Parshah Columnists

Guest Columnists
We Must Share Our Torah Knowledge
What does it take to be a Torah teacher? Are there qualifications?
Are You Lonely?
We believe we're all living completely separate lives, but that's as much of an illusion as believing a blood cell isn't part of, and dependent on, the body in which it lives.
Is It Too Late to Change?
Couldn’t He have let them hang out in the Bahamas instead? Or at least some nice vacation spot along the Red Sea and let them do a little scuba diving?
Knowledge and Power: Teaching the Awesomeness
It seems that Rashi's second comment is twice as long, yet half as clear.
Love in the Desert
This is going to be, eventually, a column about love.
Is G-d Just Treating Me Like a Number?
Why all this counting?
Wave It Like You Mean It!
I was about to board the train, a middle-aged man exited the train and immediately approached me. “I’m a Jew,” he said.
The Dangers of Deconstruction
An Essay on Parshat Bamidbar
How does one switch from the stage where everything is sanctified to the stage where the sacred must be carried on one’s shoulder?
The Census: Making Each Person Count
Each Jew holds a designated place within the cohesive structure of the Jewish people.
Weekly Sermonette
You Count!
How many of us say, “Don’t rely on me,” or, “Don’t count on me”? But we all count. And, yes, we do count on you.
Missing Jews
Where have all the Jews gone?
Every Jew Counts
Once there was a small town that had exactly ten men over the age of bar mitzvah. One day, a new Jewish family moved in to town. Great joy and excitement; now they would have eleven men. But as soon as they had one extra, they could never manage a minyan!
Wisdom from the Wilderness
It is not enough for G‑d to give us the Torah; we have to receive it.
Life's Passages
Do You Like Standing Out or Fitting In?
Seemingly, we have two opposing forces tugging at us: our need to stand out as individuals vs. our need for belonging.
Don’t Women Count?
There are times when we must wage an external battle, and there are times when we must safeguard our internal treasures . . .
Reflections on the Parshah
The Right Time for a Census
Two censuses, taken at two times which could not be more dissimilar. But a singular message—and a message with a singular theme—emerges . . .
Parshah Moment
Desert Honeymoon
The desert is desolate, bare; where survival is chancy and death is a given.
The Desert Bride
Why did G-d marry the Jews in the desert? Could He not come up with any better place?
Parshah Messages
Why the “countdown” to the holiday of Shavuot? What is the connection between numbers and counting, and the special gift which our nation received on this holiday?
Parshah Musings
The Power of Neighbors
Even when the negative influence is right next door you have the ability to resist their blandishments.
Census Takers
Where I live, it happens once every five years. They come knocking on your door asking for your completed census form. Who are these people and what do they do the other 59 months?
It may be tempting to claim a deferment from duty, but the truth is that when fighting G‑d’s fight, everyone is a professional soldier.
Living through the Parshah
Meet the Neighbors
The power of proximal influence
When the Torah tells us who lived near whom, it’s telling us about t There’s the influence of a rebel rouser and of the scholar…
What Do You Think?
Why Didn't G-d Hire a Location Manager?
G-d certainly knew of the travel magazines’ “100 best locations to vacation,” of the beautiful beaches of Maui and the majestic Alps. Why, then, was the Torah given in a hot desert in middle of the summer?
What the Rebbe Taught Me
G-d's "I Love You"
In the eyes of G-d, counting Jews is far more than keeping score; it is, rather, His way of telling each and every one of His children: “You matter to Me. You’re not just a number. You’re on My speed-dial.”
The E-Z Pass to Love
How can self-interested human beings love another altruistically?
Parshah Blog
Looking at G‑d
The passage is curious. G‑d proposes, always, that we come closer to Him—but here He demands a conspicuous distance. He seems to want to create a "mystery" of an "Inner Sanctum": "Gaze At It And Die!"
For Friday Night
Unity and Difference
In this process of counting there is an interesting feature: G-d tells Moses to count the people as individuals and also by their families, within their tribes...
One and the Many
Numbers and Stars
To us on earth, looking with the unaided eye and perhaps not thinking too much about the matter, the stars seem tiny and insignificant. Yet each is a powerful and unique force.
Inner Stream
Celestial Formations
G‑d descended from the heavens surrounded by a majestic entourage of 22,000 angels, led by Michael to the east, Gabriel to the west, Raphael to the north and Uriel to the south . . .
The Counting Paradox
A census achieves two contrary aims. By focusing on the total sum, it asks the individual to suspend his individuality; at the same time, it compels him to ask himself if he is worthy of contributing to the total...
The Jewish Father
Who defied Pharaoh's decree and risked their lives to carry, give birth to and nurse these children? Now that the children are to be counted, the mothers are no longer noteworthy?
Weekly Torah
Of Sand and Precious Stones
Had the Torah been given in a settled area, the implication would have been that it was linked somehow to that neighborhood, that it belonged exclusively to the people of that place.
Not Just a Number
A census is a “head-count.” The greatest of the great and the smallest of the small all count as one person, no more, no less.
In the Desert
In the desert there are no office buildings or factories. So if you lived in the desert, chances are you wouldn't have a job. There'd be no boss bossing you, and no underlings under you
Parshah Recovery
Cedars vs. Palm Trees
We find that the Twelfth Step's call for service – that we "carry this message to other alcoholics" – is not just a way of paying back to the program, it is crucial to our own sobriety.
More Parshah Articles
Covenant & Conversation
The Two Journeys
The Torah, with great realism, is telling us something counterintuitive and of great significance: The journey from is always easier than the journey to.
The Sound of Silence
Silence in Tanach often has a negative connotation. But not all silence is sad.
Love as Law II
There is something unique about the relationship of Jews to the Torah, the way we stand in its presence as if it were a king, dance with it as if it were a bride, listen to it telling our story and study it, as we say in our prayers, as “our life and the length of our days.”
Love as Law, Law as Love
Who is a leader of the Jewish people? Only one who loves the Jewish people.
Leading a Nation of Individuals
However large the group you lead, you must always communicate the value you place on everyone.
Beyond Speech
Your Unique Mission From Sinai
What is the significance of this counting? What is the connection between this counting and Shavuot?
Bamidbar and Shavuot: The Intrinsic Connection
The essence of Shavuot is that G‑d Himself descended onto Mount Sinai—a move that was unheard of.
On the Haftarah: We Are G‑d’s Bride
For the Haftarah of Bamidbar, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
Our Main Purpose
This strengthens us to be masters over every aspect of our lives.
Torah Insights
Balancing Competing Values
It often seems that we struggle to keep a healthy balance between all of our sometimes conflicting aspirations.
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