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Bamidbar 5761 - May 25, 2001
The First Commandment

The First Commandment Billions of people have heard of the Ten Commandments. Less common, however, is the knowledge that this 10-point encapsulation of G-d's message to man reads in two directions: from top to bottom, and from side to side.


Numbers 1:1 - 4:20
Torah Reading for Week of May 20 - 26, 2001

Bamidbar Numbers in the Book of Numbers: 4 camps, 12 tribes, 273 surplus first-born, 22,300 Levites, 603,550 Israelites -- each of whom count. Plus how to take apart G-d's home, transport it across the desert, and put it back together again.

The Parshah in a Nutshell

Full Parshah summary with commentary

More on the Parshah from the Chassidic Masters

Shavout Torah Readings


Surfing Malibu with Maimonides

Surfing Malibu with Maimonides There it is! You've managed to weasel your way out of the San Diego Freeway madness and by divine intervention, are now out of the Sears Tunnel at the Santa Monica Pier where you can see the white-water bouncing like carroms on the harbor rocks -- true to form, the biggest swell of the summer -- and you're on it!


Do Orthodox Jews still say a blessing every morning thanking G-d for not making them a woman?

Do Orthodox Jews still say a blessing every morning thanking G-d for not making them a woman? In the world we live in, women continue to get the short end of the stick. Whatever women’s emancipation gains on one hand seems to get taken away from the other. Working mothers almost always do more work at home than their working husbands. And when was the last time you heard a man ask someone to accompany him home at night for protection? It goes on and on.

Why is our world this way? It is a stage in humanity’s development, a reflection of the state of the general human consciousness: We -- both men and women -- are stuck within the perception of the masculine role as superior and the feminine as inferior.

Along with you, I yearn for a time to come when this blessing will no longer be said. But we're not there yet.



Mezuzah Her Jewish girlfriends had criticized her for putting up the mezuzah in such a public place. They told her that it wasn’t very PC to push a Jewish symbol in the face of everyone who passed by, and that it wasn’t necessary. Why must she attract attention like this, and irritate her non-Jewish neighbors?


Who Are the Jews?

Who Are the Jews? What do they know about Jews? Sometimes a lot, sometimes very little, sometimes nothing at all. And yet all of them have a discomfort with Jews. Some of the things anti-Semites come up with concerning Jews and Judaism, make us wonder: What could we possibly have done to cause them to suspect such a thing? Plotting to take over the world? Where did that come from?

In order to examine the mystery of anti-Semitism, one needs to have an understanding of its target, which is the Jewish people. But that's not so simple, and brings us to a second mystery: What exactly is a Jew? What is Judaism? A religion, a culture, a family, a nation? What?



The Parshah in a Nutshell