This week we learn Parshat [portion] Korach, Bamidbar (Numbers) 16:1-18:32

Last year I wrote this post.

This year? I read through the parshah 1.5 times yesterday. I don’t have anything new. Once again it’s fascinating if I try to look at this from a human behaviour or leadership perspective, but I won’t do more than this sentence.

שׁבּת שׁלום (Shabbat Shalom)


This week we read Sh’lach, found in Bamidbar (Numbers) 13,1-15,41.

Quite simply, this parsha (portion) is the sin of the spies. Slightly more complex it is the whining of Israel and the spies were the straw…

I’ve half a mind to tie in my current term coursework in writing up this parshah and how wonderful I think it would be, but I’ll spare you. Think human behaviour. Think communication. Think teams and leadership and motivation.

What else do I have for you? Nothing beyond an intense longing for shabbat. It’s a very intense semester completely different from everything I’ve done before. There is little time for adjustment because in twelve days it’s over.

שׁבּת שׁלום


This week we learn Parsha beha’alotcha, found in Devarim (Numbers) 8:1-12:16.

I’ve barely had time to breath this week with yontif, Work, and this amazingly brilliant but intense summer course. My learning right now consists of checking what the nutshell says and waiting until shabbat for more. On Tuesdays and Thursday nights it seems that I will arrive home after 11, which makes it after our normal bedtime which means I don’t get unwind time which means here it is at 12:30am on Friday and I’m writing this hoping that my brain soon shuts down so I can get some much needed rest.

A quote on this week’s d’var torah by Dr Erica Brown for this week really caught my eye as I have been struggling lately with Life that doesn’t need discussion here ..

If you have acquired knowledge, what do you lack?
If you lack knowledge, what have you acquired?
~Leviticus Rabba 1:6

omein v’omein.

Additional dvrei torah on beha’alotcha may be found
young israel

שׁבּת שׁלום

Naso & Shavout

This week we read parshah (portion) Nasso, found at Bamidbar (Numbers) 4:21-7:89.
Shavout is Sunday night through Tuesday evening (for many people).

It’s amazing what a change in leaving campus 15 minutes later can do to you. Last night it caused my commute home to be almost two hours in length. It was great for my knitting and podcast listening, but not great for my sleep or this post.

It pains me as while I’ve accomplished a considerable amount of learning and my to-do list this week, I’ve not had the liberty to take time to draft this post. Shavout is a holiday I enjoy and one day I’d like to write a proper post/essay about it. One day.

Here are three posts from prior years on either Nasso or Shavout:

The next post will be on Wednesday.

שׁבּת שׁלום

bamidbar v’shavout

This week we start the book of Bamidbar, or Numbers. This first parsha (portion) is also called Bamidbar and is from 1:1 – 4:20. It begins with a census of Israel in the Wilderness. I want to try to share some of what I’ve learned about this parsha (it’s not much).

I have a few new readers and I will try to define non standard English terms. I feel very guilty that I have been lazy lately and not done so. Soon I hope to put together a small page of useful links and will try to define any words I use today. I think that in general google (and wikipedia) do give some decent results in the first page returned, at least to give a brief overview of the terms. They aren’t perfect but are a good starting point. I have tried to link to various explanatory text where I could. It may or may not be at the first mention of the item. I know. Bad-scholar.

What is Bamidbar about? Several classical commentators wrote summaries to the books in the introductions to their commentaries. Nachmanidies (Ramban) wrote that it consists of detailed instructions of the tabernacle whereas the previous book Vayikra (Leviticus) explained the laws of the sacrifices. Abravanel provides what I think is a beautiful summary of the Torah “to this point”: Bereshit (Genesis)- ancestry and origins of Irseal from creation to the exile in Mitzrayim (Egypt). Sh’mot (Exodus)- is about exile and redemption. Vayikra (Leviticus)- initiates Israel into sanctity, purity, and into the service of the Sanctuary and the Cohen (priests). Bamidbar (Numbers)- relates leading of the people (by Moses and Aaron) and why it took 40 years to enter the land promised to them.

Ok. Now I’ll attempt to move into this week’s specific reading, 1:1-4:20.

Why does Bamidbar begin with a census? Why these numbers, in such detail? Why does hashem need it such? Is it to determine military might? If so, then why are the Levites counted? Looking again to Ramban, he suggests that the census was a personal and individual one which impressed upon Israel the “value and self worth of each and every soul- a unique specimen of divine creativity”. Additionally it is about the miracle of our existence, after pestilence and plague, the children of Israel had no succumbed to suffering and persecution on the contrary we increased and multiplied.

sources: Leibowitz, Nehama. (5740/1980) Studies in Bamidbar (Numbers). Aryeh Newman, translator. The World Zionist Organization: Jerusalem.
Judaica Press Tanach with Rashi

In just over a week we will find ourselves in the holiday of Shavout (or Shavous, there are a few other permutations based upon how you choose to pronounce and spell things). I find it a very beautiful holiday (three reasons why). I also know that today I will not do it justice so I’ll provide a few links and send you on your way. :)
Levine, Dr. Yael. “Addressing the Women First,” JOFA Journal, VI, 4, 2007, 11. (pdf)

שׁבּת שׁלום