This week’s jam-packed Torah portion begins with instructions for Aaron the High Priest on how to light the Menorah (Candelabrum) in the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
G-d tells Moses to tell Aaron: “When you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light” (see Numbers 8:1-2). This means that the wicks in the three lamps on either side of the Menorah should turn toward the middle lamp.
In the next verse the Torah tells us that “Aaron did so”, i.e. he followed G-d’s instructions. Rash”i quotes a Midrash which teaches that these words (“Aaron did so”) are stated “to tell the praise of Aaron, that he did not change”.
In this week’s Torah portion we find the laws of a Sotah, a woman who is suspected of adultery (see Numbers 5:11-31). In describing her actions, the Torah writes: “Ish ish, ki ‘sisteh’ ishto - any man, if his wife will go astray…” (the Hebrew word sisteh is related to the word sotah, “one who strays”, and means “shall go astray”)
However, the word sisteh is also related to the word shotah, “fool”, so that it can be taken to mean that she “shall act foolishly”.
Thus Rash”i quotes a Midrash that teaches: “Adulterers do not commit adultery until a ruach shtus, a spirit of foolishness, enters them”. The Sages of the Talmud expanded this teaching further, explai...
Everyone knows the famous words our ancestors spoke at the foot of Mount Sinai 3328 years ago, when G-d came down and offered them His Torah. They said “Na’aseh V’nishma-We will do all the commandments that You ask of us, and we will obey them” (see Exodus 24:7). Thus, the Jewish people declared their resolve to do and obey whatever G-d would command – even before the commandments were issued.
The Talmud in Shabbos 88a tells us, through an oral tradition, an entirely different story. Based on the verse in Exodus 19:17 that says that the people stood “at the bottom of the mountain”, the Talmud teaches that G-d lifted up the mountain over the heads of the...
This week I read an interesting piece of news which got me thinking about the upcoming holiday of Shavuos (The Festival of Weeks):
LIVERPOOL, N.S.—A Nova Scotia man who was part of one of Canada’s longest-lasting couples has died after 80 years of marriage at the age of 101. According to an obituary, Bill Nickerson passed away peacefully on Sunday in the brick house he had shared with his 98-year-old wife, Bertie, since 193...