Shabbat Shalom!

From Tzfat, Israel.

This week’s Torah Reading is Parashat Pinchas.  It contains Numbers 25:10-30:1.  Here is a brief commentary from Baruch:  This week’s Torah portion has a section which lists the sacrifices which took place in the Temple for each day of the year (See Numbers chapters 28-30). An important point which is made is that there is an inherent relationship between sacrifice and worship. It is a joy and a great privilege to be able to offer something to G-d. It is not because HaShem needs it, but the offering is rooted in man’s desire to give to G-d. Such a desire stems from love and an acknowledgment of man’s responsibility to submit to him.

One of the errors that people frequently make is to look at the Sabbath day as a day of worship as though the rest of the week is not. This section from parashat Pinchas makes it clear that each day is a day of worship. Shabbat, Festivals, and New Moons reduce the amount of work, so that there is additional time to worship. This is why the Torah speaks of the additional sacrifices which are made on these special days.

These additional sacrifices, as well as the daily ones, were not made by each individual, but by the Cohenim (Priests) in behalf of all the people. The people would donate a half of a Shekel to support the Temple work and during the work of the Priests and Levites, the people, no matter where they happened to be located, would offer praises and prayers. Today there is a special prayer which is added to the normal prayer service to reflect these offerings.

A good question that each one should ask himself is how does my worship reflect my love for G-d, my desire to submit to Him, and a willingness to give? Worship is often times too mundane and one tends to fall into a routine. One can feel it is about fulfilling an obligation rather than truly experiencing the Living G-d and hearing from Him. Worship should not be motivated by how I benefit from the experience, but rather how my worship experience is pleasing to G-d.

It is only believers in Yeshua who are able to worship G-d. We have entered the hour when true worshippers must worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. For this was the message that Yeshua taught the Samaritan woman. Some believers almost apologize for such a statement, feeling that it is offensive to those who follow some other religion. But I prefer to state that my faith is not in a religion rooted in culture or vain tradition, but in the very Son of G-d. When one fails to proclaim the impossibility of worshipping G-d without Yeshua, then this one lessens the work of Yeshua on the cross. What believers need more of today is the same zeal that Pinchas demonstrated in Numbers chapter 25. His actions were right in G-d’s eyes, but would be viewed as narrow-minded and non-inclusive today.

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