Torah Portion: Shelach L’cha (Send on your behalf) Numbers (B’Midbar) 13:1-15:41
HafTorah: Joshua 2:1-24
New Testament: Hebrews 3:7-19
Today we talk about one of the major turning points of the time in the wilderness, the sin of the 10 spies and the bad report they brought back about the land of promise. I want us to take several things in this Parasha and see how they might help us to shed light on verses in the New Testament.
I would like to start here with the spies. The first word in this Parasha is Shelach. It is the root for the Hebrew word for emissary or someone sent out with a task. So this Hebrew noun, Shaliach, for the sent ones appears later in the New Testament. In Matthew 10:1-2 we read where Yeshua sends out His 12 disciples/followers. Notice the word changes from verse one to verse two. In verse two they are called apostles. This word is a translation of the Greek for the Hebrew word shaliach. So as soon as Yeshua sends them out they become apostles. He then goes on to name them as Moses does here in our Torah portion. Next, Moses gives them their assignments as does Yeshua in Matthew. Moses sends the twelve into the Promise Land and Yeshua tells His disciples to confine their mission to the lost sheep of Israel, not to go among the Gentiles. The result of Moses sending the twelve was that all that generation, 20 years old and above perished in the wilderness. In Luke 11:29 we see Yeshua saying His generation is a wicked generation. Luke 11:50, Luke 17:25. In another parallel Yeshua was crucified and resurrected in 30 C.E. Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 C.E. and began an exile that persists until today. This exile and destruction was the judgment Yeshua had warned of. So both of these generations missed G-d and somewhat for the same reason. They refused G-d’s promise. Interesting about the name correction as well. One of my questions was about the name change that Moses gave to Joshua. Changing it from Hoshea to Yehoshea. Where do we come across the same root name in the New Testament?
In Numbers 15:38 we read another verse that has a bearing on something we read in the New Testament. Here we read about the tzit tzit that were to be on the corners of their garments. In Yeshua’s time a person’s main garment was like a poncho with four corners. These corners were called canafim or wings. The tzit tzit were attached here to the canafim. One of the threads was to be techelet or sky blue in color. It is the same color in which the ephod of the priest was made. This was to show physically the verse that says Israel was to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19:6). Also read I Peter 2:1-10 where spiritually we are included in this role of priests, showing us that we have this spiritual connection to our High Priest in heaven. This idea of tzit tzit also helps us understand the incident of the woman who had the issue of blood. It says in Luke 8:44 that she came up behind Him and touched the fringe (tzit tzit) of His garment and was healed. In Malachi 4:2 we read about the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. Sun of Righteousness was one of the names of Messiah and wings were the fringes on the corner of His garments. Perhaps the woman had this verse in mind when she touched Yeshua.