Shelach שְׁלַח-לְךָ - Send For Yourself
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24
Apostolic Scripture Readings: Matthew 10:1-14
Reading #7 - Numbers 15:27–41
In verse 30 we read about sinning with a “high hand”. I looked this up and apparently it means with pride, arrogance and sometimes with violence. To me this means that the sin that is being acted upon is done so with deliberate malice. It would be like going up to someone you are disturbed about and thinking “I don’t care what Hashem thinks, I'm going to kill him/her!” Where you deliberately defy what Hashem has taught you and commit the act of sin. Wow. Do we ever need to be careful? Because I can think of times, Hashem forgive me please, where I deliberately sinned. I knew I was disobeying Hashem, but did it anyway. This hurts Hashem and hurts (affects) those around us. And this must stop. If you keep the Torah close to your heart, and fresh in your mind every day -- it will definitely help you not to sin. We must do this. The cost is too high. Sin causes separation from Hashem and death. It’s just not worth it. Is it?
In verses 37-41 we learn about the tzitzit. This is a blue string hung on the four corners of your garment. When you look at the tzitzit you are reminded to follow Torah. Some will say this is only for men. But, as a woman I wear one tzitzit on my belt line. It has four blue strings. I don’t wear a four cornered prayer shawl or shirt, so this is how I decided to do it. I challenge you today to study the wearing of tzitzit, and figure out how you are going to fulfill this commandment. Be brave and stand up for the Torah. It is a visual reminder, every day, that you are to follow Torah and not sin. It is really a beautiful commandment.
Reading #7 - Numbers 15:27–41
15:27 “‘If a person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. 28 The priest shall make atonement for the soul who errs when he sins unwittingly before Hashem. He shall make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven. 29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unwittingly, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them.
30 “‘But the soul who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native-born or a foreigner, blasphemes Hashem. That soul shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised Hashem’s word, and has broken His commandment, that soul shall be utterly cut off. His iniquity shall be on him.’”
32 While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been declared what should be done to him.
35 Hashem said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him with stones outside of the camp.” 36 All the congregation brought him outside of the camp, and stoned him to death with stones, as Hashem commanded Moses.
37 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 38 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that they should make themselves fringes on the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put on the fringe of each border a cord of blue. 39 It shall be to you for a fringe, that you may see it, and remember all Hashem’s commandments, and do them; and that you don’t follow your own heart and your own eyes, after which you used to play the prostitute; 40 so that you may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your Elohim. 41 I am Hashem your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim: I am Hashem your Elohim.”
This Torah portion has to do a lot with sending out people to do special things for Hashem. Moses sent out the 12 spies, and in this Haftarah reading, Joshua sends out 2 spies to view the land. It is a great story because these two men meet with a dedicated servant, are hidden from the enemy and blessed with a good report. When Hashem sends us out to do special things are we careful to bring back a good report? This means that we have accomplished what He has asked us to do, and that we are blessed to carry out His will. We need to be careful that we do not go out to do something He has asked us -- and complain. Do Hashem’s work with a joyful heart. You will be super blessed in return.
What about Rahab in this story? She risked her life to save the two men from Moses. She saw that they were followers of the one true Elohim, and did all she could to protect them. Let’s look at our lives today. Are we willing to protect and go the extra mile for those who serve Hashem? Or would we risk our lives to save the life of someone else? I am reminded of the people during the Holocaust who helped and risked their lives to hide out Jewish people and children. If that were happening today, would you risk your life and your family’s life to hide someone? It is something to consider ahead of time. What are you willing to do to help your brother or sister in Hashem?
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24
2 Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, including Jericho.” They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Behold, men of the children of Israel came in here tonight to spy out the land.”
3 Jericho’s king sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered into your house; for they have come to spy out all the land.”
4 The woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I didn’t know where they came from. 5 About the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, the men went out. Where the men went, I don’t know. Pursue them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hidden them under the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the way to the fords of the Jordan River. As soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. 8 Before they had lain down, she came up to them on the roof. 9 She said to the men, “I know that Hashem has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how Hashem dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and to Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 As soon as we had heard it, our hearts melted, and there wasn’t any more spirit in any man, because of you: for Hashem your Elohim, He is Elohim in heaven above, and on earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, please swear to me by Hashem, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a true sign; 13 and that you will save alive my father, my mother, my brothers, and my sisters, and all that they have, and will deliver our lives from death.”
14 The men said to her, “Our life for yours, if you don’t talk about this business of ours; and it shall be, when Hashem gives us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”
15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window; for her house was on the side of the wall, and she lived on the wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the mountain, lest the pursuers find you. Hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward, you may go your way.”
17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless of this your oath which you’ve made us to swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, tie this line of scarlet thread in the window which you used to let us down. Gather to yourself into the house your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19 It shall be that whoever goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood will be on his head, and we will be guiltless. Whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand is on him. 20 But if you talk about this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless of your oath which you’ve made us to swear.”
21 She said, “Let it be as you have said.” She sent them away, and they departed. Then she tied the scarlet line in the window.
22 They went and came to the mountain, and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers sought them all along the way, but didn’t find them. 23 Then the two men returned, descended from the mountain, crossed the river, and came to Joshua the son of Nun. They told him all that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “Truly Hashem has delivered all the land into our hands. Moreover, all the inhabitants of the land melt away before us.”
Yeshua is giving a special command to His disciples to go to the “lost sheep of Israel” (verse 6). Why was this? I have often speculated that Yeshua came during a time when the people of Hashem were straying away from Him. The Temple had been corrupted by the Romans, and the people were under severe oppression. Maybe the Torah was not being taught from the heart and people were not understanding the true meaning of its purpose and plan. But, for whatever reason, the people were “lost”. And Adonai cared so much for His people that He sent a messenger, the Mashiach, to deliver the Truth to them. To restore and redeem their lives back to Him. What a heavy request this was for His disciples. I am sure they did their best to obey His directions.
Verse 13 is very interesting, “If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn’t worthy, let your peace return to you.” Have you ever gone over to a friend's house and tried to talk about Torah and Hashem? You brought your peace and truth into their home and were rejected? This verse clearly tells us to shake it off, and your peace will return to you. The important thing is that you tried. And you must keep trying. It is so important to be Hashem’s light and a witness to His Torah, His truth. Now you know if you are turned away, that you don’t have to lose your peace over it. Stand strong and love others more than yourself. That is my challenge for you today. Amen!
Apostolic Scripture Readings: Matthew 10:1-14
10:1 He called to Himself His twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John, his brother; 3 Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; Lebbaeus, who was also called Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
5 Yeshua sent these twelve out and commanded them, saying, “Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. 6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. 9 Don’t take any gold, silver, or brass in your money belts. 10 Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor sandals, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food. 11 Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you go on. 12 As you enter into the household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn’t worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 Whoever doesn’t receive you or hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.