At the Shabbat HaChodesh: readings about blood, liberation and purification

Against all the gods of Egypt and all the gods of the world the Elohim will execute judgments and by the blood of the Lamb He has sent liberation for many may come.

After all the fun of the previous festival we may enter a “new period”, looking at what may come into this first month of the year.

Tonight we may enter the Shabbat which gives us the last of the Arba Parashiot (Four Portions) that have special Torah readings in preparation for Pesach (Passover), which is just two short weeks away!

At this Shabbat HaChodesh (Sabbath [of the] month) everybody is invited to come to listen to the special reading added from Exodus 12:1–20, which details the laws of Pesach, including the preparation of the Passover Lamb.

For us it is very special, not because the Elohim tells us to have this month as the first one of the year (Shemoth 12:2), but for the hope it may give to us and really also to all people who are willing to come to believe in the Most High and His sent one.

This month is so special because for we do have a High Priest who knows our weaknesses and was in all points tempted as we are, yet managed to stay without sin. We come to remember soon how our Bore staid close to His people and provided more than once comfort and liberation. We remember blood of two sorts of lambs. One of the lambs being a human being of flesh and blood; Jeshua (Jesus from Nazareth) who was completely successful in his mission of redemption. He came and died as the sacrifice for our sins. He rose victorious over sin and death. He ascended to the heaven of heavens, seated in authority at the right hand of the Father. Knowing this, we have great cause to remain steadfast in our confession of hope in him.

According to the number of the souls; according to what everyone could eat, the people in Egypt had to make their count for the lamb, choosing a year old male lamb without defect.

And if the household be too small for the seh (lamb [see Yeshayah 53:7]), let him and his neighbor next unto his bais take according to the number of the nefashot; every ish according to what he eats shall make up your count for the seh. Your seh (lamb [see Yeshayah 53:7]) shall be tamim (without blemish), a zachar (male) within its first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats; And it will be with you for mishmeret (examination, checking for blemishes) up until the fourteenth day of the same month; and kol Kehal Adat Yisroel shall slaughter (shachat) it in the afternoon [before dark]. And they shall take of the dahm, and strike it upon the two mezuzot (doorposts) and on the mashkof (lintel) of the batim (houses), wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the basar in that night, roasted over eish, and matzot; and with maror they shall eat it. [See Yochanan 6:53-54 where Moshiach alludes to this verse and Isaiah 53:7.]
(Exodus 12:4-8 OJB)

This week’s Parasha (Torah portion), Tazria (She Conceives) got its name from the Hebrew root word zarah (זרע), meaning seed; therefore, an alternative translation of Tazria is She Bears Seed or Bearing Seed, rather than She Conceives.

We are told that when the days of a new mother her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.

Speak unto the Bnei Yisroel, saying, If an isha have conceived, and born a zachar, then she shall be temeiah shivat yamim; according to the yamim of the niddah (menstruation separation) for her infirmity shall she be temeiah (unclean). And in the yom hashemini the basar of his arel (uncircumcision, foreskin) shall be circumcised. And shloshim yom ushloshet she shall then remain in demei tohorah (blood of her purifying, i.e., period in which she would be unclean); she shall touch no kodesh, nor enter the Mikdash, until the yamei of her tohorah be fulfilled. But if she bear a nekevah, then she shall be temeiah two weeks, as in her niddah (separation); and she shall remain in the blood of her tohorah sixty-six days. And when the yemei tohorah are fulfilled, for a ben, or for a bat, she shall bring a keves of the first year for an olah, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a chattat (sin offering), unto the entrance of the Ohel Mo’ed unto the kohen; Who shall offer it before Hashem, and make kapporah for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her dahm. This is the torah for her that hath born a zachar or a nekevah. And if she be not able to afford to bring a seh, then she shall bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons; the one for an olah, and the other for a chattat; and the kohen shall make kapporah for her, and she shall be teherah (clean) [See Lk 2:24 regarding this chapter and on how Moshiach was first brought to the Beis Hamikdash].
(Leviticus 12:2-8 OJB)

We learn that there was made an offering before the Hashem to make atonement for the mother or the bearer of the seed, and then she would be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.

The cleansing is the part which requires our attention this and the coming weeks.

As human being we make a lot of faults, and by doing so, going against the Will of God. You would think He would be disgusted by our wrong doings and would not be interested in us any more.

