numbers

Parashat Beha'alotcha - Numbers 8:1-12:15

God of Second Chances

In this week’s Torah portion, one of the things we learn about is how the Children of Israel offered the Passover for the very first time since their departure from Egypt (Numbers 9:1–14). It had been a full year since they left Egypt and it was time to fulfill the instructions they had previously been given: “You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year” (Exodus 13:10). Therefore, Moses instructed the Israelites to offer up the Passover at the appropriate time in the second year:

Parashat Bamidbar - Numbers 1:1-4:20

Parashat Bamidbar, the first portion of the book of Bamidbar, often gets a bad rap. The bulk of it is filled will the results of a national census, the arrangements of the tribal encampments, and the duties of the Levites and Kohanim. For many people this material doesn’t hold their attention. They are looking for something they can “sink their teeth into.” But reading the Torah and understanding its principles takes more than a casual reading. Parashat Bamidbar is one of these portions that beg us to peer deeper into it to see meaning and application.

Parashat Mattot-Massei: Numbers 30:2-36:13

A Lesson of Priorities

Now the people of Reuben and the people of Gad had a very great number of livestock. And they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, and behold, the place was a place for livestock. (Numbers 32:1)

Parashat Pinchas - Numbers 25:10-30:1

The Bulls of Our Lips

This week's portion covers a variety of topics: the reward of Pinchas, a new census of the Israelites, a case of inheritance in regard to the daughters of Zelophehad, the succession of Joshua, and then the next two chapters is a series of laws regulating the types of offerings that were to be brought to the Holy Temple for various occasions. This last section is what I would like to draw our attention to.

Parashat Balak - Numbers 22:2-25:9

Looking For Loopholes

The portion of Balak is filled with supernatural interactions between God and a Gentile prophet by the name of Balaam. From our portion, Balaam appears to have been renowned for his spiritual acumen, and seems to have a close relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet in the end we find that he is dead set on destroying the Children of Israel. How did this come about? Let's take a brief look at Balaam's mistake.

Parashat Korach - Numbers 16:1-18:32

The Test of Humility

If you've read this week's Torah portion, you already know that the story of Korah is a sad one. But there are many important lessons we can learn from the story of Korah. The primary, and most obvious lesson we can learn from Korah's mistake is in regard to humility. However, a deeper understanding reveals that his lack of humility stemmed from his disregard for mishchah, distinction. Let's explore this further.

To Kindle A Soul

Parashat Beha'alotcha - Numbers 8:1-12:15

As you have probably noticed, there is almost always something fascinating to discuss at the very beginning of the weekly Torah portions. This week is no exception. Parashat Beha'alotcha begins with the instructions on how Aaron, the kohen gadol (high priest), should kindle the menorah for the Tabernacle. It begins:

Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up [baha'alotcha] the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand." (Numbers 8:1-2)

Parashat Nasso - Numbers 4:21 - 7:89

Shalom Bayit

Babies. Isn't that what naturally comes to your mind after reading this week's Torah portion? Confused? Let me explain.

This week's reading contains an unusual ritual, the testing of the sotah (the wayward wife). This is a strange and even fantastical ritual, quite foreign and bizarre to the modern mind. To the modern ear it appears to be more akin to alchemy than biblical instruction. It goes like this: 

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