Radical Blessings

Radical Blessings

“…Come, I will advise you… what this people will do to your people at the end of days…” – Bamidbar 24:14 לְכָה אִיעָצְךָ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה הָעָם הַזֶּה לְעַמְּךָ בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים – במדבר כד, יד Fearing that the Jews would wage war against him and conquer his land, Balak, the king of Moav, summoned the prophet Bilaam and asked him to curse them. […]

June 24, 2018 at 1:15 AM

Beauty Lies in the Details

Beauty Lies in the Details

“…How beautiful are your tents, Yaakov!…” – Bamidbar 24:3 מַה טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ יַעֲקֹב – במדבר כד, ג What was the beauty that Bilaam saw in Bnei Yisrael’s tents? The Talmud (Bava Basra 60a) explains that Bilaam observed that Bnei Yisrael arranged their tents in such a manner that the tents’ entrances did not exactly face one another. This practice reflected […]

June 23, 2018 at 2:12 AM

Uncountable Mitzvos

Uncountable Mitzvos

“…Who has counted the dust of Yaakov?…” – Bamidbar 23:10 מִי מָנָה עֲפַר יַעֲקֹב – במדבר כג, י Bilaam’s plot to curse the Jewish people was foiled when G-d forced him to bless and praise them instead. Describing the Jewish people’s endearment to G-d, Bilaam said, “Who can count the dust of Yaakov?” According to one interpretation brought by Rashi, […]

June 22, 2018 at 1:30 AM

Live Prey

Live Prey

“…Behold, a people that rises like a lioness, and raises itself like a lion…” – Bamidbar 23:24 הֶן עָם כְּלָבִיא יָקוּם וְכַאֲרִי יִתְנַשָּׂא – במדבר כג, כד Bilaam compared the Jewish people to lions. As interpreted by the Midrash Tanchuma, this comparison hints to the vigor with which the Jewish people recite the Shema, like a lion pouncing on its […]

June 22, 2018 at 1:06 AM

Living On Edge

Living On Edge

“…They shall take to you a perfectly red heifer…” – Bamidbar 19:2 וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה – במדבר יט, ב The Rambam’s compendium of Jewish law, the Mishneh Torah, is famous for its precise wording and organization. It is therefore most unusual that in the midst of a discussion on the laws of the Parah Adumah, the ashes of […]

June 17, 2018 at 1:25 AM

A Morning Person’s Teshuva

A Morning Person’s Teshuva

“…In the morning, G-d will make known who is His, and who is holy, and He will draw them near to Him…” – Bamidbar 16:5 בֹּקֶר וְיֹדַע ה’ אֶת אֲשֶׁר לוֹ וְאֶת הַקָּדוֹשׁ וְהִקְרִיב אֵלָיו – במדבר טז, ה Korach and his followers contested Moshe’s authority and his appointment of Aharon as the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest.  Moshe challenged […]

June 13, 2018 at 2:30 AM

To Save Those You Love

To Save Those You Love

“…“Speak to the congregation saying, ‘Withdraw from the dwelling of Korach, Dasan and Aviram.’” And Moshe arose and went to Dasan and Aviram and the elders of Israel followed him…” – Bamidbar 16:24-25 דַּבֵּר אֶל הָעֵדָה לֵאמֹר הֵעָלוּ מִסָּבִיב לְמִשְׁכַּן קֹרַח דָּתָן וַאֲבִירָם: וַיָּקָם מֹשֶׁה וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל דָּתָן וַאֲבִירָם וַיֵּלְכוּ אַחֲרָיו זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – במדבר טז, כד-כה The fate of […]

June 13, 2018 at 12:48 AM

Separate is Better than Equal

Separate is Better than Equal

“…In the morning, G-d will make known who is His, and who is holy, and He will draw [them] near to Him…” – Bamidbar 16:5 בֹּקֶר וְיֹדַע ה’ אֶת אֲשֶׁר לוֹ וְאֶת הַקָּדוֹשׁ וְהִקְרִיב אֵלָיו – במדבר טז, ה Korach fought for equality, which he believed to be the key to Jewish unity. “The entire congregation are all holy” (Bamidbar […]

June 12, 2018 at 7:01 AM

Same, Same but Different

Same, Same but Different

“…In the morning, G-d will make known who is His…” – Bamidbar 16:5 בֹּקֶר וְיֹדַע ה’ אֶת אֲשֶׁר לוֹ – במדבר טז, ה Korach and his followers took issue with Moshe’s authority over Bnei Yisrael. They acknowledged that G-d communicated the Torah directly to Moshe, and that Moshe was therefore superior to the rest of the nation in his understanding […]

June 11, 2018 at 2:11 AM

Committed Clothing

Committed Clothing

“…And it shall be a fringe for you, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of G-d and do them…” – Bamidbar 15:39 וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְצִיצִת וּרְאִיתֶם אֹתוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם אֶת כָּל מִצְוֹת ה’ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם – במדבר טו, לט Rashi explains how the tzitzis fringes remind us of all the mitzvos. The numerical equivalents of the […]

June 3, 2018 at 1:38 AM

The Theory of Dough

The Theory of Dough

“…The beginning of your dough you shall separate as challah… A gift to G-d…” – Bamidbar 15:20-21 רֵאשִׁית עֲרִסֹתֵכֶם חַלָּה תָּרִימוּ תְרוּמָה . . תִּתְּנוּ לַה’ תְּרוּמָה – במדבר טו, כ-כא The mitzvah of challah obligates us to separate a portion of every (large) batch of dough that we bake and give it as a gift to the kohen. The […]

June 2, 2018 at 2:38 AM

Where the Angels Failed

Where the Angels Failed

“…There we saw the Nephilim, sons of the giant, who descended from the Nephilim…” – Bamidbar 13:33 וְשָׁם רָאִינוּ אֶת הַנְּפִילִים בְּנֵי עֲנָק מִן הַנְּפִלִים – במדבר יג, לג The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Beraishis 44) relates that when the early humans took to worshipping idols, two angels named Shamchazai and Azael suggested before G-d that they could replace humanity in […]

June 1, 2018 at 2:53 AM

Intentions Alone Won’t Do

Intentions Alone Won’t Do

“…And when Bnei Yisrael were in the desert, they found a man gathering wood on the Shabbos day…” – Bamidbar 15:32 וַיִּהְיוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמִּדְבָּר וַיִּמְצְאוּ אִישׁ מְקֹשֵׁשׁ עֵצִים בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת – במדבר טו, לב The Torah relates that a man gathered wood in violation of the Shabbos, and G-d instructed that he be put to death. According to the […]

June 1, 2018 at 2:46 AM

Lamps and Flames

Lamps and Flames

“…Speak to Aharon and say to him, “When you ignite the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah…” – Bamidbar 8:2 דַּבֵּר אֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ אֶת הַנֵּרֹת אֶל מוּל פְּנֵי הַמְּנוֹרָה יָאִירוּ שִׁבְעַת הַנֵּרוֹת – במדבר ח, ב The Talmud regards the menorah as a symbol of Torah study. Hence, our […]

May 27, 2018 at 2:24 AM

Your Honor

Your Honor

“…Arise, O G-d, may Your enemies be scattered and may those who hate You flee from You…” – Bamidbar 10:35 קוּמָה ה’ וְיָפֻצוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ וְיָנֻסוּ מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ מִפָּנֶיךָ – במדבר י, לה Rashi explains that Moshe’s entreaty to G-d, “may those who hate you flee from you,” refers to those who hate the Jewish people. “for anyone who hates the Jewish […]

May 27, 2018 at 1:54 AM

Fight for Your Rights

Fight for Your Rights

“…And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Sinai Desert, in the second year of their exodus from the land of Egypt, in the first month, saying: Bnei Yisrael shall make the Pesach sacrifice in its appointed time…” – Bamidbar 9:1-2 וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה בְמִדְבַּר סִינַי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן לֵאמֹר: וְיַעֲשׂוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַפָּסַח בְּמוֹעֲדוֹ […]

May 27, 2018 at 1:45 AM

Searching for Connection

Searching for Connection

“…Why should we be deprived, that we may not bring the offering of G-d in its appointed season?…” – Bamidbar 9:7 לָמָּה נִגָּרַע לְבִלְתִּי הַקְרִיב אֶת קָרְבַּן ה’ בְּמֹעֲדוֹ – במדבר ט, ז The mitzvah of Pesach Sheni, the second opportunity to offer the Pesach sacrifice, is somewhat of an anomaly among the other mitzvos of the Torah. All the […]

May 26, 2018 at 1:45 AM

I am Holy, Therefore I am Different

I am Holy, Therefore I am Different

“…All the days of his separation, he is holy to G-od…” – Bamidbar 6:8 כֹּל יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ קָדֹשׁ הוּא לַה’ – במדבר ו, ח A nazir is an individual who chooses to dedicate himself to G-d, by vowing to abstain (usually for a limited period of time) from wine or any grape products, from cutting his hair, and from defiling himself […]

May 23, 2018 at 1:20 AM

Where More is Less

Where More is Less

“…They brought their offering before G-d: six covered wagons and twelve oxen, a wagon from each two princes, and an ox from each one…” – Bamidbar 7:3 וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת קָרְבָּנָם לִפְנֵי ה’ שֵׁשׁ עֶגְלֹת צָב וּשְׁנֵי עָשָׂר בָּקָר עֲגָלָה עַל שְׁנֵי הַנְּשִׂאִים וְשׁוֹר לְאֶחָד – במדבר ז, ג The generosity of Bnei Yisrael in their donation of materials for the […]

May 22, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Holistic Healing

Holistic Healing

“…They shall confess the sin they committed…” – Bamidbar 5:7 וְהִתְוַדּוּ אֶת חַטָּאתָם אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ – במדבר ה, ז The Rambam writes in Sefer Hamitzvos: “The 73rd mitzvah is that we are commanded to verbally acknowledge the sins we have committed before G-d, exalted be He, when we repent from them… As the Torah states, ‘They shall confess the sin […]

May 21, 2018 at 1:13 AM