Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile
3 Sivan, 5765 / June 10, 2005
When the day of Shavuot was 'fulfilled':

                  Torah insights about the beginning of "Christianity reveal how the Church missed its calling


"And when the days of Pentecost were fully come, while they were all assembled together, suddenly there was a sound from heaven as of a violent wind and the whole house where they were sitting was filled with it. And there appeared to them tongues, which were divided like flame; and they rested on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in diverse languages, as the Spirit gave them to speak."  (Aramaic Peshita of Acts 2:1-4)

On Shavuot (the 50th day since the Counting of the Omer commenced on the second day of Passover -- thus it was called "Pentecost"), the observant assemble together to read the entire Book of the Covenant.


Shavuot commemorates the reading of the Book of the Covenant by Moshe at Sinai in the hearing of all of the Hebrew nation, and the people's sheva (oath) to "na'aseh v'nishmah" (do and hear/hearken/obey), after which Moshe sprinkled them with blood and declared "Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord cut with you concerning all of these words."


Relationship to Passover


Fifty one days earlier on the night of his last Passover Seder , Y'shua/Jesus used the broken wafer of unleavened bread called the Afikomen  to represent the Book of the Covenant that had been broken. True to the judgments the Lord pronounced in Hosea 1, the non-Jewish House of Israel that had broken His Covenant, were separated from their Jewish brethren and scattered like seeds across the Earth, cut off from His mercy and disowned. "I'm not your God and you are not My People," the Lord had said.  But Y'shua departed from the normal Seder custom after the supper, when he told those present that from that time on, the Afikomen representing their disobedience would now represent the people's ascent to a renewed covenant  (brit hadashah) that would be initiated on their behalf to the Holy One by him.


He also taught in a mystery or "sod" that the third cup of the four cups of wine drank at the Seder which had represented the Blood of the Covenant at Sinai, would now also commemorate the shedding of his blood. According to the biblical pattern at Sinai, the original covenant was "cut" meaning blood was shed. But instead of using the blood of sheep and goats that were sacrificed by the first-born of Israel who had been saved from the plague of the firstborn, the Lord used the lance of a Roman guard (representing the hatred of Esau) to spill the blood of Y'shua/Jesus, mixed with water, in the same way that the cups of wine during the Seder are sometimes mixed with water.


Book and blood and body


The pattern at the time commemorated by Shavuot requires the evidence of the Blood of the Covenant after the Book of the Covenant was read. Thus, the third cup of the Seder called the Cup of the Covenant followed Y'shua/Jesus' pronouncement about the Afikomen (Book of the Covenant). Just as Moshe pronounced, "Behold the Blood of the Covenant," Y'shua declared, "This is the renewed covenant in/by means of/with my blood."


Traditionally, the Sages of Torah have linked Passover to Shavuot because of the 50 intervening days during which the Omer is counted. The Law of Moshe does not allow the nation to partake of the produce of that year's harvest until these 50 days are completed. The contrasting of the seven lower Sefirot (the manifestation of the Elchuta or as the New Testament refers to this, "the Godhead bodily," over a 49-day period also provides for a 50-day maturation necessary for the soul cleansed at Passover to be prepared to commemorate Sinai. The Elchuta is the three higher sefirot: Keter, (crownship or leadership); Chochmah (wisdom) and Binah (understanding), representing innate abilities that are the discretion of only Hashem. Only the Holy One, will decide how much of the quality of leadership, wisdom and understanding is meted out to a man or woman, but the lower seven sefirot, (the "bodily manifestation" of godly character, are traits to which all may aspire and attain).  


Church has lost sight of the oath


It should be evident to anyone who seeks to understand the covenant Y'shua renewed at Passover in the context of Sinai, that the Torah and the obligation Israel in exile has to the Torah is foremost. By doing away with the observance of Passover, much of the church has lost sight of its Torah obligatiions to "na'aseh v'nishmah." (do and hear/hearken/obey).


