By: Michael Peebles
Date: January 11, 2013
First, Shalom to all who are reading this blog, and may YHVH cause his blessings to continue upon you, and rest upon you as we enter this new moon of Adar. Truly, “the LORD on high is mighty”, ‘addir bammarom YHVH (from Psalm 93:4).
So, having been brought out of Egypt, the children of Israel have been transformed into people separated unto God, and established in a Kingdom ruled by him. In the larger picture a significant aspect of Torah has to do with an element of this Kingdom – the concept of calling. Having a divine calling is a great thing, but it is also necessary to implement that calling.
Beginning with Yitro, a good deal of the Torah material focuses on what we might call the practical matter – the structural detail – of how the Lord God expects the children of Israel to conduct themselves in relationship to him.
In one view this is a relationship of a King to his subjects. In another it is the Ketubbah of a loving bridegroom to his chosen one. For many of you, these concepts will no doubt be quite familiar. So, rather than trying to develop a line of thought that may already be well established, I propose to post a series of posts on the structures. And, let us start with significant numbers.
For instance, the parshah in the annual Torah reading cycle for this week is Terumah. This is because the people are instructed to make an uplifting, gifts to God for the building of the Miqdash (Sanctuary), or Mishkan (Tabernacle) – and its service.
The types of gifts that were acceptable for this purpose are enumerated in five verses. They are verses three through seven of Exodus 25. Four verses contain elements of three, but each with unique features. The fifth is itself set apart from the previous ones.
In order, they are: First, three metals – gold, silver, and copper.
Second, three kinds of fibers; the first of wool yarn, dyed in three colors – blue, purple, and crimson. This is followed by fine linen, and then goat’s hair. So, here we have two kinds of fibers sourced from animals, and one from plants.
The third group of three is tied together by an interesting association. In the group are ram skins (tanned/dyed red), tachash skins (the source of which is a murky issue), and acacia wood. How is this a group of three? Because each requires death to produce. Again, two are animal sourced, and one is plant sourced. But one might think, the production of flax requires the death of the plant. Not so – flax is an annual. It dies whether it is used for fiber or not. And, in that second group, it seems somewhat as if the ground is being sheared, in a similar way as the animals are sheared.
The fourth group is also interesting because it is two kinds of things, which are to serve three purposes. The two kinds of things are oil and spices, but the three purposes are for lighting, anointing, and incense.
The final group in verse seven contains two things, shoham stones and gemstones, used for one purpose, setting, in two objects, the ephod, and the breastpiece.
So, to summarize our findings – in the first three instances, we merely have three groups of three kinds of things which will be used in a general way for various purposes, none of which purposes are overtly stated in these verses themselves. In the following two instances, we have two sets of two kinds of things, used for three purposes in the first instance, and one in the second, but this one purpose has two stated subgroups.
As kinds of substances, they go – 3×3 and 2×2, or 3,3,3,2,2 = 13.
There are all kinds of interesting combinations and arrangements that flow from this matrix of data, but at present I will merely observe that twos and threes are the core building blocks.
Do you recall that Yeshua sent his disciples out in twos and threes to minister, and that he said, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
But this verse follows a discourse on the importance of agreement of witnesses, culminating in a peculiar promise about binding and loosing, “again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”
Now for a question to meditate in; how are we doing at this part of Kingdom life?
Let’s renew our commitment to look for opportunities to agree together to do good things, realizing that this is a fundamental aspect of the teaching of Scripture, and a foundational divine law.