April 8, 2023: Parashat Torah Portion Pesach
This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Pesach is taken from Leviticus 9:1-11:47. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he narrows in on the concept of holiness, the energy it releases, and the underlying principle of restraint and impulsiveness, and how it all ties in to our worship of ADONAI today!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Parashah Torah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Pesach - Leviticus 9:1-11:47
In this parashah we learn the difference between restraint and impulsiveness. The Tabernacle is finished! The Glory of Adonai entered the Tent of Meeting. Moses had made preparations for its consecration as the Priest would begin the service before Adonai. What a joyous occasion! What a glorious sight! This should have been a day of rejoicing. However, tragedy struck the celebration when Aaron’s two elder sons “offered a strange fire” that had not been commanded. Leviticus 10:1 says, “So fire came out from the presence of Adonai and consumed them, and they died before Adonai. So that fire that consumed the sacrifice consumed them as well”—divine judgment unleashed because they were supposed to be the example of discipline. Aaron’s joy turned to mourning…” Vayidom Aaron”, “And Aaron was silent”.
There is much in this parashah that is hard to understand but a lot has to do with the concept of holiness and the powerful nuclear power or energies it releases. The underlying principle is about two different approaches or characteristics of life… restraint and impulsiveness. The offering that was supposed to be given was Aaron’s special privilege and not his sons. The sons appropriated it for themselves which made them guilty of anticipating the time of their own elevation… they forced the hour! They offered “fire” that was not theirs to give thereby becoming “strange fire” to Adonai. In their arrogance they held themselves up above the community and took it upon their own authority about making fire without consulting Moses or following the commandments of Elohim. They took the lead where they were to follow. Their arrogance made them go beyond their limits set for human knowledge. Their arrogance stimulated their feelings of self-sufficiency.
Could it be that they were just overtaken in the joy of serving Elohim? Even so your emotions may not be allowed to serve as a pretext for violating the order established by Torah. If we add to or change Elohim’s Torah, even with sincere feelings of doing good, it cannot be tolerated especially on the part of a cohen. It is not up to us to judge which is the best manner of serving Elohim since in doing so, we forsake Elohim’s own directive specified through His Holy Torah. Our duty is to strive to understand Elohim’s way and to apply all our effort and enthusiasm in serving Him. Wait a minute…didn’t Moses smash the stone tablets when he came down the mountain and saw the golden calf and their worship? If Moses could act spontaneously, why not the two sons?
Let’s understand a powerful spiritual truth: There is a difference between a priest and a prophet! The prophet lives and acts in time, in this moment that is unlike any other. A priest acts and lives in eternity, by following a set of rules that never change. Everything about “the holy”; the realm of the priest, is precisely scripted in advance. The Holy is the place where Elohim, not man, decides! Nadav and Avihu failed to fully understand that there are different kinds of leadership and they are not interchangeable! What is appropriate to one may be radically inappropriate to another. A judge is not a politician; a king is not a prime minister; a religious leader is not a celebrity seeking popularity. If we confuse these roles, we not only fail but will damage the very office we were chosen to hold. Many times, people fall into two extreme categories: overly cautious and not cautious enough/ impulsive. These are two challenges we all must overcome in our lives.
We sometimes exhibit a reluctance to lead asking questions like; Why me? Why should I get involved? Why is it my responsibility? There were many great leaders that were reluctant, such as, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Jonah just to name a few. However, when you understand the mission is necessary and important you say one thing, “Hineni” (Hee nay nee). “Here I am”! The other challenge is the opposite because they see themselves as leaders, they are convinced that they can do better because from a distance everything seems so easy. We’ve all encountered “back-seat drivers” those who know better than the one whose hands are on the steering wheel. If these impulsive people are in leadership, they can do great damage. Their over-enthusiastic, over-confident attitude can do great harm. They only see things through their own perspective, not knowing they have to relate to many perspectives, groups, and views.
I am not saying we have to try to satisfy everyone but we have to know when to behave as everyone else and when not to! We need “considered judgment” not wild enthusiasm in the heat of the moment. Nadav and Avihu were surely great people and wonderful sons—their problem was that they believed they were great people and wonderful sons. OUCH! They were not like their father who had to be persuaded to come closer to the altar because of his sense of inadequacy.
If we are to do anything great, we must be aware of two temptations; Fear of greatness, who am I?’ Being convinced of your greatness, who are they? I can do better. We can do great things if the task matters more than the person. If we are willing to do our best without thinking ourselves superior to others. We must be willing to take advice which is the thing Nadav and Avihu failed to do. We will not become leaders because we are great. We are great leaders because we are willing to serve as leaders. We must be willing to submit ourselves to the way of Adonai and desire to follow His commandments, His rules and regulations above our impulses.
It doesn’t matter that we think ourselves inadequate so did Moses and Aaron. What matters is our willingness, when challenge calls, we say, “hineni” (Hee Nay Nee), “Here I am”! When we go beyond the bounds of what Elohim desires it represents “a strange fire”.
How do we make sure we stay within the parameters of the Word of Yah? Leviticus 10:16 tells us to “search carefully”, translated by the Hebrew words “darash”, “darash”, to search and study Scripture. One of the commandments in Deut. 6:7 is that in order to teach you must study. John 5:39 tells us if we search the Scripture (Torah) we will find Messiah for they testify of Him.
The Hebrew words “darash, darash” repeated twice are found right at the very center of the Torah…so Elohim is telling us to search, search or study, study that which is before and that which comes after Leviticus 10:16. This teaches us that the entire Torah revolves arounds constant inquiry. We must never stop studying and seeking ever deeper and broader understanding of Torah.
These Scriptures give us life! John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest.” It can also be translated as “Yeshua’s purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life! Who doesn’t want that?
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Chag Pesach kasher v'Sameach
May you continue having a great Feast of Pesach. Serve Him with gladness. Yeshua is our Lamb of Yah! By His blood we are reconciled back to Abba. Enjoy the holiday and have a blessed Sabbath!
Shalom Aleichem Mishpocha!