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Bringing Up Israel: Parenting a New Nation

Recently, my daughter and I had an exchange that felt like we were enacting an ancient script between parents and teenagers. It left me wondering where on earth this script comes from, and how I ended up with the parental role.This week’s parashah, B’haalot’cha, provides some answers. God and the people of Israel struggle: the people are tired of manna, yearn for the food of Egypt, and cry out for meat. 

D'var Torah By: 
Teaching the Value of Gratitude
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Phyllis A. Sommer

Rabbi Grushcow sees B’haalot’cha as a parental negotiation-gone-wrong between God and the Israelites, and I do agree that this is one of the more concrete examples of this kind of relationship in the Torah. And yet, God's response can be, for us, a reminder that gratitude must be taught and reinforced.

If You Missed It the First Time

In Numbers 9:7 some people who cannot offer the Passover sacrifice at its set time approach Moses saying what amounts to, “We want to bring a sanctified offering to God. It isn’t fair that we are not allowed to do it.” God's answer is that they can still participate, but a month later on a day called Pesach Sheini – the Second Passover.

D'var Torah By: 
Pesach Sheni: A Model for Reform Observance
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Ilana Schachter

Priding ourselves on radical inclusion, the Reform Movement encourages everyone to participate in Jewish life and ritual as a means to connect to one another and to the Divine. In instances where observing rituals at appointed times hinders this connection, we too have written responsa and crafted policies for sheni, second chances for rituals and adaptations in Jewish practice. 

Outside the Camp: A Modern Midrash

This midrash, or haggadic story, takes place amid the Israelites' wandering in the desert. We read in B'haalot'cha :

D'var Torah By: 
Divine Mistakes
Davar Acher By: 
David Spey

Dr. Ochs insightfully teaches the idea that we humans, we Jews, instill our own lives and experiences with meaning and thereby can find God in all aspects of life.

Sacred Leadership

This past winter saw the release of a movie version of the Exodus story, directed by Ridley Scott.

D'var Torah By: 
Being a Stranger
Davar Acher By: 
Kimberly Herzog Cohen

Rabbi Steven Kushner thoughtfully notes the power of Moses' staff as symbolic of his compassionate and humble leadership style.

And Nun Shall Be Afraid!

Shout for joy . . . for on that day many nations will attach themselves to God . . . (Zechariah 2:14-15)

D'var Torah By: 
The Journey Is the Destination
Davar Acher By: 
Leonard Zukrow

There are two types of travel. The first, found in travel magazines, is exciting, adventurous, and exotic--travel for pleasure.

B'haalot'cha: This Passage Is Out of Place

This week’s Torah portion, B’haalot’cha, begins with the instructions for the lifting up of “the lamps,” haneirot, to illuminate the Tabernacle.

D'var Torah By: 
B'haalot'cha
Davar Acher By: 
Ralph Mecklenburger

Another interesting thing for moderns to note about the introductory verses of Parashat B’haalot’cha is that though most of the details of the wilderness sanctuary sound very foreign to us

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