For the Hebrew people living and working in the land of Egypt Jehovah warned them that in the night of the fourteenth day of the first month He was going to strike all the bechor or firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and animal. The Hashem warned them that He was going to execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. That way they should come to see that the God of Moshe is the Most High Elohim.

The blood was to be to them for a token on the houses where the people of God were. When God would see the blood, He would pass over them, and there was not going to be a plague on them to destroy them, when the Hashem would strike the land of Egypt.

For I will pass through Eretz Mitzrayim balailah hazeh, and will strike fatally kol bechor Eretz Mitzrayim, both adam and behemah; and against all the elohei Mitzrayim I will execute judgment; I am Hashem. And the dahm shall be for you, an ot (sign) upon the batim (houses) where ye are; and when I see the dahm, oofasachti (then I will pass over, skip, spare) you [plural], and the negef (plague, blow, striking, i.e., death of firstborn) shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I strike fatally with a blow against Eretz Mitzrayim.
(Exodus 12:12-13 OJB)

A bloodshed avoiding another bloodshed but also making the death of others seen as a signal. Those who followed the ruling made by God were saved, whilst those who did not put the blood of the lambs on the door-posts were not saved.

Four days between killing the animal and putting the blood on the door-posts, having God’s angels passing the houses of God’s People, all could hear Moshe’s warnings and could think about what to do.

The unclean people became liberated by God after they had done what He had asked. They also followed up the other request, namely taking that day as a special day, it being to them for a memorial, and keeping it a feast to Jehovah.
Throughout their generations they had to keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.

This day shall be to you for a memorial, and you shall keep it a feast to Jehovah: throughout your generations you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. “‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away yeast out of your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. In the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no manner of work shall be done in them, except that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you. You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this same day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty first day of the month at evening. Seven days shall there be no yeast found in your houses, for whoever eats that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a foreigner, or one who is born in the land. You shall eat nothing leavened. In all your habitations you shall eat unleavened bread.'”
(Exodus 12:14-20 NHEBJE)

Nearly 2 millennia ago the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua wanted to remember that special night with his talmidim. He wanted to observe the feast of unleavened bread. He told his closest friends that he earnestly desired to eat this Passover with them before he was going to suffer.

As every firstborn male his mother 33 years before had also gone to the temple for the purification rites required by the Law of Moshe. His mother had offered a sacrifice, but now he was going to offer himself as a lamb. He would be going to the slaughter-bank to shed his blood for all the sins of mankind and to liberate the people who want to belong to God, like it happened in Egypt.

This week’s Parasha also provides the laws of purification from the ancient Biblical disease tzara’at, which is inaccurately translated leprosy.
The Hebrew word may be derived from the Aramaic word segiruta, meaning isolation, and have a linguistic root that means smiting.

Jesus isolated himself with his closest friends  and went for the memorial meal in an upper-room in Jerusalem.

In the Torah, isolation or time alone is not restricted to physical or contagious conditions; it can also be seen as a necessary time for prayer, devotion, and communion with God. From that day Jesus went to have that meal with his apostles and afterwards went into the garden of olives to have again such a moment of prayer.
First he had prayed with them to God before washing the feet of his apostles, then before and after the meal. Later he took some time to be alone with God where he mentioned his fear for what would be coming and asked God to help him to do God His Will.

We should remember that we the same as the Hebrews in Egypt are not clean. We all should know that all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

(5) But we are all as the tameh (unclean thing), and kol tzidkoteinu (all our righteousness, our righteous deeds, works) are like beged iddim (filthy rags, a garment of menstruation); and we all do fade like the aleh (leaf); and avoneinu (our iniquities), like the ruach, have taken us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 OJB)

Imagine mother earth (the world) having given children (the children of the world = believers and unbelievers) now being unclean and having to be purified. The one promised in the Gan Eden was willing to fulfil God’s Plan and gave himself as a ransom. His blood representing the blood of the liberating one year old lamb, has brought purification by the offering at the stake of the innocent man.

Only the blood of the Lamb provided by the Most High is able to function as a Passover Lamb. It can cleanse us from our defilement and uncleanness to come into true fellowship with the living God.  Jeshua being born of the young woman can cleanse us and present us holy and without blemish to the Father.

These days we have to get rid of the old yeast, so that we may be a new unleavened batch for we may put our hope in the liberation by Jeshua, the Christ our Messiah, our Passover Lamb, who has been sacrificed.

19 thoughts on “At the Shabbat HaChodesh: readings about blood, liberation and purification

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