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Beha'alotcha (When You LIft Up) Numbers 8-12

Torah Portion: Beha’alotcha (When You Lift Up) Numbers 8:1-12:16

HafTorah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

This Torah section begins with a description of what Aaron was to do with the Holy Lamp stand in the Tabernacle (Mishkan). This lamp stand could be looked at as lighting the way to the Holy of Holies. Now the interesting part is the name of this section – Beha’alotcha. The root of this word is to lift up. So Aaron was to lift up the light that was to light the way to the Father. This caused me to think of us as priests of the L-rd. In the spiritual sense our job, our role in life is to lift up, lift up the light that people can find the way to the Father. Yeshua represents that light. As we live our life daily, every action, word or deed should be purposed to light the way for those around us in darkness. We don’t have to make some special effort. Our every effort should be to be that light we are called to be. We are to make sure the light stays lifted up.

Which brings me to one of my questions this week about the tribe of Dan found in Numbers 10:25. Here we see that this tribe was the last to leave camp. They were at the end of a huge group every time Israel left camp. Judah was at the front, Levites followed after bearing all the articles of the Mishkan, the leaders of the procession with all the honor that went with their position. Finally we have Dan at the end. Now one interesting fact, Dan is the only tribe who were honored with a description of their purpose. The word in Hebrew is “Ma asof,” meaning collectors. They were to pick up anything left by the other tribes as they broke camp. Dan was a tribe who didn’t have the glamour of Judah or the Levites but they were called to live their lives for others. They were called to pick up the pieces so to speak and restore them. So this started me thinking about us.

Most of us will never be on TV as a great minister, receiving world renown. But we are to be the collectors. I Cor 12:12-31 talks about how we as the body of Messiah are to operate. Not everyone marches at the front. And you know what, that is as it should be. Our human part fights against this but in the Spirit it is a privilege to be one who picks up the pieces and do what they can to restore.

I think of what we do feeling the homeless at the shelter and helping at the Ronald McDonald House, these are so important in G-d’s view. I want to encourage each of you to bring light with you and at every opportunity G-d gives you to collect those pieces you find and restore them. There is no greater calling.

Sometimes we are hampered in our collecting because some of us have been left behind ourselves somewhere along the way. Things happened that damaged us and we lost part of ourselves, maybe through our fault maybe not. What should we do?

If you saw the movie, “Back to the Future,” G-d supplies us with something much better than the car in that movie. The Torah alludes to it in Numbers 9 where it talks about allowing people who missed Passover at its appointed time a way to make it up. You will notice chapter 9 does not come in order. Chapter 9 happened before chapter 1 of Numbers. Why? What does this say to us if anything? There is a saying in Judaism, “There is no before or after in Torah.” G-d gives us the ability to fix those things of the past. How? By “Teshuvah” or repentance. Here these people got to participate in Passover even though they missed it the first time because they were unclean. They brought a sacrifice to take care of their issue of being unclean then they celebrated Passover.

My point is that we do not have to be held captive by those things we did or were done to us. We can go back and forgive and be forgiven by G-d. We are not captives of our past but can redeem that past to move ahead spiritually and emotionally. So Torah puts this story out of order to give us a clue we are not bound by our past but are bound by the love and forgiveness of G-d.