The sages wrote that this vow of Israel comes from the two very verbs by which Esau and Ishmael were named. Esau would listen to the Torah but would not do it, kind of like the descendants of Esau in the church today, which Y'shua described as the "chaff" among the wheat. Ishmael would not even hear the Torah of Israel, but because Abraham fulfilled all of the precepts and commands of Torah in his day, when Ishmael would imitate his father, Abraham, he would sometimes do the things of the Torah without understanding.


But the children of Jacob are bound by their oath for all eternity to do and understand the Torah.


This is the lesson of Shavuot which should apply to the Church as much as to the synagogue. The fact that it does not apply to the Church is one reason that the Assimilation of the Northern Tribes of Israel are being called out of the Church or will be soon when the revived Sanhedrin realizes its responsibility to these Assimilated Hebrews.


Glossalalia in Torah portion read during week of Shavuot


Y'shua offered his own fulfillment to the Passover Seder, as though the Afikomen was a standing mystery awaiting an explanation. The same occurred at the Shavuot celebration 50 days after his crucifixion. 


Some 120 of his followers were assembled in one place reading the Torah as is the custom, when suddenly a mighty wind filled the house. Then came tongues of fire, which is a description of the letters of the Hebrew Masoretic text, which rested on or above their heads. Each letter is a combination of pen strokes that look like tongues of fire. But suddenly those present start to prophesy in languages they have never spoken before.


To testify that this phenomenon does occur, I once spoke for about 30 seconds in Pharsee while ministering to an American mud engineer who had worked for Aramco in Turkey in my newspaper office in south Louisiana. This man had spent seven years in a prison in Turkey and there learned Pharsee.  Afterwards, I spoke the same words to him in their English translation or so he told me. Also, to date, I have noted speaking or singing some 70 different languages without understanding what I was speaking or singing. (This usually occurs while singing in the shower or while driving in my truck).


Glossalalia, as theologians call this phenomenon, may have its roots in the Torah, although the clues are sketchy and it is not something one should be dogmatic about proclaiming. With that qualification in mind, turn to the Torah portion that is read every year ... during the week of Shavuot.


Speaking in tongues may have characterized first Sanhedrin


In Portion B'ha'alotchah, which includes Numbers 11:24-30, a curious incident occurs. The children of Israel have been complaining about having to eat mannah day and night and want meat to eat. This complaining is becoming too much for Moshe to handle alone as his plea in Numbers 11:10-15 reveals.


Hashem responds by directing Moshe to gather unto Him 70 men of the elders of Israel (the first Sanhedrin) and to charge them to stand before Him at the Tent of Meeting.  "And I will come down and speak with thee there; and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee; that thou bear it not thyself alone."


The 70 men came to the tent and when God took from Moshe's spirit and imparted it to them, the text says they "prophesied, but they did so no more."  The Hebrew reads, "v'yitnabu v'lo yasofu."  The first word ends nabu, which is recognizable as "they prophesied," but the nature of this prophesy is reflected by the prefix yit.  The hit or yit prefix means this verb is reflexive or the subject is doing the action to himself. It should therefore be translated, "They prophesied to themselves."  Yasofu is usually translated from the verb which means to bring something to an end. However, sof also relates to ones understanding. Greek scholars have borrowed this Hebrew word. A sophomore therefore is a "soph moron" or a "wise fool."  Also the Ein Sof is a name used by kabbalists to describe God as "the Uncomprehensible One."


So it is conceivable that "v'yitnavu v'lo yasofu," could be translated, "they prophesied to themselves but did not understand or comprehend (what they were prophesying)." Yasafu may also pertain to the verb yasaf from which Joseph was named meaning they multiplied. However, since the verb is preceded by a lo, meaning "no or not," it would mean they (or their tongue speaking) did not multiply, which is how one could arrive at the conclusion that "they did so (prophesied) no more."


