For Learning. For Leading. For Jewish Life.


Posted on June 19th, 2017

NUMBERS 16:1−18:32 

Rabbi Shimon Felix is the Israel Director of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel

Selfish Revolution

Korah and his followers masked their quest for personal power and gain as a desire for an egalitarian, democratic society.

This week we read the story of Korah, who is traditionally seen as an arch-villain, the archetypal rebel against Moses and Aaron–the ‘establishment’ of the Jewish people. When we look at it carefully, however, Korah’s complaint against the hegemony of Moses and his brother, who between them and other members of their family run the entire show in the desert–has a compelling ring to it: “You’ve taken too much! For the entire community, all of them, are holy, and God is in their midst. Why should you exalt yourselves over the congregation of God?”

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Posted on June 12th, 2017

Numbers 13:1 - 15:41

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Britain's Former Chief Rabbi

Without Walls 

Listen carefully to the report brought back by the spies sent by Moses to examine the promised land:

They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

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Posted on June 5th, 2017

Numbers 8:1-12:16

Rabbi Avraham Fischer is a rabbi at Darche Noam Institutions. The following article is reprinted with permission from the Orthodox Union in

How The Trouble Began

The Israelites' troubles, and indeed our own troubles, begin when we turn away from God.

In the aftermath of a national calamity, we try to reconstruct the events that led to the tragedy. We try to locate the turning point, in the belief that there was a precise moment at which, had we been aware, we might have prevented the catastrophe.

To be sure, the Children of Israel were sentenced to die in the desert because of the sin of the scouts (Meraglim), as we will read in Parshat Shlah Lekha. However, the first signs of dissolution emerge in B’ha’alotkha.

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Posted on May 29th, 2017

Numbers 4:21-7:89 

Rabbi Avraham Fischer, Darche Noam Institutions, for 

The Service Of Song

The duty of the Levites to accompany the Tabernacle service with music and song reminds us to serve God with joy.

The G-d-centric, Torah -centric, Mishkan (Tabernacle)-centric Israelite camp described in the opening section of the Book of B’midbar [Numbers] is ordered, sanctified and serene. A census of the population is taken. The tribe of Levi is counted separately, and their holy tasks in the Mishkan are assigned:

All those that were numbered, whom Moshe and Aharon and the princes of Israel counted of the Levites according to their families and according to their fathers’ houses; from thirty years old and upward, until fifty years old, all those who come to perform service to a service (avodat avodah) and the service of carrying in the Tent of Meeting. Their accounts were 8,580. According to the word of Hashem through Moshe did he appoint them, each one to his service and to his burden, and those that were numbered constituted that which Hashem had commanded Moshe (Numbers 4:46-49).

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Posted on May 22nd, 2017

NUMBERS 1:1−4:20 

By Rabbi Zalman Kastel, National Director of the Multi-Faith based Together for Humanity Foundation. 

Ambiguity and Mystery vs. Clarity & Display 

We crave clarity in an ambiguous world. In the early 90′s I struggled to decide on a vocation. Did I want to join the Chabad movement’s team of “Shluchim” agents of the Rebbe to try to bring Jews back to observance or undertake some other path? As I sat at a tribute dinner to my grandfather Rabbi Joshua T. Kastel in Boston shortly after he passed away and heard how much he was loved and how he contributed as dean of the Lubavitch school there, I decided that I did not need to decide because the decision had already been made for me. I had to try to fill his shoes, this was my destiny and life’s work. Except that it wasn’t. Since 2006 my full-time occupation is focused on the needs of the wider community and 
diversity education work.

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