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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Bamidbar

Spymasters: The Haftorah of Parshat Shelach

by Rabbi Nathaniel HelfgotPosted on July 5, 2016

Joshua Ch. 2 is the middle of a section of a larger unit (Ch. 1-4) that makes up the first part of the book of Joshua. In a word, this first unit of four chapters can be entitled: The Narrative of the Entry of Israel into the Land.…

The Great Significance of the Smallest Book of the Torah

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 25, 2016

The words we recite when taking the Torah from the Ark are found in this week’s portion. “And it came to pass, when the Ark set forward, that Moshe (Moses) said ‘rise up O Lord and let Your enemies be scattered; and let them that hate You flee before You'” (Numbers 10:35).…

The Gift of Opportunity is Not Limitless

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 25, 2016

A glimpse at the narrative in the book of Numbers reveals an almost parallel pattern of events to that which occurred to the Jews after their leaving Egypt. In Numbers, the Jews began to murmur that they did not have meat to eat (Numbers 11:4).…

The Makings of a Successful Rabbi

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 25, 2016

From the time that Moshe (Moses) comes on the scene, he is under attack. As he breaks up a fight between Jews while still in Egypt, one turns to him and says, “who made you a ruler and judge over us?” (Exodus 2:14).…

Keeping The Ego In Check

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 25, 2016

In parshat Chukat Moses is told that he would not enter Israel because he hit the rock instead of speaking to it. Immediately afterwards, Moses sends a delegation to Edom asking that the Jewish people be allowed to go through his territory on their way to Israel (Numbers 20:14).…

The Power of Love To Conquer Hatred

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 25, 2016

Could it be that Bilaam, the gentile prophet, saddled his own animal when he set forth to curse the Jews? (Numbers 22:21). For someone of his stature, a prophet, it certainly seems beneath his dignity. Ibn Ezra, who is known for his literal readings of the Torah goes against his usual trend and offers a non-literal interpretation.…

The Limitations of the Human Mind

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 21, 2016

There are differing opinions concerning the meaning of “chok” (commonly translated as statute), the type of law discussed at the beginning of Chukat (Numbers 19). Some maintain that “hook” is a law that although not understood today, one day in the future will be understood.…

Children Should Not Be Punished for the Sins of Their Parents

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 21, 2016

In this week’s portion, Balak King of Moab hires Bilaam to curse Israel (Numbers 22:5,6). A review of the history of Moab’s relationship with Israel reveals a terrible decline that in this portion reaches one of its lowest points. Moab is a descendant of Lot.…

The Power in Stepping Back

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 21, 2016

One way that people attempt to attain transcendence is by guiding their children on the path they began. Even Moshe (Moses), who was first and foremost committed to the nation of Israel and was the most humble of men, was hopeful that his own children would complete the mission he started and lead the people into Israel.…

One Action Can Make All of the Difference

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 21, 2016

In this week’s portion, Moshe (Moses) gives to the tribe of Reuven, the tribe of Gad and half of the tribe of Menasseh the entire Kingdom of Og, ruler of Bashan (Numbers 32:33). Interestingly, just before Moshe and the Israelites conquered the land of Bashan, the Torah records that God tells Moshe “fear him [Og] not” (Numbers 21:34).…

The Value of Living in the Land of Israel

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 21, 2016

The portion of Masei includes the sentence that speaks to the commandment of living in Israel. The key phrase is “and you shall take possession of the land and dwell therein” (Numbers 33:53). Rashi is of the opinion that this sentence does not constitute a command to live in Israel.…

Redeeming the Firstborn as an Opportunity for Spiritual Commitment

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 19, 2016

The Torah, in parshat Bamidbar, alludes to the redemption of the first born son (Numbers 3:40-51). Originally, the eldest son in each family was designated to serve in the Temple. After the eldest in the family faltered by participating in the sin of the golden calf, the Temple work was transferred to the tribe of Levi, which was not involved in the sin.…