Parsha Pinchas: Zealotry… What does that even mean?

This week we read parsha Pinchas (Pinechas, Phineas, Pinhas, or Pin’has) which is the name of Aaron's grandson (presumably a name of Egyptian origin.)  Pinchas consists of Numbers 25:10–30:1.  You can read a very brief summery here. "Pinchas" picks up where "Balak" left off. Israelites are whoring themselves to Moabite women which led to them engaging in idol worship and attaching themselves … [Read more...]

Parsha Balak: Strength through Significance

This week we read parsha Balak.  The name Balak means “devastator,” “empty,” or “wasting.”  The name Balak apparently derives from the sparsely used Hebrew verb (balak), “waste or lay waste.” There are no derivations of this verb besides this name. (source: Wikipedia).  Balak consists of  Numbers 22:2–25:9.  A very brief summary can be found here.  Here is how the Balak begins: Numbers 22 … [Read more...]

Parsha Chukat: Ritual Detergent with Paradoxical Scrubbing Bubbles

This week we read parsha Chukat  (Hukath or Chukkas) which is usually translated as "laws" or "decrees", but I prefer translating Chok as a "law between God and man (a.k.a. Holiness code).  For more information on that matter please read an older column I wrote here.  Chukat consists of  Numbers 19:1–22:1.  You can find a brief summary here. Chukat begins telling us about the pariah adumah "red … [Read more...]

Parsha Korach: Egalitarianism Run Amok?

This week read Parsha Korach or Korah which is the name of a main character in this story (Korach also happens to mean  “baldness, ice, hail, or frost.” )  Korach consists of  Numbers 16:1–18:32.  You can find a brief summary here. Numbers Ch. 16 (NIV) 1Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became … [Read more...]

Parsha Sh’lach: Trust but Verify?

This week we read Sh'lach (Shlach, Shelach, Sh'lah, Shlach Lecha, or Sh’lah L’kha) which means "send”, “send to you”, or "send for yourself".  Parsha Sh'lach consists of Numbers 13:1–15:41.  You can read a very brief summary here.   Numbers 13 (NIV) 1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send … [Read more...]

Parsha Behaalotecha: Rush and Return

This week we read parsha Behaalotecha (Beha'alotecha, Beha'alothekha, or Behaaloscha) which means "when you raise up."  Behaalotecha consists of  Numbers 8:1–12:16.  You can find a brief summary here. Below I have featured an article I received from Chabad which relates the beginning parsha insights far better than I could: Rush and Return The Anatomy of a Flame Though it occupies only three … [Read more...]

Parsha Naso: Immaterial Inheritance

This week we read Parsha Naso or Nasso which means "lift up" though understood in this instance to mean "count."  Yes, like what I wrote regarding the census in parsha Bemidbar last week.  Naso consists of Numbers 4:21–7:89.  Here is a very brief summary. This is how Naso begins by discussing the Gershonites: Numbers 4 (NIV) 21The Lord said to Moses, 22“Take a census also of the Gershonites … [Read more...]

Parsha BeMidbar: A Nation of Individuals

This week we read parsha BeMidbar or B'Midbar (not Bamidbar) which means "in the desert."  Parsha Bemidbar consists of Numbers 1:1–4:20.  You can read a very brief summary here. Numbers 1 (NIV) 1The Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: 2“Take a census of the whole … [Read more...]

Parsha Bechukotai: God is Going to Make it Rain!

This week we read parsha Bechukotai (Bechukosai or B'hukkothai) which means "by my decrees/statutes(chukim)."  Bechukotai consists of Leviticus 26:3–27:34.  You can find a very brief summary here.   This is how the reading begins:  Leviticus 26:3 (NIV) 3“ ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its … [Read more...]

Parsha Behar: The End Must Precede the Means

This week we read parsha Behar (BeHar, Be-har, or B’har) which means "on the mount".  Behar consists of  Leviticus 25:1–26:2.  A very brief summary can be found here. Leviticus 25 (NIV): 1The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, 2“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. 3For six years sow your … [Read more...]