Parshah Behaalotecha בהעלותך (Numbers 8:1-12:16)
Summary: Aaron receives instructions from God regarding use of the Menorah, the service in the Tabernacle is organized by the Levites and Moses regulates the use of the shofar. The people of Israel go out of Sinai and head for Canaan; many complain about the manna and demand meat, but it has a fatal outcome. A council of seventy elders is appointed to assist Moses in his arduous task. After talking back, Miriam is marked by the tzara’at
We are pilgrims and the wilderness gives us very little; there are even times when what we get from it is nothing. Yet no one succumbs, there is manna (מן) for everyone for all times, and so there is nothing to worry about. Spiritual food is filling; there is nothing to add, nothing needs to be taken away. Manna sustains us and it contains everything you need to stay as close as possible to the sacred. As we were told, it could take the coveted taste for the discerning palate, but the truth is that it is tiring and boring, and we end up disdaining it.
The old appetite does not appreciate true happiness; it does not make sense, and it seems bland. The characteristic of such basic instinctive impulse is to stoke the fires of greed, and fulfill the most basic needs and the multitude of desires, a new one every day, at any price. “Who will give us meat to eat!” (11: 4), is just one of them. This is the complaint that comes about in this place called Taberah (Fire), where the fire of desire consumes a part of the camp. This is certainly a difficult step of the way.
Moses saw it clearly, and the prophets warned: there are those who pretend to be gods willing to give us whatever we ask. The immense political and economic power and the powerful media bait us daily. And it does not seem to tire us or bore us. Nor do we realize that we have become the meat they eat. For us, it does not seem to matter.
We continue to walk through the desert; many have been left behind at that point called Kibrot-hataavá (tombs of desire). It’s getting late, we must pick up the pace, tomorrow is Shabbat and today we receive a double portion of manna. Just beyond this present time and this limited space is the land of “milk and honey” that was promised to us. Will we make it? Shabbat Shalom ~~~~~~~~ Rafa
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Read Torah from Around the World #274 : Parashat Naso: You Shall Bless and be Blessed
By: Rabbi Y. Lindsey bat Joseph, executive director of the Sol Mark Centre for Jewish Excellence in British Columbia, Canada.
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Heading: Art by Bogie, Detail of Menorah in the Bet Januká synagogue