Aish HaTorah

This Week's Parsha - פָּרָשַׁת הַשָּׁבוּעַ

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I thought it may be of some interest if I start a thread to discuss each week's parsha.

 

😐

 

So...what is a parsha, you may be asking?  Jewish people have a deep and abiding love for the Torah, and, over time, the entirety of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) have been divided into sections so as to render the readings in such a way that the entire Torah is read through in its entirety each year.  There are fifty-four parashiot (plural) that are read during the course of a year.  Each Torah portion (or parsha) is named.  The name usually is a word or words that are found in the first line of any given week's Torah portion.  The origins of public Torah readings can be found in the Book of Nehemiah.

I think it may be of interest to some to share the basic outline of the parsha for each week and then share a word or two (or more) about the reading from a rabbi's perspective.  I would be fascinated and much obliged to hear your thoughts from a non-Jewish point of view on any given parsha.

I should also mention that the parsha does not fall on the same week each year as it is based on the Hebrew calendar and not the Gregorian.

I will begin this week's parsha commentary in another post within this thread.  Please feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have!  As always, I pray that the Almighty, blessed be He, grant you His perfect shalom.  Be well, my friends.

Edited by Aish HaTorah

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This week's parsha is B'minbar (בְּמִדְבַּר), which means "In the Desert."  It encompasses Numbers 1:1-4:20.

The Book of Numbers begins in the wilderness of Sinai.  The children of Israel are organized into a military camp, which requires, by necessity, taking a census to know their precise number.  Moses, Aaron, and the chiefs of the tribes register all the men over the age of twenty.  The total comes to a little over 600,000.  The Levites are not included in the census with the other Israelites.

Once Moses has ascertained their numbers, each Israelite is told to camp in military divisions with his own tribe, with each tribe assuming an assigned position around the Tabernacle.  The Levites are assigned to be attendants to the priests, and the priests are given sole responsibility for performing the rituals of the sanctuary.  All of this takes place around the foot of Mount Sinai.

In the wilderness near the mountain, G-d tells Moses to perform a census of the Levite males from the age of one month.  Their total was 22,000.  In lieu of  G-d possessing the firstborn among the Israelites, the levites are now pledged to divine service.  There follows a second census of the Levites, this time numbering those between the ages of thirty and fifty, for the purpose of determining the workforce available to transport the Tabernacle through the wilderness.

Edited by Aish HaTorah

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There is much that can be pulled out of B'midbar, but let me take a stab at something that really struck me this week...

The Book of Numbers begins, as I mentioned in the previous post, with a series of census counts that seek to establish the number of adult males, the number of Levites, and the number of kohanim (priests) among the people of Israel.  The endless list of random names often drives many to intense boredom!  Tears flow, teeth are gnashed, hair is pulled from its roots.  As a rabbi, it is sometimes frustrating to find some hook to make these lengthy Torah passages seem worthwhile to anyone brave enough to explore this seemingly tedious portion of Scripture.  Columns of numbers may interest accountants, but the rest of us may strain to experience either spiritual or moral resolve in a census of who was who in ancient Israel.

Yet, we return to these verses every year.  Surely there must be a reason why the Torah includes them!  Normally terse and laconic, the Torah must have a rationale for the recitation of this tedium.  Why this attention to so many numbers?  Rashi has a moving explanation.  The concern for counting each individual, says he, reflects G-d's intense love for each of His children, "Because they are cherished before G-d, they are counted at every occasion."  Each and every one is counted, for in G-d's light, each and every individual is unique and precious in His sight.

It hearkens to the Sh'ma..."Hear, O Israel, the L-rd Our G-d, the L-rd is One."  We know we are to love G-d and to love our neighbor.  And our neighbor is everyone around us, both near and far.

Humanity is made in G-d's image; an inability to love each of His children thus constitutes hatred of an aspect of G-d as well.  May we learn to see each and every individual through the eyes of the Almighty, blessed be He!  May we resolve to cultivate our own ability to love precisely where we find love most difficult.

Be blessed, my friends.  Shalom, shalom.

Edited by Aish HaTorah

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On 6/3/2019 at 7:25 PM, Aish HaTorah said:

I thought it may be of some interest if I start a thread to discuss each week's parsha.

 

😐

 

So...what is a parsha, you may be asking?  Jewish people have a deep and abiding love for the Torah, and, over time, the entirety of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) have been divided into sections so as to render the readings in such a way that the entire Torah is read through in its entirety each year.  There are fifty-four parashiot (plural) that are read during the course of a year.  Each Torah portion (or parsha) is named.  The name usually is a word or words that are found in the first line of any given week's Torah portion.  The origins of public Torah readings can be found in the Book of Nehemiah.

I think it may be of interest to some to share the basic outline of the parsha for each week and then share a word or two (or more) about the reading from a rabbi's perspective.  I would be fascinated and much obliged to hear your thoughts from a non-Jewish point of view on any given parsha.

I should also mention that the parsha does not fall on the same week each year as it is based on the Hebrew calendar and not the Gregorian.

I will begin this week's parsha commentary in another post within this thread.  Please feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have!  As always, I pray that the Almighty, blessed be He, grant you His perfect shalom.  Be well, my friends.

Rabbi Johathan Cahn

has explained how some pretty astonishing weekly or daily Parsha's were being read while.......

Mark Twain was visiting the Holy Land........

at the time of the taking of Jerusalem by the IDF back in 1967......

and at other pretty amazing events in the history of Israel.

 

 

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