RaYBaSH's Ponderings of the Pentateuch
Parashah #43: Massei (Journeys/Allotments )
By Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Num. 33:52-53, 55-56 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it… But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.
No one enjoys a picnic when ants crash the party. A house is unsanitary and unlivable when roaches scurry about in every corner and run up and down every wall. Leaves if left upon the ground will kill the grass. In each case, whether it be ants, roaches or leaves, they need to be “driven out.” How does one do this? First establish a presence, take up residence and as you set up and move about, some will scatter. But this is only temporary solution. For once you are settled they will return as they will acclimate to the new environment you set up. So what next, you may ask? Well, first we re-arranged the environment; make it a place undesirable or inclimate to what you wish to get rid of. Certain chemical whether natural or synthetic toxic or non-toxic will make it undesirable for ants and roaches to stay and they will leave on their own. Those stubborn ones that don’t will die from foolishness. With leaves you make it to windy to stick around on the lawn, you blow them away.
V52-52 Now Israel was about to enter in and take over Canaan. G-d gave then Canaanites ample warning, hundreds of years to repent, change and conform to His standards. They refused and rebelled and thus overstayed their welcome, and like destroying ants and disease packing roaches, G-d commanded Israel to enter in and re-arrange and change the environment.
Second, G-d said to change the environment, make it intolerable for the Canaanites to stay by destroying what attracts them, their idols, temples and ritualistic pagan religious articles. This is like removing a fish from water or drowning a cat, you cut off that which sustained them; their life giving supply.
V. 55-56 It’s not good enough to re-arrange; after the dust settles again they will be back, and like living with ants or roaches they will become eye sores and a pain in the tuchas (bottom). They become nothing but a frustration that causes disease; one MUST change the environment.
The pagan idolatry of the Canaanites is like the contagious disease roaches carry. You MUST clean and change your environment in order to keep roaches out. You must clean their droppings and leave in its place an insecticide. Israel had to clean the fecal droppings of the Canaanites, the idols, temples, shrines and high places and replace them with holy monuments and boundary stones.
V. 56 When we encounter ants or roaches we intend to drive them out and if you don’t, eventually the creeping critters will drive you out. Adonai is saying drive out or be driven out. If they won’t re-arrange and change the environment, the Canaanites will and eventually drive Israel out and they would reap the disobedience they have sown.
You live long enough with roaches and you will become like them; filthy, dirty and unsanitary. You allow Canaanites to stick around you will become idol worshiping pagans, unholy and the L-RD will say:
“If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.”
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” - (James 4:7-8)
Just do as HE commanded and re-arrange and change your environment.
It is traditional after completing a book of Torah, in this case the book of Numbers, one says: “Chazak, chazak, v’nit’chazek (Be strong, be strong and let us be strengthened)!”
Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Rabbi Yehudah
Missions Trip 2011: Nigeria
I am planning a return trip in November of 2011.
If just 100 people would give $30.00 I would have enough to cover my trip to Nigeria.
You can see photos of my trip to Nigeria, labeled “Nigeria 2010,” on my facebook profile:
In the service of the God of Israel,
Founder and CEO of RaYBaSH Ministries and A.D. International,
-- Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr