Shelach


This week’s parasha was parashat Shelach (“send” – Numbers 13:1-15:41). I found something interesting in reading it this year that gave me pause.

In this week’s parasha we read of the fate of the Sabbath-breaker in 15:33-36. Here are some observations:

  • This story follows on the heals of the laws regarding intentional verses unintentional sins
  • Therefore, it is clear that this person is sinning intentionally
  • He is traditionally thought to be rebellious and thus his dire consequences
  • Judaism, however, teaches that this was the righteous Tzelophchad (father of the daughers with the issue of the property rights in Numbers 27)
  • Why Tzelophchad? Because he “died in the wilderness… because of his own sin”
  • Tzelophchad is said to have intentionally gathered the wood so that he could be stoned, to remind the younger generation of the seriousness of disobeying the Law of God

Tzelophchad’s self-sacrifice reminds me of Yeshua (Jesus):

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

It also reminds me of Paul:

“For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,[a] my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:3)

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