Parsha Balak 5771: Historical Parallels — Toleration of Evil in the Camp: Then and Now

by Moshe Burt

Sefer Shem Mishmuel, translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski (page 347), relates that:

While journeying to meet …Balak, with the intention of cursing the …Jewish nation, …Bila’am had difficulties with his donkey. The animal kept stopping [or straying off of the path], frightened by an angel that Bila’am was unable to see. Bila’am lashed out at the animal, and after the third time a miracle occured:

Hashem opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Bila’am. “What have I done to you, that you hit me these three times?” (Sefer Bamidbar Perek 22, posuk 28, as cited in the Sefer Shem Mishmuel, page 347)  [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Chukas 5771: The Parah Adumah and Rachel Imeinu’s Tefillot

by Moshe Burt

The Midrash Says, by Rabbi Moshe Weissman writes regarding Parsha Chukas (Sefer Bamidbar, pages 245-247):

There are numerous examples of chukim…. Since thet contain apparently contradictory elements, they are liable to be ridiculed by a rational thinker. The Torah advises the Jew to tell himself, It’s a chok; I have no right to question it.”

Nevertheless, chukim are not “laws without reasons”; rather their logic is Divine. The greatest among our people were able to understand some of them. [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Korach 5771: Faith-Based and Merited Leadership, vs Protexia and Political Cheshbonot?

by Moshe Burt

Parsha Korach may seem to the reader to be a logical continuation of Parsha Shelach as it would seem very much that Korach and his attempted power grab is a logical after-affect, a consequence of the denial of Eretz Yisrael by 10 of the 12 miraglim (spies).

In fact, Yehuda Nachshoni’s “Studies in the Weekly Parsha” (pages 1032-1033) cites Ramban’s view that the cause of the rebellions of our Parsha; Korach’s, Dasan and Aviram’s and the First Born’s was:

The spies’ severe punishment, which brought death to the generation of the desert and plague to its princes. It [the punishment]… brought to the surface all of the accumulated bitterness of the dissatisfied, who until now had not dared to come out against Moshe. Now they took advantage… to settle accounts. [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Shelach 5771: Distorted Modern-Day Shelach: The Perfect “Out” for Severing the Bond

by Moshe Burt

In observing the evolution of Israel’s political governmental scene today, this author’s memories harken back to one Yom Nora’im (High Holidays) 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 5771 — Trickle-Up Leadership: Mirror Reflection of Us and Our Tefillot?

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.

Shavu’ot 5771: Megillat Ruth and the Impact of Actions

by Moshe Burt

The Sefer Shem Mishmuel (page 302) cites Rabbi Berachyah in Shemos Rabbah Perek 28, posuk 1:

“The Tablets were six tefachim (handbreadths) long — in some sense, Hashem grasped two tefachim, Moshe grasped 2 tefachim and 2 tefachim bridged the gap between them.”

Shem Mishmuel then explains (pages 302 – 304):

We can sub-divide all mitzvot, and indeed, all human endeavors into three spheres: thought, speech and action. There are some Mitzvot which require a Jew to think in a particular way. For example, the first of the Ten Commandments demands belief in Hashem. [...]  Click here to read more.