Parsha Balak 5772: Historical Parallels and Motivations for Toleration of Evil in the Camp

by Moshe Burt

We learn in our Parsha, that after having utterly failed to bring Hashem to curse B’nai Yisrael, Bila’am left Balak with a scheme to seduce Jewish men to avodah zora by way of immorality (co-habitation), thus evoking Hashem’s wrath. The resultant plague killed 24,000 Jewish men and was only ended by Pinchas’ zealous act in slaying Zimri and Kosbi in one stroke of his spear.

The Midrash Says (by Rabbi Moshe Weissman, Parsha Balak, pages 350-351) indicates that Bila’am’s Ba’al Peor scheme began by attracting airev rav — those who accompanied the Jews out of Mitzrayim. But, then the attraction lured members of Shevet Shimon. The account states that Hashem revealed those who sinned by removing The Clouds of Glory from above the guilty ones. [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Chukas 5772: Revisiting 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 they 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 5772: Real Jewish Leadership, vs Political Grasshopper Mentality

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 5772: Distorted Modern-Day Shelach and the Divine Incumbency of Dwelling in Eretz Yisrael

by Moshe Burt

Our Parsha Shelach brings to mind the evolution of Israel’s political governmental scene today, particularly in light of last week’s Knesset vote-down, and abandonment by many herteofore supporters, of legislation which would have legalized, retroactively, previously governmentally approved construction in the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El and in other locations. That such former vocal and high profile supporters of that legislation, such as Yisrael Beiteinu, many Likud and national religious cabinet ministers, backed down upon the threat of being fired for lack of coalition discipline shows clearly that the politicians have yet to learn and internalize the lessons which should have been gleaned after Jew expelled Jew from Gush Katif. [...]  Click here to read more.