Thursday, May 1, 2014

Emor (אֱמֹר) “Speak” 5774 – 03 MAY 2014

Emor   “Speak”            5774 – 03 MAY 2014

                     Torah:    Vayikra (Leviticus) 21:1-24:23
                Haftarah:    Yechezk’el (Ezekiel) 44:15-31
       Brit Chadasha:    Mattiyahu (Matthew) 5:38-42
                                   Yochanan (John) 5:1-10:21
                                   Galatians 3:26-29

The portion for today’s message will be focused upon is Aliyah 4 (Vayikra 23:1-22).

HaShem said to Moshe, “Tell Bnai Yisrael that the Moadim – the Appointed times – which you declare are Holy Days unto them are MY Appointed times.

From the very first book of the Bible, G-d has talked about His times/cycles/moadim. “Evening and morning were the first day, evening and morning were the second day”, and so from there. On the fourth day, light was placed in light holders – “the greater light (sun) to rule the day and the lesser light (moon) to rule the night; He made the stars also” [Bereishit (Genesis)1:5,8,16].

In Tehillim, King David states that “weeping may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5), and Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah the Prophet) stated, “But in my mind, I keep returning to something, something that gives me hope – that the grace of Adonai is not exhausted, His compassion has not ended, they are new every morning!”[Eikah (Lamentations)3:21-22].

The next level of celestial moad would be the week:  HaShem tells us to work six days, then observe a Sabbath of complete rest – even in your homes, for it is Adonai’s Shabbat.

Duration wise, the next cycle would be the moonth – our month is based upon the revolution of the moon around the earth – 27½ days to circle and 2 days to catch up to the earth, giving us 29½ days to complete.  Just as the days renew, and the weeks renew, so the month renews with the new sliver being observed at the Rosh Chodesh.  The tides of earth align themselves with the cycles of the moon, and so do our womenfolk – though not always a perfect match of schedules – a reminder that our lives need to be in tune with our Creator and His creation!

The solar cycle basically begins with the Aviv – the coming/going out or in-the-ear – Barley harvest.  Pesach is the memorial of the sacrifice of Mizrayim/Egypt’s first-born to allow Israel’s release from slavery.  Both Pesach and the seven-day Chag Matzah (festival of unleavened bread) were combined into a single holy festival – the big kick-off for the whole cycle.

On the first day of Chag Matzah, the cohen was to (in the Beit-HaMikdash) perform a wave offering of a barley loaf for Kol Yisrael – Israel in its entirety – the offering of the first-fruits, thanksgiving to HaShem for the bountiful harvest, and the start of ‘open season’ on using the new crop of grain.

Along with this offering came the counting of the Omer (the unit of measure specifically used for the offering).  Seven weeks / fifty weeks later would be Shavuot, commemorating the giving of the Torah at Sinai.  This would synchronize with the outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

The reminder / command is given to leave part of the harvest for those in need, with also the requirement that the person in need would work for their food – so unlike the ‘welfare’ programs we are used to seeing.

The rest of the year’s moadim are listed in later portions, so more for another time.

Some thoughts concerning how this much ties together.  It has been said that barley is more of a food for animals than for humans.  At Shavuot, there are two wheat loaves provided as an offering as the first fruits of the wheat crop.  Suggestions have been given that man starts this period with a worldly soul, and that while counting the omer, and preparing for the giving of the Torah, the person will be watchful and develop the spiritual side.  At Shavuot, the two-fold Law was given: the Written Torah – which is not fully comprehended/comprehendible, and the Oral Torah, which is the output of discussions of the Sages.  HaShem is very interested in our development, and that we draw closer to Him.

In the light of the fact that HaShem told Moshe to Emor (speak) to the cohanim, with/and the Sons of Aharon, the thought is that these should include both those mishpatim (rational commands) and Chukim (those which are just to be obeyed). There has also been a suggestion that another meaning of the word ‘Emor’ is refine, so as we discuss the mitzvot, they should develop our spiritual lives.

These lunar cycles and solar cycles align themselves about once every three years, which would ‘co-incidentally’ align itself with the ‘public ministry of our Adon v’Meshiach, Yeshua.  May our lives be so in tune with His complete cycles!

Shabbat Shalom!

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