Here is an email question I just received from a saint in England who is doing his best to follow the Torah. He had some questions about ritual cleanliness and tithing. Here is my answer to to him. — Natan
Regrading Leviticus 15 and laws concerning bodily discharges, it is all about good hygiene and cleanliness.
Women now have feminine hygiene products that keep their blood flow contained, so that it doesn’t come into contact with anyone else, so, in my estimation, this fulfills the Lev 15 requirements pertaining to that subject. If men become unclean because of a nocturnal emission, they now have quick access to showers with which to clean themselves. I don’t see that ritual uncleanness is any longer the main issue that it was in the days of the tabernacle and temple. These institutions no longer exist, therefore, we can’t fulfill these same requirements in the way there were at that time. Now we are the temple of the Spirit of Elohim who lives in us continually because of our spiritual rebirth, cleansing of our sins by Yeshua’s blood and our continual relationship with him.
The Bible in many places instructs us to be holy or set-apart as Elohim is, and that without holiness no one will see him. What is holiness? it is acting holy as Elohim is. It is following the example of Yeshua about living cleanly—especially spiritually. This mostly has to do with the heart and mind as Yeshua teaches in Matt 15:1–20. There he instructs his disciples and us about worrying less about eating with unwashed hands and more about the filth that come out of our mouths through unholy words. That is not to say that we aren’t to be concerned about physical cleanliness. The Torah has a lot to say about this when it comes to disease detection, treatment and prevention, diet, washing and cleanliness and burying bodily waste for example. The phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness” may not be in the Bible, but it’s a biblical concept.
Overall, however, the Bible focuses more on inner spiritual cleanliness than outward, but we need to follow both the letter and the spirit of the law in this regard as best we can as Yeshua clearly teachings throughout his Sermon on the Mount teaching (Matt 5–7). We will be blessed in all respects in this life and the next life if we do.
With regard to tithing, I have a written teaching on that subject, which you can access at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/tithing.pdf.
In brief, tithing as per the Torah was largely an institution that depended on the Levitical priesthood and tabernacle/temple system and was agriculturally based, since Israel was an agricultural nation. The Torah teaches that there are three tithes: a feast tithe which the person set aside to finance his trips to keep YHVH’s feasts, the tithe that went to support the Levitical priesthood and the tithe to help the poor and needy. However, the Bible also teaches that giving one-tenth of our income to YHVH or his servants who are doing his spiritual work on this earth is a principle that predates the Levitical and temple systems. Therefore, I believe that tithing is a universal and eternal principle that all the saints should practice. The apostles, while not addressing the tithing principle directly, do speak of supporting the poor and of giving to the ministry who feeds them spiritually.
I personally have practiced tithing all my life, and YHVH has blessed and sustained me because of it. For me, giving him a tenth of my income is a form of worshipping him and I would never think of withholding this from him because it’s his. After all, considering all the blessings he has given to me freely (life, food, air water, this earth, his Son, his truth, family, good health, eternal life, etc.), how can I not love and honor him in every way possible?
This has always baffled me. SO…….1/10 to the poor, and 1/10 to save for the feasts, and 1/10 to teachers, leaders, etc? 30%…………..no priesthood s ono extra 10% for that………….Different tithes are mentioned in different years…….it is a bit confusing. Can you explain further?
This has baffled a lot of people. The rabbinic commentaries on this are a bit confusing as well.
For sure, the Torah teaches that 10 percent of our income goes to YHVH every year. This means it goes to support the work of his ministry on earth. Paul talks about supporting those who are feeding you spiritually.
The feast tithe seems to be an annual one as well to support going to the three feasts (Unleavened Bread, Weeks and Tabernacles). The Jewish sages say otherwise though and talk about doing it on an irregular basis. Not sure where they get it from, since the feasts are annual events. It’s really a vacation fund that you get to use on yourself.
The tithe to help the poor is every third year (presumably of the seven year time cycle). Some do it every third year irrespective of the seven year time cycle, some do it twice in a seven year time cycle and some do it once in a seven year time cycle. Personally, I follow the advice of the apostles to give to the poor as needed and as led by the Ruach. Our taxes help the poor as well, so the poor aren’t without anything as would have been the case in ancient Israel were it not for that tithe/tax.
Hopefully this helps a little.
Thanks. I had wondered about the tax implication. I cannot say it is given to the government of freewill, however…it IS given in obedience to those in authority over us which kinda makes it a relevant consideration. I had momentarily forgotten that until you reminded and that really does make sense. Some people pay 40% or more in tax by the time you count sales, state, fed, payroll, property, etc It’s a wonder anyone has anything left. That second tax………..we cannot keep that command today about making the trek to the land for the purpose intended……. The whole thing is a bit more complicated now I think:<) I sure agree with giving as lead above and beyond the 10% that seems established before any temple…………….