Commentary - Year 2 Sabbath 34

Leviticus 13:29-59   -   [no Prophet]   -   Psalm 78  -   Luke 5:12-15


Heshvan 27, 5763 / Nov 2, 2002

Heshvan 24, 5766 / Nov 26, 2005

Heshvan 24, 5769 / Nov 22, 2008

Heshvan 22, 5772 / Nov 19, 2011

Heshvan 22, 5775 / Nov 15, 2014

Heshvan 22, 5778 / Nov 15, 2017

Heshvan 20, 5781 / Nov   7, 2020


B'rosh u B'tzaqan / In the Scalp or In the Beard    SCRIPTURES (should be read first)


Continuing from last week’s lesson on tzaraat for slander and anger:




We are taught that “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” – James 1:20. We are also instructed to “put aside anger and wrath” – Colossians 3:8. We are to “let all bitterness, wrath, and anger . . . be put away” – Ephesians 4:31. These Scriptures seem very clear.


People often talk about “righteous anger”, but the word “righteous” never Biblically precedes the word (Gr. orgizo) anger. The verse, “Be angry and sin not, do not let the sun go down upon your irritation” – Ephesians 4:26, should not be interpreted in contradiction, giving license for anger. Rather, we should not let an irritation rise in us to the point of anger, but deal with it that very day; it is a Torah instruction that we not delay dealing with our sinful tendencies.


We often show anger most readily toward those closest to us – our family. We ought to be overcoming anger toward those we claim to love, especially our mates and children. There is really no excuse for such.


And we are taught: “Do not provoke your children to anger” – Ephesians 6:4. We ought to treat them as we would be treated. As they grow, they need to be given increasing freedom to make their own decisions; our purpose is to teach them good decision-making abilities, not to keep them under our control.


God said, “By a nation without understanding, I will anger vex you” – Deuteronomy 32:21. The quote in Romans 10:19 uses a word meaning provoke. That is God’s prerogative, not our right.




Slander is destroying someone else’s reputation or name. The Hebrew word dibbah that is translated slander means making defamatory statements, whether true or false (though the English term generally means false statements). It includes name-calling, calling someone a derogatory name – saying that he is bad, dishonest, mean, or such like.


We should not so treat our spouse, our children, or our neighbor.


There are specific circumstances where we may, or are required, to denigrate another’s name. The purpose is always to help the individual overcome sin, or to protect society from the sin. If we see someone overtaken in a fault, we are to first deal directly with that individual, and then if necessary, take along another witness to the fault (not a non-witness just to back us up). “Tell it to the church” (Matthew 18:17) means take it to the judges, not the public. If we see someone commit certain kinds of sin, we are required to testify to the proper authorities: this is not optional.


We may confront someone concerning specific actions. We may warn others of specific dangers.


Luke 5

I have long wondered why Yeshua ordered the healed man to “tell no one”. Last week’s lesson seems to explain it. He was being disciplined, by the disease of tzaraat, for slander: if anyone came within hearing range, he was required to shout, “Unclean!” Only after being certified “clean” by the priest could he be free to talk to others. So, again, we see that Yeshua was being Torah observant. And that leads us to today’s message of Psalm 78.


Psalm 78


Paul told gentile Christians (long after Yeshua’s ascension) to “teach one another with Psalms” (Colossians 3:16 – Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs are the titles of the five divisions of the 150 Psalms). This Psalm is about eternal teachings: it is entitled “enlightenment”. Even since Yeshua’s ascension – even as gentile Christians – we are to learn from the Psalms to be Torah observant.


Maskil = wisdom, enlightenment.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 (The wisdom of Solomon) That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, "See this, it is new "? Already it has existed for ages which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier things; and also of the later things which will occur, there will be for them no remembrance among those who will come later still. (In other words: we do not learn from history the results of ignoring Torah, so we ignore it again, and our descendents will not learn from our results.)


(V.1-3) “Listen, O my people, to my Torah (instruction); incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in enlightenment; I will pour-forth intriguing sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.


The subject is the supremacy of the Torah, enshrined in the Holy Temple. The examples in this Psalm span 400 years – from Egypt to King David. The Tabernacle had been in Shiloh, of Ephraim (head of the 10 seceding tribes), for 369 years. But God chose Mt. Zion, of Judah, as the permanent dwelling place for the Torah. He chose Jerusalem as His base for prophets to instruct the world, as His place of presence toward which we should worship, and as the place from which He would one day rule as King over all the earth.



God did not wait for Moses at Sinai to reestablish the blessing of Sabbath observance instituted with Adam. The Sabbath was created on Adam’s first full day on earth (Genesis 1:26 - 2:3); the Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27); so, for what man was the Sabbath made – just “Jews” who came on the scene thousands of years later? People of the seventy nations left Egypt for the Promised Land, and observed Sabbath before the Mt. Sinai event (Exodus 16:29). The Fourth Commandment is “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy”: it is to remember what already existed, and was already proclaimed holy at creation.


