Thursday, February 24, 2022

A Second Sinai Covenant

 While the world and the nations seem to be heading down the road of YHVH’s judgments, we do not want this pathway to be our focus.  Our Father has called us out of darkness into the marvelous Light of His Son.  As His redeemed people and the sheep of His pasture, we need more than ever to find ourselves lying down in those green fields that are next to the still waters.  But because we are bombarded with terrifying forecasts of impending calamities we are kept on edge, nervous about our lives and that of our families. Thus, we may even find ourselves crying out, “what must we do to be saved?!”  Instead of listening for an answer, we set out to do our own saving.

As we were studying last week’s Parasha we recalled to mind an article I wrote 3 years ago, in which I mentioned a second Sinai covenant (aside from the one the people broke in the Golden Calf episode).  After Moses smashed the tablets of that first covenant, which was sealed by the blood of a bull, YHVH invited Moses back up the mountain.

Before Moses left the tent of meeting (see Exodus 33:7), to convene with YHVH for the second time, he was instructed by Him to cut two stone tablets (like the ones he had broken), and carry them up the mountain the next morning.  But while the first tablets originated from YHVH and were hewn at the top of the mountain, these new ones were going to originate from the bottom of the mount and be brought up to YHVH, where He would inscribe on them once again the ten words (Exodus 34:1, 2, 28). As we will see, Moses is about to have a completely different experience from his former forty-day stay on the mount.  YHVH had already agreed to reveal to him His glory - “kavod”, His goodness - “tuv”, and His favor - “chen”, all of which constituted, as it were, the backside of His glory (see Ex. 33:18ff). 

Just before we accompany YHVH’s faithful servant on his ascent up the mountain, let us take note of some of the differences between the previous scene and this one. YHVH sealed the first covenant with the blood of bulls. Immediately after that Moses, Aaron, and the elders all went up the mountain, where they ate and drank and saw Elohim (see Exodus 24:8-11).  Following the Golden Calf episode and the breaking of YHVH’s stone tablets, the mountain became off-limits, this time to everyone except Moses (34:3).  It seems that the first episode had the potential of launching an intimate relationship between Israel and their Redeemer, but instead ended with a colossal failure which speaks volumes of their condition and ability to observe the covenant. Moses, having interceded on behalf of the people, is now called back up to witness the “favor” and the “goodness” of YHVH and much more.  

Moses’ earlier plea is about to be answered. The Almighty promised him that He would call out His name and make His glory known to him (33:19-23), and now the time has come. Thus, when Moses arrived at the mountain top, the cloud came down and surrounded him while YHVH passed by in front of him calling out His name: "YHVH, YHVH Elohim, merciful  - “rachum”, and gracious/favor - “chanun”, longsuffering - “erech apayim”, and abounding in goodness/grace - “chesed”,  and truth - “emet”… (Before we go on let us recall another text:  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory -“kavod”, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of  “chesed” – goodness/grace and “emet” - truth” John 1:14.)  …keeping “chesed” – goodness/grace for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation" (Exodus 34:6-7).  Moses was so overwhelmed with what he had just seen and heard that all he could do was to make haste and bow his head toward the earth and worship (v.8).  Through this encounter, Moses was assured of his Master’s faithfulness and favor, and so proceeded to ask on behalf of the people: If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord (Adonai), let my Lord (Adonai), I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance" (Exodus 34:9).

Immediately following this incredible declaration and manifestation of His name and disposition, YHVH hearing Moses’ plea for His people, declared that He would make a covenant with him and with them.  But hang on, what is going on here? Is YHVH referring to the same covenant that Israel has just messed up, or is He?  "Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of YHVH. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you” (Exodus 34:10).  While it seems that He is referring to conquering the land and destroying its inhabitants, and indeed shortly Israel was going to have some awesome experiences while taking their inheritance, yet for a covenant to be legally in effect it had to be sealed with blood.  When we examine closely the full content of the said “covenant” and YHVH’s real intent, we find that it has more to do with forgiveness of sin, iniquity, and transgression, including marvels and awesome wonders, than the 'thou shell nots' of the previously broken covenant.  When was this second covenant of Sinai sealed by blood and accompanied by wonders (of healing the sick, blind and deaf and raising the dead)?  It appears that the signs and marvels promised here point to Yeshua and the “miracles, wonders, and signs which Elohim did through Him” (Acts 2:22), and his followers. However, the capstone of Yeshua’s life was the shedding of His blood that sealed this second covenant of Sinai and atoned for the sins of the people so that they could become the royal priesthood and holy nation that YHVH had declared them to be.

How precious is Your chesed [goodness/grace], O Elohim! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.  For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. Oh, continue Your chesed to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart” (Psalm 36:7-10).  


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Hebrew Insights into Parashat Va’yak'hel – Sh’mot (Exodus) 35 - 38:20


The Parasha before us, and the subsequent one, seal off the book of Sh'mot. The two of them recapitulate the instructions for constructing the Mishkan, its utensils, the priests' garments, and also reiterate the calling of the two craftsmen who were to be in charge of the work. However, because the instructions in our text describe (or report) the actual implementation of the work, they are animated with a sense of activity. The act of contribution, for example, is fraught with enthusiasm and vitality, while everyone appears to be doing his utmost within his (or her) means and capabilities.  

Just before examining these accounts, let us pause to look at yet another injunction regarding the Shabbat. In this instance it appears to be a prelude to the construction of the holy edifice, with an emphasis on keeping the Shabbat set apart by not doing any manner of work (including kindling of fire): "… everyone doing work in it shall be put to death" (ref. Ex. 35:2,3).  In all likelihood, this was to serve as a reminder to the Israelites that even the building of the Mishkan does not supersede the Shabbat rest. 

