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Book of Numbers

The Perils of Trusting the Trustworthy

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 07.02.2014 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

The Bible often warns against trusting the wrong sources (e.g., false prophets). But in the story of Balaam, the Bible warns against placing too much trust in the right sources -- in this case Moses. The Bible's warning is particularly pertinent to us today, since we are particularly prone to the error of excessively trusting our sources.

Remembrance Is the Beginning of the Task

Rabbi Michael Bernstein | Posted 07.27.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Bernstein

May the memory of those who died in service to our country be a blessing and may we be inspired by those who serve to bring justice, wholeness, and peace to a broken world and all of its inhabitants.

The Earth Is a Gift (Numbers 30:2-36:13, Mattot-Masei)

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin | Posted 09.01.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

The Torah teaches at least three lessons about living on this planet -- three lessons that we must remember lest we devastate the "promised land" (wherever we may find ourselves geographically) and the hope and future of our children.

A Leadership Statement for the Ages (Numbers 25:10-30:1)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg | Posted 08.28.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

The whole of Moses' life is remarkable. Yet certain moments still stand out for their exemplary selflessness, frankness and courage.

Torah and Superstition: Parashat Balak

Rabbi Sara N.S. Meirowitz | Posted 08.18.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Sara N.S. Meirowitz

Beginning in medieval times, modern Jews have understood the Torah to be monotheistic, testifying that only one God exists. But it might be more accurate to say that the Torah is monolatrous -- that multiple Gods exist, but we choose to worship only one of them.

Serpents, Inner Demons And Spiritual Renewal

Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein | Posted 08.11.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein

The tale of the copper serpent is not simply about the destructive power of sin; it is about our capacity to grow, and ultimately triumph, in spite of it.

Did Moses Listen?

Rabbi Joshua Stanton | Posted 08.04.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Stanton

For all of his brilliance, for or all of his excellence, for all of the ways in which Moses will forever be the archetypical religious leader in the Jewish tradition, he was also imperfect.

The 'Broad' Living At The Edge Of Jericho

Rabbi Arthur Waskow | Posted 07.29.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Rahav, who is specifically called a whore in the opening lines, stands among various outsider and transgressive women in the Hebrew Bible who play a decisive, if unexpected, role in bringing healing and redemption to their people.

Wounding Words: The Dangers of Gossip

Rabbi Melissa Buyer | Posted 07.24.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Melissa Buyer

We all know how hard it is to refrain from gossip, particularly in moments of anger, pain, frustration or exhaustion. But our Torah reading reminds us that we need to be vigilant in monitoring our own speech and helping others do the same.

Wake Up: God Is Speaking

Rabbi Joel Sisenwine | Posted 07.14.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Joel Sisenwine

God speaks each and every day. Naso is a reminder to pay close attention and wake up to the world around us. Turn off the noise and see the beauty. Don't sleep through the sacred dimensions of life.

Leadership In The Wilderness

Erica Brown | Posted 07.07.2013 | Religion
Erica Brown

We walked through the wilderness with eyes wide shut. Instead of neglecting the lessons of Bemidbar, perhaps -- in an age of questionable leadership -- we need to read it more slowly and carefully and pay better attention to the landscape.

Penn State Football By The Book Of Numbers

Stephen Hazan Arnoff | Posted 09.16.2012 | Religion
Stephen Hazan Arnoff

One of the many disturbing things about the Penn State abuse scandal is that sports, like religious ritual, is supposed to offer an effective means to sublimate violence. In this case, violence and power were allowed to grow wildly without proper ethical oversight.

Parshat Pinchas: You Can Look, Moses, But Do Not Touch

Josh Fleet | Posted 09.12.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

"Pinchas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest has calmed my anger," God tells Moses. "Through his violent and vengeful zealotry, he has saved the Children of Israel. For this I give him my covenant of peace. And for endless days will he be a priest."

Passing The Mantle: Moses And The Challenges Of Succession

Rabbi Or Rose | Posted 09.11.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Or Rose

We all know how complicated it can be for a community to deal with such transitions and the power the outgoing and incoming leaders have in shaping this experience. Here, Moses rises to the challenge.

Parshat Balak: A Talking Donkey And The Curses That Became Blessings

Josh Fleet | Posted 09.04.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

alak, the king of Moab, sees everything Israel has done. He sees the fate of the Amorites. His people become sick with fear. Balak fears them too.

Money, Religion, Leadership: Numbers 22:2–24:25

Rabbi Jill Jacobs | Posted 09.02.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Jill Jacobs

Religious leadership isn't easy. Just ask any of the rabbis who attempt to address controversial issues within their institutions, take on the challenge of moral leadership and manage relationships with members. Or ask the prophet Balaam, the unexpected hero of this week's Torah portion.

The Case For Humility: Numbers 19:1-27:1

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz | Posted 08.26.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

People of true wisdom embrace the importance of uncertainty. Is there anything in this life of which we can be absolutely certain?

Are Our Children Special? The Paradox Of Parenting: Numbers 16:1-18:32

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld | Posted 08.20.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Every child, every person, is indeed special -- in fact, utterly unique. But this is not an assertion of entitlement or privilege. It is an affirmation of radical responsibility and redemptive possibility.

Parshat Shelach Lecha: Seeing What You Want To See

Josh Fleet | Posted 08.14.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

"Send scouts, one from each tribe, distinguished leaders all of them, to explore Canaan," God tells Moses. So Moses selects Shammua, Shaphat, Caleb, Igal, Hosea (aka Joshua), Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Gemalli, Sethur, Nahbi and Geuel.

Parshat Beha'alotecha: This Is What Happens When You Complain

Josh Fleet | Posted 08.08.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

Tell Aaron, God says to Moses, that when he sparks the fire of the candelabrum, the light of each branch should be directed toward the center. Aaron ignites the lamps just so.

Parshat Naso: What Do You Give To God?

Josh Fleet | Posted 08.01.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

The priests should say to everyone, using God's name: May God bless you and keep you. May God cause the Divine Face to shine upon you and favor you. May God turn toward you and grant you peace.

Parshat Bamidbar: Collecting The Names

Josh Fleet | Posted 07.24.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

One year, one month and one day after the Exodus. God speaks to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the desert at Sinai, telling him: Take a census of the Children of Israel. Count their names. All the men, 20 years of age or older.