After the amida prayer, we immediately do nefilat apayim, literally - “falling on the face.” We sit, rest our head on our arm, and look downward - almost in a fetal position. Rabbeinu Bahya traces this practice to our parasha: And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “Divide yourselves from this community,
When the spies enter the land of Canaan, they collect different fruits to bring back with them. They cut a cluster of grapes and then we are told: That place was called Wadi Cluster because of the cluster of grapes that the Israelites cut off there. What we are not told is who named the
When Moses wants to convince his Midianite father-in-law Hobab, also known as Jethro, to stay with the Israelite camp, he tells him: “We are journeying to the place of which the LORD said to us, ‘It will I give to you.’ Come with us and we shall be good to you, for the LORD has
Should we be forced to retire at fifty? From thirty years old up till fifty years old, all who come to the army to do the task in the Tent of Meeting. This is the work of the Kohathites. Only in the desert, writes Maimonides (Kli HaMikdash III), were the Levites forced to retire. And
Moses is commanded to take a census of all Israel and then he’s told: But the tribe of Levi you shall not reckon, and their heads you shall not count in the midst of the Israelites. Moses was himself a Levite and the Midrash imagines his initial reaction. He assumed: maybe there is something wrong
Among the blessings we read the following promise: And I shall go about in your midst…Obadiah Sforno draws a distinction between this vision and building of a centralized Temple or Tabernacle. Regarding the latter, the people built a home for God and then followed it (Tabernacle) or traveled to it (Temple). Here the promise is
Emor - means - say and is so named because of how it begins: “Say to the priests…The parsha is full of harsh - even unfair - teachings. For example, it talks of what disqualifies priests from serving in the Temple. A physical challenge - something they have no control over - can disqualify them.
There’s a commandment to leave the final edge of a field for the Jewish poor: And when you reap your land’s harvest, you shall not finish off the edge of your field…Hebrew distinguishes between you singular and you plural. This verse switches from one to the other. Whereas the your of your land’s harvest is
And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites, that they journey onward. Various midrashim speak of Israel’s unworthiness to cross the sea - they had become idolaters, no different from Egypt and unworthy of salvation. Connecting these midrashim to our verse, Ohr HaHayim explains that as
Whenever there’s a child at the Seder, they are tasked with asking the four Mah Nishtana questions. In one place, Maimonides formulates this in a unique way: We pour the second cup; and here the child asks. And then the reader says, "What differentiates this night from all other nights? (Laws of Hametz and Matza 8:2).