Matot - weekly Torah portion

We are now in the period known as The Three Weeks, that occur between the 17th day of Tamuz and the 9th of Av. A mourning period of an era seemingly bygone. When the question is asked why Jerusalem was destroyed the answer is “Jerusalem was destroyed on account of Ka,sa and Bar Kamsa”. The story goes that a person insulted Bar Kamsa who was invited by mistake to a dinner at his place instead of inviting Kamsa. Despite the pleadings of Bar Kamsa not to be insulted and removed from the dinner, the man insists that he has to leave the place. Bar Kamsa was deeply insulted not so much because of the man who wanted him to leave but on account of the sages who sat there and did not protest the act,

Pinchas - weekly Torah portion

Judaism is quite content with the challenging of known laws and when necessary these laws can be changed. Five women, “Mahlah, Noah and Hoglah and Milcah and Tirzah” stood before Moses and do exactly that. Their father, “Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph” dies in the wilderness and according to the inheritance laws that could not enjoy the inheritance as he had no sons. They dispute this arguing, “Why should the name of our father be withdrawn from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.” Moses does not have a ready answer for them as this is

Balak - weekly Torah portion

I am confident that in our crowd everyone knows the story of Balaam who is summoned to Balak the son of Zippor, the king of Moab. Balak was very concerned from what has already happened to his neighbors and had to find a solution to this problem. So, what is better than calling for a master sorcerer, a diviner, and ask him, “please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed”? Demanding a little and flattering a lot have always worked. Initially, by God’s instructions, Balaam refuses to join the messengers who called upon him.

Chukat - weekly Torah portion

Miriam dies, is buried and the water expires. “The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, ‘If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord! Why then have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here? Why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink.’” It is not the first time that the Israelites complain and not the first time that a solution to the problem is offered, even without threating the people with all kinds of peculiar deaths. The “Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Take the rod; and you and you

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