Haftarah: Beha’alotecha: Walkers
Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7: It is not comfortable, but the only way I can stand before God is dressed in my imperfections, my soiled clothing. I am so desperate for a relationship with God, to stand before Him and
beg His help, plead for Israel, and petition for His salvation of this world, that I must be willing to stand before Him despite my discomfort.
Yehoshua Cohen Gadol stood before God in his soiled clothing, placing himself directly in the center of an angel advocating for Israel on one side, and Satan the Accuser, on the other side, demanding that God act with justice. It was a clash of titans and Yehoshua pushed his way in to stand between them before God to join with the angel and support his people. Great and mighty angels are arguing before God and an insignificant human being, clothed with imperfection wants to join the angel and silence Satan.
God has already proclaimed that He will redeem Israel: “Sing and rejoice, O Daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be My people: and I will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And the Lord shall inherit Yehuda as his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord: for He has roused himself out of His holy habitation.” (2:14-17) Yehoshua is not satisfied. It is not enough that God will redeem us despite our imperfections; “Indeed, this man is like a firebrand saved from a fire.” (3:2) The Cohen Gadol does not share the vision of Redemption limited to a select few. Yehoshua argues for redemption for all. He wants a complete and perfect redemption.
Did the advocating angel want Yehoshua’s help? I can picture Satan wondering what this failed human being thought he could accomplish. Yehoshua was unconcerned with the angel’s wishes or Satan’s laugh: He wanted to argue the cause of Israel directly before God.
Whether it was courage or insanity, Yehoshua’s passionate defense of Israel elicits a response. God orders the angels to remove Yehoshua’s filthy clothing and dress him in beautiful robes. The Cohen Gadol no longer stands before God in shame, but in glory, the full glory of the Cohen Gadol.
“If you walk in My ways and safeguard My charge, then you shall administer My Temple, and I shall make you a “walker” among these immobile angels.” (3:7) God cleaned Yehoshua; He robed him in glory and challenged the Cohen Gadol to become one who walks. Israel will succeed and be redeemed only if they become walkers, as in Halacha, people who are not stagnant or stuck, but people who can face the challenge of any time or environment. “I have removed the sin of the land in one day.” (3:9)
God will remove the sin of the land as quickly as he cleansed Yehoshua. The Cohen Gadol’s wish for a full redemption for everyone is granted under the image of, “The stone that I have placed before Yehoshua, seven eyes on one stone.” (3:7) The “eyes” that look in every direction will watch and observe the people wherever they go and whatever they do, as long as they continue to move and grow.
“There is a Menorah made entirely of gold with its bowl on top. Two olive trees are near it, one to the right of the bowl and one to its left.” (4:2-3) The Cohen Gadol, the spiritual leader, together with Zerubbabel, the political leader, will provide the light for the people.
In one of the most powerful prophecies in the Bible, filled with secrets of Kabbalah, the vision portrays a nation led by two leaders: The Cohen Gadol and the Governor of Jerusalem. Zachariah describes a nation that is able to combine its spiritual vision with the practical. Yehoshua must work together with Zerubavel. It is the combination of spiritual vision and its practical application that charges this vision of a great future for Israel.
Yehoshua’s clothes will surely be soiled again as he must deal with the challenges of the world. It is impossible for a spiritual quest to maintain its pristine nature when applied to the challenges and demands of the world. Our clothes get dirty when we become “walkers”. Zachariah promises that God will continue to cleanse us and robe us with glory as long as we continue to use Halacha to walk and involve and apply everything we learn to this world.