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B’ha’a’lot’cha Summaries

B’ha’a’lot’cha 5777-2017

“The Convert and the Second Passover”

The fascinating laws of פֶּסַח שֵׁנִי–Pesach Shay’nee, the second Passover, not only inform us of the true reasons for Passover observance, but also enlighten us regarding important practices in determining Jewish law.

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B’ha’a’lot’cha 5776-2016

“Moses Realizes that His Dreams Were Not Going to be Fulfilled”

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik provides new insights into a well-known narrative in parashat B’ha’a’lot’cha, explaining why Moses’ dreams of entering the Promised Land were not realized.

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B’ha’a’lot’cha 5775-2015

“Hubris Revisited”

Despite reaching the highest level of spirituality, Aaron, the High Priest of Israel, did not allow success to go to his head, remaining the same modest person that he was before his distinguished appointment to the High Priesthood.

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B’ha’a’lot’cha 5774-2014

“The Difference Between Moses and the Other Prophets”

When the Al-mighty rebuked Miriam and Aaron for speaking against their brother Moses, He says: “Not so is My servant, Moses!” affirming that the special prophetic stature of Moses is in a class by itself, and far superior to all other prophets.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5773-2013

“Contemporary Implications of Ancient Rebellions”

In parashat B’ha’alot’cha, we read of two egregious rebellions that occurred on the heels of the momentous Revelation at Sinai. There is much to be learned from the timeless lessons that emerge from these episodes.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5772-2012

“Eldad and Medad”

Eldad and Medad are two relatively unknown Biblical personages, and yet, their powerful message and actions continue to resonate loud and clear.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5771-2011

“The Nature of Moses’ Humility”

What does it mean when Scripture describes Moses as “Ah’nahv m’ohd, mee’kohl hah’adam,” the most humble person on the face of the earth?

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B’ha’alot’cha 5770-2010

“The Murmurers”

The ancient “murmurers” were people of little faith whose lack of confidence led them to mourn their own lives. Murmuring is hardly only an ancient Jewish manifestation. It is very much part of today’s reality, one that leads only to greater tragedy.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5769-2009

“Would a Human Author Have Written this?”

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch points out in his commentary that Moses’ request to his father-in-law Jethro to remain with the Jewish people and to serve as a guide for them, underscores the lack of even the most elementary leadership and organizational skills on the part of Moses. On the other hand, the fact that these and other unflattering portions are included in the Bible, clearly establishes that the Torah could not possibly be the work of any human author.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5768-2008

“The Gift of Spiritual Potential”

Perhaps greater than Moses’ natural leadership abilities, his great brilliance and scholarship and teaching capabilities, and his extraordinary humility, was his unremitting and unconditional love for the Jewish people who tested him and rejected him so many times.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5767-2007

“The Tribe of Dan Traveled Last”

In parashat B’ha’alot’cha we learn that the tribe of Dan served as the “ma’ah’sayf,” the rear guard, of all the twelve tribes when they traveled in the wilderness. According to the commentators, the Danites gathered up items lost by other tribes as well as stragglers who fell behind. Nevertheless, despite this promising beginning, the destiny of the tribe of Dan was to become a tribe of idolaters and sinners, who were eventually exiled together with the ten lost tribes. How did the tribe of Dan, with such a noble beginning, have such a sad and ignoble conclusion?

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B’ha’alot’cha 5766-2006

“With G-d as our Guide”

During their long sojourn in the wilderness, the ancient Israelites were guided by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. In effect, all the journeys of the ancient Hebrews were carefully orchestrated and coordinated by G-d. While the Israelites are no longer physically in the wilderness, there is still a great need for contemporary Jews to be guided by the Al-mighty in all their travels and in all their sojourns.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5765-2005

“The Message of the Trumpets”

The Torah in parashat Beha’alotecha tells us that Moses is to fashion two silver trumpets to be sounded by him during his lifetime at special moments and occasions for the Jewish people. The trumpet is different from the shofar, and is meant to arouse enthusiasm in Jewish life.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5764-2004

“Searching for Eldad and Medad”

Eldad and Medad were the two worthy elders who were left behind when Moses gathered the 70 elders to help him bear the burden of the nation. There is much to learn from the extensive Midrashic portraits of Eldad and Medad, especially about how to correctly identify quality Jewish leaders.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5763-2003

“The Message of the Manna”

The Manna is the food from heaven that sustained the Jewish people for forty years while they wandered in the wilderness. Manna, in effect, represents the heavenly means of support that is provided to each household. The Malbim, Rabbi Meir Yehudah Leibush, cites seven important lessons to be gleaned from Manna. Ultimately, the lesson is that we must be the masters of our labors and our careers and not allow them to master us.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5762-2002

“Is This What the Torah Predicted?”

In parashat B’ha’alot’cha we find two extremely telling stories of the ancient Israelites. One concerns the mixed multitude who accompanied the Israelites out of Egypt and wanted to return to Egypt because they remembered the delectable foods that they ate there. They now cry out, “Our souls are dried up, there is nothing at all.” The second concerns a group of men who protested to Moses that, despite being in a state of impurity, they did not wish to miss celebrating the ritual of the pascal sacrifice together with their families and the entire people of Israel. These two groups of people may very well represent the millions of alienated contemporary Jews who have declared that their souls are dried up and that there is nothing at all in Judaism for them! There is, however, a small but growing number of returning Jews who proudly declare, “Why should we lose out? Why should others lose out? We love our Judaism; we love living as Jews!” We desperately need Jews today who will serve as ambassadors, to reach out to those brothers and sisters whose souls are dry and are ignorant of their heritage.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5761-2001

“The Torah’s Attitude Toward Converts”

In parashat B’ha’alot’cha we learn that converts are required to participate in the Pascal offering even though they never experienced the exodus from Egypt. The Passover rituals teach that converts participate equally in the performance of all the commandments. Converts have played an illustrious role in Judaism. These “strangers” must be treated with great sensitivity. In fact, perhaps, we are all converts and that is why the Torah bids us to fulfill the very special mitzvah of loving the stranger.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5760-2000

“Giving Our Disciples a Firm Grounding”

Because the Torah uses the unusual expression, “B’ha’a’lot’cha,” when you raise up and kindle the candelabra, our rabbis learn that the priests were to light each new candle in the menorah until the flame of the new candle was able to rise on its own. This unusual expression is meant to serve as a message to teachers and mentors who are instructed to train and encourage their disciples to stand on their own feet, providing them with multiple educational and religious experiences in order for them to become healthy disciples, rather than mere sycophants.

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