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Reality is Perception
Moses is told “This renewal (of the moon) is the first of renewals (of the moons)”. With these words the Jewish people were given their calendar, one using lunar months but faithful to the seasonal cycle of the solar year ......... Read more
Our Parsha opens with the words (Num. 33:1) "These are the journeys of the children of Israel leaving the land of Egypt in their legions, under the charge of Moses and Aaron ........ Read more
First Things First
In Parshat Matot (Numbers 32) we read how the tribes of Reuben and Gad (later joined by half of the tribe of Manasseh) ask for the lands east of the Jordan, these being prime pastureland for their cattle. Moses is initially angered by the request, concerned that they were not willing to help their people in the struggle for the Land of Israel but subsequently agrees on the condition that they first join, and lead by being the advance scouts, in Israel's conquest of the lands west of the Jordan ........ Read more
The Big Little Voice
In our Haftara this week we read as to how a despondent Elijah turns to G-d describing the terrible spiritual wasteland of the ten Northern Tribes of Israel. G-d brings him back to Sinai where the Torah was given and then G-d appears to him in the following manner ....... Read more
Of Donkeys and Discernment
In one of the most fascinating stories in the Torah, the Prophet Balaam tries to find a way to get G-d to acquiesce to his desire to curse the Jewish people, hence causing them some harm that would weaken or destroy them. Balak the king of Moab had offered him great reward if he would weaken the People of Israel so they could be driven away from the region. Read more
The Meaning of "With"
"Your brother shall live with you ("Imach" in Hebrew)"
The Torah here refers to the obligation to help someone find a means of supporting themselves before they become needy. As Rashi tells us "If a person stumbles, before he falls one can save him, after he falls down, five cannot lift him up". Read more
Grain, Growth and Goodness
In this weeks Torah portion, Parshat Emor, we read the Torah's instruction that on the second day of Passover we should bring a measure -an "Omer" -of the first cutting of our barley harvest to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem as an offering to G-d, and not to partake of that year's barley crop -or any other newly harvested grain, until that offering is made. Read more
Don't be Holy
The English word "holy" indicates G-dly, otherworldly, a state of being that is fundamentally different from the norms of everyday life. Indeed, the OED indicates that the etymology is derived from the same root as "wholly" -something entirely dedicated to G-d. Read more