Sabbath is a memorial of the culmination of creation’s seven days. Sabbath is a prophetic shadow (Colossians 2:16-17) of the culminating seventh millennium when Messiah will reign on earth. Sabbath is a rehearsal (miqra - Leviticus 23:3) of past and future. The Sabbath was made for man, to teach us God’s eternal plan.



If we want to know what baptism was about 1900 years ago, we need to go back to the Torah of 3300 years ago (and even back to creation) and see what God said, because nothing in the Bible indicates that it changed! John’s preaching of “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3), would have been well understood by the Jews of his day – not something new.



Concerning the eternal Qehal / Church of the eternal Torah:

The priesthood functions in relationship to the congregation. The priesthood of the firstborn began with Adam. The qehal / church was so called from wilderness* (Acts 7:38). Yeshua said that He would build-up His church – which implies that it already existed – and that it would never die out (Matthew 16:18).


* Leviticus 4:14 refers to the sin offering for the church (qehal). Numbers 19:20 says that a man who will not purify himself from uncleanness shall be cut off from the church (qehal).



Psalm 78:21-22: Therefore Yahweh heard and was full of wrath, and a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also mounted against Israel; because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation. The Hebrew word here translated “His salvation” is Yeshua. Since none of us fulfill Torah, we can be saved only by trusting Yeshua – the Salvation of Yahweh. And the fact, that Yeshua had to pay for our transgressions of Torah, implies that we should be observing Torah; otherwise, what is sin, from which anyone need be saved? Sin is (present tense) the transgression of the Torah (1 John 3:4).


If we don’t believe in God’s eternal instruction, if we don’t trust His salvation – Yeshua, then His anger will be against us!



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


Reader 1Amen. 29 "Now if a man or woman has an infection on the head or on the beard, 30 then the priest shall look at the infection, and if it appears to be deeper than the skin and there is thin yellowish hair in it, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a scale, it is tzaraat of the head or of the beard. 31 "But if the priest looks at the infection of the scale, and indeed, it appears to be no deeper than the skin and there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall isolate the person with the scaly infection for seven days. 32 "On the seventh day the priest shall look at the infection, and if the scale has not spread and no yellowish hair has grown in it, and the appearance of the scale is no deeper than the skin, 33 then he shall shave himself, but he shall not shave the scale; and the priest shall isolate the person with the scale seven more days.

Reader 2Amen. 34 "Then on the seventh day the priest shall look at the scale, and if the scale has not spread in the skin and it appears to be no deeper than the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean; and he shall wash his clothes and be clean. 35 "But if the scale spreads farther in the skin after his cleansing, 36 then the priest shall look at him, and if the scale has spread in the skin, the priest need not seek for the yellowish hair; he is unclean. 37 "If in his sight the scale has remained, however, and black hair has grown in it, the scale has healed, he is clean; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

Reader 3Amen. 38 "When a man or a woman has bright spots on the skin of the body, even white bright spots, 39 then the priest shall look, and if the bright spots on the skin of their bodies are a faint white, it is eczema that has broken out on the skin; he is clean. 40 "Now if a man loses the hair of his head, he is bald; he is clean. 41 "If his head becomes bald at the front and sides, he is bald on the forehead; he is clean.

Reader 4Amen. 42 "But if on the bald head or the bald forehead, there occurs a reddish-white infection, it is tzaraat breaking out on his bald head or on his bald forehead. 43 "Then the priest shall look at him; and if the swelling of the infection is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead, like the appearance of tzaraat in the skin of the body, 44 he is a metzora, he is unclean. The priest shall surely pronounce him unclean; his infection is on his head. 45 "As for the metzora who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, 'Unclean! Unclean!' 46 "He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Reader 5Amen. 47 "When a garment has tzaraat in it, whether it is a wool garment or a linen garment, 48 whether in warp or woof, of linen or of wool, whether in leather or in any article made of leather, 49 if the mark is greenish or reddish in the garment or in the leather, or in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, it is tzaraat and shall be shown to the priest. 50 "Then the priest shall look at the mark and shall quarantine the article with the mark for seven days. 51 "He shall then look at the mark on the seventh day; if the mark has spread in the garment, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in the leather, whatever the purpose for which the leather is used, the mark is tzaraat, it is unclean. 52 "So he shall burn the garment, whether the warp or the woof, in wool or in linen, or any article of leather in which the mark occurs, for it is tzaraat; it shall be burned in the fire.

