On the plans of Moab on the first day of the 11th month of the 40th year of wandering, Moses rebukes the Children of Israel for their sins. But only subtly. He lists all the places of their transgression. He doesn't mention what they did wrong.
The consciousness that is going to rebuild the Temple is one of baseless Love. Love predicated by no reason. Love that gives selflessly. Love that serves life for the sake of Love. It means seeing the good in others and building people with our words.
There is a price to pay when we remake the world over in our image, when everywhere is familiar despite the miles we have travelled. To force the world into a social monoculture both destroys the world's vibrant diversity and alienates us from particularity of place.
I thought of the Moses-Joshua relationship and the Torah's concept of inheritance and succession as I watched Prince Fielder hoist his Home Run Derby trophy high above his head. His sons flanked him on either side. His father was no where in sight.
"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."
This is a fire of devotion, connection, awareness. The flames bring light that helps us see where we are and who we are meant to be. We tend this fire through practice, through mitzvot: acts of connection and love.
In Parashat Korach, we learn about anshei shem, men of renown, who abuse their power to the detriment of the community. We saw a similar phenomenon 40 years ago in Watergate, and we see it today in our broken election financing system.
"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.
The Bible that you hear preached by some is a bible of rules, a bible of rigidity; occasionally, a bible of fear. This is not what draws me to the Bible, and it is important that somebody publicly present a different take.