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

    From Chabad.org: G‑d causes a wind to sweep in huge numbers of quail from the sea. The people gathered piles of quail and started enjoying meat. Those who ate gluttonously died in a plague. Miriam, Moses’ sister, spoke negatively of Moses’ decision to become celibate. G‑d was highly displeased by this talk against His servant, and Miriam was stricken with tzara’at (“leprosy”) for one week.

    Once again we see actions personally justified that were wrong. Miriam spoke negatively about her brother, and while she felt justified, her actions/words were inappropriate, and she was punished. There’s a step between thought and action that seems to be the theme of this and the last Aliya. The thought might be true and accurate, but there needs to be a clear and objective thought process that leads to any action. If you feel Moshe is doing something wrong, think about how to best deal with that. Although her actions correlated to her thought, it was inappropriate. So she learned her lesson, as did the Jews, as should we. When we feel strongly about something, the actions caused by that idea or ideal needs to be objectively correlated and proper.

  • Daily Aliya for Beha’alotecha, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: No sooner than the Jews start traveling, and they start complaining. First they complain about the “arduous” journey. Then they grumble about the manna, expressing their desire for meat. Moses turns to G‑d and insists that he cannot bear his leadership role any longer. G‑d tells Moses to gather seventy elders who will assist him in his leadership duties. He also promises to provide the Jews with an abundance of meat — “until it will come out of their noses…” Moses gathers seventy elders and brings them to the Tabernacle where his holy spirit is imparted upon them. Two additional elders, Eldad and Medad, remain in the camp, and the holy spirit descends upon them, too, and they prophesy as well. Joshua is displeased by this, and Moses placates him.

    This Aliya is especially troublesome because it contains the Jews’ unfounded complaints to G-d. They complained that they didn’t have meat (although they had plenty of cattle), they suddenly had the urge for some cucumbers, watermelons, leeks, onions and garlic. How random were these sudden urges, and where did they come from? Sifri explains that these vegetables were thought to be bad for nursing mothers, so the Manna that could taste like anything they wanted did not taste like any of these. And why the sudden complaints? This shows the power of reality, of how we can create our own issues and then blame someone else for it. The Jews were looking for something to complain about, and found these silly things. Are we any different? Do we complain about things in our lives (to whomever will listen)? Maybe reading a story like this will make us realize just how silly some complaints really are.

  • Parsha for Berashit 5770 (1st Aliyah)

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  • 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.

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