Shemot · Tekoa Manning · Torah Portion

Shemot, Names

 

Shalom! Just a sidenote: I am telling a story based on the biblical narrative found in the Bible. I am trying to paint a picture with words. I am not trying to add or take away anything from the written Word of Adonai. I hope you enjoy this week’s portion.

 

Pharoah awoke and walked to the area where he bathed. The daily ritual refreshed him, and the water was cleansing him for his priestly duties as commander of all Egypt. Lately, he had been troubled though, and his dreams had been perplexing. He could feel a shift coming and many were concerned with the Hebrews revolting, overpowering, and taking over the kingdom. He would make sure that did not happen. He dried himself and called for his servants who came immediately to anoint him with perfumed oil and dress him in royal robes and headdress. Pharoah wore the falcon proudly on his tunic as he walked to the temple adjacent to his royal gardens. He wondered about his upcoming meeting that day. He would be conversing with the magicians and astrologers. After honoring Horus, the god of the sky and protector of kingship, he tried to center himself. But Pharoah was anxious in his spirit. Five astrologers had gathered in his meeting room, along with three magicians and those he deemed as wise. They bowed before him as he rose from his seat.

“What have you found?”

The astrologers were fearful but spoke in truth.

“Pharoah, we have seen the star and the heavens proclaim that one who is a savior of the people you have enslaved will rescue them, and you Pharoah, will come to an end through water. Water that rushes over your armies and brings destruction”

Pharoah paced back and forth. His serpent staff in hand. What to do? His thoughts disturbed him. He was troubled inside his spirit and perplexed at the wisemen and astrologers’ words. But they had been right before.

“These people must be destroyed, or they will take over my kingdom!”

He looked towards his assistant, who was 2nd in command, “Hurry, issue a decree that all newborn Hebrew boys be drowned in the Nile River. We will put an end to their seed once and for all. Now, away from my presence!”

The astrologers tried to speak, but he would not listen.

“Away from me at once!”

 

 

****

Jochebed held her stomach and rubbed the child that lay hidden. She felt sure it was a son because the Holy One had given her a dream. The dream was vivid and the child was well weaned and lovely.  Light shined from his face and in his right hand was fire. The dream had certainly been one to ponder since the decree had gone forth to kill all the Hebrew sons born by throwing them into the Nile. Jochebed was sick of the Nile and Egypt. Although the Nile River was beautiful and excellent for producing fruit and fertile land– for her people it was bricks and mortar and back breaking work with heavy taxing. She was waiting on the promises for her people. She had heard all the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his son Joseph who rescued her people from the famine, but now her people were in bondage, and the men worked in the hot sun all day building for the Pharoah. She felt the baby kick hard and took a breath.

“Yes, little one, you are ready to come out, but it is not time. You must stay hidden as long as possible. Listen to your Ema.” Jochebed laughed to herself. “A little one that listens?” Ha!

Yocheved felt sure this child was chosen, but what could they do? She was wearing loose clothing and staying out of eyeshot as much as possible. She had told no one except her best friend Elizabeth and the midwives . Thankfully she did not grow as large as some of the women and could hide her pregnancy better than most, and she had Miriam, who was not a young woman yet, but mature for her years. Miriam would be helpful to her after the delivery. Aaron was growing up quickly too. He was learning the ways of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and she was proud of her family.

Jochebed felt a sharp pain again and reminisced over her own birth stories. When she married Amram, her mother and father told her that the Holy One spoke to them and said to name her Yocheved before she was born. Her name meant the Holy One’s Seed. This had been weighing on her as there had been whispers among her people that the heavens were revealing one who would free her people from slavery, and the grips of Egypt. Could I be carrying that child? She had thought of her name and mostly just assumed every one of her children was Yahweh’s seed because she gave her children to Him when they were born, but now she pondered with wonder. Her husband had told her, “Jochebed, I feel more and more certain the child in your womb is anointed to do something so great and so difficult, the adversaries will try and take  his life. We must protect him. He is to be our main concern.”

Jochebed was six months pregnant and unsure how much longer she could conceal her pregnancy. She wondered why she felt so strongly that her children were leaders that would change the lives of her people. It’s silly she thought to herself. All mothers probably feel this way.

“Miriam, can you fetch me some rushes, palm leaves, and grasses. We must start making a bed for your brother, and it needs to be pitched and sturdy.

“Ema, how do you know it’s a brother? I was hoping for a baby sister, but brothers are nice.”

“Miriam, I just know. The Holy One has spoken to me. This child has a special calling but so do you, Miriam, and you will make beautiful music through song one day, and all the generations to come will sing the song of Miriam.”