Va’yak’hel, “And Moshe gathered…” “Va’yak’hel”, from the root k.h.l - “to gather untofor the purpose of executing the plan. And as we shall see shortly, a plan is definitely being set up here. This "gathering" stands in stark contrast to 32:1, where the same verb was used, but at that time they gathered around Aharon, demanding that he make them 'an elohim'. In 35:10 an invitation is issued for "every wise-hearted one among you, let them come and make all which YHVH has commanded" (emphasis added). Such an open summons had not been announced previously. Now that the people were both contributing and participating in the actual work, the camp was bustling with activity. The skilled and the unskilled, the rich and the poor, the rank and file together with the leaders – all were doing their part. The call to "take from among you an offering to YHVH" (35:3), continues with the emphatic "everyone who has a willing heart will bring it, YHVH's contribution" (literal translation, emphasis added).  "YHVH's contribution" reoccurs a few more times in this text. In other words, that which was being offered to Elohim, was His in the first place. "And of His fullness, we have all received" (John 1:16 italics added).

Let us now simply follow the text, taking note of the activity, the mass inclusion of the entire community, and the spirit of eager willingness and generosity that pervaded the camp. "And all the congregation of the sons of Israel went out from Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart was lifted up, and everyone whose spirit made him willing. They brought the offering of YHVH for the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. And the men came in together with the women, everyone willing of heart. They brought in bracelets, and nose rings, and rings, and ornaments, every gold article, and everyone who waved a wave offering of gold to YHVH. And everyone with whom blue was found, and purple, and crimson, and bleached linen, and goats' hair, and rams' skins dyed red, and dugong skins, they brought. Everyone rising up with an offering of silver and bronze, they brought the offering of YHVH; and everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, they brought. And every wise-hearted woman spun with her hands; and they brought spun yarn, blue, and purple, and crimson and bleached linen. And all the women whose hearts were lifted up in wisdom spun the goats' hair. And the leaders brought the onyx stones and stones for the setting, for the ephod and for the breast pocket, and the spice, and the oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the incense of the perfumes. And every man and woman whose hearts made them willing to bring for all the work which YHVH commanded to be done by the hand of Moses; the sons of Israel brought a willing offering to YHVH… “(35:20-29-emphases added). 

As mentioned, this action-packed passage is characterized by the willingness and eager participation of everyone involved. A similar atmosphere is also echoed in chapter 36, where Betzal'el and Ohali'av (Aholiab) and all the ones endowed with Elohim-given wisdom and a desire to do the work, take the contributions from the people: "And they took every offering before Moses which the sons of Israel had brought for the work of the service in the holy place, to do it. And they brought to him still more willing offerings morning by morning. And all the wise men came, those doing every kind of work for the sanctuary, each one from his work they were doing"… (36:3, 4 emphases added). Here we see the co-operation between the laypeople and the experts, all of whom were providing an abundance of such magnitude, to the extent that Moshe was told…"The people are bringing more than enough for the service of the work that YHVH commanded to do…” (v. 5). Moshe therefore "commanded, and they caused it to be voiced in the camp, saying, 'Let neither man nor woman make any more offering for the sanctuary; and the people were held back from bringing" (v. 6). "Held back" is rendered "va'yi'kaleh", the root being k.l.a (kaf, lamed, alef) which is actually the word for prison. However, as we have seen before since the letter "alef" is silent it sometimes replaces the equally silent "hey", and if that is the case here, this could also be read as, "the people had utterly finished bringing…". (For a similar example, where the "alef" could be easily exchanged for an "hey" refer to Genesis 8:2, "and the rain from heaven was restrained", which if "hey" were to be used, would read "and the rain from heaven had ended".) 

The wisdom, skill, and expertise with which the work was carried out clearly did not originate with the expert artisans themselves. In 35:31, 32, 34 we read: “And He has filled him [i.e. Betzal’el] with the spirit of Elohim in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge… to devise designs. And He has put in his heart that he may teach” (emphases added). Betzal’el’s protégé, whom he was teaching, was Ohali’av from the tribe of Dan. Having been endowed from above with the skillfulness and ability to carry out the work, Betzal’el, true to his name, appears to be residing “in the shadow of the Almighty.”  His assistant’s name expresses a similar concept, as we saw last week, since Ohali’av means, “my tent is the Father.” Thus, the artist engaged in crafting the Mishkan (Tabernacle), declares, by his very name, Who is the real Abode!

But let us return to the earthly Mishkan… The specifications for the Ark of the Covenant, the Table of Showbread, and the Lampstand are listed in 37:1-24. In Hebrew these three articles are “a’ron, shulchan, and menorah” – rendered literally as, “cabinet/closet/chest (e.g. 2nd Kings 12:9,10), table and lamp” (e.g. 2nd Kings 4:10); a comfortable abode, under any circumstances, especially in the desert! But what about a washbasin for a quick freshening up, and maybe a mirror to make sure every hair is in place? The account in 38:8 does not fail to point out the basin, and the mirrors out of which it was constructed. In addition, although not mentioned in the Parasha’s text specifically, there is another term used elsewhere for the Ark of the Covenant. It is a “ki’seh” – a “chair,” which is also the Hebrew word for “throne.” The “Ark of the Covenant” is YHVH’s seat of glory, and was so described in Yisha’yahu (Isaiah) 6:1, in reference to Shlomo’s (Solomon’s) Temple, and also in Y’chezkel (Ezekiel) 43:7, regarding the future Temple.

The making of the bronze basin (or laver) and its base captivates our attention, as they were made from "the mirrors of the [women] who congregated at the opening of the Tent of Meeting" (38:8). Much has been said about the symbolism of the mirrors plating this basin, where the priests were to wash their feet and hands (that is, to consecrate themselves) before approaching the Altar, as an allusion to one of the steps on the progressive path of faith taken by the Believer. However, in the scene at hand we encounter women who had assembled, “tzov'ot,” by the entrance of the Mishkan. The verb and root tz.v.a (tzadi, bet, alef) is also used for “army” and “hosts,” such as in "YHVH Tzva'ot." In Shmuel Alef (1st Samuel) 2:22 we find once again this "army of women" by "the opening of the Tent of Meeing", although in a different (and negative) connotation.  In T’hilim (Psalms) 68:12 we read: "YHVH gave the word; great was the company - "tza'va" - of those who proclaimed [female gender] it; Kings of armies ("tzva'ot") flee, they flee, and she who remains at home divides the spoil." Last week we saw the People of Yisrael in their frenzy to make the golden calf, using gold earrings worn by their "wives, sons and daughters" (Ex. 32:2). This week, many of the same people are making contributions for the Mishkan, and some of the donations are of the very same materials that were used for the abominable image. The women who had contributed the mirrors, thereby giving up their vanity, are seen here drawn to the house of YHVH and forming a company, literally an "army," which proclaims His Word and is therefore far mightier than even that of "kings of armies" (ref. again to Ps. 68:12). Hence, according to the Psalm, their reward (or "spoil") is also far greater. Were these women motivated by a desire to repent and atone for the terrible recent sin committed so callously by the People of Yisrael?

Before summing up, there is one point that has to be highlighted. Have you ever wondered about the following: "let them make me a sanctuary – mikdash… according to all that I show you, according to the pattern of the mishkan and the pattern of all its furnishing, just so you shall make it" (Ex. 25:8-9)? What did Moshe see up in the mountain? When comparing the details as described in Parashat Trumah, as we hear YHVH giving instructions to Moshe there is a notable difference to the present instructions. Although in both cases there are several comparisons of the structure of the edifice to body parts, in the 'original', as we noted in that parasha, there were some outstanding comparisons there not only to body parts but to very special human relationships (e.g. 26:3, 17). Is this difference an indication of what Moshe actually saw on the mountain?

When all was said and done, the work was considered a genuine collective endeavor of national scope. Not many years prior to this event, these same people had over them taskmasters who "worked them relentlessly" (Ex. 1:3). Now, the Nation as a whole is engaged in a totally different “work,” the “avoda” of the Mishkan, the avoda – worship and service - of YHVH. Did they ever reflect back to those dark days, considering in awe their currently changed circumstances and status?

Whether or not they did, the transformation that had taken place was quite amazing! In Egypt they were treated as a faceless mass, having suffered the loss of individual identity to the point that they were referred to in a single person (e.g. Ex. 1:10-13, Parashat Shmot, literal translation). By comparison, in 36:8 – 37:9, the work performed in the Mishkan is also described in single person. However, against the backdrop of the preceding descriptions, the picture set before us here is entirely different. If the oft-repeated “and he made” (note, this single person may not be reflected in all the translations) are in reference to Betzal’el, we are left in no doubt that he had the full and active support and participation of the People as a whole. But if the reference is to more than one person - it would signify unison. Once again, just as we observed in Parashat Trumah (in 26:6- 11), the Mishkan itself was to be made of a great variety of components, yet was to be “one” (36:13, 18). Similarly, this was also the case with the People of Yisrael, who was (and is) to portray the eternal principle of ‘unity within diversity,’ so well illustrated by our text.


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Thoughts from Parashat Ki Tisa

 In this week’s Parasha (Ki Tisa) YHVH appoints a very specific person to be the craftsman to make the holy items for the Mishkan. He anoints him with His Spirit; that is with wisdom, understanding and knowledge.  What is interesting is the order in which these are given.  How many of those claiming to function in the fivefold ministry (according to Ephesians 4:11), who are to be involved in the building the living Mishkan of YHVH, have really been called and anointed with the Spirit, having first wisdom, then understanding, and lastly the knowledge to carry out the task?  I am afraid that most try first to gain the knowledge of how-to. Afterward, through trial and error, obtain understanding of what Yeshua is asking of them, and perhaps after experiencing burnout, end up with wisdom.   In this regard it is also interesting to note a familiar scripture about the “Shoot out of the stump of Jesse”:  “The spirit of YHVH shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of YHVH.  His delight shall be in the fear of YHVH” (Isaiah 11:2-3).  Again, notice the order of the ‘spirits’.

Starting in Exodus 24:12 through 32:14 Moses (with Joshua who is stationed on a lower level) is on the mountain, receiving the blueprint and all the instructions for building the Mishkan.   “Now YHVH said to Moses, ‘Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the Torah and the commandment which I have written for their instruction.’ So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of Elohim” (Exodus 24:12).  That is the last time the people will see Moses until he returns with the stone tablets in the middle of chapter 32.

What stands out are YHVH’s words of instruction just before He hands to Moses the tablets: “You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am YHVH who sanctifies you…   "It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed"  (Exodus 31:13 - 32:1).  

Why is YHVH stressing the Shabbat rest above any of the other laws that He could have mentioned, especially the one to remember to love Him and one another? Are His people to first and foremost believe that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and that He rested on the seventh day? What is so significant about His Shabbaths? In verse 13 YHVH states that, “you may know that I am YHVH who sanctifies you”. This is the only Shabbat passage in which Elohim makes a reference to this day’s origin, being the Creation’s seventh day, and in which He Himself is said to have been “refreshed”. In this way, Elohim is pointing to a different era, to the Edenic age, and what’s more, He is emphatically tying His “sign” between Him and His people and His “perpetual covenant” with them to the Source, to Himself and to a sin-devoid world of complete rest. Is the One Who Knows the end from the beginning intimating that all His dealings with Israel, the sign, the covenant, the Mishkan, the sanctification (which is mentioned here in v. 13) are all pointing to a time and a place of purity, to what was designated in the first place? Additionally, is the Shabbat rest to be a foretaste of this kingdom that is yet to come, and is Israel to be the chief actor (and beneficiary) on humanity’s stage to rehearse, practice, and demonstrate this reality to the rest of mankind? Hence, just before handing down the instruction manual for the life that would be lived toward this goal, YHVH elevates the Shabbat as His main representation in its prophetic role. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Hebrew Insights into Parashat Ki Tissa –Sh’mot (Exodus) 34 - 30:11

