The corners of the field
Emor (Speak) Lev.21:1-24:23
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 44:15-31
Messianic Scripture Galatians 3:26-29, Matt. 5;38-42
Today we study the portion called Emor. In this portion we will cover G-d’s calendar of appointed times for the year. This is one of five different places in scripture where we read about this subject. You can find this topic in Exodus 23:14-17, Exodus 38:18-26, Numbers 28-29 and Deut. 16:1-17 plus what we are reading today. Take the time to read all five scriptures and you will see each has a different emphasis and presentation.
When we read our portion today and the others mentioned, they all share a central point. G-d gives us a calendar to order our year. In scripture we read these being described as appointed times as here in Leviticus 23:2. The word used to set these times apart is, Moadim. This word can be translated as times when G-d has an appointment with us. He expects to meet us on these days. In our portion today Shabbat is included in the list of appointments. These times are also mentioned in the Messianic scriptures in Col. 2:16-17 and Acts 1:7. In these verses we see the appointed times take on an added dimension. They become a blueprint for the day in which we expect the Messiah to return at the end of the age. So these are not just days that we relegate to the past but days that should speak to us all.
However, today I will not cover these appointed times but rather call your attention to the verse connected with my question this week, Leviticus 23:22. As we read through these appointed times we are surprised to see these verses . The verses also refers back to Leviticus 19:9-10. So, here we are, reading of G-d’s calendar, and suddenly the subject changes to leaving the corners of a field for the poor to gather for themselves.
In our verse it is made clear that during the harvest (ketzer) the farmer could not harvest the corners of his field. He also could not go back over the field to pick any missed produce. He was to leave that as well for the poor. Here the Torah sets out an absolute right to glean over a field or also any other harvested produce such as grapes or fruit trees.
The poor could then come and harvest all the farmer had left in his field. The land owner was not to interfere with this process and the poor had to put forth the effort to do their part. Remember Israel had and still has two basic harvest times,he first coming in the spring and then four months later in the fall. This could meet the needs of the poor for the year.
We see this same concern expressed in the Messianic scriptures in places like Acts 6:1, Acts 11:29 and Acts 24:17. Caring for the poor remained high on the agenda of the early believers, James 1:27.
I believe our verses today, appearing as they do, in the middle of the Moadim, tells us that G-d wants to make sure we do not overlook the poor and get caught up in our own needs or desires only.
This brings me to something I wanted to share with you all. Road to Zion, small as we are, has been able to provide assistance of $2,300 to the poor among the Ethiopian Jews in Israel in the last four months. This money has met many different needs such as food, clothing, medicine, buying of heaters and a washing machine, paying rent for some who have lost their jobs or are too ill to work. Jean and I thank each of you for your help in meeting the needs of people you will probably never meet in person in this life. Some of these people have faith in the true Messiah but some do not know Him yet. What a testimony you have participated in! You have certainly followed this commandment of leaving the corners of your fields to help those in Israel in need.