Torah: Leviticus 21:1-24:23 Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31 Brit Chadasha: II Corinthians 5:17-21

Set Apart

In this week’s portion we see some instructions to the Levites that to some may seem unfair.  What do I mean by that statement?  Well in verse twenty three of chapter twenty one of Leviticus it basically says that the priest who has a defect doesn’t approach the altar or go near the veil lest he profane it.

[i] Now to the reader this may seem unfair to the priest because if he had a defect such as being a dwarf or was blind or deaf, something that he didn’t bring on himself and was probably born this way, then how could this be ‘held against him’?  Well it had nothing to do against the person or priest and everything to do with Yahweh being set apart and His priests being set apart as well.

See the priests represented Yahweh in the earth and they were the ones who taught Israel about Torah not only through words but by their actions as well.  Yahweh set apart His priests to teach Israel that they/we must be set apart as well.  He also taught that there is nothing about Him common (translated as profane) and we as the people of Yahweh should not profane ourselves as well.

So what we see here is a beautiful picture of the Set apartness of Yahweh and how He wanted it demonstrated through His priests, thus teaching about His holiness or set apartness.  So why couldn’t these priests who had a blemish approach the veil or approach the altar?  I believe that it would be making something that was consecrated profane.  If you look up the word for blemish in Hebrew you will find that it means useless or without value.  Now let me state something very clear.  Yahweh was not looking at the priest that had a blemish and saying he was without value as a person.  Clearly no but He looked at the blemish.  It’s like when you go to buy something new.  Let’s say you went to buy a fridge and this fridge was brand new but it had a nice dent in the door.  This dent i.e. blemish will take away from the value or cause the fridge to lose value.  I see it the same with Yahweh.  He doesn’t condemn priests as people when they have a blemish.  He just says I only want set apart beings, perfect (meaning whole or complete) beings to approach my altar and draw near to Me.  So again nothing against the priests as people but this is what Yahweh said and we have to respect it and obey it.

So what can we learn about this spiritually?  I believe that we are given a beautiful picture of how Yahweh doesn’t want folks coming near Him nonchalantly.  When we are stained with sin or have profaned ourselves with what not then we should ‘clean ourselves up’ if you will before we draw near to Yahweh.  He hasn’t rejected us as individuals but He has His rules and guidelines and is Set Apart so therefore we must do as He says and come near to Him as complete whole beings.

Thought of the Week

‘For I am Yahweh your Elohim, and you shall set yourselves apart. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. Leviticus 11:44


[i] Leviticus 21:23