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Shabbat Balak

Shavuah Tov!  

 

Due to health difficulties All in person activities are cancelled until further notice except phone consultations and discussions possible as needed/ desired [928-227-0582]. Newsletter will continue.  If we have pleasant Shabbat weather, we can do an early outdoors Shabbat Morning service/torah study.  A zoom Kabbalat Shabbat will be every Fri. at 4 pm MST during Daylight Savings Time.  call to arrange or get link.

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Shabbat B'Midbar Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask what expectations should we have of our leaders?

 

Shabbat B'Midbar 5784; Drafts and Tasks;

BaMidbar 1:1-4:20; Hosea 2:1-22

 

Why ‘Numbers’ when ‘in the desert’ the Hebrew says

For this next Book of Torah we now embrace

As per HaShem’s instructions setting all in place?

 

Perhaps since it starts with many a census counts:

Of elected tribal Chiefs (for just dealings – a fount);

Of draft aged men; of one month old males and older;

(Giving a basis for assessing taxes due;)

Of all Levites en toto and by each clan’s case -

Not once but twice to assign tasks each must shoulder

Ages thirty to fifty, light tasks for older base

When post-fifty wisdom is the skill used best:

 

How to dismantle and assemble Mishkan parts;

How to organize the camp, all facing the ark,

By each unit of each tribe at Moshe’s behest.

In charge of Priestly functions were Aaron and sons

For some of tasks needed they were the only ones!

 

Now when the counts and task appointing were all through,

Aaron's family line and Moshe's were described -

The sons of Yocheved in birth order counted status flaunted...

Tasks for other clans later leading to much strife...

 

If elef is one thousand, the census seems wrong.

Yet if elef is a unit of six or five,

The numbers to camp for forty years and survive

Are reasonable in a desert clime to belong.

Tribes sat ‘round the Mishkan in army divisions,

Each led by its Chieftain and facing the Mishkan.

 

Since Reuven’s misbehaviours it possibly seemed

That the Levites were viewed like first born by HaShem…

Hence first born sons for the Priests could then be redeemed

At five shekels a head by the Pidyon HaBen.

 

 

Haftorah, Hosea

 

Of a spiritual desert Hosea wrote

In our Haftorah portion for this week’s readings.

By temptations refused, the Exodus recalled,

Our bond with HaShem restored by Mitzvot heeding;

To HaShem our Nation espoused in faithfulness

With Children of the Living G!d in righteousness;

To our Brit: mercied devotion through just goodness...

 

How then was it a spiritual desert place?

The chasing of wealth and gods did goodness erase,

Bounty from G!d misused in unethical pursuits,

Like a 'wife' engaged in harlotry gave G!d the boot...

 

Israel's the wife, mother to be rebuked

Until enticed to return to the Law once more

So that full bounty and mitzvot can be restored

Without harlots, idolatry, hate emoted -

So that a Brit of safety's made with the devoted

To HaShem's Laws and Mitzvot so as to become

HaShem's "my people", a Nation acting as one

With an end to strife for all that lives - war no more!

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Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we study to best treat each other.

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Chag Shavuot Sameach and Shabbat Shavuot Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we study to best understand our liturgy?

 

Shabbat Shavuot 5784; First Fruits, Converts, Equality of All; Torah 1= Shemot

ch. 19-20, B'MIdbar 28:26-31; 2= Dvarim 14:22-16:17, B'Midbar 28:26-31

Haftorot: 1= Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12; 2= Chavakuk 2:20, 3:1-19

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Day 1 Shavuot Torah:

Moshe’s People kept on their way while Yitro went on home.

Refidim to Mt. Sinai’s desert, from Egypt three moons.

A volcanic area with quakes, smoke, fire, and earth groans -

Mt. Sinai’s South South East - ish of Midian in Arabia’s dunes...

 

There HaShem promised if to the Brit you do adhere,

You will be my Special Treasure, Holy Nation I will near

With a kingdom of Priests... Folk replied: We'll follow the laws

And we'll study to understand, too, their why's and because...

 

There's a rest place with three days of purification tasks:

Do not touch the mountain nor your women; wash clothes;

Then listen to the words coming from behind the smoke cloud:

This is our covenant, ten terms to our Brit...

 

So said HaShem, “These covenant terms are ones you must meet”:

The only deity that you shall have must now be me!

No idols are allowed! By my name, no swearing falsely!

Keep the Sabbath day of rest with all livestock and folks -

Except wives are not on the list to not work for their blokes!

Honor your parents! No murder allowed! No adultery

With married women permitted! Stealing of spirits, souls,

Or the selves of others is forbidden! Dishonesty

In tales about neighbors also a very big no-no!

Yet was it only about neighbors or of any folk?

Just like don’t covet neighbors’ holdings – or others’ also?

 

The mountain of lightning, thick smoke, and thunder was so loud

The mountain trembled, horn blasts grew louder scaring the crowd.

Those very frightened People begged Moshe to intercede

So they themselves would not hear directly HaShem’s words.

Moshe did as they asked so HaShem’s words only he heard:

 

“Build now an earthen altar, for sacrifices to be blessed -

No idols thereon nor ever should be built anywhere…

So use then un-hewn stone for an altar without steps.

No lewd dancing, modesty in worship, joy should be there...”

 

Haftorah: Ezekiel and the ET

After thirty years a captive, Ezekiel saw

A vision of a most unexplainable awe!

 

A whirlwind from the north brought a fiery cloud

From which emerged four strange, sparkling robotic probes

Each with four faces and four wings and noise very loud

From a man in a bridge window above light strobes

Pulsing rainbow colors within the cloud cover.

While the probes raced about like lightning, he hovered...

 

Each probe stood on tripod: two legs and a gyro wheel

Which kept the probes stable as upper whirling wings

[Rotor] and lower wings [rudders] could then reveal.

When stopped, the soft cloven footed, straight legs could bring

A view of the four faces: eagle, ox, lion, man;

And the claws under each wing; rudder wings closed tight;

And a rim full of eyes, - all burning bronze, sparkling with light...

 

Above, the amber colored man, on throne of flame

Engulfing a crystal base, was heard to exclaim:

Blessed be! Glory to HaShem from HaShem's stand!

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Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we study to best treat each other.

 

Shabbat Nasso 5784; Dealing with Impurities, Priestly Duties, Nazarites, Gifts vs. Bribes, Corrupt Leaders; BaMidbar 4:21-7:89; Judges 13:2 -13:25

 

Now we learn more of how Levites special were made

As from Aaron and sons tasks to do were relayed

After ev'ry clan's census was taken that day:

Merarites stood to protect Mishkan contents all

Which were sacred to HaShem and the Tribes it’s said;

Gershonites transported Mishkan parts without falls,

On oxen drawn carts too, with Merarites as holders;

Kohathites maintained the Tent of Meeting quite well

With transporting Holy objects on their shoulders...

While each clan performed its tasks, too many to tell…

 

With the Mishkan fully anointed and all therein,

With appointed duties to different Levite clans,

Daily offerings each by another Chieftain,

Twelve came to dedicate the Altar as per plan.

Above the Ark of the Pact in the Meeting Tent

Moish spoke with and heard from HaShem when there he went.

 

One said to be impure, outside the camp was placed,

While those who had stolen were then given a break

At a hundred twenty percent repayment take,

Not two hundred... [ Was it guilty conscience based?]-

Yet since perishable gifts to named Priests were okay,

One wonders: were there bribes to limit costs that day?

 

Communal non-perishable gifts to coffers saved

Allowed Mishkan functioning in every case

Such as for women accused of being unchaste,

Then given floor dirt and cursed ink flavored water

To cause childlessness if an unfaithful daughter,

But not death, just shaming, from the cursed bitter ink

Or bitterness when falsely accused one might think…

Yet no consequence for a false accuser was made…

[Paranoid misogynistic men on parade?]

 

Now the Nazarite vows were not taken lightly,

Required no takes of grapes or ferments in any form,

No hair cuts, no nearing the dead. Such was the norm.

If someone present died, vows restarted once more

After seven days the impure shaved rightly,

With purifying rites for to spirit restore.

 

After the complete Tabernacle set up

Consecration of all by Moshe was up

With offered dedications by Chiefs, each day

A different tribe leader leading the way.

 

For Moshe a perk: above cherubim wings

HaShem’s words could be heard as though they could sing!

Moish in Holy of Holies hence wanted to be.

 

Speaking of Nazarites, it is good to know

That the Haftorah for this week, as Judges goes,

Is of the birth of Samson with his Mother’s vows

Which she based on HaShem’s dear messenger’s words now

Of no grapes nor ferments nor wines nor nearing death,

Post- a disappearing holo messenger's show,

Related to her husband who wanted to see

And speak with the strange fellow, thank him with a feast.

They were told: “To HaShem give thanks, we will not eat.”

As he stepped in the pyre and his visage ceased.

 

To finally have a child to raise with each breath!

Nazarite child to suppress Philistines somehow...

A male child who grew to be by HaShem quite blessed

Like our portion ending with three Priest blessings blessed

To remind People that with HaShem their bond grows...

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Shabbat BeHa-alotecha Shalom! We at Beit Torah will discuss righteous and ethical Leadership and what to do if lacking same...

Shabbat BeHa-alotecha 5784; Elders, Judges, Mishkan Care, Calamities and Desert Fare; BaMidbar 8:1-12-16; Zechariah 2:14-4:7

How to make lamp stands from hammered gold alloy plate

Opens our parasha portion to light the way

To another revealed version of Yitro’s name,

One more account of Mishkan purification

With purifying Levites to lead the nation.

 

Restating Levite’s special first born-like station

As purified attendants to Aaron and Sons

(Just Levites enter so others saved from sickness fate)

Thus by Cohanim no menial work was done...

Plus Israelite sons [but not from flocks] can regain

Family status when redeemed with shekels paid.

 

Now Yitro, Hobab, and Reuel are Zipporah’s line

As named Midian Priest, High Priest, Grandpa or Dad.

The confusing bit may stem from multi-sourced tales

Of the same events of history, yours and mine,

Just like Mount Sinai and Mount Horeb, both HaShem’s pad,

The Holy abode, source of our Brit, whence Mitzvot hale!

 

Also at odds are male head counts and job ages

Whereas before, Levites started work at thirty.

Now twenty-five, a larger workforce was made...

The old were only guards, no hands getting dirty…

Still as before, post-fifty we may find sages.

 

So elef’s unit, not a thousand as today,

Said unit likely comprised of five or six guys

Totalled a count where all could find work if they tried.

 

Herein is told: A Tent of Meeting’s outside camp

Unlike the central Mishkan, Shechinah’s cloud…

So when travel was needed, trumpet blasts were loud

With given signals to guide the gathering crowd

To march forward by unit or family ties,

Following the high Mishkan cloud along their tramp.

In specific order they went aft and before

Troops protect the Mishkan and families therefore.

Did Bro Hobab agree to be the People’s guide?

 

(Different blast sounds were used for wartime too!

Such horn blasts were so used to herald special days

Of Festivals and Rosh Chodesh BaAretz stay

When Folk were to observe given time’s Holy ways...

Whether from impurity or travelling needs,

If one missed a Seder, in a month could re-do.

One Law on these Days, locals and strangers must heed!)

 

Elef count's seen, too, when telling of longing for meat -

Three K plus kin [not six hundred K plus] to feed

Is easier with dropping quail for a month of meals,

So free dropping birds were at quite a price, a steal!

Were they low on oxygen, energy or air?

Did a toxin overcome them? hot fumes? or death fare?

As uncooked or uncured, with raw meat: Death was there…

Was bdellium colored Mannah a better stew?

Coriander seed and cream taste kept folk alive.

Even without some meat, there was a way to thrive!

 

Now a first seventy elders were picked it seems

When Yitro told a tired Moshe to delegate.

So if they weren’t just Yitro’s and Moshes’ pipe dream,

Where did all seventy go? What then was their fate?

 

We now are told the camp outskirts suffered a blaze

Of likely a lightning strike or man made mishap…

If Tent of Meeting was at Taberah those days,

Were then first seventy elders in meeting trapped,

Perished- all lost? So Moshe tried to fill the gap?

 

Overwhelmed, suicidal, exhausted, despaired;

Told to gather another seventy; aware

Of their honest efforts to fairly judge with care

Along with Eldad and Medad, prophets spirit-filled,

In the camp among the people as HaShem willed.

Or was this version of how seventy gathered

An otherly sourced tale of how judging mattered?

 

His siblings hazed Moshe about his Cushite wife:

For bloodless take over by Egypt, a Princess wife

From Nubia (Josephus)... or a Midianite...

 

So Miriam’s stress caused her scaly skin so white;

Gave her seven days quarantine for skin to heal

With Moshe's intense prayer to G!d for her weal...

Then on to Paran with no further word revealed...

Shabbat Shalom!

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Haftorah, Zechariah

According to Zechariah, HaShem promised to dwell

Amongst the Chosen - Jerusalem first chosen as well...

As if in a dream, Zechariah claimed to see

Joshua, the High Priest, standing in tattered clothes

Before the Holy Judge, Prosecutor on right.

The Prosecutor by the Judge rebuked sternly,

Told his attendants to dress Josh in Priestly Robes

As a guiltless servant crowned with diadem light,

Promising to be faithful to HaShem's Laws all nights

With reward to tend to HaShem, lead righteous Priests,

As marked on a seven eyed, engraved stone decree

That one day, all sit together in shade of fig trees...

 

Zach thought he woke up, asked by the Angelic Judge:

What, at that point, was it he was able to see?

He then saw a golden lamp stand beneath a bowl;

Seven lamps below pipes; each side an olive tree;

A mountain mined level by Zerubavel's path

Producing beautiful, excellent, building stones

For the Temple with Priest vestments and crown made whole...

 

Then the angel asked: "Prophet! What does it all mean?"

As engraved on the beautiful, beautiful stone:

To Zerubavel HaShem said, "Not by my might,

Nor by my power, but by my Spirit alone..."

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Shabbat Shlach Lecha Shalom! We at Beit Torah will discuss the dangers of mis/dis-information and propaganda...

Shlach Lecha 5784 Combatting Mob Mentality and Violence; Numbers 13-15; Joshua 2:1-24

Now twelve scouts were chosen, one from each tribe.

They were sent to check out the Promised Land.

They returned with a plump grapes bunch in hand

And a good report of milk and honey

Flowing throughout, with right rainfall, sunny.

 

Yet for to conquer they felt a bad vibe

Of being very weak and them far too small

To take over the Land, to take it all.

This fear, this vibe, they gossiped, widely spread,

‘Til frenzied folk wanted dissenters dead.

 

Did Moshe change Hoshea with a yud

To Yehoshua to protect [he would]

From the crazed mob's thirst to kill if they could?

Or was this a second version sourced name

For a faithful attendant soon of fame?

Note: Caleb, too, favored in HaShem's light

Means obedient servant with keen sight...

 

Caleb and Joshua were barely saved

When Shechina in Meeting Tent was seen

Telling Moshe he had to intervene

To stop the mob violence the People craved.

 

How frightening for him it had to be

When ‘good’ folk into monsters he could see.

More so for Joshua’s and Caleb’s sight…

Repeated over in our history:

Kristallnacht, Tulsa, the Native homes wiped

Out by lies, hatred, myths, and bigotry.

 

While the Scouts brought back a plague somewhat new,

Killing more than ten mob leaders, at least,

The People were told it is time to go

‘Tween the inland valley Amalekites

By the Sea of Reeds near the Canaanites

(This reed sea is not the Exodus one,

But near a gulf somewhat more to the east.)

Still rebuked folk tried invasion re-do,

But without HaShem’s backing, failed, were done…

Their efforts left them with just deaths to show...

 

With the People HaShem then was not fine,

Threatening to send plagues and disown them -

Moshe pled for forbearance one more time,

Not wanting to sire a nation chosen

To follow the Brit without mobs nor gripes…

So from his begging came a compromise:

Save for Caleb and Josh, adults perished

Before the People could enter the Land

Where future generations could then stand

Compliant with Laws, with their Land cherished.

 

Now Moshe saw mob violence People made

So he feared becoming the next victim.

He was upset with politicking lies

After hoping at least some would realize

That mobs don’t follow Mitzvot. They stray.

So though told cut off* defiant sinners,

All the mob stoned the gatherer whose sin

Was Shabbat wood pick up. Hence no winners.

Not even one refrained from his stoning -

Was just such one what Moshe was hoping?**

Was the man senile? With one sick at home?

Context and intent were unchecked, unknown.

 

In wake of this so disappointing act,

Folk were told to always recall the fact

That Mitzvot must be followed all the time

So wearing Tzitzits now was to remind

Them all to observe and investigate

Violations. The Punishment can wait.

Was the act unknowing or with intent?

Was it defiant - or not - the way it went?

 

All rules HaShem repeated once more

To remind all Folk the Brit to adore

Or else have consequences to explore...

 

By the by, a sacrifice list given

Told what to do post-forty years living

In the desert, then entering the Land

Where all peoples there had one Law as planned.

Residents, citizens, and strangers, all,

Were to have same rituals, rules, and Laws…

Haftorah, Joshua

Now Caleb and Joshua were good spies.

So, too, Jericho’s Rahab helped two scouts;

Protecting both by hiding them with lies

For she had heard that wondrous deeds were done

By G!d for the Folk to have freedom won -

So Jericho expected loss, was glum.

Helping them escape when they went about

By for three days in the hills were hiding out

Before returning their report to tell.

With her help, Jericho and the Land fell

Before the Israelite onslaught quite well.

 

Now harlot was Rahab or prostitute

Or inn keeper, clear headed and astute,

Converted for community. Thus saved

And redeemed to have a future well paved

With rewards gained for her work it is told

With family safety and growing old

In marriage with Joshua, leader bold,

To have offspring who her name did restore,

Her successful and well-known descendants

Such as Jeremiah, Priests, many more

Showed the low can thus become ascendant! - Shabbat Shalom!

*cut off = excommunicate or shun; defiant = intentional

** if one refused to stone the man, then stoning would have been prevented

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Shabbat Shalom! At Beit Torah we will discuss: recognizing the power hungry, the egotists, the con men, and the tyrants within politics and government…

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, Korach 5784 Discord; Numbers 16-18;

Maftir: Numbers 28:1-15; Isaiah 66:1-25

 

Although they were not sent to scout out the Land,

Within the ranks of Levites there was dissent.

Korach was sure that the People he should lead.

Aviram and Dathan followed where he went.

 

Rebellion continued, now nearly a mob

Of two hundred fifty Chiefs of good repute:

Hoodwinked by Korach? Or Reuvenite desire

To regain first born state, their bitter dispute?

Was it greed for power? Political jibes?

The eternal blame game played by folk in all times?

 

Korach said now all as Holy Priests could stand.

He ignored duties to strive to be Holy

And clear obligations he’d not understand.

‘Twas power he wanted, ego feed solely…

 

Korach brought his followers to the Meeting Tent.

Then before all appeared the Presence of HaShem

Who spoke with Aaron and Moshe about the fate

Of the wayward People who needed to be saved.

 

So Moshe replied to the challenge with calm:

Come all with fire pans of fire and incense balm

To the Meeting Tent, see who’s chosen come morn…

While signals of earthquakes and sink holes did form...

Moshe could tell well what these signs would portend.

He saw the rebel camps in mortal danger.

He knew from experience how this could end,

But the People knew not as desert strangers.

 

Moshe’s pleas for a Dathan/Aviram meet

Since he was honest with how them he would treat

Were met with refusal and disdain complete…

Yet when G!d’s Presence showed, they fell off their feet

Anxious with prayer in fear of death, defeat,

To not be punished for another’s sinning

Although they’d been cheering for Korach’s winning...

 

Then Moshe warned all: stay clear of those doomed camps,

Explaining that strange death would be upon them

Such as to Sheol down, ground opened steep ramp...

All Aviram, Dathan, most of Korach stayed...

Their disbelief was quite misplaced. The earth then swayed

And rumbled and opened wide to swallow them

So completely - and then sealed all in the mire.

 

The shaking and quaking caused panic and fear.

People fled in all directions, falling, dropping wares -

So that the two fifty controlled not their pans…

Fire lit the flammable, engulfing all there…

 

Fear fired up a mob that blamed Moshe for deaths,

Thinking that he, not HaShem, made folk expire -

Then the Shechinah cloud covered the Meeting Tent

Where with HaShem to talk Moshe quickly went

To stop destruction of the mob, madness bent

Against Moshe and Aaron. The People complained.

Once more Holy Presence of HaShem was perceived

With the Tent of Meeting fully covered in cloud,

While a toxic fumes plague was spreading among folk.

An angered HaShem with Moshe and Aaron spoke

That if G!d destroyed the People 'twould be relieved.

 

Still, atonement from Moshe and Aaron quite loud

Could stop the plague plus save the sick and those in pain.

So Aaron made fragrant forgiveness prayers,

Stopping the then started plague’s spread through the air.

Just a few thousand [or fifteen K] lost breath...

 

Fire pans in the blaze were thought to be Holy.

They were gathered to make plating for the Ark,

To remind Folk that offerings, once again,

Were to be given by Kohanim only...

 

Yet the leadership question still was open.

So Moshe told Chieftains to bring their rods:

All twelve tribes along with Aaron’s, bark to bark,

Stored overnight – then clearly chosen at dawn

Was Aaron’s blooming and almond fruited one.

‘Twas placed by the Ark, reaffirming his job.

With all this, Folk feared to be near the Mishkan

Fearing death for their misdeeds then might be won.

 

While at the Tent, HaShem also said to the bros

That Levites to feel part of the community

Needed to do Holy chores, responsibilities

To feel needed and special, a Tribe HaShem chose!

 

So gift and elevation offerings were for

All the Levites and their kin save for the impure;

Cautioned that sacred objects must not be profaned;

Though purification, reparation or grain

Were those all Levite females to eat must refrain!

 

Without land, the Levites to survive had a need:

New oil, grain, wine, and first fruits were for Levites

Who only in Meeting Tent of the Ark were right;

For them ten percent tithes and first fruits were received.

As for the first born, boy babes could be redeemed,

One month old: five shekels/ twenty gerahs wad…

Another rebel chapter done, so it seemed…

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rosh Chodesh Haftorah:

So said Isaiah, "HaShem has now spoken these words:

From my abode, the poor and heartbroken I have heard;

Yet wanton killing and abominations abound;

Those who heed and follow my words, I have not found...

 

Still some will shun evil despite hatred from others

Knowing that it is all their shame, their's and their brothers...

Now my chosen nation was born from pain and travail.

Rejoice in Jerusalem with our losses bewailed!

While you are consoled as needed, glory in delight

That you will prosper and be comforted in my light!

 

So too, I'll rage fiercely against idolatrous foes!

You will endure. My words all Nations will come to know.

They will worship Me Sabbath to Sabbath, and too,

From Moon to Moon, Month to Month, every day anew!"

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Shabbat Shalom! What power do we have to control water availability, purity, snake infestations, or land grabs? At Beit Torah we discuss how we handle challenges in Torah and in modern life...

Chukat 5784 Power at what price?; Numbers 19-22:1; Shofetim [Judges] 11:1-33

They were short on water, yet pure they still needed to be
Particularly after coming in contact with death.
They took a red heifer, burnt it up to ash completely,
Then mixed its ash with water, all outside the camp, so that
The mix was for use when purification was needed,
Sprinkled by hyssop on tents, vessels, and folks so treated.

Then Folk and clothes fully washed must be; the Sprinkler Priest, too,

Was impure to touch and must, himself, all these steps go through!
Was such a practice needed when Miryam at Kadesh died?


With their dowser gone, there was no water. The People cried,
Which angered Moshe. He spoke harshly to all of no faith
That he would find a way from the rock’s inside to provide
By cracking the volcanic outer shell with two staff strikes…
Yet he should have said the glory was HaShem’s – not his own…
So it’s said that’s why Moish could not go to the Land, go Home

After he was not humble during Meribah’s strife!

With all the dramas going on, Moish was likely quite tired,
Wanting to see Midyan family and friends, to retire…
Yet Aaron was feeble, so close to death that up Mount Hor
He went to give his vestments over to his son and more,
With Eleazar as Priest, join his Forbears at Moab’s edge
[Since the Edomite King refused to give People passage].
So there were thirty days Folk mourning, for Aaron a pledge…

Arad’s King attacked thinking deep grief weakened the masses,
But the People were strong enough. His attempt met defeat…
Then they kept on going through the wetlands by the Dead Sea
To skirt unwelcoming brother Edom's territory...
While the People complained of no water nor bread to eat...

Along this way of travel they came upon
Some orange-gold coloured snakes’ hatching ground.
That they’re not vipers the Folk did not know,
Hence hysterics and fear of painful bites
Caused much great distress such that some might die.
So Aaron’s copper serpent staff distracted
The Folk to believe it would keep them live
If when they went, they did gaze up at it.
All they had to do was to go, go, go…
The venerated staff, worshipped so,

Was destroyed by King Hezekiah's blows!


There were many Transjordan stops on their way

Through Arnon 'tween Moab and Amorites,
Through the wadi streams, marshes, and sand dunes.
Then they asked to pass through Amorite lands.
When refused and attacked, they won the day.
Still when faced with Haughty Og, they over-ran
Them with no ask, taking Bashan, their ruins -

Hence taking Amorite lands with their might!
After, to Be-er of plenty water...


(Now Ibn Ezra said the Book of Wars
Included songs of praise to these battles

Such as the Waheb in Suphah great fights

Including songs about searches for water

And, from those times, other slaughters...
But given that that Book is now no more,
We’ve no way today to know its prattles.)

