By Joseph Shulam
The Torah Portion (Parashah) this week is Ki Tisa from Exodus 30:11 – 34:35, it tells the story of the rebellion of the children of Israel at the very foot of Mount Sinai. Moses was up on the top of Mount Sinai talking to God and receiving the Torah. The children of Israel were down at the foot of the mountain – prepared to receive the Torah – cleansed, and impatient and they ask Aaron to give them a god that will walk before them and lead them to the promised land and out of the desert. Aaron buckles under the public opinion of the majority and makes some impossible demands. He asks the men to ask the women to take off their jewelry from their ears and neck and give their jewelry to make the golden calf. The golden calf is the mascot of the Egyptian goddess “Hathor”. Hathor was the most famous goddesses of Ancient Egypt. She was called “the Great One of Many Names” because she was the goddess of life and death, and prosperity. She was depicted as a female figure with a head or a cow, and sometimes only the ears of a cow. Her symbol in the temples was a golden cow, calf.
How did Aaron the brother of Moses (not yet the high priest) respond to the demand of the people and why? Aaron also did not know what happened to Moses his younger brother and why Moses did not come down the mountain for so long. He did not know if Moses had enough food, or water, up there in the barren desert heat. I am sure that Aaron was insecure and the people were demanding and he at that moment probably figured that if Moses is gone he, himself, will take the leadership of this mob of impatient ex-slaves. He must provide for them a god that will lead them through the wilderness. Aaron like any good politician knows that rule number one for a political leader is to please the people and give them what they want. After that the politician can do with the people what he wants. So, Aaron falls on what the people are familiar with. They are familiar with the gods of Egypt that they have been worshipping for a couple of hundred years in Egypt. (Josh. 24:14, “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!) From these words of Joshua in the very last part of his life and leadership of Israel during the conquest of the Land of Canaan we still hear that the Israelites even after entering the land of promise continued to worship the gods of the Egyptians that they were familiar with before the exodus. Bad habits die hard! It is interesting that this Shabbat is called “Shabbat Para” – “Shabbat of the Cow.” The reason for this is because the extra reading of this Shabbat is from Numbers 19:1-22. This is the story of what is commonly called “The Red Heifer.” The Red Heifer is one of these very mysterious ceremonies in the Torah. There must be a cow (heifer) that is red in color – all red. This cow is taken outside the camp to a special place prepared for it. The cow is offered as a sacrifice fully burned. The ashes of this red cow are used for purification of things like leprosy, impurity from touching the dead, and for the ordeal of a husband that suspects his wife of infidelity. All the ceremonies are very different (weird) but very necessary for a community like Israel in the days of the Tabernacle and after that during the time of the temple in Jerusalem. It is very interesting that the writer of the book of Hebrews likens the Red Heifer to Yeshua and Yeshua to the Red Heifer. See: “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore, by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Heb. 13:10-16) This text is talking about the Red Heifer because this is the only sacrifice that is offered outside the camp and not in the Tabernacle or the Temple in Jerusalem. ((Dr. Wendel Jones who is the real character behind the “Indiana Jones” stories and was a Baptist Missionary in Jerusalem in the early 1970’s – actually found the place of the Red Heifer near Qumran on the shore of the Dead Sea. He was an amateur archaeologist and the real archaeologists really did not like him because he was a bit wild like in the stories of Indiana Jones.)) As you can see the writer of the book of Hebrews who probably was an ex-member of the Qumran community connects the Red Heifer and Yeshua and invites the disciples of Yeshua to be willing to come outside the camp because only outside the camp there is purification and salvation. I suppose that this message is very important for the church today and the synagogue in the same way. The establishment and especially the religious establishments today are all trying their best to be P.C. and please the people to build bigger and richer churches and line their pockets with the ashes of the gold of the golden calf. The Hebrews writer is inviting you and me, “Therefore, let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”
I suppose that we all ought to pray for our churches and synagogues to be willing to step out of the politically correct world that waters down every biblical truth to please the crowds.
