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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.

Your brothers go into battle and you will sit here? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Zalman Posner   
Monday, 14 July 2014 00:00
Before Israel crossed the Jordan into Canaan, several tribes approached Moses for permission to remain in trans-Jordan. They were shepherds and that land had excellent pasture. Moses retorted sharply to them, "Your brothers go into battle and you will sit here?" (Numbers 32:6). Here a familiar integral theme of Torah recurs.

Anyone living in comfort and security finds it difficult to realize the situation of those in want and peril. We may read of famines in India and sympathetically nod, but undismayed we will turn to the next item in the newspapers and with little appreciable loss of appetite will sit at the dinner table. Only a person of responsibility to mankind, one with rare compassion will be moved enough to share his good with the deprived, even more, to share the troubles of the unfortunate.

With Israel especially, one Jew's peril is every Jew's concern. No Jew anywhere in the world can hide behind a golden curtain, depending on wealth or status to insulate him from the problems plaguing other Jews. We may have great flocks and have found rich pasturage, but while our brothers are in peril we cannot enjoy peace obliviously.
To Know is To Do PDF Print E-mail
Written by Yitschak Meir Kagan   
Monday, 07 July 2014 00:00

Moses, Aaron and the Elders stood, weeping with despair, not knowing what to do, as Zimri, a prince of the tribe of Shimon openly defied G-d's laws of morality. With them stood Pinchas, a grandson of Aaron (from his son Elazar). Pinchas saw that the leaders were silent, yet he did not hesitate. Courageously, he reminded Moses of the law which the latter seemed to have forgotten -- that under those circumstances, one who is "jealous" of G-d's honor may execute the offender. Moses replied "Let the reader of the letter be the one to deliver it," meaning, "You are the one who has remembered and reminded us of the law. You be the one to carry out the verdict." Pinchas did, and earned a great spiritual reward for averting G-d's anger against His people.

The Crouching Lion PDF Print E-mail
Written by Yanki Tauber   
Monday, 30 June 2014 00:00

It's always nice to receive a compliment from a friend or a loved one. But praise that we truly savor is praise that comes from an adversary. When a rival at work, a business competitor or an outright enemy says something like, "I must say, you guys have something there!" -- that's the kind of vindication we relish most of all.

Little wonder, then, that we Jews have such a warm place in our heart reserved for Balaam's blessings. As the Torah tells it (in Numbers 22-24), the prophet and sorcerer Balaam, an archenemy of the people of Israel, was summoned by King Balak of Moab (an even bigger enemy) to curse the Israelites. But when Balaam opened his mouth to curse, blessings came out instead. He tried three times, each time with the same result. And then he finished off with a prophecy describing the triumph of Israel in the "end of days."

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