Parsha Mas’ay: Numbers in Torah

This week we finish the fourth book of the Torah, b’Meedbar (Numbers).  The final parsha (weekly Torah portion) is called Mas’ay which means travels, and the parsha starts off by reviewing 40 years of  travels by the children of Yisrael.   At the end of this review, we read that haShem (god) once again talks to Moshe (Moses) telling him to tell the people something.  This time it is what to do when they cross the Jordan river:  remove the people … Continue reading

Parsha Matot: the Torah of War, Sparks, and Communications

This shabbat, we read the parsha (Torah portion) called Matot.  Matot is plural and has three meanings:    One meaning is staff.  Another is a tribe.  The third is downwards.  An example of this meaning is  l’matah means below. This is why the Tanach (bible) is so hard to translate:  depending on which meaning you plug in, you get new levels of meaning and understanding.  If you don’t believe me, try plugging in the different meanings in the first pasuk (sentence) … Continue reading

Parsha Pinchas: A Hand-Some Torah

This week’s parsha (Torah portion) is called Pinchas which is the name of the grandson of Aharon and the son of our current cohen gadol (high priest) Elazar.  Now our previous parsha ended with Pinchas stopping a plague by skewering one of our princes who was flaunting his relationship with a Midyanite woman, and our current parsha picks up with haShem (god) telling Moshe (Moses) that Pinchas saved the children of Yisrael with his act and so haShem is giving … Continue reading

Parsha Balak: What Kind of Person Do You Want to Be?

The sun has set.  The clouds are blue with pink streaks.  This is what I am looking at as I start to write about this week’s parsha (Torah portion).  The parsha is called Balak.  He is the Moabite king, and he is afraid of the children of Yisrael.  So he enlists the help of a man of god named Bilim, to curse the children of Yisrael so that Balak can drive them off. After much persuasion, god give Bilim permission … Continue reading