
(peace). We can experience this shalom (peace) even in the midst of a
storm. Peace is the inheritance of the children of God, as Yeshua said,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. (John 14: 27)”
A young man beams as he carries the Torah for the
The Lord is longing to be gracious to us and to bless us. He wants us to
receive His blessing, divine protection, favor, the light of His face, and also
peace, wholeness, and completion – in Him!
The Aaronic Benediction ends with these words: “So they will put My name
on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6: 27)
It’s the name of God upon us that blesses us, establishes us and makes us
successful, even gaining for us the victory in all our battles.
“Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our
foes.” (Psalm 44: 5)
As the Cohanim (priests) blessed the people of Israel, they were to remember
that it’s ultimately God who blesses. Likewise, as people bless us, let us be
mindful that God is the ultimate source of all blessing.
our ministry team speaks this blessing over you today:
May the Lord bless you and keep you, Bjoern.
May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.
For all of you who have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, who have
dedicated yourselves to be a blessing to Israel and the Jewish People, may
these prophetic words be of comfort to you:
“’Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing
love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says
the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54: 10)
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help us share Yeshua – the Salvation message of the Messiah.
We rely on your tax-deductible gifts to carry out this important work here in the Holy Land.
Shabbat Shalom from all our ministry staff!
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