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This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the website.  We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given.  For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website.  If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the website.

Confidence PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks   
Monday, 09 June 2014 00:00

It was perhaps the single greatest collective failure of leadership in the Torah. Ten of the spies whom Moses had sent to spy out the land came back with a report calculated to demoralize the nation:

"We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large ... We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are ... The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height ... We seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them."

Achieving Your Best PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky   
Monday, 02 June 2014 00:00

"When you kindle the lamps...." (Numbers 8:2)

The Talmud (Menachot 86a) says that when the oil was made for use in the service in the Holy Temple, the olives were squeezed three times. The oil of each pressing was divided into three quality levels. The first level of the first pressing was supreme, and it was used for the kindling of the menorah. The second oil of the first pressing and the first oil of the second pressing were of equal grade, and could be used for the meal-offerings (the Menachot). But only the first oil of the second pressing could be used for the menorah, and not the second oil of the first pressing. The third oil of the first pressing and the second oil of the second pressing and the first oil of the third pressing were all equal for meal-offerings, but only the first oil of the third pressing could be used for the menorah.

Making the Desert Bloom PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tali Loewenthal   
Monday, 26 May 2014 00:00

At first sight, the beginning of the Torah reading of Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89) seems to concern something which was only relevant in the ancient past. It describes the tasks of the Levites during the period of traveling in the desert. Before each journey the Sanctuary would be dismantled by the Levites and then they would transport its various sections: the curtains, beams of cedar wood, and so on, until they reached the next stopping place. Then they would again set up the Sanctuary, while the rest of the Jewish people pitched their camp around it.

It is interesting to think that for thousands of years we have been reading again and again the account of this journey in the wilderness. This helps us understand our own task in life.

The Sages tell us that the purpose of creation is that G-d should be revealed and "dwell" in this physical world. But this idea contains a difficulty.

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