Vort from the Rav

Vort from the Rav: Korach

Bamidbar 18:19: כֹּל תְּרוּמֹת הַקֳּדָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר יָרִימוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַיהֹוָה נָתַתִּי לְךָ All the gifts of the holy [offerings] which are set aside by the children of Israel for the Lord I have given to There were 24 mishmaros, “guards,” of kohanim who rotated to perform the priestly duties in the Beis Hamikdash on a weekly basis. Each mishmar would serve ...

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Vort from the Rav: Shelach

Bamidbar 13:30 עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה וְיָרַשְׁנוּ אֹתָהּ כִּי יָכוֹל נוּכַל לָהּ We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it. Chazal say that three grants have been bestowed upon Israel: Torah, the Land of Israel and the world to come; but the Jew had to acquire them through effort, through suffering (Berachos 5a).  God ...

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Vort from the Rav: Beha’alosecha

Bamidbar 10:2 עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שְׁתֵּי חֲצוֹצְרֹת כֶּסֶף…וְהָיוּ לְךָ לְמִקְרָא הָעֵדָה וּלְמַסַּע אֶת הַמַּחֲנוֹת Make yourself two silver trumpets…they shall be used by you to summon the congregation and to announce the departure of the camps. There are two ways in which people become bound as a group—as a community, a society, or a nation. The first is when they face ...

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Vort from the Rav: Naso

Bamidbar 5:14 וְעָבַר עָלָיו רוּחַ קִנְאָה וְקִנֵּא אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ But a spirit of jealousy had come upon him and he became jealous of his wife. In many languages, there are two different terms to express the emotions of jealousy and envy. Envy consists of desiring what others have that you lack. Jealousy involves wanting to hold on to what you ...

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Vort from the Rav: Bamidbar

Bamidbar 3:1 ואֵלֶה תוֹלְדֹת אַהֲרֹן ומשֶה These are the descendants of Aaron and Moses. We are all acquainted with the Akeidah that Abraham performed, but we do not pay sufficient attention to an Akeidah that was carried out by Moses. Moses’ Akeidah was perhaps more awesome and terrifying than Abraham’s. After Abraham offered Isaac, the two of them returned from ...

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Vort from the Rav: Pinchas

Bamidbar 27:23 וַיִּסְמֹךְ אֶת יָדָיו עָלָיו He laid his hands upon him. Although God commanded Moses to lay one hand upon Joshua, Moses laid both hands upon him. God commanded Moses not only to do semichah, but also to “bestow some of your majesty (hod) upon him”; this majesty was figuratively bestowed upon Joshua via Moses’ other hand. There were ...

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Vort from the Rav: Balak

Bamidbar 24:17 דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל   a star has gone forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel. It is interesting that when Maimonides (Hilchos Melachim \ 11:1) mentions the principle of faith in the King Messiah he quotes this verse as the proof- text. Why didn’t Maimonides cite the verse When you are distressed, ...

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Vort from the Rav: Chukas

Bamidbar 20:29: וַיִּרְאוּ כָּל הָעֵדָה כִּי גָוַע אַהֲרֹן The whole congregation saw that Aaron had expired. Rashi explains: When they saw Moses and Eleazar coming down, and Aaron did not come down, they said, “Where is Aaron?” He said to them, “He died.” They said,“ Is it possible that the one who stood up against the angel and stopped the ...

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Vort from the Rav: Korach

Bamidbar 18:15 אֵת בְכוֹר הָאָדָם … תִפְדֶה you shall redeem the firstborn of man. The ceremonial of redemption of the first born son re-enacts the drama of Abraham offering Isaac to the Lord, of the knight of faith (using Kierkegaard’s term) giving unreservedly away his son to God. Children are the greatest and most precious charge God has entrusted to ...

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Vort from the Rav: Shlach

Bamidbar 14:17 וְעַתָּה יִגְדַּל נָא כֹּחַ אֲדֹנָי Now, please, let the strength of the Lord be increased. What precisely does this phrase mean? How can the Omnipotent’s strength be magnified? When Israel sins, God is in a sense “helpless,” as Rashi said: “His strength is weakened as a woman (Rashi on Numbers 11:15). Similarly, on the phrase “the Rock of ...

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