“Don’t Languish in the Ordinary” by Ariel Ehrmantrout
Numbers 16:1-Numbers 18:32
HAFTARAH: Isaiah 66:1-24
Priesthood Instructions: Hebrews 1-3
This weeks message is “Don’t Languish in the Ordinary”
” 1 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent [a] 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” 4 When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. 5 Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. 6 You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers 7 and tomorrow put fire and incense in them before the LORD. The man the LORD chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!” 8 Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! 9 Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the LORD’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. 11 It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?” 12 Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come! 13 Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert? And now you also want to lord it over us? 14 Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you gouge out the eyes of [b] these men? No, we will not come!” 15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them.” 16 Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow—you and they and Aaron. 17 Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it—250 censers in all—and present it before the LORD. You and Aaron are to present your censers also.” 18 So each man took his censer, put fire and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 19 When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” 22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?” 23 Then the LORD said to Moses, 24 “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’ ” 25 Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.” 27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. 28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: 29 If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, [c] then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.” 31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!” 35 And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.”
1. In this weeks Torah Portion we find the second major rebellion against the Lord YHWH taking place. The first, if you remember was the rebellion at Mt. Sinai and this Torah portion is reccording the second. Korach means “Bald” and before you look at me and think–“now that is very appropriate” –just take a second to remember that the scripture says that “the man who is bald is clean” according to the laws of ritual purity!! J
This great grandson of Levi–the Priestly Tribe for administration of the Lords altar and biological cousin of Moses and Aharon was obviously rebellious and countless Torah commentaries can share the nuances of this with you. However, I want to look in a different direction this year as we begin to study this very important section of the Torah. I was wondering this last week what it was that would make Korach turn so egregiously against Moses and Aharon? Why him? Why then? What for?
The Children of Israel are a called out people who are called to live by different words and standards than those found in the world around us. In the gentile nations, who practice various faith’s that feature a pantheon of gods–the individual and his or her choice–is the primary factor in which false god someone might chase after. It is this “choosing” that is the primary feature of modern contemporary faith practices today. Though I would not presume to speak for all Judaism, it is my understanding that for the most part contemporary Judaism has taken a position on other religions that is neither wise, nor is it based in facts that will be supportive of our community. Contemporary Judaism as I understand it–teaches that there are “many ways” to the Creator–blessed be He’–so it matters little if you are a Jew or a Christian, or a Muslim; because we are all on the “chosen path” where we chose to meet the Creator, who we call the God of Abraham along the way of our life’s independent courses. Regardless of our ancestory or the choice we made. This “cant we all just get along” strategy never worked on the playground and it is one bound to fail the larger society in general.
As Jews, we are first and foremost the Children of Israel. We are the modern incarnation of our ancient ancestors whose history is clearly depicted within the Torah. We are a “Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation” to quote Moses and the Prophets. We did not choose God–YHWH- -He chose us. He dispatched us into this world with a mission–and a burning passion and purpose to keep his people from treating that which He calls “Holy, righteous and good” from becoming corrupted with the ever pending onslaught of evil that wishes to invade our lives today. The temptations we face are not from a little spiritual imp that “makes us” do “this or that” –far from it. The temptation of our Yetzer Hara–our evil inclination–is structural and critical for our understanding. If we do not grasp the underlying theme of Korah and his rebellion then we will never see the trick that is ever before us forcing us to pick the wrong answer by default; our enemy is spiritual and is wishing to deceive us and steal our very lives and that of our children’s children for years to come.
So, when we say “We are the Chosen People“–what does this really mean? Chosen for what? For Holocaust, for hatred, for flight from one land to another; or are we chosen to be a people seeking refuge from the community of international people seeking our destruction? This is what makes a Jew grown when they here this Torah commentary recited in local Synagogues. The retort from the general Jewish audience is always the same–when the Rabbi or the Cantor says that Israel is a chosen people of YHWH–the crowd all simultaneously groans and sighs heavily while saying “And I wish He (YHWH) would pick someone else!” I remember when I understood this for the first time and the sadness that it brought me that we would be willing to trade our position AS CHOSEN ONES to live out YHWH’s plan in this earth for the more COMMON way of life offered by the nations around us. Compromise kills; and absolute compromise kills absolutely. We were created to be a Theocracy, not a Democracy; to model the ways of YHWH for people living in darkness amidst the nations. Stating that we wished YHWH would pick someone else is to state that we wish to fall into the boiling pot of pagan adulterous worship which enslaves its practitioners all over the world today.