 "When you lift up ["ki tissa"] the head [singular] of the sons of Israel to be mustered, they shall each give the ransom of his soul to YHVH in mustering them, and there shall not be a plague among them in mustering them" (Ex. 30:12, literal translation). Hundreds of years later, when King David made an attempt to conduct a census, YHVH reprimanded him heavily ("And Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel… And it was evil in the eyes of Elohim as to this thing". 1st Ch. 21:1,7). But whereas David counted (“mana” – meaning “apportion, divide, limit”) the people, YHVH asked Moshe to “lift up” the sons of Yisrael, since people are not to be numbered as a commodity. Each individual was, as it were, to be lifted up to his Maker. For proper conduct of the census, everyone between age twenty and fifty had to offer a representational half-shekel as a token, called a "ransom" ("kofer," of the root k.f.r. that is "kippur," meaning “propitiation, covering”). This half shekel "atonement money" given to YHVH as a contribution ("trumah"), was then rendered "for the service of the Tent of Meeting [ohel mo'ed]”, for it to "be a memorial of the sons of Israel before YHVH to make atonement for yourselves" (30:16 emphases added). This atonement (or ransom) money became a contribution to help in constructing the place where these sons of Yisrael will eventually be atoned for and remembered. Interestingly, later on in the Parasha, in 34:23, we read: “Three times in the year your men shall appear before YHVH”. In Hebrew “man” or “male” is “zachar” (literally, “one who remembered”), but here the word has been modified to “za’chur”, which means “one who is remembered”. Here it would be appropriate to add that Yeshua has paid in full for the required atonement, much more than a half shekel, “and [also] raised [lifted] us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6). 

Going back to the census, we see how it enabled to further the national organization while offering an opportunity for contributions to be collected for the construction of Ohel Mo’ed (“tent of meeting”, as it is referred to in this Parasha). This pragmatism, wherein the nation's practical and spiritual needs were combined, illustrates the Torah’s intrinsic and typical proclivity for fusing various components and aspects of life into one act or event, as seen here. This command also made it clear that before the Almighty all were equal: “The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel” (30:15). 

More instructions for articles and utensils, which are to make up the future Mishkan, follow. In 30:17-21, the brazen laver is mentioned, and then the instructions for making the incense and anointing oil (ref. vs. 23-25). "It shall not be poured on the flesh of man, and you shall not make any like it in its proportion; it is holy. It shall be holy to you. If a man prepares any like it, or who gives from it to a stranger, he shall be cut off from his people" (30:32,33), is the injunction in connection to both (the oil and the incense, see also vs. 37, 38). No doubt the exclusive usage of these articles may also be applied to our lives - making distinctions between that which is set apart and that which is not and not mixing the two, in spite of the above statement, of “fusing various components and aspects of life into one act”. Thus, different matters, commandments, and actions, need to be put into their specific Elohim-regulated context. 

Now that all the instructions with respect to the Mishkan are in place, it becomes necessary to select the artisans to execute the work. The men chosen by YHVH are Betzal'el the son of Oori, the son of Choor from Yehuda, who was filled with YHVH's Spirit, and Ohali'av (“Father is My Tent”) the son of Achi'se'mach from the tribe of Dan. These two were endowed with all the wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skills that it would take "to make all that I have commanded…" (ref. 31:1-6). YHVH declares, "I have called by name Betzal'el" (31:2, emphasis added), and indeed the meaning of the name is "in the shadow of the Almighty" ("beh"-"in"; "tzel"- “shadow”; “el"-"mighty").  Notice the order of the 'qualifications' of Betzal'el: wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. If compared to Isaiah 11, to the attributes which the Spirit endowed upon the "Rod from the stem of Yishai", we find that wisdom and understanding were the first two, while further down is also knowledge (Is. 11:2,3). Incidentally, the choice of the two craftsmen represents the principle “from the least to the greatest”, as Betzal’el hailed out of the foremost tribe and from a family that was to produce the royal line, while Ohali’av from the tribe that was considered the least.

Just before Moshe's return with the Torah instructions, inscribed on the tablets of the testimony "by the finger of Elohim" (31:18), attention is given once more to the Shabbat. It is to be "as a sign between Me and you, throughout your generations, that you may know that I am YHVH who sanctifies [separates/sets apart] you" (31:13). Shabbat is seen here as the seal for the "everlasting [or perpetual] covenant" (v. 16) that YHVH made with Yisrael, who, as a nation is to testify to the fact that He "made heaven and earth in six days and in the seventh He ceased and was refreshed". These instructions are preceded by one little word, "ach" (v. 13), translated, "but", “surely”, or "as for you". However, in this context it appears to mean, "whatever else you do [keep My Sabbaths]”! Even the construction of the Mishkan does not take precedence over the set-apart day. All seems to be in order now. YHVH hands Moshe the stone tablets He had written, and Moshe is about to descend from the mountain and deliver the Divine Message to the People.

Suddenly there is a shift of scene and time. At what point exactly was it that the people's restlessness and disenchantment with Moshe led them to put pressure on A'ha’ron to ease off their frustrations? The answer to that remains unknown, but what our text does inform us about, is the people's firm resolve to alleviate these frustrations. "And the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain. And the people gathered to Aaron. And they said to him, 'Rise up, make for us gods who may go before our face. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him" (32:1).

Several keywords in this text (32:1-6) help in unraveling this scene as it unfolds. Moshe's delay here is "boshesh", its root being "bosh" (bet, vav, shin) whose primary meaning is “shame, disgrace, to cause shame and disgrace, or embarrassment (e.g. Gen. 2:25), withering, dryness, and destruction”. This verb decodes the emotions and thoughts that were plaguing the anxious Israelites. It is not difficult to envision them expressing the following sentiments: “What embarrassment and shame is this man Moshe subjecting us to! His strange ways and disappearance will be our demise, and we will wither and be destroyed in this desert!” A large crowd gathers around A'ha’ron, denoted by "(va)yika'hel", of the root k.h.l (kof, hey, lamed) which means “assembly or congregation”. Thus, the assembly of Yisrael congregates around the only person whom they deem able to execute the plan that they had already formulated. To the "elohim" which they demand that A'haron makes for them, they refer in the plural (“make us gods, which shall go before us” 32:1), being in direct defiance of what they had heard just a little while earlier… "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Parashat Yitro, Ex. 20:3). With bitter sarcasm, they refer to Moshe as "this man who brought us out of Egypt", while at the same time not only forgetting the miracles and wonders it took to extricate them out of the land of their affliction but also avoiding any reference to YHVH Himself. "Seeing that Moshe had delayed" (32:1 italics added), they are now calling for visible gods which would "walk before their faces”. This is another contrary concept, as the individuals and the nation were to “walk before Elohim’s face”, and not the other way around (e.g. Gen. 17:1, 24:40; 1st Sam. 2:30; 1st Kings 2:4, 8:25, 9:4). 

