This week’s Torah Reading is Numbers 8:1-12:16. The name of the parasha (Torah Portion) is Behaalotecha (meaning, “when you kindle”). Here is a brief commentary from Baruch:
In this week’s Torah portion one encounters the same tendency that exists today among some believers which was also present among the Children of Israel in the wilderness. People expect G-d to give to them what they want instead of seeking how they might serve Him and do His will. One reads that there was a group with the Children of Israel that spoke the following:
“And the gathered, which were in his midst (the midst of the people of Israel) lusted a lust and also the Children of Israel responded and cried and they said, ‘Who will feed us meat?’ We remembered the fish which we ate in Egypt for free, the squash and the watermelon and the eggplant and the onions and the garlic.”
The Hebrew word which I translated “the gathered” is והאספסף is derived from the Hebrew verb, “to gather”. It is understood as referring to those Gentiles that gathered with the Children of Israel during their wanderings in the wilderness. When this group began to complain and lusted after the things they lacked in the wilderness, the Children of Israel joined in and asked for meat as they were unsatisfied with the manna. They asked for meat in a very significant manner. They did not turn to HaShem and beseeched Him directly; rather they cried out, “Who will feed us meat?” There are two important aspects to this statement. The first is that the word “who” shows an openness to any god. The point is that they were not only dissatisfied with the manna, but also with the G-d Who provided the manna and the “who” reveals that if another were to provide them meat, they would embrace him. Scholars understand this as demonstrating Israel’s tendency to fall into idolatry so easily. The second aspect is that they asked “Who will feed us meat”. This means that it was not only that they wanted meat provided, but they wanted to be fed as a parent feeds an infant. This shows an immaturity (a spiritual immaturity) that is the basis for Israel falling into sin once again so easily.
Paul taught that “the Kingdom is not food and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Please note that the phrase, “…and joy in the Holy Spirit” refers to the contentment that is found in a personal relationship with Messiah Yeshua which is experienced by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit. If one is not satisfied with knowing and serving Him, but rather emphasizes the material, i.e. food, then it demonstrates how far away he is from HaShem.
The fact that they lusted after life in Egypt and said that they ate for free is certainly not an accurate statement. Satan often deceives those who lust after sin into believing that the sinful life (Israel was in bondage to sin in Egypt) is much different than the reality of the matter. Satan at times removes the memory of the pain and misery of sin when we are considering sinning again and we only focus upon the fleshly gratifications. So often, lust gives birth to sin, because one is deceived by the father of lies, and fails to consider the plans and purposes of the L-rd.
You too are on a journey, not a journey of the pursuits of fleshly pleasures or even obtaining your will. Your will needs to be nailed to the cross because one’s will is not HaShem’s will. What we may lack in this age for the pursuit of righteousness is pale in comparison to what the faithful will receive in the Kingdom.