TORAH TIDBIT

Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David.
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot

Chukat – Balak (Numbers 19:1−22:1, 22:2−25:9)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Chukat – Balak (Numbers 19:1−22:1, 22:2−25:9)

Our Haftorah is from Micah. The following verse is part of the beautiful tapestry that hangs in front of the Waller Chapel at The Temple:

“God has told you, human being, what is good:
and what does Adonai demand from you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God”

(Micah 6: 8)

Micah is answering the people that claim that they are following what God demands from us. They are keeping all the rituals and observing all the cultic parts of our tradition.

Micah tells us that Adonai demands more than that from us! Adonai, first and foremost, wants us to behave with Justice, compassion, and mercy towards our fellow humans.

Parsha Chukat – Balak Summary:

The laws of the red heifer to purify a person who has had contact with a corpse are given. (19:1-22) The people arrive at the wilderness of Zin. Miriam dies and is buried there. (20:1) The people complain that they have no water. Moses strikes the rock to get water for them. God tells Moses and Aaron they will not enter the Land of Israel. (20:2-13) The king of Edom refuses to let the Children of Israel pass through his land. After Aaron’s priestly garments are given to his son Eleazer, Aaron dies. (20:14-29) After they are punished for complaining about the lack of bread and water, the Israelites repent and are victorious in battle against the Amorites and the people of Bashan, whose lands they capture. (21:4-22:1) Balak, the king of Moab, persuades the prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites so that he can defeat them and drive them out of the region. However, Balaam blesses the Children of Israel instead and prophesies that Israel’s enemies will be defeated. (22:2-24:25) God punishes the Israelites with a plague for consorting with the Moabite women and their god. The plague is stayed after Pinchas kills an Israelite man and his Midianite woman. (25:1-9)
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot

Korach (Numbers 16:1−18:32)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Korach (Numbers 16:1−18:32)

“And Korach took…” (Numbers 16:1)

What did Korach take?

This week’s Torah Portion opens with a sentence that seems grammatically incorrect. It is missing the object of the sentence. “Korach” is the subject of the sentence, “took” is the verb, and the object, the thing Korach took, well that is simply missing.

So, what did Korach take?

From the rest of this story we know that Korach led 250 of the elders of Israel in a revolt against Moses and Aaron. Korach took it upon himself, to claim leadership of the Children of Israel. Korach took the position that since was of the tribe of Levi, he had the same lineage as Moses and Aaron, and the same right to lead. Korach took with him 250 leaders of the people who supported him in this revolt. Then Korach and his followers took the sacred fire pans of the tabernacle and offered up an incense offering unto God.

And God was incensed, that Korach would take all this just to elevate himself, to gain power over the Children of Israel, and to rebel against God’s chosen leaders: Moses and Aaron. So God said: “Take this,” and the earth opened up and swallowed Korach and all of his followers.

It is a strange tale which begins with a strangely missing word, but the lesson of Korach seems clear: Power and leadership are not simply there for the taking – they must be earned, and they must be shared – for the good of all the people, and in the service of the God of us all.

Parsha Summary:

K and his followers, Dathan and Abiram, lead a rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God punishes the rebels by burying them and their families alive. Once again, God brings a plague on the people. (16:1-17:15) The chief of each tribe deposits his staff inside the Tent of Meeting. Aaron’s staff brings forth sprouts, produces blossoms, and bears almonds. (17:16-26) The Kohanim and Levites are established and assigned the responsibility of managing the donations to the Sanctuary. All of the firstborn offerings shall go to the priests and all the tithes are designated for the Levites in return for the services they perform. (18:1-32)

Parsha Summary:

K and his followers, Dathan and Abiram, lead a rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God punishes the rebels by burying them and their families alive. Once again, God brings a plague on the people. (16:1-17:15) The chief of each tribe deposits his staff inside the Tent of Meeting. Aaron’s staff brings forth sprouts, produces blossoms, and bears almonds. (17:16-26) The Kohanim and Levites are established and assigned the responsibility of managing the donations to the Sanctuary. All of the firstborn offerings shall go to the priests and all the tithes are designated for the Levites in return for the services they perform. (18:1-32)
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot

Shelach Lecha (Numbers 13:1−15:41)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Shelach Lecha (Numbers 13:1−15:41)

In this week’s Torah portion Shelach Lecha Moses sends forth scouts to search out the Promised Land and bring back a report. They return and say it is a good and bountiful land, but they fear that they will be unable to conquer and possess it. 