In an attempt to placate the crowd, A'ha’ron complies, instructing anyone wearing jewelry to "remove" their gold earrings, using, not coincidentally, the imperative plural form for "tear-off", which is “par'ku" (32:2). The verb p.r.k  (pey, resh, kof) also means “to part, to rip (Ps. 7:2), to fragment, or to tear” (I Kings 19:11; Ezekiel 19:12), thus all-too accurately describing the overall condition of those who were "tearing off" their jewels to make gods for themselves! 

In the process A'ha’ron takes a stylus - che'ret (ch.r.t, chet, resh, tet) (32:4), which seems to share the root with one of the words for "magicians" (such as those who operated in Egypt, e.g. Ex.8:7,18 - "chartumin"), making up for an intriguing connection (in light of the circumstances).  Before we go on with this scene, it is interesting to compare the above (“stylus”) with another reference to a “stylus” and “etching” (or “engraving”). Thus, in 32:16, it says about the tablets being “engraved” by the “finger of Elohim”. “Engraved” is spelled “charut”, but not with a tet (like the above), but with a tav, which makes it very close to “cherut” - liberty. The comparison and contrast between the “magical”-like the formation of the calf, and the “liberty” that seems to be associated with the tablets that YHVH engraved, is very striking (cf. James 1:24, the “Torah of liberty”). Back to A’ha’ron. With the stylus A’ha’ron formed - "(ve)yatzar" - the "molten calf" - "egel ma'seh'cha". "Formed" is of the root (yod, tzadi, resh) which goes back to "thought, imagination, and contemplation" - "yetzer" - such as used in B’resheet (Genesis) 6:5, and 8:21 respectively: "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart"; "The imagination of the heart of man is evil from his youth". It is nothing less than "evil imagination" which brought about the ensuing results in this sad episode. The calf, "egel", is rooted in a.g.l (ayin, gimmel, lamed), meaning, "round or roll", referring to a young calf as it rolls, bounds or gallops. This particular calf, though, was a "ma'seh'cha", that is a molten image. "Ma'seh'cha" is also a “covering” or a “veil”, such as the "veil covering all the nations" found in Yishayahu (Isaiah) 25:7, where it is in the form of the alliteration: "ma'seh'cha nesu'cha". 

Thus, whereas in Parashat Mishpatim (in 21:1) we saw that Moshe was to place the Torah in front of YHVH's chosen Nation as a mirror, here the backsliding Israelites, who are so desperate to see with their eyes (as pointed out above), actually suffer a loss of sight, as they are blindfolded by a "ma'seh'cha" (a veil) of their own making. In 34:17, in the course of the renewal of the Covenant, it was necessary to remind them once again, “You shall make no molten gods – elohey ma’seh’cha”. 

Continuing in chapter 32: “…And they rose early on the morrow, and they offered burnt offerings and brought near peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play" (v. 6, emphasis added). The offense of these descendants of Yitz'chak (Isaac) climaxes when they act in total defiance to the stern warning, which was presented to them in Sh’mot (Exodus) 22:20 (and 34:14): "One sacrificing to gods shall be destroyed”. The verb for “play” is "(le)tza'chek" (of the root, tzadi, chet, kof - “to laugh") and is used here, implying "making sport, toying with, mocking", or "conjugal caresses" - all of which speak of the lewd debauchery in which Yitzchak’s progeny was engaging. 

YHVH discloses to the unsuspecting Moshe the gory details of what "your people whom you brought up out of Egypt" (literal translation, italics added) have done, and with that, He (symbolically) charges him "to go… to descend" (32:7). The all-knowing Elohim, being aware of the fact that Moshe would beseech Him on behalf of this reproachable people, makes here a declaration (v. 10), allowing us a rare glimpse into what is otherwise an 'off limits' domain of His deep hurt: "Leave Me alone (that My anger may glow against them, that I may consume them)" (italics added).  But Moshe's uninterrupted intercessory address (vs. 11-13) does result in YHVH being "moved to pity concerning the evil which He had spoken to do to His people" (v. 14).

The language employed in 32:15,16 could not be more emphatic in recounting the preciousness of the divinely written tablets: “…the two tablets of the testimony… tablets written on their two sides, on this and on that side they were written. And the tablets were the work of Elohim, and the writing was the writing of Elohim; it was engraved on the tablets". All this is in sharp contrast to the horrendous sight awaiting Moshe at the foot of the Mountain.

“When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses. ‘There is a noise of war in the camp’” (32:17). The people were “in the process” of making a sound of “teruah” – literally “b’re’o”. This unusual usage of the verb “to sound a t’ruah” echoes “ra” or “ra’ah” (resh, ayin) – evil, and indeed just a little further A’ha’ron says about the people, “they are set on evil” – ra (v. 22. Refer also to 32:12,14, where ‘harm’ – ra’ah - is used 3 times).  This follows the burning of the image, grinding its ashes to powder and mixing it with water, an act performed by Moshe, who then made the people of Yisrael drink this concoction.  YHVH’s messenger was acting on behalf of a jealous Husband who was more than suspicious of His wife’s unfaithfulness and betrayal (see Numbers 5:11 ff – the “law of jealousy”). “She”, therefore, had to partake of this unsavory drink.

