To our 9:00 am Shabbat Ark of Prayer and the Mishpacha within,
This week’s parsha is Chukat: Numbers 19:1-22:1, Isaiah 66:1-24
The context of Numbers 19 is touching, or in close proximity to, a human body that is dead.
When I read G-d’s instructions in Numbers 19, for the “water of purification”, I was struck by the need to involve others in ones community who are ceremonially clean in order to become ceremonially clean oneself. I was also struck that those that help in the purification ritual themselves become ceremonially unclean until sunset, thus taking on a portion of the impurity and the effort to follow G-d‘s instructions.
Typically the priests are the only ones involved beyond the person who is seeking absolution.
So G-d provided instructions to Israel about what to do when their lives were touched by death and it included help from their neighbors. Imagine your trouble if your neighbors were unwilling to help. While we do not do these rituals anymore, engaging with ones “neighbors” as part of the grieving process is part of our rituals surrounding death.
The loss of one of our children impacted many people beyond my wife and me. Although we are very private people, having a wider community around us was helpful and ultimately resulted in a closer and stronger marital relationship.
After a water shortage, the Israelites started to complain again. The focus on this incident, however, was on the failure of Moses and Aaron to follow G-d’s instructions and instead to use their own method to produce water.
By disobeying G-d’s specific instructions, Moses and Aaron exhibited attitudes of personal rebellion against G-d. Likely it was their frustration and anger at the people's continual whining and lack of trust and support that caused the impulsive action.
Commitment to G-d’s program cannot be a partway proposition. Despite Moses’ great success in the past, this failure kept him and Aaron out of the Promised Land. This illustrates the importance of obedience to G-d’s Word, especially if we are in a leadership position.
Although his failure undoubtedly brought him a great deal of personal pain and disappointment, notice that in spite of the severe judgment by G-d, Moses shows no bitter feelings toward G-d; neither did he neglect his responsibilities. His recovery from personal failure and his continued faithful service to G-d are evidence of Moses’ great faith and dependence upon G-d.
Note also that G-d allowed him to resume his leadership of the Israelites and his role as their mediator. My mistakes do not disqualify me from future success; they provide opportunities for learning, growth, and dependence upon G-d.
I’m back from Israel and we had a wonderful trip. I’m still dealing with jet lag but looking forward to seeing you all on Shabbat and perhaps you'll join me at the 9:00 Teva Tefilah
Blessings to you and yours.
Your brother in Yeshua in the TEVA TEFILAH,
Posted on Thu, June 26, 2014