Miriam held the words of her mother in her heart and pondered them. Miriam had been the first to lay her hand on her mother’s belly and whisper, “This child will save our people from bondage.”  Her mother had felt the presence of the Holy One, and the baby in her womb had leaped. It was a moment Miriam would never forget.

“Oh, Ema, you make too much of me. May it be so as you have said, Ema. I will go collect the reeds as you wish.”

Miriam’s dark raven hair and lovely eyes sparkled at her mother.

“Don’t do too much, Ema. I will take Aaron with me. Now, go rest.”

“I am so blessed to have you for a daughter, Miriam. Jochebed squeezed her hand as she shooed Aaron out the door with his sister.

****

“Amram, it’s coming!” Wake up, Abba. Yocheved shook her husband, who was snoring rather loudly.

“Quickly, light the candles and the oil lamp, Abba.”

Amram walked to the water pitcher and splashed some in his face before lighting the room.

“Are you sure, Ema?” This seems relatively early, and your belly is not large like with Aaron.”

“Abba, I know these things.”

Yocheved sucked in air and grimaced from the sharp contractions pulsing through her back.

“Hold on, little one, she whispered.”

Abba, go wake Miriam, get the towels, and heat some water. She will need a knife and some twine. Now, go do as I say.” Amram bent over his lovely wife. Her face was tan, and her skin was so smooth to the touch of his hand. He looked into her beautiful brown eyes, touch her cheek with his hand, and then kissed her forehead.

“Ema, we will trust the Holy One. He will protect us.”

Amram tapped his daughter on the arm and made a shushing sound.

“Shhh, tihiyi besheket bevakasha.”

Miriam opened her eyes and tried to focus, but it was dark, and the stillness of the night was made aware to her. Although she was almost 8 years old, she still was not comfortable with the darkness.

“What is wrong, Papa?”

“Your Ema is in labor, and she needs your help. Now get dressed and prepared as we have been rehearsing for this moment. You will do fine, now go to Shifra and Puah, and be as quick as possible. Remember to walk softly.”

“Yes, Abba. I will go now.”

Miriam rubbed her eyes and lit a candle. She threw on a dark shawl, opened the door to their home, and walked briskly to Puah’s door, and tapped on it softly. The woman was startled but could make out Miriam’s face by the candlelight through the window.

“It’s time, Miriam whispered.”

“I’ll go wake Shifra, Miriam. Go back home and be with your mother.”

“Yes, Puah, I will. Please hurry. I’m scared. I think it is too early for the baby, and I’ve only seen my brother’s birth, and I was younger then.”

“It will be fine,” Puah said with great faith. “Now run along, hurry.”

Miriam hurried in the darkness back home, her shawl covering her, and her candle, as she followed the light step by step until she reached her house.

“It is done, Papa. They are coming. How is Ema?”

“Miriam, she is having labor pains closer together now. Go sit with her, please.” Amram pulled on his beard, a nervous habit he had acquired of late.

Miriam walked into the room quietly. Droplets of sweat were pouring down her forehead. Her hair was matted and stuck to her face.

“Oh, Ema,” Miriam said, as she wrung out a cool cloth and laid it on her head.

“What can I do, Ema?”

Yocheved took a deep breath through her nostrils and exhaled slowly.

“Thank you, Miriam,” she whispered. “Please pray for the baby and our family. You are a treasure to your Ema.”

Jochebed reached for her daughter’s hand and held it, but suddenly the next contraction began to overtake her. She did not realize she had a death grip on poor Miriam.

“Ema!” Jochebed released her hand and clenched her teeth together.

“Breath in and out, Ema. It’s okay.”

Jochebed wished she believed her words, but she worried that their voices would awaken others, and they might possibly hear her screams or, worse, the cries of her newborn taking his first breath.

About that time, she heard more voices. Puah and Shifra had arrived.

“We’ve got this, Miriam, but we would love for you to stay and help?”

“Of course, I want to be here with my Ema and see the baby, said Miriam delightfully. And you should know the labor pains are getting harder.”

The midwives inspected Jochebed. After a few whispers they spoke in unison.

“Come, Yocheved, we need to get you on the birthing stones.”

The stones were stacked in the floor now and raised Yocheved to more of a squatting position.

“Now when the next contraction comes, Yocheved, you know what to do, push and push hard.

Yocheved was almost passing out from the pain. Her daughter kept wiping her brow tenderly, and she was thankful for the midwives. She tried to smile as the pain eased.

“Thank you, Puah and Shifra. You are dear to me.”

“As you are to us,” said Shifra, taking her hand.

