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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Bamidbar

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.…

Truth AND Peace

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on June 17, 2015

Parashat Korach is not just about rebels; it also affords us a look at different models of leadership. Both Moshe and Aharon are attacked. The latter remains markedly silent during the confrontation while Moshe defends both his position and his brother’s.…

A Leadership of Faith, Not Fear

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on June 11, 2015

Parashat Shelach is as much a story of leaders as of the people. It is a story of leaders both poor and good. The poor leaders-ten of the twelve spies-saw the challenges that confronted them in the land of Canaan and ran: “We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we” (Bamidbar, 13:31).…

Giving Torah Meaning

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on June 4, 2015

After the camps are arranged around the Mishkan in Parashiyot Bamidbar and Nasso, the camp moves forward, beginning its trek through the desert in Parashat Behaalotecha. At the onset of the journey, two verses are set off from the rest of the text: “va’yehi binsoa ha’aron,” “And it was when the Ark would journey…,” and “u’vinukho yomar,” “And when it rested, he said…” (Bamidbar, 10:35-36). These two verses, which we repeat every time we take and return the Torah to and from the aron in shul, are set off from the Torah by two inverted Hebrew letters, two nuns.…

Selfish and Selfless Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 28, 2015

The book of Bamidbar begins with the organizing of the Israelite camp with the mishkan at its center. In Parashat Naso, the Torah now turns to what it means to be outside the mishkan, to be in the camp, and to continue to orient oneself to God’s presence.…