Parashat Pinchas: Numbers25:10-30:1

Parashat Pinchas: Numbers25:10-30:1
Haftarah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
תלת דפרענותא

This week we completed the fast of the 17th of Tammuz. It was on this date that the walls of Jerusalem were broken through by the Babylonian army and three weeks of intense suffering began for the Jewish people; until on the 9th of Av when the first Temple was destroyed. During these three Shabbats we follow a slightly different schedule for the prophetic readings. These three readings are known as T’lat D’furahnutah (The Three Affliction). The word “affliction” is in the singular to signify that although there are three readings they all speak about the one same event.

Within this week’s Torah portion we read about the sacrifices that were offered in the Tabernacle / Temple (Numbers chapters 28 & 29). They were the offerings for each day, Shabbat, New Month, and Festivals, along with numerous other sacrifices that were required for a variety of different reasons and circumstances. Obviously today because there is not a Temple, one cannot offer sacrifices. The question that is required to be asked is:  Is there a necessity for such sacrifices today?

I believe that the scriptures speak very clearly that Messiah Yeshua’s death was sufficient once and for all for the payment of all sin. Therefore with regard to the problem of sin and the need of redemption, Yeshua completely dealt with this issue. However, one needs to remember that there were other offerings made in the Temple, apart from sin.

In Acts 21, Paul attempted to lead four men in making their sacrifices to complete a vow (see Numbers 6). It is clear from the context that Paul intended to do just that before a group attacked him in the Temple. The purpose of this blog is not to speak about the sacrifices per se, but to make an important point from them about the Torah.

The Torah is a unit. If a portion of the Law cannot be performed, then it means that Torah is not able to be observed.  This is the view of the rabbis and seems to be supported by inference from James,

“So that if one keeps all of the Torah, but fails in one thing, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10

James is saying that if one commandment is not observed then it is like you have violated all the commandments (this is of course not to suggest that because one violated one law it is okay to go out and break all of them). His point being that the Torah is one unit of 613 parts and not 613 individual units.

Today, Judaism (orthodox) states that what is incumbent on a person is rabbinical law and not the Torah law per se. Why, because many of the commandments cannot be fulfilled without a Temple and because the punishments for the violations of many of the commandments cannot be placed upon a person (i.e. the leaders of Judaism lack the authority to carry out such punishments).

What should be the response of the believer? Study the Torah for yourself, utilize the rabbinical views, take into account the whole counsel of G-d’s word (not just the Torah, but the rest of the Bible including the New Covenant), and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for His illumination. Remember the words of Paul,

“But now having been delivered from the Torah, having died in what we were held, with the result that we serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:6

The Torah is not an obligation today. What does that mean? First, before someone yells the obvious, the Torah is not now nor never was an obligation to be performed for the reception of salvation. Salvation is by means of faith alone in Yeshua and what He did, i.e., death, burial, and resurrection. This should be so clear to the believer that it does not have to be stated in this blog.

The point that is relevant is that the believer is not obligated to observe the Torah today, because he cannot do all the commandments. But what He can do is read and apply the Torah to his heart with all of scripture; in order that he should walk humbly and obedient with the living G-d.

Shabbat Shalom

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