“May the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be with you and protect you and this child,” said Puah, brushing Yocheved’s hair from her eyes.

Another contraction was coming harder than before, and Yocheved bit down on her lip and pushed with much strength.

“The baby is crowning, said Shifra,” who was in a kneeling position. Keep pushing Yocheved.”

Yes, keep going, Ema!,” said Miriam.

Yocheved felt another wave of pain shoot through her spine and lower back and forgot to breathe. She gritted her teeth and felt the baby coming as the midwives were bringing him forth. He opened his mouth and let out a cry into the darkness.  Suddenly the room lit up, and the glory of Adonai filled the room. Amram entered holding Aaron’s hand, and he and Miriam and the midwives fell silent. The premature babe was resting on Yocheved’s chest covered in a towel. Yocheved held her son as the women cleaned him up and cut the cord.

“He is so beautiful and yet so tiny,” Miriam said.

“He looks as if I could fit him in my hand,” said Amram, holding his hands up and grinning from ear to ear.

“No Egyptian will throw my seed in the Nile. The God of my fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will protect my seed!”

“May it be so, Abba,” said Yocheved in a weakened voice. Soon they all gathered around the bed, each looking upon the baby boy with such love and joy.

“How will we keep such a beautiful gift hidden, thought Amram. “Oh, Great and Mighty One, Creator of All, thank you for this precious life. May he save his people from this harsh bondage of Egypt. May he bring us up out of here!”

 

I leave you with a lovely Poem spoken over a child at birth:

Welcome, welcome to this breathtaking world. We have been waiting for you. Waiting to see your beautiful face, to hear the sound of your cry, to kiss you, hold you, rock you. You are the fruit of our love, of our hearts, of our souls.

 

We have prayed for this day, and now it is here. But no amount of anticipation could have prepared us for you. You are a miracle. You are a gift from God. You are ours.

 

May God watch over you in love and bless you with health. How can we express our gratitude to You, God? You have sent us a perfect blessing.

 

Thank You, bless You, Source of all life.

 

Amen. (Rabbi Naomi Levy).

Sources: all name definitions taken from Abarim Publications.

That Moses was born three months early is a rabbinical story found in several teachings.

 

Inspirational · Tekoa Manning · TM

The Myrrh of Miriam/ Mary

person holding amber glass bottle

In this teaching, we will look at Miriam and the anointing oil she poured out, but first, I have a question. Are we cursing or holding back blessings from our fellow family members?

There was a prophet in the Bible named Balaam, who was enticed to curse Abba’s people. Once he realized that he could not curse what the Father had blessed, then Balak gets angry, and he says something that I want you to meditate on.

“Then Balak said to Balaam, “Fine, but if you won’t curse them, at least don’t bless them!” Numbers 23:25.

Are there people in the body that we won’t bless because they don’t live up to our standards, or we have become fearful of them in their beautiful tents? Do we treat them like lepers?

“Now when Jesus (Yeshua) was in Bethany, at the home of Simon (to hear) the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table” (Matthew 26:7).

The underlying text for the word “leper” here is not Hebrew but Aramaic.

“Garbah” in Aramaic means leper. However, “gar-a-bah” means jar maker or potter.

For years I read this verse and thought, “Why didn’t Yeshua heal the leper?” Was he a leper before and became whole and then given a nickname? No.

So many times, we make mistakes like this because we don’t have all the information.

Have we been isolating and pointing fingers and calling certain ones in the body of Messiah, lepers? What if, in all actuality, they are helping the body contain oil or become smeared with oil? Simon probably made the vial filled with costly perfume as he was a glassmaker/potter.

One for Israel has a fascinating article called The Leper Messiah.

“Isaiah 53:4– The Sages called the Messiah, the leper scholar. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

”‘When will the Messiah come?’ — ‘Go and ask him himself,’ was his reply. ‘Where is he sitting?’ — ‘At the entrance.’ And by what sign may I recognize him?’ — ‘He is sitting among the poor lepers…‘” Says the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a and 98b). The passage goes on to describe the Messiah carefully bandaging the wounds of lepers, instead of shunning them.”

 

woman holding child's hand towards jar

Leviticus 13:46 says, “They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.”
Simon would not have been found hosting dinner parties with his sisters if he were a leper. And if he were healed, he would not have been given a title of leper still.

The text reads that Yeshua is in Bethany at the home of Simon.
(Bethany–the noun בית (bayit) means house. The verb ‘ana’ means to afflict, oppress or humble. Noun ענו (‘anaw) refers to the poor, afflicted or needy. Noun ענוה (‘anawa) means humility.” (Abarim Publication).
A house filled with humility sounds refreshing. The body (his house) needs myrrh. It is being oppressed and afflicted just like my autoimmune disorders—His body keeps attacking itself.

