Parashat Hashavua

Portion EyKev - The Beirut Blast and the Bronx Bombers?

Portion EyKev - The Beirut Blast and the Bronx Bombers?
I was back praying in the Great Synagogue - actually OUTSIDE the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem.
They still don't have fnds for a Corona Cleanup and the cintinued cleaning - it's just too big.

There used to be a couple of "good old guys" who grew up near me and Yankee Stadium
who I used to pray with in that synagogue..
Sadly they passed away recently.

BUT
The Sephardi 6AM minyan pray OUTSIDE 6:45 so I joined them this morning

The elders of the group are from Irq Egypt Morocco - and I think one is from Syria and One from - yes - Lebanon!

One guy spoke to me out there on the street saying - you know who the eplosives were meant for? US.

It's a miracle that some idiot probably lit a match there and ... the Almighty saved us again.

Most Rabbis on this portion - EyKev - say the first line in the portionis-
to remind us about the little mitzva things we ignore but should be doing - as the people of G-d.

Today I think it's to remind us about the little MIRACLES
that are really BIG MIRACLES - that we ignore we should be thankHE WORLD -
 as the people of G-d.


 
Stay well
Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Devarim and Tisha Bav - Holy Jug Handles Batman

Portion Devarim and Tisha Bav - Holy Jug Handles Batman

 

On destruction, rebirth, and Moses' version of 40 years in the desert.

But first about Margo and Jealousy:
 
It was in the desert near Beer Sheba - summer of 1970 - when I studied archaeology in Tel Aviv University

6 feet away from where I was digging on the ancient city mound - I heard shouting

It came from Margo and one of the profssors - about 6 or 7 feet down in their slice/cut of what was once the southern border city

They unearthed the storehouse of king Josiah - with many storage jugs 100% INTACT (some with traces of grains still in them)

and on each clay jug handle was imprinted in the word "LA ME LECH" - for the King.

I had my own find that summer - but I was a little jealous of all the pictures and publicity Margo was getting

Fast forwatd to Jerusalem 200 yards from my apartment - in Jerusalem 2020 - last week - there was a discovery -
 
They unearthed the storehouse of king Josiah - with many storage jugs 100% INTACT -

from the time of Hezekiah the King - grandfather of Josiah
 
and on each clay jug handle was imprinted in the word "LA ME LECH" - for the King.

The Tisha B Av fast happens next Thursday.
 
We read this Shabbat Portion Devarim - like every year the week of the Tisha B Av fast day

describing the speeches from
the last 30 days of Moses ...  reminding the Israelites of the mistales of their parents.
 
Why talking about rebukes for things Not from this portion?
 
Why do all the "Ultra" rabbis this week talk about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem

and the need to refine all our characters?
 
My first Talmud Rebbe in Jerusalem -Rsv Tzukerman - told us once that
when his wife was about to deliver, he drove her on the Shabat in the sidecar of his motorcyle
with his Talis flying in the wind
as the ultra-Orthodox down the road were demonstarting against people driving on SHABBOS.

Yesterday I got  call about my Jerusalem Persian Plumber's parents who came to Israel in the 1950's
 
and how they gave up a good business to join with our people struggling to build a safe haven for ALL

Today there are still kids in isolation kept from going out
and adults in danger for health reasons who cannot take a chance of even walking outside
 
Friends and Family and Community are so important and necessary to them -
and we can so easily spread a lot of joy and comfort by making that extra phone call
 
sending that extra little gift

praying that extra little prayer for deliverance from the hard times we face.
 