Paul echos Moshe's words about the phenomenon


Next, Moshe and Yehoshua who is with Moshe receive a report that two men besides the 70, Eldad and Medad, who had remained behind in the camp were also hitnavu-ing v'lo sofu-ing (prophesying to themselves without comprehension). Yehoshua suggests to Moshe that he incarcerate the two.


But Moshe replies, "Art thou jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's peoples were prophets, that the Lord would put His spirit upon them."


In the first letter written by Paul (Sha'ul) the Apostle (Shaliah) to the Corinthians, he included the answer to a question about the spiritual gifts, especially that of tongues and interpretation, which was believed to be in evidence on the day of Pentecost when the tongues of fire were in evidence and Y'shua's followers spoke in the languages of all present so all could hear the wonders of God in their own tongue.


Paul's words are perhaps too reminiscent of those of Moshe in portion B'ha'alotcha. He says, "I would that you all spoke various tongues, but I would rather that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks various tongues, unless he interprets; however if he interprets, he edifies the assembly.


Warning about the uncertain sound


Paul goes on to explain the need for trumpet sounds to be clearly understood. Similarly, chapter 10 of portion B'ha'alotcha explains the meaning of the sounding of the chatsotserot (the silver trumpets). It is as though when Paul was asked about the phenomenon of glossalalia (speaking in tongues), he found his answers in this Torah portion.

"And they were all astonished and wondered saying to one another:  All these who speak, behold, are they not Galileans?  And how do we hear, each his own language, in which we were born?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and those dwelling between the rivers, Jews and Cappadoeians and those from the region of Pontus and of Asia and those from the region of Phrygia and of Pamphylia and of Egypt and of the parts of Lybia near Cyrene and those who have come from Rome, Jews and proselytes; and those from Crete, and Arabians. Lo we hear them speak in our own languages the wonders of God." (Aramaic Peshita of Acts 2:5-11)

Peter's explanation ties to Joel's prophecy and House of Israel in exile


By the First Century, the Assimilation of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, for whom Y'shua said he was sent, were dwelling in these same regions but without the covenant of God's mercy, which remained in effect for the House of Judah. (Hosea 1:7). The soliloquy by Simon Cephas (Peter) that followed, directed those who heard these wonders to "let all the House of Israel (living in exile in these regions) know." (v. 36). Peter also referred to the fulfillment of Shavuot (the oath) as pertaining to the prophecy of Joel. 


Joel 2:27ff directly relates to the Assimilation in exile: 


"And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel and that I am the Lord your God and there is none besides Me; and My People shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions ... and it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said to the remnant whom the Lord has called."


God's roar from Zion awakens Israel to come out of Church


The remainder of the prophecy pertains to the judgment of Lebanon and the coasts of the Plishti (the modern Palestinians). But while the Lord is "roaring out of Zion," at the same time, He will have "pity upon His people, and will strengthen the children of Israel." Fundamental and instrumental to this regathering, restoration and return is the outpouring of the Spirit awakening Assimilated Israel to its identity, role and inheritance. Thus the need for the wonders of God to be spoken in all languages and tongues where the House of Israel was scattered, which is to say, worldwide.


This so-called Divine commission to the followers of Y'shua was in keeping with Isaiah 49:5-6, to be "servants to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the preserved of Israel" FIRST but also to be a light of Torah to the nations, so that the nations also might be saved.


The assembly of Y'shua, the anointed tzaddik and shaliah of God, has failed to understand the terms of the covenant he renewed, restored and repaired.  By focusing on the nations rather than raising up Jacob and restoring Israel first, the same assembly has blindly followed the blind and missed a major part of  its calling. It is only after the God of Israel is again in the midst of His People Israel, that the outpouring on all flesh and the great Harvest may occur. The days of Shavuot are not completed until the Israelite sheep for whom Y'shua was sent are first found and trained to live up to their oath to do and understand the Torah.

Maggid ben Yoseif