I’ve had trouble sharing my thought this week. How can I talk about anything but Israel at a time like this?
So I offer two wishes.
To my friends in Israel who are dealing with war: I hope this thought helps, simply, to distract you. If only for a bit.
To all of us: May the Torah we learn together, in its small way, be a prayer that God make our world better.
How to see
for Parshat Masei
Some stories from Bamidbar:
God’s cloud will guide the people on the way.
The people’s sin: they see the Land’s huge, ripe fruit—and reject the Land, terrified. They do not see the fruit as promise.
The people question the priesthood. When Aaron—the high priest’s—staff miraculously grows flowers, the people know they are wrong.
Moses, the man of God, must speak to a rock to draw water.
Instead, he hits the rock.
He does not communicate with a stone.
For this, God bars Moses from Israel.
The people sin, they are attacked by snakes, they confess: We have sinned.
Bilaam, the prophet, cannot see God’s Truth. His donkey speaks it to him.
The families of Joseph ask God to clarify an inheritance Law, so it will not bring one tribe to gain another’s land. God grants this.
This story closes the book.
We interact with God through His world, His creation.
Learning this, you can learn to communicate with God, also, through his other world: His Law.
And through His Law, God will hear you.
And God will respond.
This, perhaps, is Bamidbar’s lesson.