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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Bamidbar

The Power of Love To Conquer Hatred

by Rabbi Avi Weiss Posted 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 Weiss Posted 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 Weiss Posted 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 Weiss Posted 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 Weiss Posted 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 Weiss Posted 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 Weiss Posted 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.…

The Enormous Importance of the Spiritual Consciousness

by Rabbi Avi Weiss Posted on May 19, 2016

In this week’s parsha, God tells Moshe (Moses) that a person (ish) who is impure because of contact with a dead body (tameh lanefesh) or too far away from Jerusalem (derekh rehoka) is given a second chance to eat the paschal lamb (Numbers 9:10-11).…

Looking Back to Move Forward

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on July 15, 2015

After forty years of wandering through the wilderness, the Children of Israel arrive at the Plains of Moab. The Promised Land is so close they can almost taste it, and most of Parashat Masei is devoted to what awaits them on the other side of the Jordan.…

Truth in the Way of Peace

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on July 8, 2015

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 and, acting in the name of God, picks up the nearest available weapon and violently slays the sinner. …

Believing is Seeing

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on July 1, 2015

The Rabbis tell us in Pirkei Avot (5:22) “Whoever has….an ayin tova, a good eye….is a student of Avraham; whoever has an ayin ra’ah, a bad eye….is a student of Balaam.” Avraham sees well, whereas Balaam sees poorly. How so? On the face of it, the stories of Avraham and Balaam are parallel.…

Leadership for Self-Reliance

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on June 25, 2015

Transitions are hard. As the period of wandering in the desert begins to draw to a close, Bnei Yisrael encounter many changes and they anticipate many more. Their leaders begin to die: Miriam and Aharon both die in this week’s parasha, and Moshe will pass away a few months hence.…