Weekly Reading Insights: Beha'alotcha 5766

Overview of the Weekly Reading: Beha'alotcha (in Israel)
Naso outside Israel

To be read on 14 Sivan 5766 (June 10)

Torah: Numbers 8:1-12:16
Haftorah: Zachariah 2:14-4:7

Pirkei Avot: Chapter 2 in Israel (Chapter 1 outside of Israel)

Beha'alotcha is the 3rd Reading out of 10 in Numbers and 36th overall, and 10th out of 54 in overall length

Beha’alotecha opens with the command to Aharon to light the menorah, followed by the inauguration and qualifications of the Levites’ Divine service. Then, G-d’s command to the Jews to observe Passover. Those who were impure through contact with a dead body (and therefore forbidden to offer the Passover sacrifice) were granted another chance to offer the Pascal lamb exactly one month after Passover. This day is known as ‘Pesach Sheni’—second Passover. The next section describes how a cloud resided above the Tabernacle and signaled when the Jews were to journey and when to encamp. The marching order of the tribes in the Jews’ desert journeys is described. At this point, Chovev (a.k.a. Yisro, Moshe’s father-in-law) leaves the Jews and goes back to his homeland to bring his relatives to Judaism. Next, we encounter the famous verse we recite each time we take out the Torah from the ark, about how the ark with tablets would go forth before the Jews during their desert travels. Then, the Jews began complaining about G-d. The first time, G-d punishes them with a fire which consumes many Jews until Moshe prays for the fire to stop. Then, the Jews complain that they miss foods they had in Egypt and about the mannah. To this, G-d promises an over-abundance of meat, but when it comes and the camp is covered with quail, those who complained were punished and died whilst consuming their improper desire. The parsha ends with Miriam speaking slightly negatively of Moshe to their brother, Aharon. Subsequently, they were rebuked by G-d, and Miriam was stricken with tzara’as (“leprosy”). The Jews wait for her to heal and only then journey forward.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:3666/Beha'alotcha)

Now you can understand why the narratives of the Torah are only the outer clothing of the Torah. Whoever thinks that this outer clothing is in fact the Torah and there is nothing underneath the clothing is spiritually backward and has no portion in the World to Come. So it was that King David begged, "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things in Your Torah." (Psalms 18:119)

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:3666/Beha'alotcha)

G-d then told them that the reason [Moses would not be entering the Land] was indeed because of his preeminence, in accordance with the explanation given in the Zohar. As for their argument that "has He not spoken to us, too", G-d told them that it is faulty. For, "If there be a prophet among you, [I, G-d, will make Myself known to him in a vision; I will speak to him in a dream.] This is not so with My servant Moses; [he is faithful throughout My household. With him I speak mouth to mouth; unambiguously, without riddles, so he beholds the image of G-d. So why were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?]" (Num. 12:6-8) [In other words,] he alone is "the face of the sun", and therefore will not enter the Land, which is referred to mystically as the "holy moon".

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From Rabbi Moshe Alshich (O:3666/Beha'alotcha)

Just as the Menorah was fashioned from a single chunk of gold, not a composite of various sections, so Aaron understood that his function was to create a unity here on earth that would parallel the unity in Heaven, described by the reference to "the seven lights". This he was to do by means of kindling the Menorah.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for behold I come, and I will dwell in your midst, says the L-rd." (from the haftorah, Zech. 2:14)
Our Sages taught that the Divine Presence only rests upon someone who is joyful. G-d therefore advises the Jewish people to rejoice, as preparation for His presence among them.
(Tzavarei Shalal)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:3666/Beha'alotcha)

"For behold, I will bring My servant Tzemach." (literally "Branch") (from the haftorah, Zech. 3:8)
Why is Mashiach referred to by this name? To emphasize that even though it may seem as if the branches of the royal House of David have been cut off, the "root" still exists, and when the proper time arrives, Mashiach, a descendent of King David, will be revealed. In the same way that a root can lie dormant and concealed for many years, yet germinate and develop into an entire tree under the right conditions, so too will Mashiach arise to redeem the Jewish people when G-d determines the right time has come.

(Malbim) (from LChaim #672)

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:3666/Beha'alotcha)

In honor of the wedding of Chana-Shira (Leiter) and Yeshaya Morantz,
11 Sivan 5766

In this week's Torah reading we encounter the famous verse we recite whenever we take out the Torah from the ark: "And when the ark [of the covenant] would travel, Moses would say, 'Arise, G-d, and disperse Your enemies, and may Your haters run away from before You'" (Num. 10:35). Moses prayed that while the Jews traveled in the desert, their enemies should not harm them. If so, then why did Moses say "Your [G-d's] enemies" and "Your haters", as opposed to "our"? Rashi explains that "anyone who hates the people of Israel, hates the One Who spoke and the world came into being". In other words, someone who hates the Jewish people, hates G-d.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe differentiates between the "enemies" and "haters". An enemy is one who fights against others and sees them as his or her opponent. However, many times this animosity is a reaction to suspicions felt or perhaps a desire to protect oneself.

The second category, "haters", is much worse. Hatred is something that flows from the core of a person. Not only does this type of person fight his or her opponents, he or she constantly seeks to annoy and hurt them. We see this clearly from another verse where these two types are again mentioned as a punishment for the Jews: "Your enemies will defeat you, and your haters will tyrannize you" (Num. 26:17). Tyranny is worse than defeat.

Why are the people who hate the Jews also considered as "hating G-d" and why is it important to me? This is because the Jews are known as G-d's people, "the chosen of the nations" (Ex. 19:5). For this reason anyone who hurts the Jews is knowingly, albeit in some cases subliminally, making G-d his or her enemy. This connection between G-d and the Jewish people is also for our benefit and defense. The fact that the nations may hate us is a reflection of our declining spiritual status. If we would each work on our divine service, every Jew according to his or her level, this will directly protect us from danger.

Unbeknownst to the nations, only our faults render us vulnerable. Therefore, in his prayer, Moses (skirted the issue and) chose to emphasize that those who hate Israel hate G-d, inferring that the haters are not reacting to the Jew's spiritual standing, but rather responding to their hate of G-d. Moses says "Arise, G d" - as if to say, "Know that these nations are not interested in the Jews' spiritual perfection; they know that the Jews are Your people, and that is the reason they wish to antagonize us. If they succeed, it will be a desecration of Your Name!"

Moses made it a non-negotiable issue. How well the Jews do or do not perform in their divine service becomes irrelevant. The protection of the Jews and the sanctity of G-d's Name become paramount. In a similar way, let us pray to G-d, imploring Him to end this long and bitter exile.

Enough is enough. May we merit Mashiach now.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.

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