• Daily Aliya for Beha’alotecha, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: Nearly one year after the Jews arrived at Mount Sinai, the cloud rises from the Tabernacle, signaling their impending departure. The Tabernacle was dismantled and they traveled in formation as outlined on last week’s Torah reading. Moses pleads with his father-in-law Jethro to join them on their journey to the Land of Israel.

    This is a very exciting Aliya because it’s the first time that the nation actually moved in the formation described previously. Everyone had their role, from Yehuda leading the way, to the Levi’im taking apart the Mishkan and putting it back together as soon as they got to where they were going. And even the tribe bringing up the rear, Dan, had a job. As the Talmud explains, their job was to pickup lost objects from the ground and return it to those that lost it. Even being a Lost and Found is an important task!

  • Daily Aliya for Beha’alotecha, Revi’i (4th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: From the day the Tabernacle was erected, it was covered by a cloud during the day, and a fire by night. When the cloud lifted, this signaled G‑d’s wish that the Jews should journey onwards — following the cloud until it came to rest in a new location of G‑d’s choosing. In some cases the Jews only stayed overnight in a particular location before the sign came for them to depart again, and on other occasions they would stay in one place for many years. This section then discusses Moses’ two silver trumpets. These trumpets were used for several purposes: 1) To assemble the nation or its leaders. 2) To signal the beginning of a journey. 3) The trumpets were blown when the Jews went to battle. 4) The trumpets were sounded when certain communal sacrifices were offered in the Tabernacle.

    Silver trumpets, that’s a twist! Besides understanding the different sounds representing different instructions for the Jews (set up camp, pack up camp, meeting with Moshe, etc), which itself is curious and probably has deeper meanings, there’s the overarching question of trumpets in the first place. Luckily the Torah gives us a hint to the answer right away, as the very next instruction is for when the Jews go into battle, that they blow the same trumpets, and will thereby be successful. It could be that the trumpets conjure up memories of G-d taking care of us, and memories of us following instructions for so many years in the desert. The merits of both might help put things in perspective right before going out in battle.

  • Daily Aliya for Beha’alotecha, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: On the first anniversary of the Exodus, the Jews are instructed to bring the Pesach Offering. Certain individuals, however, couldn’t participate because they were ritually impure. These people lodged a complaint, which Moses then transmitted to G‑d. G‑d responds by designating a “Second Passover” to be observed exactly one month later. Anyone who could not offer the Pesach Offering in its proper time must do so on the Second Passover. G‑d then informs Moses the laws of the Second Passover.

    Typically the Torah introduces things by saying “G-d spoke to Moshe to relay the following…”. However, in this instance the Torah relates that some people came to “complain” that they were unclean and couldn’t offer the Pesach offering, and didn’t want to be excluded. So Moshe asked G-d what to do, and G-d implemented the Second Pesach. The Sifri explains that it was in the merit of those who felt cheated that they were mentioned in the Torah, because they felt neglected for not being able to perform a single Mitzvah. Obviously great desire to emulate.

  • Daily Aliya for Beha’alotecha , Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: The exact prescribed initiation procedure is followed, and the Levites are consecrated to G‑d — in stead of the firstborn who lost their hallowed status when they participated in the sin of the Golden Calf. Towards the end of this section we learn the Levite service age-requirements and retirement age.

     As a music lover, I have to point out the Passuk that explains that the Levi’im will do the work because they are “netunim netunim”, or “given given” to G-d as a replacement for the first-born. The Medrash explains why double language was used here, because the Levites were given to do the work, and given to sing. Apparently singing is so important that it had to be mentioned separately. It is known that music has a power to elevate souls higher than words, but the fact that G-d appreciates it as much is even more satisfying.

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Shvi’i (7th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: The gifts of all the leaders are added up and the totals given. The last verse describes how G‑d would talk to Moses, His voice emanating from between the two Cherubs atop the Holy Ark.

  • Daily Aliya for Beha’alotecha, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: In this week’s Torah reading, Beha’alotecha, G‑d instructs Aaron concerning the Tabernacle Menorah lighting. The Levites are initiated into the Tabernacle service. The “Second Passover” is instituted. At G‑d’s behest, Moses makes two trumpets, and is instructed how and when to use them. The Israelites leave Mount Sinai, and proceed towards the Land of Canaan. The people unreasonably complain about their “frugal” manna diet and receive a meat supplement, albeit with tragic results. Moses appoints seventy elders to assist him in bearing the burden of the people. Miriam speaks negatively about Moses and is punished with tzara’at (a skin disease).

    In the first Aliya G‑d commands Aaron to light the golden Tabernacle Menorah on a daily basis. Moses is then commanded to initiate the Levites into Tabernacle service. This inauguration procedure included shaving their bodies, immersion in a mikvah, and the offering of certain sacrifices.

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: This section continues the descriptions of the tribal leaders’ gifts.

    What’s interesting here is that all the descriptions are identical, and the Torah could have saved a lot of words by just combining them. Yet it chose to list each separately. You could learn the concept of validation, importance of recognizing everyone that’s contributed individually, by name. That lesson is especially relevant to children, and even more so to spouses. Recognize everyone in your life’s contributions, individually.

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: On the day when the Tabernacle was inaugurated, the tribal leaders wished to bring inauguration gifts. Collectively they brought six covered wagons and twelve oxen to assist in transporting the Tabernacle when the Jews traveled. In addition, as representative of their respective tribes, they wished to offer individual gifts and offering. G‑d instructed Moses to accept these gifts, and that on each the following twelve days one of the leaders should bring his individual gifts. Although each leader brought identical gifts, the Torah describes each one individually.

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Revi’i (4th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: This rather lengthy Aliya contains three concepts: 1) The ceremony for the sotah, a suspected adulteress who was witnessed going into seclusion with another man–despite being warned not to associate with that individual. The woman is brought to the Temple. This section of the Torah is written on parchment and then soaked in water until the ink dissolves. The woman drinks the water. If she indeed willingly committed adultery, her belly miraculously swells and she dies a gruesome death. If she is unharmed by the waters, she is cleared of any suspicion. 2) The laws of the individual who vows to be a Nazirite. Such a person must abstain from wine and grape products, allow his/her hair to grow, and may not come in contact with a human corpse. At the conclusion of the term of the vow, the Nazirite brings certain offerings in the Temple. 3) The priestly blessings.

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: Now that G‑d’s presence graces the Tabernacle, G‑d instructs the Jewish people to banish certain ritually impure individuals from their encampments. Most of them were only barred from entering the Tabernacle area and its immediate environs. Only one who suffered from tzara’at (“leprosy”) was sent out of the general encampment. This section then discusses the restitution and Temple sacrifice required of one who robs his fellow and then falsely swears to maintain his innocence. If one robs a convert who then dies without leaving any heirs, the restitution is made to a priest. Also included in this section is the mitzvah to verbally confess one’s sins, and a person’s right to select a priest of his liking to whom to give the various required priestly gifts.

    The concept of “Viduy”, or verbal confession, is a powerful tool used by many, and for different reasons. Sales pitches often include not only visualizing success, but physically writing something down, making it a more tangible goal, literally. Speaking out sins has a similar effect, for it makes it more difficult to mentally block us from denying those actions from having ever happened, helps us admit that it was wrong, so we can move on and correct those actions. Emotional therapy, support groups, and even schools base much of what they do on this concept, and it all started in the Torah!

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