So everyone religious in Israel is hoping for deliverance and a Moshiach
 
To save the World from Corona
Hezbullah
Hamas
European cynics and abti semites bribed by Arab money and oil
 
Moses left us 3200 years ago but reminded us to think of everyone

King David wrote his reminders 3000 years ago

Kings Josiah and Hezekiah left us reminders 2600 years ago -
That we had a Temple for the WHOLE WORLD and didn't try like the Romans and Babylonians
to enslave the world - so

Stay healthy, call a shut in, maybe even fast a little Thursday
Shabbat Shalom
 
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

TIsha bav and pandemics and Portion VaEtChaNan

TIsha bav and pandemics and Portion VaEtChaNan
 
 
 
Portion Va Et cha Nan first
 
Moses asks for a visa to enter Israel
but is refused by the Almighty
 
He and brother Aron and sister Miriam
All born in Egypt
Die in the desert - like those who believed the spies
Who subvertes G-d's plans-
.
Yes ... on Tisha Bav night the spies ruined it ...
 
And got everyone afraid to enter Israel...
 
The same date as the Temple's desrruction
 
And so
I began the fast Wednesday night-
 
It's as long as Yom Kippur-
 
But here in Israel the scenes of destruction are constantly being uncovered
 
And bring the hope in the prophecy and the reality of rebuilding
 
These are always in front of us
 
So too with control of the murderous and crazy virus
 
Every diagnosed case is a worry but most cases are healed here
 
But this fast day is a warning
 
That the world is still showing its hatred and looking for scapegoats
Instead of getting on with the healing it so sorely needs
 
So the 3 Israelite leaders do not enter Israel and
Are buried in the desert with those Yotzei Mitzrayim-
The Israelites from Egypt
 
But are destined to come back with all israelite souls 
 
in time of Moshiach ... maybe by tomorrow night
 
Love and healing to all
 
Rabbi Andy Eichenh

Portion MatosMasei :Who needs all those Tribes (tribalism and the Moshiach)

Portion MatosMasei :Who needs all those Tribes (tribalism and the Moshiach)
 
No, I am not talking about the 12 tribes of Israel. Totally.
 
In this week's Torah double  portion it tells of
 
The tribes of Ruben and Gad - who tell Moses
they do not want the land promised them by the Allmģģty,
But the already conquered kingdoms of Sichoon and Og
 
In short
Who needs tribes like that?

But that's what we need to learn this week - that
There are many places in the world still organized according to tribalism.
And how consideraton can conquer tribalism
There are still African tribes - wow - I met so many different groups from Afria - and
Indian tribes
Afghani tribes
Saudi tribes, and even lots of European tribalism.

Cultural heritage can be a wonderful enriching and warming part of everyone's lives

Until tribalism turns it  COLD!

Anti semitic talk and action - like all hatred - is protected by tribalism.
 
"Coldness" is the opposite of comfortable. Judaism is in the world to
warm up peoples one to another

So in this portion those 2 tribes say "we will act as the scouts as we 12 Tribes enter Israel (canaan)
and we will not return back to the lands of the wicked Sichon and Og until EVERYONE IS SETTLED

And so it was for about 500 years - despite inter-tribal disputes, the Israelites lived as
(sometimes waring) brothers-
12 Tribes trying - but not always succeeding - to work things out.

Israel was not ready for world peace - and so we were exiled - to rebuild for a second chance - the
Second Temple period.

The Romans killed that chance - believing in world domination via tribes -
destroying everything in their way - including the Second Temple.

The next couple of weeks is the time of longing for Moshiach and solving world problems

From Rabbi Shlomo : talking about Tisha B A V

"The whole idea is that G-d created the world and G-d put man here so that he should bring the messiah, and that he should fix the world. The world isn't complete yet. G-d left it incomplete and we have to complete the world. 
 
Imagine we will be sitting here in this room and there are so many people here, each person is thinking and feeling something else.


Now imagine one person walks into a room and yet every person will continue talking to each other but there will be a oneness in the room. 
 
You need one person to bring oneness into a certain place, even into a room full of disparate people.
The world needs one person whose soul is big enough to suddenly make ‘one’ out of the world."

And it is the job of the Jewish People to facilitate that
 
Shabbat Shalom 
Health Life and Love and True Friendship
 
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
 

Portion Pinchas- Where have all the Wise Men Gone?

Portion Pinchas- Where have all the Wise Men Gone?
 
 
 
Portion Pinchas starts out with the Almighty  "offering the peace of  the priesthood..." to Pinchas.
 
Is Pinchas a wise man Like Moses? Or a sweet man Like Aron? Or an actoon figure Like Joshua and King David?

Remember - he is the one who took action to stop the venereal dusease caused by Moabite women-
deiseases that caused 24000 Israelites to die in a plague.

Pinchas is the grandson of Aron, Moses brother - but who is his role model?
 
When the Moabites and Midianites attack our forefathers in the desert by the Jordan river -

Moses and Joshua together (without Pinchas) lead the battle and destroy the wicked kings and sorerers - and a lot of the haters of Israel
 
THEN
Moses is told to appoint Joshua as his successor - not a relative - so
Is G-d putting in a new leadership here?
 
Could it be possibly to limit the complaints that were heard those 40 years in the desert?
 
Or jmaybe its just because there are a lot of battles ahead?
 
I think we need to get this - and keepit in mind - that
after all the battles and before more battles- at the end of this portion

the Almighyty orders that every year at sukkot - after the harvests

the Jewissh people are to offer
Sacrifivces for Peace - to and FOR "all 70" nations of the world!
 
Is the portion about
Leadership in battle
Or
Lèadership in/for peace?
 
So ffrom here we learn the JEWISH PERSPECTIVE IS...
 
The Jews need strong AND wise leaders.
 
So, why are there No Wise Men in Sight today - in the spirit of brotherhood?

"From where" àre those who invoke battles and antisemitism?

Can't the world learn from our ancient wisdom instead of the hatered that moves todays' masses?

It's been a few months that the world is buckling under the fear and the effects of Covid 19 virus.

Israel had it beat for a while – until the "new coalition" took over and now there are twice as many ministers getting half the decisions made, and with a quarter of the success in the results!

Is America reeling from the demonstrations just as statues topple?

Need we worry about the US health care system - as the reports I hear are that the pandemic is flowing -
from Florida to Texas and back to California?

Let us  "all"   

Pray for peace

and prepare for the upcoming High Holidays

and deliver a little message to the masses - as rabbi Carelebach used to ALWAYS SING

"let there be peace!"
 

So here is a small part of chapter 6 of my upcoming book - which I hope is timely (and of course I hope everyone orders a copy or a few - it's hopefully going to the printer next week)

Midnight in Moscow with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

... when Reb Shlomo went to Russia it was Simchat Torah (Holiday of the Joy of the Torah).

 Dictators rule by taking the JOY out of LIFE!  These communists were not going to allow someone to stir up resistance – or JOY!  They were no fools.

Everywhere someone was watching to see what the Jews of Moscow were going to do that holiday. And yet here a chubby Rabbi had gotten away from them! How could they have missed him? So they went after him – just like in my dream.

 Every few blocks, though, as they walked quietly, a couple more students and Jewish Refuseniks snuck into the purposeful group. The word was out: the Dancing Rabbi (Rebbe Hameraked, as he was called in Israel) was here to be with them! These young Jews were afraid to enter a synagogue.  So why were they not afraid to "grab" the Rabbi away from the Communists, and accompany Reb Shlomo on his walk to Shul?

 Everyone wanted a word with the Rabbi who braved the Cold War to visit them! Each one tried to get his attention with a few words of broken English – or Hebrew! In the West we heard that the young people would sometimes congregate outside the main Moscow synagogue. They might even dance a little – but they would never go in.

 ...

Some of the young people with Rabbi C. that night looked around and also looked up from the street - every couple of minutes. Uh Oh!

 Who were those people watching from the rooftops? Were they checking to see who might dare enter the Moscow synagogue where the group was headed? Were they taking pictures of "dissidents"? Or was it worse? Who knows what goes on in Russia or China or North Korea. Even in Argentina I am told "people sometimes disappear". 

 At one point Reb Shlomo looked up too. He saw soldiers on the rooftops. There were weapons pointing at the little group. The soldiers were watching THEM.

 "Everyone knows, Everyone Knows" Reb Shlomo used to say sometimes. "Everyone knows, Everyone Knows:" that crowds were not allowed under communism unless "approved"- that is - approved "by the (Communist) party".

 This little walk to shul was an unauthorized procession and a dangerous gathering – and a provocation!  There were all sorts of reasons for the Soviet authorities to detain people. That's the main reason most Russian Jews would never dare to set foot in a synagogue or even talk about being Jewish in public. Why get accused, arrested, abused or - sent away?  That night was different, Rabbi Carlebach told us. Maybe it was the spirit of Simchat Torah? Maybe it was Love of Israel?

 Young Jews were already outside the synagogue. They believed their fate was with the Land and People of Israel.  Some times they’d gather outside local synagogues, to meet and to support one another, and maybe to learn a little Hebrew?

 This small group walking with Rabbi C. down below the spying roofs risked the soldiers' scrutiny or maybe worse, just to hear a few words from a great man like Reb Shlomo. No one knew what might happen if they stayed with him after spotting the soldiers. Still, nobody left the group.  And then something happened.

 Reb Shlomo stopped in his tracks – and everyone stopped with him. He looked up at the angry faces of the soldiers. "Why are they angry?" he thought to himself.

 Everyone with him looked up too, but in trepidation. Then, still looking up, Reb Shlomo broke into a big smile!  He turned his head from side to side – smiling up! He smiled at them from one side of the street to the other side's rooftops.  AND WHAT A SMILE HE ALWAYS HAD. His smile was ALWAYS a beam of LIGHT!

 The soldiers looked back down from the rooftops in amazement. Then Reb Shlomo waved to the soldiers! Smiling and waving were not in their script, or their orders.

 The soldiers' frowns melted in a minute! They smiled back to him, and waved back!

Still unsure of themselves, the students with Reb Shlomo also started to wave and smile to the young Russian soldiers up on the rooftops.

 Then the soldiers smiled and waved back to them too! And after a minute the soldiers put their guns down and they just kept waving and smiling! After all – they were the same age as the group on the street. They all had the same backgrounds in Mother Russia, so why point guns?

 

Weren't they all ONE? 

 Aren't we all "One" – the unity of all with G-d?  Isn't that the reason we are all here – and the greatest challenge to us and all mankind – to be together with each other?

 

After some moments the group went on walking to meet others who were already outside the Great Moscow Synagogue. And they danced and sang outside that synagogue for hours.

Maybe this Shabbat we should smile and dance a little extra

Shabbat Shalom

 Rabbi Andy Eichenholz (in Israel) - 17th of Tamuz - fast of the Breaking down the Walls of Jerusalem

 

Portion BalaK Whsr kind of war do you want?

Portion BalaK Whsr kind of war do you want?
 
 
I am amazed almost every day by
 
How the daily Talmud I study is Right on the Money!
Even if I am usually a bit sleepy at the start of the 5 AM class.
 
My friend Zev an Israeli woundèd veteran I have studied with  reminded me that in Talmid Bèrachot the prophets  quote G-d saying
 
"If I got angry I would unleash my anger on all the anrti semites" (but G -d does mot get angry).
 
So ... We all have to  learn about evil Bilams and  Balaks ... to trust that the Almighty helps us to fight the Good Fight.
 
And when I study a bit of the ZohAR , how prophetic it all is!
 
The end of this week's Zohar especially talks about a time of death in Italy .!
 
