The Parashat of last week touches our own study from the great book of Habakkuk. It is Parashat Mishpatim comprising Exodus 21:1 – 24:18. The name mishpatim means, the Rules, for this is how Exodus 21 begins. This section of the Bible comes right after the giving of the 10 Commandments which then begins the series of other laws flowing from these commandments.

This chapter however, begins with a peculiar law. It is about the servant who, after 7 years is given the right to leave. However, if he decides to stay, we read that his master shall bring him… to the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. Ex. 21:6

It is interesting how this law opens up the proceeding laws concerning the building of the tabernacle. We can see how this servant is a symbol of the Messiah who is called the Servant and who came to fulfill this law.

In the section of prophecy concerning the Servant Messiah, we read a wonderful verse in Isaiah 50:5-6, The Lord has opened My ear and I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back, I gave My back to the those who strike Me and My cheeks to those who pluck out My beard, I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

This passage is cited in Matthew, Mark and Luke, relating the suffering of Yeshua. But what is most interesting is that the first words, the Lord has opened My ear, could be read as, the Lord pierced / patah (Hebrew) My ear. This same word is used for ploughing (Isa. 28:24) or for carving (1Kings 7:36). And this piercing of the servant is there to remind us that Yeshua fulfilled the law of the One who would be our Advocate forever.

And as this first law opens the way for the building of the Tabernacle which takes on the greater part of the remainder of Exodus, 13 full chapters, it is in this section where we find this other particular law:

Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. Exodus 23: 14. These three feasts are, the Feast of Unleavened Bread or Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. But why choose these three feasts? They are related to the Servant Messiah who not only fulfills the Mosaic Law but also the history of redemption. At Passover He came to give His life as the Lamb of God. He came to fulfill the office of Prophet. At Pentecost, the day when the Body of the Messiah was born in Acts 2, Jesus was then fulfilling the office of Priest, sitting at the right hand of God. At Tabernacles, the day of His Second Coming, He will come back as King of kings and fulfill that office. And so, the Servant has His ear pierced to fulfill all 3 offices, all done for our salvation.

May Jewish people around the world reading this Parashat be led to see the severity of the law and the Messiah Yeshua, rising in the horizon for them, with open arms, offering salvation to all.