THE TORAH READING FOR 18 SIVAN 5781 MAY 28-29, 2021
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bhaalotcha
B’HA’ALOT’CHA (בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ – Hebrew for “When You Raise [the Lamps]”) – Numbers 8:1−12:16
The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you mount the lamps, let the seven lamps give light at the front of the lampstand.'” – Numbers 8:1-2
- God speaks to Moses, describing the menorah for the Tent of Meeting. The Levites are appointed to serve as assistants under Aaron and his sons. (8:1-26)
- Those who are unable to celebrate Passover during Nisan are given a time in the month of [Iyar] to observe a “second Passover.” (9:1-14)
- A cloud by day and fire by night show God’s Presence over the Tabernacle. When the cloud lifts from the Tabernacle, the people leave Sinai, setting out on their journey, tribe by tribe. (9:15-10:36)
- The Israelites complain about the lack of meat, and Moses becomes frustrated. God tells him to appoint a council of elders. God provides the people with meat and then strikes them with a very severe plague. (11:1-34)
- Miriam and Aaron talk about the “Cushite woman” whom Moses has married. In addition, they complain that God speaks not only through Moses but also through them. Miriam is struck with leprosy, and Moses begs God to heal her. After her recovery, the people resume their journey. (12:1-16)
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behaalotecha
Both the parashah and the haftarah discuss the Menorah. The text of Zechariah shortly after that of the haftarah explains that the lights of the Menorah symbolize God’s eyes, keeping watch on the earth. And in the haftarah, God’s angel explains the message of Zechariah’s vision of the Menorah: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
STUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behaalotecha
The parashah tells of the Menorah in the Tabernacle, the consecration of the Levites, the Second Passover, how a cloud and fire led the Israelites, the silver trumpets, how the Israelites set out on their journeys, the complaints of the Israelites, and how Miriam and Aaron questioned Moses.
[The triennial reading is Numbers 9:15-10:34. The first part, describes the cloud by day and fire by night resting on the Tabernacle and leading the Israelites. God tells Moses to have two silver trumpets made to call the people with specific instructions for when and how to sound them. In the second part, the Israelites set out for the wilderness of Sinai and Paran. Moses asks Reuel the Midianite (his father-in-law, Jethro) to go with them as a guide. The people march for three days from Mount Sinai with the Ark of the Covenant and the Cloud above them by day.]
The 20th century Reform Rabbi Bernard Bamberger noted that Numbers 9:6–8 is one of four episodes in the Torah (along with Leviticus 24:12 and Numbers 15:32–34 and 27:1–5) in which Moses had to make a special inquiry of God before he could give a legal decision. Bamberger reported that the inability of Moses to handle these cases on his own troubled the Rabbis because they relied upon a worldview in which the entire Torah was revealed at Sinai with no need for subsequent revelations.
VERSES IN THE LITURGY
Several verses from this section are used in the liturgy, for example in the Torah Service during Hagbahah [the raising of the scroll] we chant, “al pi Adonai b’yad Moshe” [God’s word through the hand of Moses], from Numbers 9:23. In the Yigdal hymn, the eighth verse, “God gave His people a Torah of truth, by means of His prophet, the most trusted of His household,” reflects Numbers 12:7–8.
The 16th-century Safed Rabbi Eliezer Azikri quoted the words of the prayer of Moses “Please God” (אֵל, נָא, El nah) in Numbers 12:13 in his kabbalistic poem Yedid Nefesh (“Soul’s Beloved”), which in turn many congregations chant just before the Kabbalat Shabbat [receivng the Sabbath] prayer service. The prayer of Moses for Miriam’s health in Numbers 12:13, “Heal her now, O God, I beseech You” (אֵל, נָא רְפָא נָא לָהּ, El, nah r’fah nah lah) — just five simple words in Hebrew — demonstrates that it is not the length of a prayer that matters.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence especially against all minority communities including us, conflicts, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, disease, pandemics, natural disasters, war and all violence.
This coming week, the 18th through the 24th of Sivan, we lovingly remember:
Bernice C. Sigler
Memorial Board – sister of Enid Schwartz z”l
Cousin of Rowena Jones
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, May 28, 2021.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial Reading Num. 9:15-10:34
Time: May 28, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: May 28, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!
PS – Happy Memorial Day on Monday, May 31, 2021.