So we leave this parsha on Moab’s steppes
With Jericho in sight from where Folk slept,
Camped east of Jordan River as it swept.

 

Haftorah, Judges

Yiftach, son of Gilead, not his wife,

With his half brothers had grief and much strife.

So he fled their home to seek his own life

Leading men of character mostly poor.

 

Once more we had Ammonites causing grief

When the People were settled in the Land.

Ammonites claimed Israel stole some land

Although Ammonites the People bypassed,

[In fear, the King of Ammon caused his lost war?]

As Moab and Edom were also missed...

But Sihon and Balak had wars all planned

To regain what they caused lost in the past,

Claiming t'was stolen in fake news expressed...

 

Folk had become soft, so turned to a thief,

A skilled warrior highwayman to stand

Against invaders. With one ask he agreed:

That he’ld become ruler if victory!

Yiftach vowed if so, at home to him meet

First would be sacrificed in gratitude…

Then he had the invaders kept away...

 

Omitted in Haftorah, verses then say

His daughter, only child, rushed to him greet!

The women mourned her each year for four days…

Later Commenters said she was sent away

Never to know a man in any way...

Shamed such conduct was rude, lewd, and eschewed?

What do you think of their editting ways?

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Shabbat Shalom! Who controls our lives: us or HaShem? At Beit Torah we strive to remember to discover all the facts of a situation before coming to a judgment and taking action...

 

Balak 5784 Truth, Justice, Mercy, Humility, Talking with Animals;

Numbers 22:2-25:9; Micah 5:6-6:8


King Balak viewed the People as a scourge of the Earth,
Wanted to be rid of them for all he was worth...
King Balak sent for Bilaam to curse all the People.
Bilaam clearly did not want to go.
King Balak insisted, bullied Bilaam to come -
HaShem was displeased. Bilaam did know.

So he flatly refused the first commanded request.
Next King Balak offered much wealth for him to agree.
Bilaam rejected the offer at HaShem's behest.
A visit from HaShem that night did change Bilaam's view
Since he agreed that all HaShem decreed, to say and do.
So it seems strange that a messenger was sent to kill
Bilaam on his donkey when he was doing G!d's will!

Now on his way, his donkey dear
Could see the danger coming near.
She balked and stopped. Saved his life…
Bilaam had thoughts on other things,
Was not aware what action brings…
He cussed and fussed, beat her thrice.

After the horrid beatings and his donkey's protests,
Bilaam saw the messenger and understood the test:
He had to follow through, do HaShem's request!
Commands, wealth and sacrifices were to no avail
To get KIng Balak the cursing words for Folk to nail...
Balak heard not that Bilaam would predict no false tale!

Bilaam continued on in his unpleasant fate
To thrice bless the Israelites encamped,
Gain King Balak’s ire, punishment could not wait
As HaShem’s consequence, sealed and stamped.

Not only did Balak the camped People not curse
But Bilaam’s three tries led to something far worse…
On the third Ma Tovu blessing it came to pass
That other nations were doomed to lose, alas...

Midyan was a loose Congress of many tribes.
Not in any sense were they ever Moabites.
Now few of the tribes had treaties with Moab Kings
But just for peace and trade, not habits nor rites.

Yet when some Moabite women led men astray,
A Midyanite Princess’s life was to pay
By the hand of a hot-headed, bigot, zealot,
Who skewered her Israelite husband as well,
Them together in their tent on their marital bed.
So Josephus reported this info instead…
Pinchas, his evil rewarded with High Priest’s lot…
Or was it to temper his flames as some might tell?


Haftorah, Micah

 

A downtrodden remnant of Jacob in the Land

Had strayed from G!d's Laws, forgot the strong Holy hand...

Micah called out: "Why have you forsaken G!d's trust?

Pull yourselves together and return as you must!
I have predicted Diaspora will work, all
Together, to prevail over foes come to call,
Told the Folk to go to mountains and plead their case
Recalling the hardships from Balak and Bilaam,
Recalling gracious acts how HaShem saved Ha-Am,

Our Forebears through the ages and at the Reed Sea,

Moshe and his Family who helped set you free!

So to please HaShem, no offerings thanks will give
Nor sacrifices nor homages help us live.
But doing what HaShem requires is for our talk:
Do Justice, Love Goodness, with HaShem humbly walk..."
Hence Haftorah concludes with how to be a Jew:
Seek Justice, Love Mercy, with all be Humble too.

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