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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Bamidbar

The “Tentacles” of Sefer Shemot in Vayikra, Bamidbar, and Devarim

by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag Posted on October 21, 2016

Words that Create Worlds

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 15, 2016

Words have power. They can cut deep, creating lasting scars in one’s psyche, or they can comfort, console, encourage, and inspire. Words can also convince and persuade when used in a cogent argument, as when the daughters of Tzelafchad approached Moshe to voice their claim of inheritance over their father’s land in last week’s parasha.…

Pinchas: Zealot-Prelate or Priest of Peace?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 15, 2016

Parashat Pinchas has much to say about zealotry and peace, and the messages certainly remain worthy of examination today. Consider the following situation: A religious zealot witnesses a person flagrantly violating religious standards of behavior. Acting in the name of God, she picks up the nearest available weapon and violently slays the sinner.…

Oh, Say Can You See?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 15, 2016

Speech is central in the story of Balak and Balaam, from Balaam’s blessings to the talking donkey. But as much as this parasha is about talking, it is also about seeing. “And Balak the son of Beor saw, va’yar, all that Israel had done to the Amorites.” (Bamidbar 22:2).…

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 15, 2016

Much ink has been spilled by the commentators—classical and contemporary—to explain Moshe and Aharon’s sin of smiting the rock, but the matter remains quite opaque. Greater clarity can be gained by comparing the story of the smiting of the rock in our parasha with the hitting of the rock in Parashat Beshalach.…

Being Holy or Becoming Holy

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 15, 2016

As published in the Jerusalem Report, July 11, 2016 Is kedusha, holiness, a good thing or a bad thing? Certainly, in its privileged and particularist expressions it can lead to conflict, discord, war and violence. Fights over who has rights to sacred ground, which religion is holy and whose scripture is sacred have plagued us for centuries and have been the cause of immeasurable loss of life.…

It’s Good Because I Say So

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 15, 2016

The story of the spies returning with their evil report is well known, but the reason they were punished is not commonly understood. What did they do wrong? They reported what they saw accurately. Ramban suggests an answer. The key, he says, is in their use of the word efes, “however”: “However, the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great” (Bamidbar 13:28). Ramban says that efes means “nothing” here (it later came to mean “zero”): “Their wickedness was in their use of the word efes, which indicates that the matter is completely impossible” (Ramban on verse 27).…

Holy War

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 15, 2016

Now in the third parasha of Bamidbar, the Children of Israel have not moved since the middle of Shemot. God has descended upon Mount Sinai, proclaimed the Ten Commandments, laid the civil laws before all, and commanded the building of the Mishkan and its attendant laws.…

And Moses Struck the Rock

by Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot
Posted on July 5, 2016

The failure of Moses to lead the Jewish people into the promised land constitutes a central tragedy of the second half of the book of Numbers and the book of Deuteronomy. The ambiguous circumstances surrounding both his loss of the reins of leadership and his disqualification from entry into the land add to the reader’s sense of frustration and wonder.…

Spymasters: The Haftorah of Parshat Shelach

by Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot
Posted 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 Weiss
Posted 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 Weiss
Posted 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).…