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The Weekly eDrash

Gain new understanding from the ancient writings! Learn messianic insight from the Torah every week through the Weekly eDrash.

Extended details on this Torah Portion: Chol HaMo'ed Pesach »

The Word from Heaven was Broken

Tags: atonement, covenant, Mount Sinai, repentance, Tablets, word made flesh

Thought for the Week:

In his first descent from Mount Sinai, Moses carried the tablets of the Torah, which he broke when he saw the golden calf. His descent was purposeful. He knew of the sin of Israel merited the wrath of God. Moses came down to call them to repentance and to avert disaster. Like Messiah, he was on an urgent mission to save Israel and to restore the covenant. In his ascent, he carried new stone tablets that God instructed him to chisel out. When he descended the second time, he carried the new stone tablets of the Torah in glory. One might say the same of Messiah in His first coming, His ascension and return.


When Moses descended, he carried the Word of God—not the Word made flesh, but the word made stone upon the two tablets of the covenant. Like two copies of a contract agreement, these tablets were tokens of the covenant relationship between Israel and God. The tablets also teach us about Messiah.

The Torah tells us that these tablets were inscribed by the finger of God. Exodus 32:16 says, "The tablets were God's work, and the writing was God's writing engraved on the tablets." Similarly, Messiah is the impression, the stamp of God. He is the work of God. He is the Word of God. Like the commandments of the Torah, Messiah is the Word that descends from heaven. As Moses descends with the tablets, we are to see the Word of God, descending from the heavens and into this lower world.

One midrash compares the tablets to a human body. The breaking of the tablets is compared to the death of that body.

The letters of the tablet are likened to its soul, while the tablets themselves are its body. When the soul deserts the body, the body is ready for burial. When Moshe saw the letters fly off, he broke the tablets. Our Sages say that the tablets became very heavy in Moshe's hands after the letters flew off, just as a man becomes heavier after his death, when his soul departs. (Tz'enah Ur'enah on Ki Tisa)

Like the tablets, Messiah is the Living Word of God, who descended from heaven to the people. Like the tablets, He is the token of the covenant. Like the tablets, His blood was spilled, just as the letters of the tablets are said to have evacuated, for the soul is in the blood. Like the tablets, His body was broken for the sin of Israel.

Moses interceded in prayer and fasting on behalf of the people. He provoked them to repent, which was the essential message of Yeshua as He proclaimed the Gospel, "Repent, the kingdom of heaven is near."

But it was not a call to repentance alone that Moses had in mind. He also set about to repair the covenant between God and Israel by providing some measure of atonement for the people. "Perhaps I can make atonement for your sin," (Exodus 32:30) he told the children of Israel.

The same is true of Messiah. The Gospel did not stop with the call to repentance. The Gospel resulted in the atoning work of Messiah, who through His death successfully wrought reconciliation.



Torah Portions from previous weeks

Parasha: Acharei Mot

A Personal Day of Atonement

Tags: forgiveness, presence of God, relationship, salvation, Yom Kippur

He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities. (Leviticus 16:16) The rituals for Yom Kippur teach us about the distance between man and God. There is a deadly conceit in...
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Parasha: Metzora

The Leper Messiah

Tags: affliction, corruption, healing, Isaiah 53, sickness, suffering

This week's Torah portion is titled Metzora, a word that means leper. It contains the laws and rituals for the levitical purification of a person who has recovered from the dreaded disease of leprosy. Biblical leprosy is not the same disease called leprosy today, but it does share some affinities. What is more, according to God's Torah, contracting biblical leprosy rendered a person levitically unclean. His uncleanness prevented the leper...
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Parasha: Tazria

Uncleanness as a Normal Human State

Tags: clean, Eden, immortality, impurity, morality, presence of God, purity, sanctuary, Temple, unclean

Leviticus 11 related the laws of clean and unclean animals. Leviticus 12–15 will relate the laws of clean and unclean humans. Apparently, human uncleanness begins at birth: Giving birth to a baby makes a woman ritually unclean. Why? This seems to make no sense at all. Why should a common, human process like having a baby render a woman unclean? Modern Bible readers find the notions of ritual purity and...
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Parasha: Shemini

Spiritual Fire

Tags: altar, emotions, fire, spiritual growth, steadfastness, worship

When we assemble together to worship, we should anticipate a close encounter with God. When Israel gathered for the first worship service in the Tabernacle, fire blazed forth from God and consumed their offerings. Everyone fell on their faces before the glory of the LORD. When we gather in His houses of worship on His appointed times, it is reasonable to expect that He will be present in some manner...
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Parasha: Tzav

Keep the Fire Burning

Tags: altar, compassion, heart, holy sacrifice, kindness, love of God, menorah, neighbor, presence of God, soul

The Torah says that the priests used flames from the altar to light the menorah, and they used the coals from the altar to burn the incense on the golden altar. Fire brought from some source other than the altar is referred to as strange fire. How did they keep the fire burning when transporting the altar? The Tabernacle was made to be portable. Numbers 4:13 explains that when it...
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Parasha: Vayikra

Sacrificing the Self

Tags: ego, holy sacrifice, knowledge of God, loyalty, obedience, sacrifice, soothing aroma, submission, Temple, will

He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. (Leviticus 1:4) In Romans 12:1, Paul urges us to present our bodies as "living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God." What does this mean in practical terms? Is Paul asking us to build altars and literally sacrifice ourselves upon them? Of course not. Paul is...
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