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Biblical Israel

Va’etchanan (And I Beseeched) Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11

The Torah portion is uplifting as well. For in this week’s portion, we read the Ten Commandments, as repeated by Moses in Deuteronomy. For this section of the Torah reading the entire congregation stands, as if to relive that incredible experience at Mt. Sinaiso many centuries ago.

Devarim (Words) – Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22

On the 9th of Av we also read the book of Lamentations, that terribly poignant description of the destruction of the First Temple written by Jeremiah, an eye-witness to the events he describes.

Pinchas (Phinehas) – Numbers 25:10 – 30:1

Numbers 27:12-23: “And G-d said to Moses, Go up to this Mt. Avarim and see the land that I have given to the Children of Israel.” So begins a moving dialogue between G-d and Moses towards the end of Moses’ life.

Balak (Balak) – Numbers 22:2 – 25:9

The story of Balaam and his desire to curse the children of Israel is a fabulous one. At the request of Balak, King of Moab, he tries to curse Israel, but at each opportunity, G-d prevents him from doing so. Finally, without a choice, he blesses the nation of Israel in some of the most beautiful verses in the Bible.

Hukat (Statute) – Numbers 19:1 – 22:1

Numbers 20 presents a fascinating story, the story of the death of Miriam and the subsequent loss of water. Verse two: And the nation settled in Kadesh and Miriam died there and was buried there. Verse three: And there was no water for the nation.

Korach (Korah) – Numbers 16:1 – 18:32

The Levite tribe is set aside as a separate tribe in Israel, dedicated to worshipping G-d on behalf of the nation of Israel in the Temple and, therefore, prevented from owning land or receiving their own tribal territory.

Shelach (Send Forth) – Numbers 13:1 – 15:41

Moses sends the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel to check out the land of Israel, to investigate its people and evaluate their strength or weakness, to taste the fruits and crops and determine the fertility of the land.

Naso (To Carry/Appoint) – Numbers 4:21-7:89

Thus shall you bless the children of Israel, it is to be said to them: May G-d bless you and keep you, May G-d shine His face upon you and be gracious to you, May G-d turn His face to you and grant you peace.