The second Torah Portion of the book of B’midbat/Numbers is Naso, which mean “Take”
Torah Portion: Numbers 4:21 – 7:89
Haftorah Portions: Ezekiel 1:1-28; 3:12
Apostolic Writings: Acts 21:17-32
You can read or listen to the portions below:
In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was among the exiles by the K’var River, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, which was during the fifth year of King Y’hoyakhin’s exile, the word of Adonai came to the cohen Yechezk’el son of Buzi, in the land of the Kasdim by the K’var River; there the hand of Adonai was on him.
I looked and saw a windy storm approaching from the north and a huge cloud with flashing fire, glowing brightly all around with the color of gleaming amber from within the fire. Inside, there appeared to be four living creatures that looked like human beings; but each one had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, with feet like calves’ hoofs. They glittered like burnished bronze. Beneath their wings they had human hands on their four sides. The four of them had faces and wings as follows: they touched one another with their wings; they did not turn when they moved, but each one moved straight forward; as for the appearance of their faces, they had human faces [in front], each of the four had a lion’s face on the right, each of the four had a bull’s face on the left, and each of the four had an eagle’s face [toward the rear] — thus their faces. As for their wings, each had two that stretched upward and joined those of others, and two more that covered their bodies. Each [living creature] moved in the direction of any of its faces; in whichever direction the spirit wanted to go, they went, without turning as they moved — thus the appearance of the living creatures.
With them was something that looked like fiery coals burning the way torches do, with the fire flashing here and there between the living creatures; the fire had a brilliance, and out of the fire went lightning. The living creatures kept speeding here and there like flashes of lightning.
As I gazed at the living creatures, I saw wheels on the ground, one next to each of the four-faced living creatures. All four wheels looked the same: their inner parts gleamed like beryl, and their structure seemed to be that of a wheel inside a wheel. When they moved, they could go in any of the four directions without turning as they moved. Their rims were tall and fearsome, because the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved along with them; and when the creatures were lifted off the ground, the wheels went with them. Wherever the spirit was to go, they went, in the direction the spirit wanted to go. The wheels were lifted up next to them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When [the living creatures] moved, [the wheels] moved; when the former stood still, the latter stood still; and when the former were lifted off the ground, the wheels were lifted up next to them; because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
Over the heads of the living creatures was what appeared to be a dome glittering like ice; it was awesome, spread out over their heads, above them. Under the dome each had a pair of wings spread out straight toward those of others, and each had a pair which covered his body. I heard the sound of their wings when they moved; it was like the sound of rushing water, like the voice of Shaddai, like the noise of a tumultuous crowd or army. When they stopped, they lowered their wings. Whenever there was a sound from above the dome over their heads, they stopped and lowered their wings.
Above the dome that was over their heads was something like a throne that looked like a sapphire. On it, above it, was what appeared to be a person. I saw what looked like gleaming, amber-colored fire radiating from what appeared to be his waist upward. Downward from what appeared to be his waist, I saw what looked like fire, giving a brilliant light all around him. This brilliance around him looked like a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was how the appearance of the glory of Adonai looked. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of someone speaking.
A spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a very loud sound — blessed be the glory of Adonai from his place!
In Yerushalayim, the brothers received us warmly. The next day Sha’ul and the rest of us went in to Ya‘akov, and all the elders were present. After greeting them, Sha’ul described in detail each of the things God had done among the Gentiles through his efforts.
On hearing it, they praised God; but they also said to him, “You see, brother, how many tens of thousands of believers there are among the Judeans, and they are all zealots for the Torah. Now what they have been told about you is that you are teaching all the Jews living among the Goyim to apostatize from Moshe, telling them not to have a b’rit-milah for their sons and not to follow the traditions.
“What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. So do what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow. Take them with you, be purified with them, and pay the expenses connected with having their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to these rumors which they have heard about you; but that, on the contrary, you yourself stay in line and keep the Torah.
“However, in regard to the Goyim who have come to trust in Yeshua, we all joined in writing them a letter with our decision that they should abstain from what had been sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled and from fornication.”
The next day Sha’ul took the men, purified himself along with them and entered the Temple to give notice of when the period of purification would be finished and the offering would have to be made for each of them. The seven days were almost up when some unbelieving Jews from the province of Asia saw him in the Temple, stirred up all the crowd and grabbed him. “Men of Isra’el, help!” they shouted. “This is the man who goes everywhere teaching everyone things against the people, against the Torah and against this place! And now he has even brought some Goyim into the Temple and defiled this holy place!” (They had previously seen Trophimus from Ephesus in the city with him and assumed that Sha’ul had brought him into the Temple.)
The whole city was aroused, and people came running from all over. They seized Sha’ul and dragged him out of the Temple, and at once the gates were shut. But while they were attempting to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman battalion that all Yerushalayim was in turmoil. Immediately he took officers and soldiers and charged down upon them. As soon as they saw the commander, they quit beating Sha’ul.