Lover Boy fragrance bottle
A woman came to Yeshua with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head. Think about this in a spiritual sense. Yeshua is the head of the body.
In the book of Luke, a woman, and one who is described as sinful, pours out healing balm on His feet.
“From the sole of the foot even to the head
There is nothing sound in it,
Only bruises, welts and raw wounds,
Not pressed out or bandaged,
Nor softened with oil” (Isaiah 1:6).
SOFTENED.
Oh, how His body needs to be healed and softened.

Oh, how it needs anointed and perfumed and made ready.

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised—(Jeremiah 9:25).
He is saying; I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit. Those who hold to the letter of the Law but have no humility or concern for my house. Those who afflict, oppress, and hurt my sheep. Those who keep the Sabbath perfectly, and yet cannot make things right with their brothers and sisters.
Paul explains more in (Romans 2:29).
“No, a man is a Jew because he is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise does not come from men, but from God.”

A woman anoints Yeshua’s head–a woman anoints his feet.

And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,” and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. (Luke 7:37-38, NASB).
She began to “WET” His feet.
“Wet–βρέχειν (brechein)
Strong’s Greek 1026: To moisten, rain, send rain.”
To send RAIN!
Oh, daughters grab your vials!
The home in Matthew and Mark is of Simon the Leper (Jar maker), while in Luke it is a house of a Pharisee named Simon. Notice the same name is given. The Name Simon (shama) means to hear, but the verb implies to obey. We who know the Shema, we who keep his feasts, we who keep his Sabbaths are in need of being cleansed from a false leprosy. Are we putting people outside the camp when they are not leprous? Are we criticizing those who are young and have not seen what we see?

Have we been looking at our brother or sister as if he is a leper when Yeshua is residing in his house and at his table? Have our thoughts been judgmental towards our brothers and sisters?
One woman in the body was recently called a witch. A very well-known artist whose music reached the secular charts. A young woman who makes beautiful music. Instead of putting the man out of the camp who slandered her, we shunned the one who may need maturity in areas (who doesn’t?), but is living up to all the light she has right now. She gets isolated from the camp instead of the one cursing her. This should not be. Where are the older women who can take the younger aside gently and correct instead of bloodshed?
Why do the head and the feet need oil? Tears? Rain?
There was a king who was sick in his head. He wanted to usurp authority.

grayscale photo of man touching his face

“It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful and will have no honor from the LORD God.” But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead (Right where all his pride laid) before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the altar of incense. Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the LORD had smitten him. King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the LORD.” (II Chronicles 26:18-21).

A separate house—cut off — what a sad place to be.

When the disciples and Pharisees rebuked the woman who anointed Yeshua, they explained that this perfume could have been sold for the poor. Yeshua said, leave her alone, the poor (Oppressed) you will have with you always. Why? Because we live in a world where men are evil and powerful and full of themselves, therefore many are oppressed. Last year over 4,000 Believers lost their lives for their faith. As many as 11 die every day. Some of them have never been taught his feasts or Torah, but they are facing death for His Name.

While the body fights and argues over trivial matters, we sit sick, needing oil. While the body argues and slanders one another, we sit scraping sores, needing cleansed, healed, unified, and redeemed.

While the body shuns women and causes them to submit under a false pretense, keeping them silent in the body, clothed in bondage, THESE women will bring oil and anoint the head and the feet! Look for the Miriam’s along with the Rose of Rhoda.

While we, His body, get into arguments over dogmas and keeping the letter of the law, we sit bruised with raw wounds and no soundness.

John identifies Mary of Bethany as the woman who anointed Yeshua. Mary loved her Beloved. Let’s look deeper at her name.

“We surmise that the name Miriam/Mary is a proper plural form, and thus means Myrrhs or rather Occasions That Call For Myrrh. Since the words for mother (אם, ‘am) and tribe or people (אמה, ‘umma) are closely related (both come from the root אמם, ‘mm), the name Miriam/Mary would perfectly fit a community of which every individual is anointed with the myrrh oil.” (Abarim publication).

MAY EVERY INDIVIDUAL in His Body BE ANOINTED WITH THE OIL OF MYRRH! Look for these women as they are crying tears over the feet. As they are pouring oil on the head. Oh, heal us, Abba! Make us ONE!

closeup photography of woman wearing floral skirt holding red gas lantern at brown grass field

Sources : One for Israel

Abarim Publications

NASB, ESV,

photos:

Christin Hume@christinhumephoto

Maheima Kapur@maheima_kapur