“We saw giants there — the Anakites are like giants — and we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them” (Num. 13:33). 

But here is the question: The spies know how they look to themselves, small and weak, but how do they know what the looked like to the people of the land?

The rabbis struggle with that until one comes upon this verse from Proverbs 27:19 — “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of a person reflects the person.” And The mystical Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508–1593) observes: “Because the hearts are as mirrors.”

How we see others is a reflection not so much of them, but of ourselves. When we view another human being as somehow “other,” somehow less than the image of God which is found within us all, it diminishes that spark of the Divine not in them but in ourselves. 

We are all the children of the living God, when we see that reflection of God in everyone we meet we truly become a holy people and a light unto the nations of the world. 

Shelach Lecha Summary:

Moses sends twelve spies to the Land of Israel to report on the inhabitants and the country. Despite the positive report of Joshua and Caleb, the people are frightened. (13:1–14:10) God threatens to wipe out the Children of Israel but relents when Moses intercedes on their behalf. To punish the people, God announces that all those who left Egypt would not enter the Land of Israel except for Joshua and Caleb. (14:11–45) Moses instructs the Israelites regarding setting aside challah, the observance of the Sabbath, how to treat strangers, and the laws of tzitzit. (15:1–41)
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot

B’haalot’cha (Numbers 8:1−12:16)

This Week’s Torah Portion: B’haalot’cha (Numbers 8:1−12:16)

Hidden within this week’s Torah portion, B’haalot’cha, lies a tiny blessing set apart in a way found nowhere else in the Torah. Bracketed on either side by two upside down Hebrew-letter nuns we find a tiny, two verse prayer that asks God for help in overcoming the obstacles we face along our journey through the wilderness in search of our Promised Land. It reads:

As the Ark journeyed forth, Moses would say:
“Rise up Adonai, let Your enemies scatter, and Your foes flee before You!”

And when the Ark came to rest, he would say:
“Come back Adonai to Israels teeming myriads.”
(Numbers 10:35-36)

We say just such a prayer in our prayerbook still today. It reads:

Standing on the parted shores of history
we still believe what we were taught
before ever we stood at Sinai’s foot;

that wherever we go, it is eternally Egypt
that there is a better place, a promised land;
that the winding way to that promise
passes through the wilderness.

That there is no way to get from here to there
except by joining hands and marching
together.

May we travel forth in safety on our journey to the promised land, May we settle their together in a world of justice and of peace.

B’haalot’cha Summary:

God speaks to Moses, describing the menorah for the Tent of Meeting. The Levites are appointed to serve as assistants under Aaron and his sons. (8:1-26) Those who are unable to celebrate Passover during Nisan are given a time in the month of Sivan to observe a “second Passover.” (9:1-14) A cloud by day and fire by night show God’s Presence over the Tabernacle. When the cloud lifts from the Tabernacle, the people leave Sinai, setting out on their journey, tribe by tribe. (9:15-10:36) The Israelites complain about the lack of meat, and Moses becomes frustrated. God tells him to appoint a council of elders. God provides the people with meat and then strikes them with a very severe plague. (11:1-34) Miriam and Aaron talk about the “Cushite woman” whom Moses has married. In addition, they complain that God speaks not only through Moses but also through them. Miriam is struck with leprosy, and Moses begs God to heal her. After her recovery, the people resume their journey. (12:1-16)

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