This Blog is compiled from Parashat and Haftorat Balak:
Parahah from TORAH: NUMBERS 22:2-25
Haftorah from PROPHETS: MICAH 5:6-6:8
In Jewish synagogue services the Torah is read in 52 weekly Parashot sections consecutively every year. The insight of the Jewish Sages in having paired up each Parashah with a section from the Prophetic books of the Tanach is astounding. This becomes evident from the fact that this pairing up does not change annually and it is eerie how these readings are ever so often echoed by leading international news events of that same week to confirm the accuracy of Bible prophecy. In general, These Haftorahs encapsulate and expound on the theme of the Parshah for the week.
Unfortunately, while commentaries on the Parashot abound weekly (on Internet these days), reviews of the Haftorot do not receive the same prominence generally. Haftorat Balak this week (from the book of the Prophet Micah), has a specially important concluding Message for the Time that we are living in.
In Haftorat Balak Micah prophesies about things that will happen in the End Times because, in the preceding verses 6 and 7 of Micah 5, the context is set to be referring to the Time that the ‘remnant of Jacob (the 12 Tribes) will be ‘in the midst of many peoples … amongst the nations’, where they have been in exile for the last 2000 years and longer. The preceding verses 1-5 refer to a Leader ‘Whom HaShem will send’. This no doubt ranks as one of those ‘hints’ in Scripture which the Jewish Sages have interpreted to be references to “The Messiah” – a tern which the Scriptures never apply to this mysterious Figure Who will lead the exiles of Israel back Home to rebuild Jerusalem and the Land for the establishment of His Universal Kingdom Rule. (Refer last week’s Blog “The much hidden mysterious Figure of Messiah ben Yoseph” )
In Parashat Balak we find the 12-Tribed nation of Israel right close to Entry of the Land – after 40 years of quibbling and much misery. Looking back at Egypt where they have been enslaved, the suffering of the Wilderness Trek obviously drew their memories of Egypt where even enslavement, they reasoned, would have given them better living conditions. Imagine: a million people, a nation, on a walking voyage through deserts and wilderness – but, focus on where they were heading – and the divine Promises of Blessings. This, obviously, requires blind faith and trust.
Micah now relates HaShem’s complaint to His people who will be returned to the Land of Promise: “What have I done for you . . . I brought you up from Egypt . . . from a house of slavery I redeemed you . . . I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam . . . remember please what Balak advised and what Balam answered him . . . So you can know the righteous acts of God . . . ”
The reference here in Micah to Balak is to bring us to the realization that God saves and protects us from those who wish to harm us. He is taking us out of Egypt (i.e. exile amongst the nations) and will save us from Balak and Balaam if we ignore the enticement of Balaam and trustingly follow Him back into the Promised Land.
Micah then defines HaShem’s expectations from us to be found worthy of entering: He gives us three rules only to follow:
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|ח הִגִּיד לְךָ אָדָם, מַה-טּוֹב; וּמָה-יְהוָה דּוֹרֵשׁ מִמְּךָ, כִּי אִם-עֲשׂוֹת מִשְׁפָּט וְאַהֲבַת חֶסֶד, וְהַצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת, עִם-אֱלֹהֶיךָ||8 It has been told thee, O man, what is good, and what HaShem requires of thee: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.|
In these 3 requirements lies the total answer to HaShem’s complaint against His People standing at the Gates to re-entering the Land. This is exactly where we are today at the End of Time – in the year 5779 of the 6th Millennium, just before the Entry to the 7th Sabbatical Millennium of Peace, which will follow the Final Redemption. The exiles of Judah have now returned from 2000 years exile, sufficiently enough to have rebuilt the Land to achieve Top-10 status amongst the nations of the World. The 10 Lost Tribes of the House of Israel (exiled since 2730 years ago), are in process of waking up to their Torah Identify (Ezek. Prophecy of Skeleton coming alive) and are re-identifying to become ONE with Judah (Ezek. 37:15) a Torah observing nation under the God of Israel.
A closer examination of these 3 ‘only’ requirements of HaShem brings a rude awakening: There is more in it than meets the eye – but NOTHING that makes it unachievable – for He shall judge with Chesed (Mercy) – complying with the first 2 of these elements Himself, obviously.
These 3 elements can be diluted very conveniently by prospective pioneers on the Return. We shall briefly discuss the 1st and most important element: “To do justly” Hebrew עֲשׂוֹת מִשְׁפָּט – asut Mishpat. Tracking the various translations of this term shows clearly why non-Hebrew reading Bible students are led into the convenient reasoning that we only have to do good. No need for ‘burdensome legal restrictions.’ This suits the entire NT Christian reasoning that “The Torah has been done away with”. Looking at more than 30 of the most common Bible translations, the terms used are: “to do / act justly, be just, be fair to / do what is right to other people, act justly, be fair, act rightly.” No ref. at all to Torah or Law abidance.
Now let us research the original Hebrew: עֲשׂוֹת מִשְׁפָּט – asut Mishpat – do/employ/apply/make justice. First striking point is that ACTION is required. Not just hearing or saying but DOING. The 2nd word conceals and reveals it all: Mishpat – from the root: sh-f-at. This root is used in Modern Hebrew in Israel today to define a Court of Law – Beyt Mishpat, a court judge – Shofet. In the Hebrew Scriptures this word is used most commonly to define ‘Law’ (as in Torah observance). Even a casual review will confirm that it all has to do with ‘Torah’. And then, from our text here under discussion, the DOING of the Torah – ACTION. Stunning confirmation of this fact is obtained from the longest Psalm in Scripture, which is all about Torah. Here, different words are used in Hebrew which are all translated, again inconsistently, with varying translated words. The facts, in the original Hebrew, are that Mishpat equates ‘Torah’ – and it does so, in various texts in this Torah enshrining Psalm, in the most exalting terms and descriptions. (We will shortly prepare and present a copy of Ps 119 with the word Mishpat highlighted in both the original text and the translated version).
