(Numbers 1:1-4:20)

(Haftara: Hosea 2, 1-22)

(Pirkay Avot Chapter 5)

(Sfirat Ha’omer)

1. [1:1] “God spoke to Moshe in the Sinai Desert, in the tabernacle, in the first month of the second year…” The Torah is a history book and a story book and a book of ethics, etc. How many functions does the Torah serve for us? What is the purpose of telling us so many details of history—exact dates, who helped Moshe count the people and so on?

2. [4:20] “Let them not come and see the sacred things being taken down , or they will die.”   Why would there be such a negative effect on the sons of Kehat. if they saw the tabernacle taken down? What similar things do we have in our lives?

3. [Haftara: Hosea 2:21] “I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice and in kindness and in compassion”. In our daily relationships with family, friends and others, we often have to find a balance between strict justice and kindness. When are we stricter and when are we kinder? Is there a general rule that we can use to help us balance strictness with kindness.?

4. [Hoshea 2:21, 22] “And I will betroth you to me…in honesty and in justice, in kindness and in compassion…in faithfulness, and you will know God.” Honesty, justice, kindness, compassion and faithfulness—is that enough to really know someone, or is more needed?

5. [Pirkay Avot 5:10] “There are 7 qualities in a wise person: …he doesn’t interrupt another’s speech, he answers clearly without confusion, he asks according to the subject and answers properly, he answers in the order of the subjects raised, if he didn’t hear about something, he admits it, and he acknowledges the truth”. This mishna does not say that a wise person must be intelligent. Can a person be wise even if he or she is not especially intelligent?

Commentary

In relation to a corrupt person, it is proper to hate only the corruption of that person. However, in relation to the “image of God” of that person, one should honour it with love. And one should also know that the goodness of that person is more basic to him than the negative qualities.

–Rabbi Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer