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Weekly Drash - Massei

Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
reprinted by permission of FFOZ

Massei מסעי : “Journeys”
Torah : Numbers 33:1–36:13
Haftarah : Jeremiah 2:4–28; 3:4; 4:1–2
Gospel : John 20–21 


Levites for Messiah


Thought for the Week:

Yeshua asks us, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) The Levites are an example of those that forfeit this world that they might inherit the world to come. They inherited no portion in the land, nor did they gain for themselves through career and industry. Instead, their lot in life was God Himself, as He tells the priests in Numbers 18:20, “You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel.”



Numbers 35:1–8. In the Torah this week, Moses calls for the establishment of Levitical cities among the Israelites. Disciples of Yeshua are like Levites for Messiah. The Levites were the servants of the Temple and of the Priesthood. Messiah is the living Temple. He is our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. As His disciples, we are His servants—His Levites.

In the same sense that the Levites were the property of the priesthood and the Tabernacle, we are the property of Yeshua. Our diligence in the kingdom falls along the same lines as much of the Levitical work. Like the Levites, we are to be facilitators for those seeking to worship God. We point the way, carry the burden, assemble the institutions and build the congregations that facilitate people encountering God. Like the Levites, we are to provide people with teaching. We are entrusted with the words of the Master and the teaching of Torah. We are to teach the ordinances to Jacob and the Torah to Israel. Like Levites, we are scattered among the People of God, and our job is to function as salt and light in their midst.

Maimonides regarded the Levites’ consecrated life as a model worthy of emulation. His words apply well to the high calling of discipleship. As with the Levites, the call of discipleship often involves revocation of earthly pursuits like career and property.

And [this is true] not only of the tribe of Levi, but of every man throughout the world whose spirit has made him willing, and whose intellect has guided him, to set himself apart to stand before the LORD, to minister unto Him and to serve Him with a view to knowing the LORD, following the right [path] according to the LORD’s design, and casting off his shoulders the yoke of the many [worldly] affairs sought after by man. [He who has thus dedicated himself] is sanctified in the highest degree, and the LORD becomes his portion and his inheritance for all eternity, and will grant him in this world whatever will suffice for his needs, even as He has done to the Priests and the Levites. (Mishneh Torah, Zeraim, Hilcoth Shemitah Ve-Yobel 13:12–13)

It is helpful to think of the role of the local Torah community as a sort of Levitical city in the midst of Israel. Our communities are scattered. They are very distinct from the other congregations around them. Yet they are not to be too insular. Their role is to ‘teach the ordinances.’ We are to be a ministry, a witness and an example to those outside of the community. Our communities are meant to be cities of refuge and reservoirs of Torah.


Shavuah Tov!  Have a Good Week!

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