In summary then, the first of these 3-only requirements of HaShem is, that in order to Re-enter the Promised Land with all its Blessings, one has to ACTIVELY DO AND THUS OBSERVE HIS TORAH Mishpatim! Where we fall short, His Chesed will embrace and save us – which is the 2nd requirement in which we have to mirror Him in order to be found worthy. Point 3 is achieved by us walking humbly with Him daily in the spirit of these first two achievements.
Our Wilderness Trek – NOT an easy Road, But with a Blessed Final Goal
To be in ‘transition mode’ is very difficult. There is a great Move aroused in the World. Jews are intrigued by the Phenomenon of a great awakening amongst non-Jewish Bible believers towards Torah observance. There are millions of these people around the world who are in this position. They find themselves, knowingly or even inadvertently, on their way OUT of ‘Egypt’ i.e. out of cultures which oppose Torah observance and the Jewish Faith and its adherents, the Jews. These people are exactly where the Israelites were (as we currently have been reading in the last few weekly Parashot) – in the Wilderness, torn between their cultures which they have been growing up in (spiritual ‘Egypt’) and the Jewish Torah culture which is drawing them like a great magnet – a culture which traditionally they have been shunning and warned against . They are neither Christian nor Jewish. They fit nowhere – and are not loved by either side.
HaShem uses this extricating Process repeatedly to formulate His people and recreate them into conformance with His Own Format. Thus He brought the Patriarchs OUT of Mesopotamia, but later dumped them into Egypt, to bring them OUT again; then into Babylon, then into the World’s corners – to “bring them out of Egypt” every Time. We are now in the Final scenario!
The Danger in this Process of a TOTAL reformation, a TOTAL REBIRTH, is personal resistance. Souls who are being called by HaShem out of the exile are being shaped into a new culture, a new religion, understanding, even a new nationality and a new name. We read that throughout the Exodus experience of the nation their constant longing was back to the flesh pots of Egypt; their criticism of the surroundings and the provisions and finally, right at the Gates of the Land, after 40 years in the Wilderness, their resistance and fears against entering the Land and dealing with giants. And NEVER did He force them forward. They were left the free choice. In fact, 80% of the Nation remained in Egypt when He called them out. So did the majority when He called them out of Babylon. And so will the majority in this Final Call OUT of the World, to be remodeled and reshaped in a TOTAL Rebirth into a Torah observing Hebrew Israelite! “One from a City, two from a region” we are told!
THIS is where the ‘Love’ that HaShem speaks of, comes to fruition (and which He requires under point #2 of our Haftarat Message): Love – love for helping those Captive Souls of His OUT of Egypt – NOT remaining with them in Egypt. It is not about who loves who in this ‘Wilderness Recreation Process.’ The Love that HaShem requires also has to be practiced towards and between our colleague co-patriots and especially also towards those of the opposing side, i.e. the two divisive Houses of Judah (Judaism) and the reawakening House of 10-Israel (mainly NT Messianic believers who are now turning to Torah observance, but holding onto their NT Messianic convictions which they generally want Judah to accept). This group, the Lost House of 10-Israel who had been exiled from the Land for their rejection of Torah, is generally referred to in Scripture as ‘Ephraim’. ‘Ephraim ‘ represents the Body of people who are destined to be recalled and returned to the Land of their forefathers, and re-covenanted to HaShem in an overwhelming Deed of Chesed (Mercy and Compassion, love for) by HaShem. This Deed has to circumvent and bridge an Impossible obstructing Barrier, even for HaShem, viz. His Own Torah restriction of being forbidden to “Remarry the Wife (10-Israel) that He had divorced and exiled for her harlotry – religious idolatry and rejection of His Torah Guides, Judah. This is the topic underlying our ongoing search in these discussions: HOW will He, HOW can He possibly bridge the restrictions of His Own Law?
So, in this Great Transition Process there is sure going to be stress, friction, opposition, rejection, etc until the final stage of His Will and Expectation will have been reached. The only way to overcome this is to keep our minds and souls fixed on the Main Goal: be to be with His People, in His Land (Israel). Let our Goal be to arrive there and be accepted by HaShem – the rest is all simply ‘travel baggage and clutter and travel inconvenience’. In this way we will also conform to His Purpose for mankind.
Finally, in order to reach our Final Goal, along this tedious Route of Return, we need proper Guides on the Way. The Egyptian masses at the foot of this Mountain have been great in housing us in the past and assisting us to reach our current positions on the slopes of this Mountain. To reach the peak we can only do now by trusting solely in Guides who are approaching us from the top where they come from. They may not be friendly and ‘loving’ in the style of Egypt that we are accustomed to. They are generally fierce fighters who have to guard the Walls on the City at the Top. And surely, we should NOT condemn and curse our Guides of the past – rather respect them and help them for they are 90% NOT deceivers and looters – but simply blind and confused by their Egyptian surroundings from which many have had the courage to escape.
Ephraim is on his Way Home. These people need proper Guidance. They need to be receptive of this Guidance, On the opposing side, Judah, those in Covenant and in the land, have to be receptive of these, their ‘brothers and sisters in Captivity’. This requires firstly awareness – and then, understanding, compassion, etc – as per our 3 Haftarah requirements by HaShem.
What will transpire then, after, is the Greatest Jubilation that this World has ever experienced – the Final redemption. The Restoration of the 12Tribed reunited Kingdom of the God of Israel, to establish then His Universal Rule over the nations.
With thankful recognition to: https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/4182757/jewish/Balaam-in-the-Haftorah.htm