Parashat Beha'alotecha; Numbers; Chapter 8 Verse 1 – Chapter 12 Verse 16 

05/30/2018 10:29:41 AM


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General Overview: G‑d instructs Aharon concerning the Mishkan (Tabernacle) Menorah lighting. The Leviyim are initiated into the Mishkan service. The "Second Pesach" is instituted. At G‑d's request, Moses makes two trumpets, and is instructed how and when to use them. The Israelites leave Mount Sinai, and proceed towards the Land of Canaan. The people unreasonably complain about their "frugal" manna diet and receive a meat supplement, with tragic results. Moses appoints seventy elders to assist him in bearing the burden of the people. Miriam speaks negatively about Moses and is punished with tzara'at (leprosy).

1st Section: Aharon is instructed to light the Menorah, and the Menorah’s construction is reviewed. Moshe is commanded to inaugurate the Leviyim into the service of the Mishkan.

2nd Section: The Leviyim are inaugurated into Temple service. Their term of service was from age 25 to age 50.

3rd Section: The Jewish people keep their second Pesach since leaving Egypt. The laws of Pesach Sheni – the makeup Pesach (one month after Pesach) are taught for those who were unable to bring the Pascal Lamb at the appropriate time.

4th Section: The movement of the Pillar of Clouds as the indicators of when to set or break the camp is identified. In addition to the Pillar of Clouds, Moshe is commanded to make two silver trumpets that would be used to herald the traveling of the encampment, or the movement of troops during war.

5th Section: The description of the nation’s travels from the desert of Sinai is recorded. Moshe approaches Yitro, his father in law, who refuses his offer to join them in the land Israel.

6th Section: The two verses of “When the Ark went forth” are stated, and then things begin to unravel. The main body of this Aliya describes the nation’s complaints against the physical conditions of their dwelling in the desert. The Manna is described in contrast to the nation’s desire for “real food”. Moshe expresses his frustrations as leader, and Hashem promises to send quail to satisfy the people’s desire for meat. Moshe is instructed to appoint a Sanhedrin to help him govern and teach the nation. The 70 Elders are Divinely confirmed, and Eldad and Medad prophesies the transition of leadership from Moshe to Joshua.

7th Section: The quail descend upon the camp in such quantity that each person collected 1000 lb. of meat. Aharon and Miriam speak Lashon Hara (slander) about Moshe, resulting in Hashem confirming Moshe as His preeminent servant and prophet. Miriam is afflicted with Leprosy.

Haftara: Zechariah; Chapter 2 verse 14 – Chapter 4 verse 7

Haftara Summary: This week we read about a vision of the golden Temple Menorah, whose daily kindling is discussed in the opening of this week's Torah reading.

This prophecy was communicated by Zechariah shortly before the building of the Second Temple. The haftarah opens with a vivid depiction of the joy that will prevail when G‑d will return to Jerusalem: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for, behold! I will come and dwell in your midst, says the L-rd."

The prophet then describes a scene in the Heavenly Court: Satan was seeking to incriminate Joshua, the first High Priest to serve in the Second Temple, because of the "soiled garments" (i.e. sins) he was wearing. G‑d himself defends the High Priest: "And the Lord said to Satan: The Lord shall rebuke you, O Satan; the Lord who chose Jerusalem shall rebuke you. Is [Joshua] not a brand plucked from fire?" I.e., how dare Satan prosecute an individual who endured the hardships of exile? "And He raised His voice and said to those standing before him, saying, 'Take the filthy garments off him.' And He said to him, 'See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I have clad you with clean garments.'"

G‑d then proceeds to outline the rewards awaiting Joshua if he and his descendants follow G‑d's ways. The ultimate reward is, "Behold! I will bring My servant, the Shoot," an allusion to Mashiach, the Shoot of David.

Zechariah then describes a vision of a golden seven-branched Menorah. An angel interprets the meaning of this vision: "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel (descendent of King David, one of the protagonists in the building of the Second Temple), 'Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,' says the Lord of Hosts." Meaning that Zerubbabel's descendent, Mashiach, will have no difficulty in his task, it will be as simple as lighting a menorah.

Thu, June 21 2018 8 Tammuz 5778