Korach is not as much the story of singular act of rebellion as much as it is a story of contamination. Korach is the story which identifies WHO and WHAT you are and how you see this portion speaks a great deal to WHAT is coming in your future. Are you CHOSEN or are you CHOOSING? Are you set apart or A PART OF the nations? Lets look at what Korach and his rebellion are saying to us today.
Deuteronomy 7:6 says “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
1 Kepha 2:19 says “But YOU ARE A CHOSEN PEOPLE, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, A PEOPLE BELONGING TO GOD, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
2. Like it or not GOD LOVES ISRAEL and ITS PEOPLE ARE CHOSEN. Like Korach was CHOSEN to serve as PRIEST to the entire Holy Community and minister before the LORD YHWH–so too have YOU BEEN CHOSEN to serve YHWH. This sign of your being chosen manifests is the SIGN OF YOUR ALLEGIANCE. If you HAVE crossed over from the wilderness wanderings and have started taking the land that has been chosen for your blessing–if you SEE that you are DIFFERENT and SPECIAL, then you are seeing things as Moses and Aharon saw.
Moses was “the most humble man that has ever lived” according to his own profession –that is in no way contradicted by YHWH anywhere else in the breadth of Scripture. If you are a disciple of Messiah, then you have been grafted into the “Natural Olive Tree” of Israel, whose life giving sap has been and remains provided by Yeshua YHWH. You were called OUT OF DARKNESS which is a Hebrew idiomatic expression for “outsider to the ways of Torah” and you have been called “into His glorious light” –which is another Hebrew idiom for walking in the “PATHWAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS” which is found in the TORAH. IF YOU HAVE BEEN “SAVED,” THEN YOU HAVE BEEN “SAVED” from the future of the UNREPENTANT NATIONS, and have been brought by YHWH Himself INTO HIS GLORIOUS LIGHT; where He bestowed upon you a NEW NAME and a NEW CHARACTER and a NEW WAY OF WALKING.
Isaiah 26:8 says “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”
I Kings 2:3 says “And observe what the Lord your God REQUIRES: Walk in His ways, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and requirements, AS WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, so that you may PROSPER IN ALL YOU DO and wherever you go.”
John 15:16 says “You did not choose me, but I CHOSE YOU and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name
3. Korach also was chosen–a Royal Priest and part of the Holy Nation of Israel–but he OBVIOUSLY had some issues that all culminate in this portion. Korach WAS CALLED AND CHOSEN but he was also UNWISE and SELFISHLY ASSERTIVE of his own way; he had no problem abandoning the way of Israel for the way of Korach. Our history indicates that Korach was a man of wealth and power; and according to ancient Jewish sources which say his great monetary wealth TURNED HIM from being more concerned about being Holy and willing to compromise by living that which was “Common.”
Israel today is set apart–and if you have any doubt about how different Israel is–just look at anything that happens with Israel and the Arabim community–you can predict like clockwork who will be publically condemned and blamed by the world community–Israel is. Swift condemnation of Israel and her people are made from the terrorist sponsoring nations and not one thing is ever said about this; why not? Because Israeli’s are not like the rest of the world–we are the people of the Sixth Day Sabbath; the Rosh Kodesh New Moon Festival’s; the Passover and the Festivals and Feast Days, and the High Holy Days. WE ARE THE STANDARD WHICH “HE”– our GOD–YHWH has chosen.
Look at the others who call themselves “True Believers” today. Radical Muslims blew up the twin towers in New York on 9/11 and yet not all Muslims feel the same way as the criminal terrorists who chose to make war against the United States as a part of their “true belief.” There have been other Muslims who displayed their faith in actions like the beheading of Danny Pearl–the Jewish American Reporter who died in Iraq–all the way to the latest “Freedom For Gaza Flotilla” event which was staged to harm Israeli children and to twist public opinion in the favor of the Muslims. Imagine if there was a public flotilla that left Cuba for Miami in the United States–demanding to secure the release of all Cuban born nationals in the United States Federal Prison System; further imagine that the elite US Navy Seal’s stormed the Cuban Floatilla–and one of the Cubans beat an American Seal with a steel pipe to his head. Then if that were not enough, these “peacenic’s” then held the Seal down while one of their people sawed the ear off the Navy Seal. What do you think would happen between the United States and Cuba if such an event ever occurred? Any American can tell you that the military response would be swift and sure–yet this same situation happens in Israel’s territorial waters and the gaza terrorists in Hamas are the victims? You couldn’t even make up a story like that if it were not real.
