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Mesirat Nefesh - Sacrificial Love
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Our Wounded Healer

Further thoughts on Parashat Chukat...

by John J. Parsons
www.hebrew4christians.com

Our Torah portion this week (i.e., parashat Chukat) begins with the words: zot chukat ha-Torah (זאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה), "this is the decree of Torah" (Num. 19:2). The language here is both striking and unique, suggesting that what follows (i.e., the mysterious ritual of the red heifer) is "the seminal decree" of the entire Torah... If we think about the meaning of the red heifer, however, we will understand that its ashes were used to create the "waters of separation" (i.e., mei niddah: מֵי נִדָּה) to cleanse people from contact with death (i.e., separation). To fulfill this vital decree, however, required sacrificial love, since the priest who performed this service would become defiled (separated) for the sake of the healing of others... In this connection note that the Hebrew word for love is ahavah (אַהֲבָה), which comes from a root verb (יָהַב) that means "to give." Love means giving of yourself to benefit another person (John 15:13). The central decree of Torah, then, which is reckoned beyond our ability to rationally understand, is that God's love is so great that it is willing to become dust and ashes on our behalf so that we might find blessing and life...
 

    The mitzvah of parah adamah (i.e., the red heifer) represents the suspension of logic in deference to the Divine Will. This attitude is not restricted to this mitzvah. Scripture introduces the mitzvah of the parah adamah with the words "this is the law of the Torah." Surrendering one's own reasoning and accepting the superior reasoning of Hashem is the law of the entire Torah... To the extent that we let go of our own will, we can understand the Divine will. Our ancestors at Sinai understood this ideal when they proclaimed, "we will do and then we will understand." Torah is not beyond our understanding, but we must be willing to make the sacrifices that true Torah understanding demands.   - Living Each Day, Rabbi Abraham Twerski
     

Our Savior and Healer Yeshua the Messiah willingly became unclean on our behalf - through contact with our sin and death - so that we could become clean (Isa. 53:4, 2 Cor. 5:21, Gal. 3:3, Eph. 5:2, Titus 2:14). The pure became impure through His sacrificial offering.  Because of Him, we have been cleansed from our sins "by a better sprinkling" than that which the Tabernacle of Moses could afford (Matt. 26:28, Heb. 9:14, 12:24, Eph. 1:7, 1 Pet. 1:2,18-19, Rom. 5:9; Col. 1:14, 1 John 1:7, etc.).
 

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