Thursday, July 10, 2014 Tammuz 12, 5774

BALAK, Numbers 22:2-25:9
By:
Rabbi Joshua Runyan
This week's portion contains one of the Torah's more humorous episodes, describing the headstrong actions of a pagan prophet and his talking donkey. Alarmed at the Israelites' victories against the Amorites, King Balak of Moab sends for the prophet Balaam to curse the intruders. But the Almighty instructs Balaam that cursing Israel would be impossible. Only when Balak ups the...
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HUKKAT, Numbers 19:1-22:1
By:
Rabbi Danielle Stillman
Miriam's death is reported in this week's parshah, Hukkat, and in the very next verse, we learn that the people are without water. Rashi notes that, during the 40 years the people were in the desert, they had access to wells because of Miriam's merit. Indeed, legend has it that Miriam's well accompanied the people from place to place as...
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KORAH, Numbers 16:118:32
By:
Joshua Runyan
If you're looking for a tale of pride, deception and unbridled self-interest, along with the imagery befitting a Hollywood film, it's hard to do better than this week's Torah portion. It has it all: An ambitious upstart, Korah, rebels against Moses and Aharon by joining with two schemers, Dathan and Abiram, and enlisting the support of 250 other men. They...
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SHELACH LECHA, Numbers 13:1-15:41
By:
Rabbi Danielle Stillman
The phrase "Shelach Lecha" is a curious grammatical construction. Rather than simply meaning "send," the Torah reads, literally, "send to yourself." This is a clue: There is a personal message in a story that is clearly focused on a national drama. The parshah tells the story of the 12 spies sent into the promised land to report back about the...
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By:
Rabbi Howard A. Addison
BEHAALOTECHA, Numbers 8:1-12:16 In Lake Jackson, Texas, there are two intersecting streets named "This Way" and "That Way." What might people ponder while standing at that corner? Are they pinpointing their location while considering nearby sites? Reflecting on whence they've come, whither they're going and what they're taking with? Parshah Behaalotecha has helped shape our Jewish observances and liturgy. Initially,...
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