(Numbers: 8:1-12:16) / (Haftara: Zecharia 2:14-4:7)
1. [9:6] “And there were people who were impure and they could not do the Passover offering…” Whoever is ritually impure or too far away and can’t eat the Passover sacrifice on Passover can do it a month later. If one were sick, one can’t hear the shofar later or live in a sukkah later. Why is this the only major commandment that one can do at a later date?
2. [11:18, 20] “God will give you meat and you will eat it…until it comes out of your nose…” God and Moshe are taking a slave people and trying to make them mature so that they can be a free people. Is this kind of cynical talk (“until it comes out of your nose”) a strategy for effective parenting, or is it a result of losing patience?
3. [11:28-29] “…and he said, “My master, Moshe, destroy them.” When Eldad and Medad have prophecy, Yehoshua suggests that they be destroyed, but Moshe says that he wishes all the people were prophets. What is the difference between Moshe’s ideal of leadership and Yehoshua’s ideal of leadership?
4. [12:3] Moshe knows through prophecy that there will never be another prophet like him (Deuteronomy 34:10). Knowing that, how can he be “the humblest of all people”?
5. [Zecharia 2:14] “Sing and rejoice, daughter of Zion, because I am coming…” When telling the Jewish people about the final redemption, God addresses us in the feminine. The midrashic literature tells us that the redemption is especially dependent on the women of Israel. Why do women have such a prominent role in the redemption?
[9:21] “And sometimes the cloud was there from evening until morning, and the cloud would go up in the morning and they travelled…”
The Sanctuary had many sections and parts. A work crew of several thousand Levites assembled the Sanctuary at each camp and dismantled and transported it when the Divine command would come to move on. Yet the “Tent of Meeting” was erected at every encampment–even if only for a single day! This teaches us that each and every one of our “stations” in life is significant. A person may find him or herself in a certain place or in a certain situation for a very brief period, and it may seem to him that he is merely “on the way” to some other place. Yet there is always something in that place or situation to be sanctified–something that can serve as a “Tent of Meeting” between Heaven and earth.
–R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn of Lubavitch, 1902-1994.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg
And this study page is also dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker