Messages on Numbers

The Census. More statutes and laws. Adventures of the Hebrews en route to Canaan through the desert.

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Matot-Masei (Numbers 30-36)What do You Protect?

You shall designate cities for yourselves, cities of refuge shall they be for you, and a murderer shall flee there—one who takes a life unintentionally. (Numbers 35:11)  Involuntary manslaughter is something we take seriously. If an axe head becomes dislodged and kills an innocent bystander, the chopper/killer must quickly escape to one of the three cities of refuge […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Balak (Numbers 22:2-25-9)

Does Education Make You a Moral Person? The past century, the bloodiest in all of human history, should have lain to rest two of the most cherished theories about humanity postulated by the Enlightenment and Secular Humanism. One was the idea that all moral questions, all issues of right and wrong, good and evil, were […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Chukas (Numbers 19:1-22:1)

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Chukas (Numbers 19:1-22:1) How to Become a Peacemaker in 2 Easy Steps                   And the entire congregation saw that Aaron had died and they wept for Aaron 30 days–all the house of Israel. (20:29) “ALL the house of Israel” refers to both men and woman. When Moses dies the verse doesn’t mention “all the house of Israel,” […]

This week’s Torah Portion was written by Rabbi O. in advance of his entering the week of mourning. Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Shelach (Numbers 13-15) A Student, a Prostitute, and a Sage

We are introduced to the mitzvah of tzitzis (strings attached to a four cornered garment) at the end of this week’s Parsha. The following remarkable incident occurred in the 3rd century and is recorded in the Talmud (Menachot 44a).Once a man, who was very scrupulous about the mitzva of tzitzis, heard about a prostitute who charged four hundred gold dinars for her […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Bamidbar/Shavuos 5781-2021You Count!

When the cycle for the weekly Torah readings was established centuries ago, this week’s Parsha was designated specifically to be read this Shabbos. I.e. the reading is from the first few chapters of the Torah’s fourth book, Numbers, and always precedes the holiday of Shavuot. What connection is there between this week’s Parsha and Shavuot, the festival commemorating the […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayakel (Numbers 1:1-4:20)The Need for Millennials and Gen Z Jewish Leaders

This year’s Winter Olympics were about many things besides athletic competition. Many people weren’t enthusiastic because they didn’t want to legitimize a host country committing human rights atrocities. For those who did tune in, questions of national allegiances, drug use and yes, COVID, dominated the headlines. And, of course, there was the question of youth, […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)[This is an edited version of CTC weekly-Heir Flow– 5774-2014]An Heir with Due Care

When Moses asked G-d to appoint a successor, the Midrash says that G-d answered Before you command Me concerning My children, command My children concerning Me. Moses proceeded to command the Jewish people concerning the laws of the daily and holiday sacrifices. What quality must a Jewish leader possess? When the Jewish people feared that Moses would not […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)Don’t Sweat It

He perceived no iniquity in Jacob, and saw no perversity in Israel” (23:21)The Hebrew word amal, translated here as “perversity,” has a second meaning, “toil.” It is an expression for work, especially laborious and exhausting work. Ohr HaChaim (1696-1743) uses this translation to give a unique interpretation to Balaam’s words: “He saw no exhaustion in Israel.” Balaam perceived that […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Bamidbar/Shavuos 5780-2020You Count!

When the cycle for the weekly Torah readings was established centuries ago, this week’s Parsha was designated specifically to be read this Shabbos. I.e. the reading is from the first few chapters of the Torah’s fourth book, Numbers and always proceeds the holiday of Shavuos. What connection is there between this week’s Parsha and Shavuos, the festival commemorating the […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly-Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9) Time to Repair

This week’s Parsha introduces us to an anti-Semite named Balak. He hired the wicked Bilaam to destroy the Jews; Bilaam agreed and even attempted to do so but was unsuccessful. At one point, Bilaam uttered a remarkable statement; something we would not have expected to come from the mouth of such a malicious person.Let me […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Behalotcha (Numbers 8-12)Alex Trebek and the Gift We All Possess

 Miriam (Moses’ sister) spoke negatively about Moses to Aaron, their brother. As result, she broke out in tzaras, a form of leprosy that existed only in biblical times; it emerged when a person spoke lashon hara, negative talk-non beneficial criticism. Moses prayed for Miriam, but the prayer was just five words.Moses cried out to G-d, saying, “Please, G-d, […]