Friday, May 24, 2013

Parshas Beha'aloscha

Reading through the chapter it seems that there are many different topics covered starting with the lighting of the Tabernacle (the traveling Temple in the desert) menorah. Then...

* the consecration of the Levites to their work in the Tabernacle,
* pesach sheini, a second passover offering for those who were unable to offer the first,
* in daytime the Tabernacle would be covered by a cloud and at night the appearance of fire,
* when the cloud was lifted, the Israelites would travel - otherwise, they would stay camped,
* the making and use of two silver trumpets,
* the order of the 12 Tribes when traveling,
* Moshe (Moses) offers his father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro), the opportunity to travel with them to the Land of Israel -- Yitro declines,
* The famous statement that we say/sing when the Torah is taken out of the ark to be read - Vayehi Beensoa Ha'aron Vayomer Moshe... "When the Ark would journey, Moses said, "Arise, G-d, and let Your foes be scattered, let those who hate You flee from before You."
* complaints from the people for meat,
* creation of the first Sanhedrin, 70 men taken from the elders of Israel, they will help Moshe in leading the Jewish People,
* G-d gives the people more meat than they know what to do with,
* Aaron and Miriam (brother and sister of Moses) speak against Moshe not living with his wife - instigated by Miriam... she gets leprosy even though she was speaking privately with Aaron - it's a serious reminder not to speak ill of others.

What a busy chapter. What strikes me here is how careful we must be with our words. Even when we think we know all the circumstances of a situation - we really truly don't, especially when it doesn't involve us.  It is impossible for us to make a true judgement when we don't have all the facts at hand. We assume that public figures are an open target for criticism - the Torah teaches us that it isn't true. Everyone from the greatest figures to the seemingly 'smallest' among us should be given the benefit of the doubt.

I'm including here Chief Rabbi Sacks from the UK. I always enjoy what he has to say. Print it off and read it over Shabbos. Definitely worth reading.

Good Shabbos! Shabbat Shalom!

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