Forty days fasting – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Ekev

We will read in this Parsha a Pasuk in which Moshe Rabeinu relates to the (2nd) forty days he spent in a lofty heavenly environment. He says:  ו ָֽאֶתְנַפַּל֩ לִפְנֵ֨י יְהֹוָ֜ה כָּרִאשֹׁנָ֗ה אַרְבָּעִ֥ים יוֹם֙ וְאַרְבָּעִ֣ים לַ֔יְלָה לֶ֚חֶם לֹ֣א אָכַ֔לְתִּי וּמַ֖יִם לֹ֣א שָׁתִ֑יתִי עַ֤ל כׇּל־חַטַּאתְכֶם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חֲטָאתֶ֔ם לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת הָרַ֛ע בְּעֵינֵ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה לְהַכְעִיסֽוֹ׃  “I threw myself down …

Let me see Eretz Yisrael – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Vaetchanan

This week's Parsha starts famously with the heartfelt plea by Moshe Rabeinu:  וָאֶתְחַנַּ֖ן אֶל־יְהֹוָ֑ה בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִ֖וא לֵאמֹֽר׃ אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֗ה אַתָּ֤ה הַֽחִלּ֙וֹתָ֙ לְהַרְא֣וֹת אֶֽת־עַבְדְּךָ֔ אֶ֨ת־גׇּדְלְךָ֔ וְאֶת־יָדְךָ֖ הַחֲזָקָ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר מִי־אֵל֙ בַּשָּׁמַ֣יִם וּבָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲשֶׂ֥ה כְמַעֲשֶׂ֖יךָ וְכִגְבוּרֹתֶֽךָ׃ אֶעְבְּרָה־נָּ֗א וְאֶרְאֶה֙ אֶת־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַטּוֹבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּעֵ֣בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן הָהָ֥ר הַטּ֛וֹב הַזֶּ֖ה וְהַלְּבָנֹֽן׃ “I pleaded with Hashem  at that time, saying, ‘O lord Hashem, You …

Happy and Sad – Shabbat Chazon / Parshat Devarim

During a recent Shiur about Tisha BeAv, I mentioned the (very Chasidic) idea "To be happy in the sadness of Tisha BeAv ''.  The listeners were not very impressed, and some have asked for further explanation. I said that it took me many years to deeply understand that refraining from (some sorts of) Simcha during the first …

Favours? Not always – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Matot-Masei

As we read on Shabbos the final stages of the long journey to the Promised Land, an odd incident is developing. The tribes of Reuben and Gad had by now large herds of livestock. Having passed and conquered the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, they came to like the idea of settling …

A person to lead – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Pinchas

We will read this week Moshe Rabeinu's request to Hashem: וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶל־יְהֹוָ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר׃ יִפְקֹ֣ד יְהֹוָ֔ה אֱלֹהֵ֥י הָרוּחֹ֖ת לְכׇל־בָּשָׂ֑ר אִ֖ישׁ עַל־הָעֵדָֽה׃ אֲשֶׁר־יֵצֵ֣א לִפְנֵיהֶ֗ם וַאֲשֶׁ֤ר יָבֹא֙ לִפְנֵיהֶ֔ם וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר יוֹצִיאֵ֖ם וַאֲשֶׁ֣ר יְבִיאֵ֑ם וְלֹ֤א תִהְיֶה֙ עֲדַ֣ת יְהֹוָ֔ה כַּצֹּ֕אן אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֵין־לָהֶ֖ם רֹעֶֽה׃ Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: "Let the Lord, the G’d of spirits of all flesh, appoint …

Determining holiness – not an intellectual matter…: Shabbat Kodesh Parashat Chukat

How did the famous "Red Cow" fall into place (In the Torah) between two "emergency situations"? Just before this week's Parsha, we had Korach. An incident which ended tragically, and following the "Para Aduma" chapter, we are thrown yet again into a sudden loss of water supply to the entire congregation   stationed in the hot entire  desert. This, on …

Korach’s (mis)calculation – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Korach

The Midrash, i.e. the rabbinic mode of interpretation prominent in the Talmud, tells us: “Korach was smart. What did he see with this nonsense? One explanation is that he did foresee his great grandchild Shmuel becoming the most influential and holy prophet and has relied on his "future Yichus" (i.e. descent from a family of high …

Kosher… but wicked – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Shelach Lecha

This week with start reading about the Meraglim, the “spies”: וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃ שְׁלַח־לְךָ֣ אֲנָשִׁ֗ים וְיָתֻ֙רוּ֙ אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִ֥י נֹתֵ֖ן לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אִ֣ישׁ אֶחָד֩ אִ֨ישׁ אֶחָ֜ד לְמַטֵּ֤ה אֲבֹתָיו֙ תִּשְׁלָ֔חוּ כֹּ֖ל נָשִׂ֥יא בָהֶֽם׃ Hashem spoke to Moses, saying:  Send agentsto scout the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelite people; send one participant …

Jethro the “guide”? – Shabbat Kodesh Parschat Behaalotcha

We will read this week: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֗ה לְ֠חֹבָ֠ב בֶּן־רְעוּאֵ֣ל הַמִּדְיָנִי֮ חֹתֵ֣ן מֹשֶׁה֒ נֹסְעִ֣ים ׀ אֲנַ֗חְנוּ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֔ה אֹת֖וֹ אֶתֵּ֣ן לָכֶ֑ם לְכָ֤ה אִתָּ֙נוּ֙ וְהֵטַ֣בְנוּ לָ֔ךְ כִּֽי־יְהֹוָ֥ה דִּבֶּר־ט֖וֹב עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֵלָ֖יו לֹ֣א אֵלֵ֑ךְ כִּ֧י אִם־אֶל־אַרְצִ֛י וְאֶל־מוֹלַדְתִּ֖י אֵלֵֽךְ׃ וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אַל־נָ֖א תַּעֲזֹ֣ב אֹתָ֑נוּ כִּ֣י ׀ עַל־כֵּ֣ן יָדַ֗עְתָּ חֲנֹתֵ֙נוּ֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר וְהָיִ֥יתָ לָּ֖נוּ לְעֵינָֽיִם׃ Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel …