July 23, 2024
Parashat Behaalotecha 5784

When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. Last week I learned about Parashat Behaalotecha (בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ‎), the 36th weekly Torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah readings.

According to Wikipedia, Behaalotecha (בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ‎), Numbers 8:1 to 12:16, contains 7,055 Hebrew letters, 1,840 words, 136 verses and makes up 240 lines of the Torah scroll.

Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Behaalotecha for Shabbat, June 22, 2024 aka 16 Sivan 5784 :

“Sometimes, in life, all that begins well doesn’t always end well. The Torah portion begins with the positive commandment to kindle the Menorah as the Jewish Nation begins its forward march through the desert. The section of the Ark moving forward is marked in the Torah by inverted letter Noons which separate the positivity of the experience of Mount Sinai and the preparations for the journey from the negative events to follow.

A question we may ask, why doesn’t the positive attitude of faith exhibited by Moses get transferred to those who will continually rebel as the narrative continues? Ramban, the famous commentator on the Torah, mentions that the journey from Horeb to the first stop should have taken three days but was accomplished in one day. Why the rush? He comments that many people felt the need to leave Sinai quickly, fearing that G-d would add more commandments to the Torah. Their lack of faith and patience then leads them into a series of rebellions caused by their sullenness and impatience which amplifies their discomfort.

In other words, the Torah is teaching us that even when we are faces with similar conditions, it is our own misperceptions that cause us self-doubt and lead to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Instead of focusing on the positive opportunities which each day presents, we sometime obsess about the negative possibilities which might occur.

Our own lack of faith in the Power of Hashem and G-d’s protective concern results in an amplification of fears which are really not based in facts. The negative results of this breach of faith ultimately results in the journey being extended much longer than originally planned and the eventual extinction of that entire generation.

The lesson learned is that we who profess our faith in Hashem can never let our fears overcome positive and faithful direction and at times when all seems hopeless, we must rely on our faith to carry us through the challenges in our lives that we must all face.

Questions to consider:

  1. During the rebellion, Eldad and Medad are given the spirit of prophecy. What was Moses’ reaction to their prophecy?
  2. How is Moses described in this Sedra?
  3. Why did Miriam and Aaron complain about?
  4. How is their complaint resolved?”
Rabbi Michael D. Klein

Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.

Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.

This moment of Jewish Learning is brought to you by the Florida Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC). We are part of a confederation of over 200 Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods representing over 20,000 members across the United States, Canada, Latin America, and beyond. Learn more about how your Jewish Men’s Club or Brotherhood can affiliate with the FJMC at: https://fjmc.org/for-clubs/affiliating-with-the-fjmc/.

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