Parasaht Massei, Eretz Yisrael, Our Bodies, and Sin

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In this week’s reading from Parashat Massei (Bamidbar / Numbers 33:1-36:13), the final chapters of sefer Bamidbar, Moshe is instructing the people on how the land of Canaan is to be divided amongst the people and the priests.  In 33:55, the Lord God gives a warning:וְאִם-לֹא תוֹרִישׁוּ אֶת-יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵיכֶם וְהָיָה אֲשֶׁר תּוֹתִירוּ מֵהֶם לְשִֹכִּים בְּעֵינֵיכֶם וְלִצְנִינִם בְּצִדֵּיכֶם וְצָרְרוּ אֶתְכֶם עַל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם ישְׁבִים בָּהּ saying “if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live.”  The Lord is warning the children of Yisrael to remain focused and to remove those things that will distract them.  The principle object that distracted Yisrael was bad and sinful people.  They are commanded to drive them out or the people will become a thorn in their side וְלִצְנִינִם בְּצִדֵּיכֶם.  The NASB says that the phrase לְשִֹכִּים בְּעֵינֵיכֶם means “pricks in your eyes.”  It is interesting that the word לשכים is not found in Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon.  Strong’s concordance says לשכים is from the word שכך (to appease, placate) in the sense of the word שוך.  From what I can understand, the translators looked at לשכים and in an attempt to determine the root and morphology of the word conclude that שוך ß שכך ß לשכים.  This morphology for the word לשכים does not seem to fit for its definition as “pricks.”  לשכים may also be formed by ל.ש.כונה whereכונה  a feminine noun meaning “intention, purpose, aim, spirit.”  Regardless of its translation, לשכים suggests that the people of Canaan will affect the “aim,” “intent,” or “spirit” of the eye.  Do these scriptures suggest the people we choose as friends can affect our walk and the intent of our heart before God? Read More here.

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!