Weekly Portion: Be’halot’cha (Numbers 8-12)

Aharon is commanded in the lighting of the Menorah, the Levites purify themselves for service in the Tabernacle (they trained from age 25-30 and served from age 30-50). The first Pesach is celebrated since leaving Egypt. The Almighty instructs the Jewish people to journey into the desert whenever the ever-present cloud lifts from above the Tabernacle and to camp where it rests. Moshe is instructed to make two silver trumpets to be sounded before battle or to proclaim a Yom Tov (a holiday).

The people journey to the wilderness of Paran during which time they rebelled twice against the Almighty’s leadership. The second time they complain about the boring taste of the maneh and the lack of meat in the desert. The Almighty sends a massive quantity of quail and those who rebelled died.

Moshe asks his father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro) to travel with them in the desert, but Yitro returns to Midian.

Miriam, Moshe’s sister, speaks lashon hora (defaming words) about Moshe. She is struck with Tzora’as (the mystical skin disease which indicated that a person spoke improperly about another person) and is exiled from the camp for one week.

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

“And the people were complaining in a bad way in the ears of the Almighty” (Numbers 11:1).

Why were the people complaining?

Rashi comments that when the people were complaining, they had no real cause to complain; they were just looking for an excuse to separate themselves from the Almighty. By finding what would sound like a complaint, they felt justified in keeping a distance from the Creator.

When someone realizes all that the Almighty does for him, he will not have a complaining attitude. There are times when a person has unfulfilled needs and times when he is suffering. That is a time for action and prayer.

Complaining, however, is wrong. The underlying theme behind a complainer is not necessarily that he wants the situation to improve, but that he wants to have the benefits of complaining — to feel free from the obligations for all the good that the other person (or the Almighty) has done. Ultimately, a person who goes through life complaining does not appreciate the good in his life.

When one focuses only on what he is missing, he blinds himself to what he does have. No matter how much you do have, there will always be something to complain about if you look hard enough. This attitude is not merely a means by which a person causes himself a miserable existence. It is a direct contradiction to our obligation to be grateful to the Almighty. Anyone having this negative attitude must make a concerted effort to build up the habit of appreciating what he has and what happens to him. This is crucial for both spiritual reasons and for happiness in life. This especially applies to one’s relationship with his or her spouse!

 

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