The Spies Lack of Faith

In this week’s parasha we learn of the tragic episode of the Spies who were sent to scout out the Land of Israel and came back with lashon hara about the land and lack of belief in their ability to conquer it. In Tehillim (106) the verse says:  “And they despised the desirable land, they […]

Spreading Like Wildfire

After a dramatic description of the Ark moving with Moses leading the chant, this week’s parsha, Behaalotcha, shifts to a challenging story regarding the behavior of the people. In Bamidbar 11:1 it says, “The people took to complaining bitterly before G-d.  G-d heard and was incensed: a fire of the Lord broke out against them […]

The Power of the Midbar

As we enter the fourth book of our חמשה חומשי תורה – Five books of the Torah – this week, God calls out to Moshe in the מדבר with the command to take a census. It is for this reason that Chazal refer to this book as חומש הפקודים (the Book of Counting), while it […]

Actions and the Victims that Define Them

At the end of this week’s parsha, a blasphemer is heard, caught and brought to Moshe; ignorant as to the proper punishment, Moshe places the transgressor in jail until God responds to his judiciary query. The sentence: death by stoning. But, strangely, along with the specific response concerning the blasphemer, God adds in some additional […]

The Two Wings of Love and Awe

After eight days of inauguration of the mishkan, the glory of the Shechina, the Divine presence finally comes down and rests upon the handiwork of the people, but the joy is short-lived when Nadav and Avihu, two of Aharon’s sons, enter the holy of holies with fire pans of incense in what the Torah calls […]

Maaseh Avot Siman L’Banim

This week we read Parshat Zachor, the second of the Arba Parshiot, the four special Torah readings that are added to Kriyat HaTorah between Rosh Chodesh Adar (or slightly before) and Rosh Chodesh Nissan. In light of the ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza, as well as the continued “low intensity” fighting with Hezbollah on […]

Shabbat Shalom

Warning: The following shiur is not based on pshat, the simple reading of the text,  but rather on a statement in the Zohar. Despite my own personal affinity to pshat style learning, I think that the message is critical and hence the investment in the following shiur. Our parsha opens with the mitzvah of shabbat […]

Crossing the Narrow Bridge

It had only been 40 days since the revelation of Hashem and His Torah at Sinai, and somehow the unthinkable had occurred. While Moshe is completing the Divine shiur above, and while Hashem is handing him the tablets, written and carved by Hashem Himself, the people down below have become corrupt; they have made a […]

Lighting the Fire: Tending the Flame

From the time of Moshe Rabbeinu’s birth until his death he is at the very root and core of our Torah. He is the greatest of prophets and a most treasured leader. And yet, when we open parshat Tetzaveh he is nowhere to be found. While we, the readers, know well that HaShem is speaking […]

Far From False

In a deceptively tiny sentence fragment, we are presented with a challenging commandment. Our days often include dishonesties of various proportions, sometimes to others, and sometimes to ourselves. We tend to bend the truth to protect interests and egos. And so a simple mitzva can be daunting indeed. See: 23: 7 – Keep far from falsehood… […]