Statute/Balak | Discussion on Numbers 19:1 – 25:9 – YouTube

From left to right, Abe Ott, David Altman, Al McCarn, and Leonard Newlin.

While in Winchester, Kentucky, David Altman and I had an invitation from our friends Leonard Newlin and Abraham Ott to join them in their weekly video discussion of the Torah portion. They have been doing this for quite a while on their YouTube channel, RSS Torah Portions.  This was the double portion Chukat (Statute) and Balak. We had a lot of fun talking through such topics as the red heifer, the bronze serpent, Moses not getting to enter the Promised Land, Aaron’s death, Balak’s attempts to get Balaam to curse Israel, and, of course, the talking donkey. Hopefully you’ll have as much fun listening as we had in the discussion!

Please click here to listen to Statute/Balak | Discussion on Numbers 19:1 – 25:9 – YouTube

Who Are The Poor?

Statue of Eleanor Rigby, Liverpool, England, Rodhullandemu (CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons). Music: “Eleanor Rigby (Strings),” The Beatles, via The Internet Archive.

Why are there so many poor people among us? Who exactly are the poor? Is this a question of wealth, or of faith and obedience?

Deuteronomy 14:22-15:11; Matthew 5:1-12; Philippians 2:1-11

 

 

Click here to listen to the podcast: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-j9vnp-e1de81

 

Erasing Who We Are

Bronze Lenin head at the backyard of the Estonian History Museum at the Maarjamaë Palace.
Ferran Cornellà / CC BY-SA 3.0 EE.

What are God’s people to do with the uncomfortable parts of our past?

Numbers 16:1-40; Psalm 46:1-11; Ezekiel 18:20-29; Romans 2:1-11

Click here to listen to the podcast:

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-rypk6-e11f00

 

Counting the Omer 5779/2019 #50

Counting the Omer is keeping the commandment to count 50 days (seven Sabbaths plus one day) between the offering of the first fruits of the barley harvest (often called First Fruits) until the feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) (Leviticus 23:15-21). This year The Barking Fox is counting the omer with modern pictures of people named in the Bible.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2019.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Resurrection of the Leprous Prodigal

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, The King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy  (Wikimedia Commons)

Those who have leprosy might as well be dead.  Never mind that the disease we call leprosy today may or may not be one of the skin diseases meant by the Hebrew word tzara’at (צָרַעַת).  The fact is, whoever had it was cut off from the community:

Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, “Unclean!  Unclean!”  He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.  (Leviticus 13:45-46 NKJV)

Think about that for a moment.  Lepers could not go home.  They could not have any kind of normal relationship with their family members, friends, business associates, or anyone else with whom they interacted before the cursed condition fell upon them.  It did not matter what station of life the leper occupied; whether peasant or king, the disease cut them off from the life of the nation.  Even mighty King Uzziah of Judah learned that.  Although he reigned for 52 years in Jerusalem, the leprosy he contracted in the midst of his reign meant that he was king in name only:

King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death.  He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord.  Then Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.  (II Chronicles 26:21 NKJV)

How can a person shepherd the people of God when he is cut off from the House of God?  Is there any hope for him, or for the people he is anointed to lead?

Yes, there is hope.  That is why the Torah portion Metzora (The Leper; Leviticus 14:1-15:33) provides elaborate detail on the procedures for cleansing lepers.  Once healed, the priests help them through this process to restore them to their place in society.  In a certain sense, this is a resurrection from a type of death, and thus it is a symbol of what Messiah will do. 

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