After a sad confrontation with A'ha’ron, during which the latter defends his position by making weak excuses, Moshe realizes that the People is "loosed – unrestrained - for Aaron had let it loose – be unrestrained - for a derision among their enemies" (32: 25). The words for "loose" used here stem from "para" (p.r.a. pey/fey, resh, ayin). As we observed already in Parashat Miketz (Gen. 41-44:17), the same consonants also appear in Par'oh's name. The question that arises here is whether the meaning of this root ("unruly," "disorder", “unrestrained”) had any bearing on the meaning of the title accorded to the Egyptian monarchs (although "Par'oh", as we noted there, does have its specific and separate meaning in the Ancient Egyptian tongue).  This issue seems to be quite pertinent in this case, as the Hebrews were certainly manifesting a reversal to practices which they no doubt observed in the land of their sojourning. Likewise, we have just seen a resemblance of the word denoting Egypt’s magicians to the tool used by A'ha’ron to make the calf.

The first six verses of chapter 33 describe a transitional phase, leading to the restitution of the relationship between YHVH and His People. As part of the People's mourning and repentance, they remove the rest of their jewels (verse 6). Interestingly, the verb for removing the jewels is not the same as the one used above (32:2). Instead, there is the unusual usage of a word that in Shmot (Exodus) 12:36 was employed for "spoiling" (the Egyptians). This verb – va’yit’natzlu - shares its root ( yod, tzadi, lamed) with the verb for "deliver" (Ex. 3:8). Being used here in the course of healing the breach in the relationship with the Almighty, could be a reminder to Yisrael of their miraculous deliverance from Egypt

In the course of Moshe’s intercession on behalf of the People of Yisrael, YHVH says to him: “… lead the people to that which I have told you…” (literal translation, 32:34). “N’cheh” is the imperative here for “lead”. Later on, in 33:14, after a long discourse between YHVH and Moshe, the Holy One promises: “My Presence – panim-face – will go, and I will give you rest” (literal translation). “Give rest” – hani’choti – actually shares its root with “lead”, and more specifically, “leading toward a goal”, without forgetting, of course, the element of “rest”. Thus, it was only by virtue of YHVH’s “restful and purposeful guidance” that Moshe was able to be the goal-oriented leader that he was. 

The rest of the Parasha deals with issues relating, not surprisingly in view of the recent events, to YHVH's presence, His reverence, His revelation to Moshe, and to the renewal of the Covenant.  In mentioning the writing of the "d'varim" – “words” on the new stone tablets, the figure "ten" is cited (34:28), unlike the first mention of these “words”, where no number was specified (Parashat Yitro, Ex. chapter 20).  In this verse (28) Moshe is described as staying on the Mount, in the Presence of YHVH, for forty days during which time he wrote the tablets, abstaining from food and drink. In 24:10,11 (Parashat Mishpatim) we encountered the elders and nobles of Yisrael ‘seeing’ the Elohim of Yisrael while “eating and drinking”, just prior to Moshe’s first ascent to the Mountain. These two contrasting scenes form quite an object lesson; the one foreshadowing the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” and the time when He will dwell with His own (Rev. 19:9), while the other is signified by markings of sorrow and mourning, resulting from the sin committed by the Nation.

The variety of events crowding Parashat Ki Tissa illustrates, in microcosmic fashion, the topsy-turvy nature of Yisrael's relationship with her Elohim in years to come.  Finally, having had the "maseh'cha" (which we discussed above) distort their spiritual sight, the Israelites could not bear the glory which emanated from Moshe's face when he came down from the Mountain. He was therefore obliged to cover his face with a veil ("mas'veh"). "But we [on the other hand] all with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of YHVH in a mirror [the "Torah of liberty"], are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, as from YHVH, the Spirit" (2nd Cor. 3:18 italics added). Truly something to be thankful for, and not to be taken lightly!



Friday, February 11, 2022

Latter Days' Hope

 As we know, Moshe ministered to Israel mainly during the time spent in the wilderness.   YHVH had made it known that this was a period in which His people were to be taught and learn obedience to His commandments, statutes and ordinances, but not without the Almighty’s grace.  The Children of Israel did not lack anything; food, water, or shelter, and neither did their clothes and shoes wear out during the forty-year journey.  In the course of their sojourn in the desert they were to be a testimony and a witness to the surrounding nations, of the One who had redeemed them and brought them out of the bondage of Egypt.  However, in spite of the grace, their hearts remained hard and their necks stiff towards Elohim.


Therefore, shortly before entering the land, Moshe delivered a very disturbing message to the people.  He revealed to them that YHVH had not yet given them a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear (ref. Deut. 29:4); and then predicted that they would break covenant with Elohim once in the land that He was about to give them.  Consequently, they were not going to live long in the land, but be cast out and scattered amongst the peoples.  But in spite of this harsh forecast, he did not leave them without hope. In the latter days, Moshe added, they would return to YHVH their Elohim and listen to His voice (ref. Deut. 4:25-30).  


Of all the curses which resulted in Israel’s disobedience, the severest is to be living outside the land.  To be exiled amongst the other nations is like being back in the wilderness again, which the Bible calls the “wilderness of the peoples”.  As we know from history, Moshe’s predictions came to pass, and in 722 BC the Northern Kingdom of the House of Israel was taken by the Assyrians to the northern regions of Assyria and later, in 556 BC, their brethren, the House of Judah, met the same fate in the Babylonian exile. 


In the days of the prophet Ezekiel (590-560 BC) the elders of the Northern Kingdom approached Ezekiel, who was amongst them on a divine mission, and inquired if they could come back to the land.  YHVH refused to answer them, other than to remind them of the abominations of their fathers, and admonishing them to forsake their ancestral ways.  It was bad enough that they had rebelled in the wilderness, but once entering the land they had committed even worse offences (see Ez. 20:27-31).  Now, in the “galut” (diaspora or exile), they were inquiring when they could return to the land.


Thankfully YHVH informed them that even though they had wanted to be like the other nations, serving wood and stone and playing the harlot, He would not allow them to carry on living in this manner: “Surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you… I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am YHVH” (Ezekiel 20: 34-38).