Christians, by and large are dedicated to the “saving of our Jewish souls;” never once stopping to think about the social extermination which takes place in the life of a Jew who follows the teachings of the “Jews for Jesus” folks? Which is worse to do–kill a man by physically CUTTING OFF HIS HEAD for what religion he was–or kill him through CULTURAL ASSASSINATION for who he is? Christians have largely tried to make Yeshua YHWH relevant to this generation by making Him into a pop-cultural icon that never –ever existed. Jesus Christ never existed and is a made up name variant from the Greek word IESOUS. However, Yeshua YHWH was an ultra orthodox Jewish Rabbi and Plebian Pharisee. His followers called him Rabbi, he lived in ISRAEL and worshipped at the Temple built for Him by Solomon and rebuilt by Herod. Yeshua did not teach ANYTHING NEW that was not ALREADY A SIGNIFICANT PART of the JEWISH FAITH. He was born “KING OF THE JEWS” and he lives today as KING OF THE JEWS. If you have to make YOUR KING relevant –He is most likely NOT YOUR PERSONAL KING. If Yeshua the Jew offends you then your sickness is terminal and can only be changed by embracing the ONE TRUE WAY which is the faith of ISRAEL.
Mark 1:2 says “It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare YOUR WAY”
Isaiah 48:17 says “This is what the Lord says– your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, WHO DIRECTS YOU IN THE WAY you should go.”
Jeremiah 21:8 says “Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you THE WAY OF LIFE and THE WAY OF DEATH”.
John 14:4 says “You know THE WAY to the place where I am going.”
4. There is an ancient story in the Talmud about Korach and His followers–and the “Tzitzit” or “fringes” which are commanded to be hung upon the clothing that all Israelites must have. The command is that we have a thread of “K’Cholet” or “Royal Blue” incorporated within each of four fringes that are on the corner of our garments to act as a reminder for us to not forget to do the Lord’s Commandments. This royal blue thread was a sign of royalty and honor and was to be displayed as a reminder of the commandment of YWHW to wear it as a sign to the UNBELIEVING NATIONS AROUND US. As the story goes, with each step of the progression in the PRIDE of KORACH and his followers, more and more of their garments would be covered in the “K’Cholet” of blue. This went on for some time until their ENTIRE GARMENT was blue–from head to toe. This led KORACH and some of His followers to approach Moshe and Aharon with a question–they asked Moses “You have taught us that we are to wear a thread of blue on the corners of our garments throughout our generations; however, since our garments are completely BLUE–are we still required to wear the TZITZIT with the THREAD OF BLUE? And according to our ancient Sages and Elders–it is said that Moses replied with one short phrase which was “It is so written.” To this answer Korach and his followers all LAUGHED AT MOSES and AHARON and told them that they knew NOTHING AT ALL…AND THAT THE WHOLE COMMUNITY WAS HOLY TO THE LORD and to wear a garment of BLUE was better than 4 mere threads. It was PRIDE that was the destruction of KORACH….PRIDE and an overly RELIGIOUS SPIRIT.
Well Korach is the spirit behind many today who wish to live their lives in a fashion where they will say “Well–God knows my heart and if I am wrong then God will love me anyway.” Indeed….God will love you anyway–but you will march throughout your entire life going from problem to problem–and failure to failure. God said wear a THREAD and Korach said WE ARE AS GOOD AS THEY ARE to which God said “You and all with you are now DEAD; and Korach and all his family was swallowed up and taken into the grave alone.
If you are going to follow Moses and the way of Yeshua Messiah the WAY has been cleared for you to be rejoined to the NATURAL OLIVE TREE and not some WILD VINE that tickles your fancy. Your job is to be pulling your weight–fighting with and for your brothers in ISRAEL. We must stand UNITED more now than ever before as the tide of evil that is sweeping the world today is likely to unleash on the world stage the smoothest criminal in the History of the World as a whole. Moses was ridiculed, laughed at, scorned, disrespected, abandoned, alone, hungry tired, and at times–at his wits end. MOSES DID NOT CHOOSE THIS–HE And AHARON WERE CHOSEN. The did not SEEK THE BLESSING but their seeking the BLESSOR brought about a MIGHTY DELIVERANCE in their lives. YESHUA –the LIVING TORAH–in Revelation said “HERE AM I–SEND ME–I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL OH GOD.” He was wounded for my transgressions–for each and every time I would fail him so miserably–and shame His Name–and shame his WAY. He was bruised for my iniquity–for each time I acted more like a KORACH than a MOSES. When I said “WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO.” His bruising was AT MY VERY HAND. The Chastisement of MY PEACE was LAID UPON HIM–because I constantly choose the way of the COMMON and the way of the EASY—the way of the FAMILIAR and not the WAY OF HONOR…..but HE CHOSE ME–AND BY THE STRIPES HE SUFFERED UPON HIS BODY—by his OWN FAMILY–by Me and ones JUST LIKE ME–he answered not back a word except to say “ABBA FORGIVE HIM–FOR HE KNOWS NOT WHAT HE DOES.” And BY HIS STRIPES, I WAS HEALED.