Reader 6Amen. 53 "But if the priest shall look, and indeed the mark has not spread in the garment, either in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, 54 then the priest shall order them to wash the thing in which the mark occurs and he shall quarantine it for seven more days. 55 "After the article with the mark has been washed, the priest shall again look, and if the mark has not changed its appearance, even though the mark has not spread, it is unclean; you shall burn it in the fire, whether an eating away has produced bareness on the top or on the front of it.

Reader 7Amen. 56 "Then if the priest looks, and if the mark has faded after it has been washed, then he shall tear it out of the garment or out of the leather, whether from the warp or from the woof; 57 and if it appears again in the garment, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, it is an outbreak; the article with the mark shall be burned in the fire. 58 "The garment, whether the warp or the woof, or any article of leather from which the mark has departed when you washed it, it shall then be washed a second time and will be clean." 59 This is the law for tzaraat in a garment of wool or linen, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, for pronouncing it clean or unclean.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."


[no Prophet]


Psalm 78    (To be sung.)    A Maskil of Asaph.

1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction (Torah); incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable (maskil); I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, 6 that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, 8 and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God. 9 The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, yet they turned back in the day of battle. 10 They did not keep the covenant of God and refused to walk in His law; 11 They forgot His deeds and His miracles that He had shown them. 12 He wrought wonders before their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, and He made the waters stand up like a heap. 14 Then He led them with the cloud by day and all the night with a light of fire. 15 He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths. 16 He brought forth streams also from the rock and caused waters to run down like rivers. 17 Yet they still continued to sin against Him, to rebel against the Most High in the desert. 18 And in their heart they put God to the test by asking food according to their desire. 19 Then they spoke against God; they said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? 20 "Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, and streams were overflowing; can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?" 21 Therefore Yahweh heard and was full of wrath; and a fire was kindled against Jacob and anger also mounted against Israel, 22 because they did not believe in God and did not trust in His salvation. 23 Yet He commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven; 24 He rained down manna upon them to eat and gave them food from heaven. 25 Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance. 26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and by His power He directed the south wind. 27 When He rained meat upon them like the dust, even winged fowl like the sand of the seas, 28 then He let them fall in the midst of their camp, round about their dwellings. 29 So they ate and were well filled, and their desire He gave to them. 30 Before they had satisfied their desire, while their food was in their mouths, 31 the anger of God rose against them and killed some of their stoutest ones, and subdued the choice men of Israel. 32 In spite of all this they still sinned and did not believe in His wonderful works. 33 So He brought their days to an end in futility and their years in sudden terror. 34 When He killed them, then they sought Him, and returned and searched diligently for God; 35 and they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer. 36 But they deceived Him with their mouth and lied to Him with their tongue. 37 For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, nor were they faithful in His covenant. 38 But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; and often He restrained His anger and did not arouse all His wrath. 39 Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and does not return. 40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! 41 Again and again they tempted God, and pained the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power, the day when He redeemed them from the adversary, 43 When He performed His signs in Egypt and His marvels in the field of Zoan, 44 and turned their rivers to blood, and their streams, they could not drink. 45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, and frogs which destroyed them. 46 He gave also their crops to the grasshopper and the product of their labor to the locust. 47 He destroyed their vines with hailstones and their sycamore trees with frost. 48 He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones and their herds to bolts of lightning. 49 He sent upon them His burning anger, fury and indignation and trouble, a band of destroying angels. 50 He leveled a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, but gave over their life to the plague, 51 and smote all the firstborn in Egypt, the first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham. 52 But He led forth His own people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock; 53 He led them safely, so that they did not fear; but the sea engulfed their enemies. 54 So He brought them to His holy land, to this hill country which His right hand had gained. 55 He also drove out the nations before them and apportioned them for an inheritance by measurement, and made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents. 56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep His testimonies, 57 but turned back and acted treacherously like their fathers; they turned aside like a treacherous bow. 58 For they provoked Him with their high places and aroused His jealousy with their graven images. 59 When God heard, He was filled with wrath and greatly abhorred Israel; 60 so that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, the tent which He had pitched among men, 61 and gave up His strength to captivity and His glory into the hand of the adversary. 62 He also delivered His people to the sword, and was filled with wrath at His inheritance. 63 Fire devoured His young men, and His virgins had no wedding songs. 64 His priests fell by the sword, and His widows could not weep. 65 Then Yahweh awoke as if from sleep, like a warrior overcome by wine. 66 He drove His adversaries backward; He put on them an everlasting reproach. 67 He also rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, 68 But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved. 69 And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He has founded forever. 70 He also chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds; 71 from the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. 72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands.


Luke 5:12-15

Reader 8Amen. 12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with tzaraat; and when he saw Yeshua, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." 13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately the tzaraat left him. 14 And He ordered him to tell no one, "But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." 15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

© 2005  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)