Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org 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 Chabad.org website.
An Honest Man
This past week, I met an honest man.
The owner of a small clothing store, he is a charming man with a fascinating backstory, and it was a pleasure to get to know him. But what really fascinated me was a throwaway remark he made near the end of our conversation.
Earlier, he had told me how much he enjoyed building his business and serving his customers. He loves Australia, and is a regular and dedicated member of his synagogue. However, it was when he described his business credo that my admiration truly blossomed:
He lives life honestly.
Jews love kvetching. And we love kvetching about the kvetchers. “Oy vey!” “I’m telling you . . . I’m totally overwhelmed from all his meshugasen!” “There she goes again! Oy, how much more can I handle?”
Well, if you think you have heard it all, check out the Torah portions of Behaalotecha, Shelach, Korach and Chukat. First, the Israelites bemoan their lengthy travels in the desert. Then there’s a sob story about the manna, followed by the spies coming back from Israel with a false report, which causes a national meltdown. Then Korach forms a rebellion against the leadership of Moshe and Aaron, and they complain about water, and they defy Moshe and try to enter Israel and are massacred. . . . It goes on and on. The attitude of “woe is me” reigns supreme.
Beyond the Fringe
Our sedra ends with one of the great commands of Judaism -- tzitzit, the fringes we wear on the corners of our garments as a perennial reminder of our identity as Jews and our obligation to keep the Torah’s commands:
G‑d spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to the Israelites and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments for all generations. Let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner. That shall be your fringe: look at it and recall all the commandments of the L‑rd and observe them, so that you do not stray after your heart and eyes which in the past have led you to immorality. You will thus remember and keep all My commandments, and be holy to your G‑d.