Archive | Teachings

D’varim: Finding Your Voice

B’ever ha’Yarden b’eretz Moav ho’il Moshe be’er et hatorah hazot On the far side of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this Torah (Deuteronomy 1:5) The English name of the fifth and final book of the Five Books of Moses is “Deuteronomy”. Deuteronomy is a Greek term that means “repetition […]

Continue Reading

Matot-Mas’ei: The Inner Journey

Eileh mas’ei V’nei Yisrael asher yatz’u me’eretz Mitzrayim These are the journeys of the Children of Israel after leaving the Land of Egypt (B’Midbar 33:1) As we reach the end of the book of B’Midbar, the Children of Israel have arrived at the banks of the River Jordan. The Promised Land is just on the […]

Continue Reading

Pinchas: The Daughters of Tzelofechad

Vatikravnah B’not Tzelofechad… The daughters of Tzelofechad came forward… (Numbers 27:1 We encounter a remarkable passage as Sefer B’Midbar, the Book of Numbers, draws near its conclusion. The forty years of wandering have passed, and the Children of Israel are approaching the banks of the Jordan River. Miriam and Aaron have passed away, and Moses […]

Continue Reading

Balak: Mah Tovu – How Good It Is

Mah tovu ohalecha Ya’akov, mishkenotecha Yisrael How goodly are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel (Numbers 24:5) The Israelites are journeying toward the Jordan River, and pass through the territory of King Balak of Moab. Balak is terrified, and hires the prophet Balaam to lay a curse upon the Israelites. Three times Balaam climbs […]

Continue Reading

Chukat: Confronting Mortality

Va’yavo’u B’nei Yisrael kol ha’edah Midbar Tzin bachodesh harishon vayeshev ha’am b’Kadesh. Vatamot sham Miriam vatikaver sham. V’lo haya mayim la’edah. And all the Children of Israel arrived at the Wilderness of Tzin on the first new moon, and stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there. And there was no water for […]

Continue Reading

Korach: Demagogue

Vayikhalu al Moshe v’Aharon vayomru aleihem: “Rav lachem, ki chol ha’edah kulam kedoshim u’v’tocham YHVH – u’madua titnas’u al k’hal YHVH?” And [Korach and his followers] gathered against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! Is not the entire community holy, and is not YHVH in their midst? Why do […]

Continue Reading

Shlach Lecha: Healing the Crushed Spirit

Va’nehi b’eineinu kachagavim, v’chen hayinu b’eineihem We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, so we certainly must have looked that way to them. (B’midbar 13:33) The Children of Israel are preparing to enter the Promised Land. Moses sends twelve scouts, one from each tribe, to scout out the land and bring back a reconnaissance report. Forty […]

Continue Reading

Beha’alotcha: Are We There Yet?

Va’yehi ha’am k’mit’onenim ra b’oznei YHVH. The people took to complaining bitterly before YHVH (B’midbar 11:1) After more than a year encamped at Mount Sinai, the time has come for the Children of Israel to march to the Promised Land. Transformed from a throng of refugee slaves, they are now organized into tribes and troops, […]

Continue Reading

Naso: Be a Channel of Blessing

Yevarechecha Adonai v’yishmerecha May the Source of Life bless you and protect you. (Numbers 6:24) The most ancient Jewish prayer that we still know and recite today appears in this week’s Torah portion. It is known as Birkat Cohanim – the Priestly Blessing and also as Birkat Hashalom – The Blessing of Peace: YHVH spoke […]

Continue Reading

B’midbar: In the Wilderness

Va’yedaber YHVH el Moshe b’midbar Sinai b’ohel mo’ed b’echad la’chodesh ha’sheni bashanah ha’shenit l’tzeitam me’eretz Mitzrayim.  YHVH spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai in the Tent of Meeting on the first day of the second month of the second year since leaving Egypt. (Numbers 1:1) So begins the fourth book of the Torah. […]

Continue Reading