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Parashat Bamidbar

Wilderness The portion begins with ‘in the wilderness or desert’. One year ‎after receiving the Torah at Sinai we begin to move on into the ‎next 39 years of wandering through a barren land. We had come ‎out of Egypt (a metaphor for the world’s system) and headed to ‎decision day, our meeting with G-d […]

Parashat Nasso

The portion this week begins with the command ‘nas et-rosh bnai gershon’: ‘lift up the heads of the sons of Gershon’. This lifting up is of course translated as taking a census, a counting or reckoning of the numbers of men ready to be used in the transportation of the Mishkan and the holy articles. […]

Parashat Beha’alotcha

Trusting God in the difficult times In Numbers 11:1-15, we find Israel a year into their journey and already getting fed up with God’s provision for them. Humanly speaking the desert was an inhospitable place in comparison to Egypt with its fruitful and plentiful food supplies and water. But it was here that we had […]

Parashat Sh’lach

Parashat Shelach (Send) – the sending out of the 12 spies to spy out the land and plan for its capture and settlement. The resultant report upon their return led the people of Israel into a 40 year diversion, one year for every day of faithlessness. However, God’s plans are never thwarted or diverted; in […]

Parashat Korach

Swallowed Up Forty years of wandering in the wilderness had just begun after the community’s unbelief and lack of faith upon hearing the report of the ten faithless spies prevented them entering into the promised Land. This portion focuses on Korach and is named after him because he is so important to learn from: he […]

Parashat Chukat

Are we nearly there yet?‎ How many parents get tired of hearing that one?! The 40 years ‎of wandering are soon to be over, the camp of Israel is close to ‎the borders of the Promised Land, they are almost there and so ‎what happens? Throw a party to celebrate this achievement? ‎No,they grumble and […]

Parashat Balak

Keeping up Appearances One of my favourite TV comedy series was “Keeping up Appearances”, with Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet!). The title says it all – appearances can and do fool people. Perhaps we think leaders are most guilty of this; we look at them and say “God is using them” but so often our eyes […]

Parashat Pinchas

The point of Pinchas Balaam may have failed to curse Israel, but he did not give up.  If he couldn’t control God, he would at least get the Israelites to fall away from God. The rot from within is always more powerful than from without. He advised them to commit idolatry with the Midianite women […]

Parashat Matot

Bringing the Supernatural into the Natural In this portion the Israelites are in the process of the last stages ‎of wilderness living, the Land is in sight and plans are being laid ‎to take it. Who should get what parts? Who would live where and ‎what were the overall boundaries of Israel going to be? […]

Parashat Masei

On the Move To the untrained eye, this portion like so many appears to be a ‎humdrum list of places and movements with some arcane ‎references to cities of refuge. In the middle of this we find that ‎Moshe is commanded to recap the journey so far, mentioning in ‎detail the 42 places or stages […]