Although this seemed like good news to those elders, it was not to be that generation that was destined to return. However, according to the above word of Elohim it was to be the latter day generation that would have this hope. “With an outstretched hand and fury poured out” does not sound like much fun, but it will happen.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Hebrew Insights into Parashat Tetzaveh – Sh’mot (Exodus) 27:20 – 30:10

 Continuing from last week’s Parasha with its long and detailed instructions regarding the Mishkan which was to be constructed, the priests' vestments and their instatement are at the heart of this Parasha – Parashat Tetzaveh. This theme is flanked at each end by, respectively, instructions concerning the oil for the Menorah and the description of the Altar of Incense. But whereas Parashat Trumah started with a free-will offering for YHVH (Ex. 25:2), this one starts with a command to Moshe "to command the Children of Israel to bring [lit. “take”] pure olive oil beaten for the light, to set light perpetually" (27:20 italics added). This order is denoted by "tetzaveh" - "you shall command" - the root being tz.v.h (tzadi, vav, hey). “This type of command connotes instructions given by a father to a son (I Sam. 17:20), a farmer to his laborers (Ruth 2:9), and a king to his servants (II Sam. 21:14). It reflects a firmly structured society in which people were responsible for their right to rule by God’s command. The leader was then in a position to command the people and to expect their obedience”.  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament further connects this root with "tzi'yoon"1, which means a “signpost, a mark or a monument” as is found, for example, in Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 31:21: “Set up road marks for yourself".  Thus “command”, as in “mitzva”, usually perceived only as a strict order or a dictate, has further and deeper implications. Let us ponder what is implied by the "mitzvah" being a "road marker"? Interestingly, “tetzaveh” is not the imperative form for “command,” but is in second person male, future tense (i.e., “you shall command”), which modifies the intensity of this directive.  

The Mishkan, as it was named in the previous Parasha, is now designated, in the very beginning of our text, by a different title: Ohel Mo’ed (27:21). Last week we learned that the edifice of the sanctuary/Mishkan was going be a “tent” – ohel – but now with the addition of “mo’ed”  it becomes apparent that it will not only be a “mishkan” – a place of “dwelling” of the Almighty’s Spirit (see also 29:45-46) – but it will also be connected to the “appointed meetings” with Him (ref. 29:42,43). The wording in 29:45-46: “I will dwell among the children of Israel… that I may dwell among them”, reveals an even greater reality – that YHVH desires and promises to dwell in and among His people (hence the need for the perpetual daily burnt offerings, 29:38-42a)! 

Last week we compared the Mishkan’s building instructions with the six days of Creation (ref. Ex. 24:16). This week we are also required to make a similar analogy. In Parashat Trumah the Menorah was listed in third place, while here the oil for the "perpetual light" is mentioned first, recalling of course the light mentioned at the beginning of the Creation account. The instructions for making the oil emphasize not only its purity and clarity (27:20, the word there being "zach", denoting both) but also that it is to be made by beating or pounding (the olives). This type of oil is therefore named "katit", the root of which is k.t.t. (kaf, tav, tav), meaning to “beat or crush".  Made, as it is by crushing and pounding, this oil is to be for a continual light (“ner tamid”). As such it reflects very clearly our unchanging Messiah (Heb. 13:8) Who is without sin and therefore pure (Heb. 4:15b), who was bruised and crushed (Is. 53:4), and is the Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). An analogous description of Him as the Anointed One (Who is also the Word, ref. John 1:1, and the way/path, ref. John 14:6) is found in Tehilim (Psalms) 119:105: "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (italics added).2  

It was up to the priests, A’haron and his sons, who were later to be anointed with the anointing oil to "set" the oil and its lighting "before YHVH" (27:21). Afterwards, Moshe was "to bring near A’haron… and his sons" to "himself" (literal translation for "summoning" or "take for yourself", 28:1). In the process of sanctifying the priests, Moshe was also told to, “take one bull and two rams without blemish, and unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil", to make them of "fine wheat flour" and to "put them into one basket" which he was, again, to “bring near" (29:1-3, the translations may omit “bring near”). Immediately after that, he was told once again "to bring near A'aron and his sons to the opening of the tent of meeting…" (v. 4, literal translation, emphasis added). In all three cases, the verb is "karev", of the root k.r.v  (kof, resh, bet/vet), meaning to “bring near or close”. This root is also the root for "korban", “sacrifice” or “offering”. In 29:8 we are told that A'aron's sons were to be "brought near", as was the bull, which was to be slaughtered after the priests were to lay hands on it (v. 10). (It is also in YHVH’s hand that the two trees/branches/sticks of Ezekiel 37:19 become one. But just before that (v. 17), when they are still in the hand of the prophet, the latter is told to “bring close” – ka’rev – those branches, one to the other, commonly translated “join”). 

This is the first instance of the "laying of hands" – “samoch (, samech, mem, kaf/chaf), with the primary meaning of the verb being to “lean upon" or “support”. In the case of the "laying of hands", as is performed here by the priests, there is an identification with the "korban" which is about to give up its life, symbolizing ultimate submission. Thus, the particular selection of verbs used here forms an introduction to the sacrificial system and to its significance. It is by virtue of the sacrifice that a “drawing near" to the Father can occur, followed by "leaning" and "relying" on Him. According to King David, “though [a man] falls, he is not cast down; for YHVH upholds - "somech" - his hand on him” (Psalms 37:24). In Tehilim 145:14 we read again: “YHVH upholds all who fall”. 

The blood of the second ram, of the two that were to be slaughtered, was to be put on the priests' right earlobe, right thumb, and the right big toe (29:20). In their service to YHVH these servants' relationship with Him, was to be marked by listening and obeying (which is denoted by one and the same word in Hebrew), by doing His deeds, and walking in His paths.3

The priests' special vestments signified their unique position, while each of the several items with which they were attired had its own particular purpose. "And you shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for glory and for beauty" (28:2, 40). The word here for "beauty" is "tif'e'ret", of the root p.a.r (pey, alef, resh), which means to “beautify” and also a “turban”. Our High Priest says of Himself in Yishayahu (Isaiah) 61: "The Spirit of YHVH is on Me because YHVH has anointed Me to… appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty - p'er - instead of ashes the oil of joy instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of the spirit of infirmity, so that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of YHVH, in order to beautify - lehit'pa'er - Himself" (vs. 1,3). Once clothed in “beauty” these ones render the beauty of holiness to YHVH, while exclaiming: "I will greatly rejoice in YHVH. My soul shall be joyful in my Elohim. For He clothed me with garments of salvation; He put on me the robe of righteousness, even as a bridegroom puts on – literally “ministers as a priest” - his ornament - p'er - and as the bride is adorned with her jewels" (Is. 61: 10 italics added). The clothing items in this verse: garments – b’gadim, robe - m’eel, and the “ornament” denoted by “p’er” are all mentioned also in Sh’mot 28:2, 4. Notice in particular how the Yishayahu text associates the bridegroom with the priesthood, thus clearly foreshadowing Messiah as the Bridegroom and High Priest.

Indeed, these garments were “for glory and for beauty”, but if we pause to look again at “garment” – be’ged - we may discover an additional element. The root b.g.d (bet, gimmel, dalet) means “to betray” (e.g. Ex. 21:8, Is. 33:1). What is the association here to the official attires? Is it because he who betrays (the priests not being exempt), or is unfaithful, like any other sinner, requires a “covering” to hide the guilt and shame of his betrayal? Similarly, the “robe” mentioned in 28:4 – “m’eel” - shares its root (m.a.l, mem, ayin, lamed) with “me’eela” which means “to deceive, cover-up”, such as in Vayikra (Leviticus) 5:15, translated “trespass” or “unfaithfully”. Thus, the priests clothe themselves with the said garments, symbolically covering their spiritual and moral nakedness, so that they can minister and interpose between an equally sinful people and a kadosh Elohim.

In 28:12 and 28:29 A'haron is told to carry the names of the sons of Yisrael (engraved in precious stones) whenever he enters the Holy Place, as a memorial on the shoulders of the ephod and on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, while the breastplate was also for "a continual reminder before YHVH" (italics added). Further, Moshe was told to "put the Urim and the Thummim into the breastplate of judgment; and they shall be on the heart of Aaron in his going before the face of YHVH. And Aaron shall bear the judgment of the sons of Israel on his heart before the face of YHVH continually" (v. 30 italics added). What is so meticulously to be prefigured here by A’haron was fully consummated by Yeshua (see also 28:38). Although there is no specific description of the “Oorim” and “Toomim” (as they are pronounced in Hebrew), the etymology of these terms is very interesting. "Oorim" is of the root "or" – light - albeit in plural form, as is "Toomim". The root of "Toomim" is "tom," meaning “integrity, perfection, complete, entirety, and finished”. In short, these items stand for "light and perfection, or completion". Once again, we see a picture of Yeshua, who is the Light, as well as the epitome of perfection. Another rendering of the Messiah’s figure is presented in the very spelling of these words, with the first letter of Oorim being ‘aleph’ (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet), while the first letter of Toomim is ‘tav’, being the last letter. Thus, Yeshua is seen here as the ‘aleph and the tav’, the “beginning and the end” (Rev. 1:8), the light of the first day of Creation, and the completion thereof; “for all things were created by Him… all things were created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).

Golden bells and pomegranate-shaped ornaments were to be attached alternately to the bottom of the High Priest's garment (28:33-35). The word for "bell" is "pa'amon", its root being p.a.m. (pey, ayin, mem) which means “foot, step, anvil, and time”. Unlike other words for Time, “et”, "zma'n", and “mo’ed”, which point to specific times, "pa'am" refers to "pulse" or "beat", and thus to Time's continuous motion. “Once” (as pertaining to time) is also “pa’am” (e.g. Gen. 18:2). With this meaning of “pa’amon”, making reference to the marking of the passage of time, it is interesting to note the function of its sound in this particular case. The bells were to "be heard in his [Aharon's] going into the sanctuary before the face of YHVH and in his coming out, that he [Aharon] should not die" (v.35, italics added). The pomegranates, shaped as they are with little crowns were used frequently as a decorative motif (e.g. Jer. 52:22ff).

Last week we noted that Moshe was told (literally) to clothe A’haron and his sons (28:41) recalls B’resheet (Genesis) 3:21, where we read: "And YHVH Elohim made coats of skin for the man and his wife, and clothed them". It was the actions of “the man and his wife” (sin) that made necessary the ministry of interposing between man and Elohim which was being entrusted now to A'haron and his sons, who too were “clothed” by YHVH's command. 

The last article mentioned in this Parasha is the Altar of Incense. In 30:7-8 we learn that while attending to the altar, A'haron was also to attend to the lights:  "And Aaron shall burn incense of perfume on it morning by morning; when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it" (30:7). Thus, our Parasha comes round full circle from its beginning (with the lights/lamps) to the end. "When he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it; which he did every morning when he went into the holy place, where the candlestick with its lamps was. These he trimmed and dressed, snuffed those that were ready to go out, lighted those that had gone out, supplied them with oil and wicks, and cleared the snuff dishes, and the like. Now near to the candlestick stood the altar of incense, so that when the priest looked after the one, he did the service of the other. Hence, we learn that our intercessor and lamplighter is one and the same; he that was seen amidst the golden candlesticks dressing the lamps of them appears at the golden altar with a golden censer, to offer up the prayers of his saints" (emphasis added)4, whose prayers are, of course, compared to incense (see Rev. 5:8; 8:3-4).


   1 Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol. 2, ed. R. Laird Harris,

      Moody Press, Chicago,  1980.

   2 "In this world you stood in need of the light of the Temple and other

      lamps are lit from its light. But in the world to come, by virtue of that

      lamp ["ner" - light], I shall bring you King Messiah who is likened to

      a lamp, as it is said (Ps. 132:17): "There I will cause to flourish a  horn

      for David, I will set a lamp for Mine anointed" (Tanhuma Tezaveh 8 –

      an ancient commentary). Quoted from New Studies in Shmot Part 2,

      Nechama Leibowitz, trans. Aryeh Newman. Eliner Library, Department

      for  Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora. Hemed Books Inc.,

      Brooklyn, N.Y.

  3  Moses on the Witness Stand, Shlomo Ostrovski, Keren Ahava Meshichit,

      Jerusalem, 1976, 1999.

  4  Gill commentary, Online Bible.