Parsha Shelach 5770: Shelach Turned Upside Down, Inside-Out, Round and Round

by Moshe Burt

Observing the political governmental scene in Israel today, this author’s memories harken back to the late-1980s in Philadelphia, in the years just prior to becoming Ba’al Teshuva.

The conservative synagogue attended for Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur had a practice of bringing in a young JTS (Jewish Theological Seminary) guest Rabbi to help and assist the synagogue’s long-time Rabbi who was getting on in years. This particular Yomim Tovim, they brought in a young fellow who proceeded to pitch the philosophies of Breira, one of the leftist-agendized predecessors of Shalom Achshav. [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Beha’aloscha 5770 — Real Leadership vs Evil Pretenders: Mirror Reflection of Us?

by Moshe Burt

Commentators discussing our Parsha speak about the reasons for the separate section delineated by the inverted “nuns” — “When the Aron (the Ark) would journey, Moshe said, ‘Arise Hashem, and let your foes be scattered, let those who hate you flee from before you.’ And when it rested, he would say, ‘Reside tranquilly, O, Hashem, among the myriad thousands of Israel.'” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 10, posukim 35-36)

Preceding these posukim are the posukim which speak about the journey of the Aron and of B’nai Yisrael from Har Sinai to their next resting place, “…a three day distance…” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 10, posukim 33 & 34). [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Naso 5770: Unity and Fair Dealing Between Jews; Ger’im, Ba’alei Teshuva and Newly Arrived

by Moshe Burt

Shavu’ot inevitably comes during the week of Shabbos Parsha Naso. This year, with Shavu’ot coming on yom Revi’i with Shabbos following 3 days after, there are various common threads between Shabbos Parsha Naso and Chag HaShavu’ot. There is the thread of national unity expressed by the Kohanim in the Birchat Kohanim, the thread of diversity and unique expression within unity exemplified by the 12 repetitions of the same offering brought by each of the Sh’vatim at the inauguration of the Mishkan, and the thread regarding the importance of caring for the Ger Tzeddik.  [...]  Click here to read more.

Shavu’ot 5770: All-Night Learning, Megillat Ruth and Jonathan Pollard

by Moshe Burt

In reflecting on Shavu’ot and the story of Ruth, I am struck by the similarity between Ruth’s cleaving to Naomi and to Jewishness, and Jonathan Pollard’s actions on behalf of Israel and B’nai Yisrael — putting his life on the line, the price — come what may, for the survival of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael — Our Land.

Jonathan is not a Ger Tzeddek as Ruth was when she clung to Naomi saying;

“Do not urge me to leave you, to go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people are my people, and your G’d is my G’d; where you die, I will die and there I will be buried. Thus may Hashem do to me — and more! — if anything but death seoarates me from you.” (Megillat Ruth, Artscroll Tanach series, Perek 1, posukim 14-17, pages 79-81)  [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Bamidbar 5770: Unity, Diversity Toward Common Jewish Goals

by Moshe Burt

Our Parsha Bamidbar speaks of the spiritual beauty and innovation which results from diversity within a unity, within uniformity.

Once getting past the numbers crunching of the census, our Parsha speaks of Degalim: the flags of the Sh’vatim (Tribes), as a paradigm of Unity, yet which expresses diversity within the various components, all of which play essential roles within a collective unity. Within a unity, there is room for integration and cooperation of diverse individual and group attributes, skills, strong points and actions when channeled toward the common goals of Unity, i.e. the common goals of B’nai Yisrael: [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshiyot Behar/Bechukotai 5770: Shabbos, Shemittoh, Eretz Yisrael and Denial by Rulers Lacking Torah

by Moshe Burt

Parshiyot Behar and Bechukotai are another of a number of power-packed doubleheaders, this one emphasizing the connection between the Jew and Eretz Yisrael.

Our Parshiyot parallel the laws of Shabbos with Shemittoh. And so, six days you shall work and you shall rest, refrain from all manner of avodah on the seventh day… to keep it Holy, just as in emulation of Hashem’s creation of the universe. When the laws of Shabbos are paralleled with the laws of Shemittoh: ‘I will command My blessing during the sixth year and it will provide produce for three years’, we are able to understand the Hatam Sofer’s explanation; [...]  Click here to read more.