Please continue to pray for Israel. Israel is the only bright spot in the whole Middle East. You look in every direction and all you are going to see is radical, hateful, and violent Islam in a self-destruct mood. As disciples of Yeshua and people committed to the values and principles of God’s Word we must stand with Israel and we must support Israel, because our future as Bible believers is imbedded in Israel and in Israel alone. If you take the words of Isaiah the prophet or Amos the prophet as they are and don’t alagorize and spiritualize them out of existance – you ought to stand with Israel and pray for Israel and especially with us here in Israel and in Jerusalem who are standing at the gap daily.
Please pray for more media production by Netivyah. We are now in the process of designing our studio and we do ask you to pray with us to make this studio for recording radio and video the best possible with the means that the Lord has and will provide.
Pray for our dear friends and brothers in Finland. We have been praying for Anna our dear sister in Finland, and in a way the LORD has answered our prayers. The Lord has finally taken Anna out of her suffering and illness and in and out of the hospital life. Anna is one of the true pioneers of the Restoration Movement in Finland. I met her in 1981 and since that time and even before that time Anna and her family was committed to pray and support and stand with Israel and for the restoration of the New Testament community of the saints. Now she is with the Lord. The Lord willing, I am flying to Finland to do Anna’s funeral. Marcia will be alone at home and she needs your prayers. I pray for Marcia that God will protect her and guide her while I am gone for four days in Finland. I also ask you to pray with faith for Marcia’s healing from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diabetic. These are two debilitating illnesses and Marcia has been suffering with both of them for many decades. Also, please pray for me and for my travel. There are no direct flights now from Israel to Finland and with the layovers in the airports the trip is lengthened to over 11hours each way. I need God’s traveling mercies.
Pray for Benjamin Sol. Benjamin has been diagnosed with M.S. and the he is not responding to the treatment. Pray for his healing.
Barry our son is doing so much better and the surgery is almost totally healed. We know that it is God’s mercy and your prayers that have helped Barry pass this ordeal so well in a relatively short time.
Daniel P., who has the terrible motorcycle accident and it is a miracle that he is living is also progressing and slowly healing. He is now in one of Israel’s best hospitals. It is a military hospital that has probably more experience with sever trauma accidents than anywhere in the world. Daniel is still not able to stand, but he can move his feet and his legs and is now receiving physical therapy. Please continue to pray for Daniel.
Our dear sister Lea Kurky is out of the hospital and back home, but she still has some very serious challanges. Please continue to pray for Leah, Ilana and Ahuva. These are three precious sister who came to Israel to volunteer and have stayed here for more than 40 years serving the Jewish people with love and dedication that is second to none.
I ask you to pray for some friends who have a need for God’s blessing on their work: Chung and Sister Lee. I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Kenzevic, and Daniel L., and his company and his family. Pray for our dear brother David H., and his family in Finland. These are brothers who have needs in their work and God is gracious to bless and help those who have concern to bless others.
Please don’t forget to especial pray for healing and strength for our dear brothers in Murfreesboro. Pray for our dear brother and sister Bobby, and Emmet, and Joe M., and Gloria D., these are all very precious brothers and friends are battling serious health issues and we must keep them in our prayers.
Pray for our dear sister Ruby, and for my finest teachers, Dr. John McRay, and George Howard.
Keep Gary in your prayers and Nancy’s and Don’s son Aharon who is doing better now, but still is struggling with a tumor in his brain keep him in your prayers please! Yuri Marianenko a member of our congregation in Jerusalem is fighting a prostate cancer. Our wonderful older brothers and sisters need our prayers: David Stern, Sarit, Miriam.
We lift up our dear brothers and sisters Clara, Paulo, Naomi, Tim Tucker, Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, Eva H., and our dear sister Liz J., in Georgia, and Horace and June Marcia’s parents. We especially lift up before your throne of mercy Marcelo’s father and mother in Belo-Horizonte.
We pray for Pastor Curita in Tokyo, Toru San, and the husband of Yumi, Sadako San, Shoko San, Takeo Sensei and Tomoko San all in Japan.
God bless you all who pray for Israel and for the Peace of Jerusalem. May the good Lord keep all HIS blessings flowing to you and from you for the body of the Messiah worldwide.
Please pray for the Lord to comfort the grieving family of Anna and bless Anne-Mirijami, Satu-Maria, Sinni-Touli, and Evelina.