Mark 15:31 says “In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!
Isaiah 42:3 says ” A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
2 Corinthians 11:16-30 says “ 16I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. 21To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that! What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the Congregations. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
5. Gone is the COMMON, and replaced is the SELF EFFACING–MAN MADE RELIGION–that seeks to make Yeshua INTO A GENTILE and not a JEW. He CHOSE ME….and YOU…His children–TO HELP MAKE UP ISRAEL–who are called “JEWS” TODAY. HE chose me to be HIS JEW–so when Korach and his followers manifest and I am kicked and beaten–ridiculed and scorned–I have the solace of knowing in advance that it is BY HIS STRIPES–I have been TIED INTO THE NATURAL OLIVE TREE which is guaranteed to OVERCOME by the blood of the LAMB and the word of HIS TESTIMONY. Yes, once I was Korach and a follower of the rebellious–but thanks be to YHWH whom I love with every fiber of my being–that He based His choices on what would one day be in a mans heart–and not what he wore. All of the Torah is summarized in this–“IT IS WRITTEN: Love the LORD YOUR GOD with ALL YOUR HEART and ALL YOUR STRENGTH and ALL YOUR RESOURCES–and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR LIKE YOU LOVE YOURSELF.” Korach lead his entire family to death–all because he harbored EVIL in HIS HEART. Repent with me and let us allow the stripes of the living Torah to lash us into the Olive Tree in a way that will shine us forth as SET APART–HOLY TO THE LORD OF ISRAEL. Shabbat Shalom
© 2010 Ariel Ehrmantrout – All Rights Reserved Worldwide
This Weeks Haftarah: Isaiah 66: 1 – 24
Today’s Haftarah Message: “Proclaiming GOD’s Glory”
Today’s reading Isaiah 66:18 – 19 “18 “And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come [b] and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory.
19 “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans [c] and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD -on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the LORD. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels. 21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the LORD.”
This week’s Haftarah is about the nations being gathered together to see GOD’s Glory. There will be those sent out to proclaim the glory of GOD to all nations, and they will turn to the ways of the GOD of Israel.
Here, you may say – “I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, I go to church, I watch Christian Television, or I tell everyone about Jesus.”, but sadly in today’s Christian Church the Glory of God is missing. This is because, the early church leaders created a system of religion that GOD did not intend. This system was then passed down from generation to generation, and innocently put the people into religious bondage. That is not how to proclaim GOD’s Glory. Today, we will examine how to proclaim GOD’s Glory.
First, we “Love GOD” and “Love our Neighbor as Our self”. Love is keeping the commandments of Torah towards GOD and our Neighbor. This means we do not steal, we do not covet, and we do nothing to cause anyone to stumble. Rabbi Y’Shua – who is GOD Himself – said that these were the greatest commandments.
Matthew 22:36 – 40 says “36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
2 John 1:6 says “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
Second, we do not mix the ways of the world with the ways of GOD. This is called syncretism. This is adding to (or taking away from) GOD’s Torah. We are command not to add or take away from GOD’s Torah. The result of this mixing is the realm of death. This is what has happened to the church. Pagan rituals and worldly thinking have slowly crept into the church over the last 1800 years. These have replaced the Festivals of GOD with man made holidays like Christmas and Easter, or Saturday Sabbath with Sunday Sabbath.
Isaiah 66:17 says “17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of] those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things—they will meet their end together,” declares the LORD.”
Deuteronomy 12:32 says “See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”
Finally, we must be able to differentiate between Holy & Common, and Clean & Unclean. We must know these differences. They are found in the Torah. If you ask the average church member what these means they either do not know or may respond by saying – “That’s been done away with because we are free.” They are innocent because they have been taught church doctrine passed down from generations of miss teaching instead of GOD’s Torah.
Ezekiel 44:23 says “They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.”
These are the ways that GOD’s Glory will be shown here on earth. When GOD’s Torah is functioning here on earth that is when GOD’s Glory is proclaimed. The question is will you be one of those who do proclaim GOD’s Glory here on earth or will you proclaim the glory of a manmade religion?
Rabbi Shaun Sailor
[5th Year Torah Student and Student Rabbi Shaun S. Sailor appears the courtesy of Temple Ahavah Torah Training Center. If you enjoy Reb Sailor’s Haftarah commentary each week, take a moment and jot him and encouraging note at email@example.com ]
Thank You!! Rabbi Ariel Ehrmantrout