Hukkat-Balak

Of all commandments in Torah there are two remarkable ones which cannot be practiced at the moment. One is sacrifices on the altar as prescribed at several places and explained a bit more in Vayikra/Leviticus 17:11, For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life. The other one is the water serving for cleansing and made with several striking ingredients, among whom a red cow.

These two commandments are basic in religious Judaism. The first one because atonement (reconciliation) causes forgiveness and restoration in the relationship between HaShem and man, which is an essential condition for life in olam haba, the world to come. The second one because matters which are seen as defiling in the eyes of the Lord will stand between Him and us, by which that precious relationship still will be threatened.

The fact that these two commandments cannot be put into practice causes a field of tension within important topics: atonement (reconciliation) and continuous cleansing. In other words: nobody can be reconciled with HaShem and nobody can be cleansed. We compensated this by means of prayers at them important moments of sacrifices: Shacharit, Mincha and Ma’ariv. But that has been created among several reasons, because we could not trust the phenomenon of Jesus (Yeshua) as Messiah of Israel.

For in that name many of us have been murdered merciless and cruelly. In that name our Land of Israel has been trampled underfoot and underboot and fallen into the hands of pagans calling themselves Christians. In that name many of Israel have been converted by force to the G-d of Christianity and the one of Roman catholicism. And his name has been abused by claiming that Yeshua would have fulfilled Torah and “therefore” abolished it, what would make Yeshua an unreliable and untrustworthy Rabbi, leave alone messiah.

It is a feature of strength for Messianic Jews and their congregations to carefully push aside the abuse and all deception around Yeshua. Next it shows courage to take down all prejudices and to see whether after all he might be the one who causes reconciliation, forgiveness, restoration of relationship with HaShem and the cleansing of which we read in Tanach and New Testament. Not in order to do away with the sacrifices on the altar in the Temple, but to encourage to resuming them. Paul – whose original name was Shaul – utilized them as well when he paid for an animal sacrifice for himself and others, read Acts 21:23, 24 and 26.

Nor in order to do away with the cleansing water, as we can read about in the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, chapter 10:22. But in order to dare to recognizing the comprehensive position and authority of Yeshua as the Messiah of the Jewish people and those who acknowledge him as well as Torah. This is a unique phenomenon and characteristic of Jewish Messianic congregations. And so important and precious at that. This is the basis of the restoration of Israel pur sang. As well as the restoration of our understanding of who Yeshua really is.

Shabbat shalom,
Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehilla of Beth Yeshua
Amsterdam, Holland