Bible readers are familiar with the Shma, the commandment to hear and obey the Torah. When we agree to Shma (Hear!), then we also must agree to Re'eh (See!). One leads to the other, for once we hear it, then we need to see to it. This week's Torah portion Re'eh has a sound-alike that recalls the binding of Isaac and Abraham's naming of the place on Mount Moriah (Ge 22:14). The mountain, which was the later site of the Temple, was named
, which means that Adonai will see for Himself a ram; He will provide; He will see to it. Also, He will be seen on the mountain!
The sound-alike word for
, which means "he sees," is
, which means a shepherd. They are spelled slightly differently in Hebrew, but the thematic parallels explain that seeing to the commandments has a shepherd-like quality. The commandments rest on one's love of Adonai and his neighbor. We are therefore like shepherds who must see to the welfare of those relationships.
A Psalm describes the location of Jerusalem as a relationship. Jerusalem, the site of the Temple Mount, is surrounded by higher mountains. Instead of focusing on the Divine Presence that dwells on the Temple Mount, the Psalmist describes the Holy One as serving like a shepherd, ensuring that His people are enclosed with His protection like a fold of sheep.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the LORD surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever. (Ps 125:2)
In this Torah portion, Deuteronomy 12:5 prophesies that Israel will find a resting place for His Presence within their territories:
Only to the place that the Eternal your God will choose from all your tribes to set His Name-there you shall seek His dwelling place, and go there." (Dt 12:5)
This prophecy and commandment is hundreds of years before David the Shepherd King buys the threshing floor on the Temple Mount and builds Jerusalem! Why not go ahead and identify it as YHVH Yireh or Mount Moriah since the Israelites would have known that such a place existed?
Rabbi Kook points out in his Sapphire commentary (p. 344-347) that perhaps revealing the information too soon would have led to tribal infighting. According to Jewish tradition, King David undertook to locate the place with the help of the Prophet Samuel. There were two clues:
1. It was a place to which one would have
, so it was on a mountain: "You shall arise and
to the place that the Eternal your God will choose." (Dt. 17:8)
2. Moses described it in the territory of Benjamin as a place "dwelling between His shoulders" (Dt. 33:12) As a neck is lower than the head, it would not be the highest point.
According to Psalm 132:1-5, King David's search to "see to" the commandment was relentless and almost tortuous:
Remember David for all his trouble...I will not enter the tent of my house, nor will I go up to the bed that was spread for me. I will not give sleep to my eyes, nor rest to my eyelids -until I find God's place, the dwellings of the Mighty One of Jacob.
A rabbinic allegory says that the High Court suggested a place called
, the highest mountain in the area that had a good supply of fresh water for the Temple services. This site was rejected, however, for David the Shepherd knew that the Temple services had been revealed to all Israel in the Torah. The site should not be the loftiest like the heathen temples, which sent the message that the Divine Presence was available only to a select few. Kook writes:
David, on the other hand, understood that the Temple and its holiness needed to be the inheritance of
the entire people of Israel. The kohanim are not privy to special knowledge; they are merely agents who influence and uplift the people with the Temple's holiness. The entire nation of Israel is described as a 'kingdom of priests.' (Ex. 19:6)
The idea that the Israelite Temple should not reside on the highest mountain was based on its accessibility to Israel, and eventually all nations, for mountains in Scripture can also be metaphors of the nations. For those who have visited the site of the Tabernacle in Shiloh, the same pattern holds true. The Tabernacle was not located on the highest mountain in the territory, but on a lower mountain that could be viewed from the mountains surrounding it.
Even today at Shiloh, the pottery shards from broken plates and cups is everywhere the Tabernacle could be seen while a family consumed their holy tithes. This pottery may be found all the way to the highest points of the surrounding mountains, and once the holy meal was concluded, the pottery was smashed, for it was holy. The holy tithe described in the Torah portion was consumed at the three feasts that set Israel apart: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.
These feasts make all Israel neighbors, and at these holy meals, they were to "see to" the commandment, sharing their meals with priests, Levites, family, strangers, aliens, orphans, and widows. This too, is how we "see to" the commandments to worship at the appointed times even when the Temple is out of sight as it was in the wilderness. Your neighbor can be seen. Share. Like the Good Shepherd, feed the lambs and gather them to the place of safety in troubled times, the Shabbat and feasts of Messiah Yeshua.
But what about Ein Eitam? It did have a use to the Temple, for its fresh spring water was used to supply water to the Temple and to purify the High Priest for Yom Kippur. It was ideal because it was easy to make the water flow downward. For the High Priest on Yom Kippur, he immersed himself on the roof of the
chamber, which was 23 cubits higher than the ground floor of the courtyard, making his mikveh at the same altitude of Ein Eitam. "While the Beit HaMikdash itself needs to be accessible to all, the purification of the High Priest must emanate from the highest possible source." (Kook, p. 347)
The immersion of Messiah Yeshua did emanate from the highest possible source. The Father sent him down to our level, in the sight of all, to make him accessible to all Israel and the nations. As Abraham said, YHVH saw to it.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (He 4:14-15)
Starting NEW CLASSES After Sukkot!
The Weekly Torah portion and CG Workbook Two: The Wicked Lamp and the Seven Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls
Our teachings on HRN and YouTube are free, but some folks know that growth occurs with a lesson plan and systematic study. Looking for a more individual approach and the fellowship of other students?
In the past I've limited online students to 24 per class due to the cost of the plan. We will be switching to a less expensive plan on
after Sukkot, which will permit up to 99 students per class (don't go looking for that lost sheep...it's me).
We hope to start enrolling new students within a couple of weeks, so stay tuned to Creation Gospel e-mails, and we will also add an enrollment info page to our website:
For those ready to enroll in the free Creation Gospel seminar, we will post that separately soon, so don't give up. We need to test and learn this new
platform so that I'm ready for you! Because the preferences were split evenly between two Sunday classes and four two-hour weekday classes, I'll offer both options. Stay tuned!
Description of the Weekly Online Torah Class:
Live classes are held online each Monday night 9:00 - 10:00 pm EST or Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 - 2:30 pm EST. New classes start in October 2017, and you can join live on Zoom for the one hour teaching and after-class discussion. Each class teaching is recorded, and students receive a link to download the recording to both classes, not just their own.
Cost is $20 per month for the live class, which may be paid through Paypal or by check to:
PO Box 846
East Bernstadt, KY 40729
The $20 cost is per student email login. For students who happen to be away from their computers, it is possible to log in in to the class with an iPad or iPhone. For fellowships or Bible studies who want to join as a group, contact us for special pricing.
To enroll, click on the Contact button on our website and supply the following information:
Email address for class login
Class preference (Monday night or Tuesday afternoon)
If your schedule is not a good fit, you may sign up to receive only the recordings for $10 per month. Just indicate this in your email.
For the year 2017-2018, we will be studying the Torah portions along with the material from
Creation Gospel Workbook Two: The Wicked Lamp and the Seven Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls
. The workbook is under revision, so students will be an active part of the rewriting process.The older version is available on our website as a 3-ring binder-ready packet.
*Due to travel for speaking engagements or classes falling on a feast day, classes occasionally are rescheduled on a different day. Students also have priority signup for special free seminars.