In..."Rome". .. a Corona ...(crown ... as in the Ceasers time ... they who  destroyed our Holy Temple ) will die!  Snd... so a "corona came back to attack and destroy them.   May they all repent ... after what the Church let happen too during the holocausr!
.
And the Zohar in the portion predicts a war between
 
"THE Left versus the Right" - oh no! What is happening now in America - such hatred ... and it has stirred up ... over the many yeats of inequality ... but what underlies all this?
 
Is it All for the Messianic Era to fix Miraculously?
The Zohar on the portion thinks so!
 
The Talmud explains that Balak and Bilam were simply using theor gift of Holy Power for Evil Purposes.
 
And the Zohar starts off  the portion of this week by claiming it is evil use of wusdom by " bad rulers ... in galil in gaza and in moab - jordan today - that causes trouble.
 
But in the potrtion the tables are turned around 
Moab and Midian cannot make war against Israel
 
And the evil Bilam is forced to bless Israel
 
MahTovu ohalecha Yakov
 
Bilams evil spell gets turned on him
 
but in 
 
The tents Jaacob all will be safe
 
Let us pray that the world will soon come to pray in the 
Great Tent of Jacob
 
The Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
 
Shabbat Shalom
 
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
 

Portion Chukat - Teaching the World about Death - or LIFE

Portion Chukat - Teaching the World about Death - or LIFE

One of my Staten Island friends recently became a bit upset. He met a convert to Judaism who claimed that the Torah is not an important part of Judaism.

So what did that person mean? I had met the same person. They had "converted"  to marry a Jew, but really knew almost nothing at all about our "3300" or so years of our people's connection to the Almighty, or even our Jewish history or heritage.

One Orthodox Rabbi in his yeshiva class said years ago "that to learn (and to teach) how to do the Many Mitzvas Today you sometimes have to learn "where to cut corners". But with ANY LIVING THING you can't cut out the heart! Thousands of years of Torah Learning is what kept our people and keeps our people united (even if there have been many arguments in our history). 

Matza balls and bagels in Jewish culture is not Judaism and don't make for survival (Sephardic Jews don't usually even eat those). Jewish "culture" can be ALL the fun or traditional folkways that Ashkenazi and Sephardi people adapted wherever they lived – but "man (and woman) does not survive (for long) on bagels alone". Even this week's Portion Chukat as well as the previous weeks, mention Israelites in the desert complaining - EVEN about the "MANNA from Heaven"(better tasting than most bagels)  that they subsisted on (without having to work for it) for 40 years.

This Portion – Chukat – states Zot Chukat (Choke is some TYPE of LAW) Hatora.THIS IS TORAH! What do we mean?

Most sages have interpreted that as "rules too mystical to understand". But in his own amazing way, the Maharal of Prague – that great mystical commentator on the Torah says  a most UN-mystical thing:

He interprets "Choke" as not an UnKnowable rule – claiming as opposed to Maimonides and others - That Everything is Knowable. TORAH Din – judgment as opposed to Choke – Rule depend on how you LEARN it. You have to LEARN the Torah to Appreciate its Greatness..

The portion can be looked at as "Din" or "Choke" – even with its strange practice of the Red Heifer Ashes and the Practice of Purity surrounding the Holy Tabernacle in the desert – and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem – and THE WHOLE WORLD. WHY?.  

According to the Maharal in Judaism WE LIVE AND LEARN (and are supposed to TEACH) "Din=Justice" – through – and along with the centrality of the Tabernacle/Temple rituals..

The Red Heifer rules in the portion are followed by the Israelite Rituals Related to Death – "Adam key yamut ...kol nogay ba etzem"

And today we still have a custom WHICH WE SHULD FOLLOW – after  Funerals - the hand washing   and   "tum ah" ritual - in memory of Temple Times.

What does that mean for THE WORLD TODAY?

. Death and Temple must be separated – because each has a different sanctity. THAT IS OUR TORAH TEACHING from the first Aliyah in this week's portion (in Israel).Holiness practice is our Objective Heritage even today.

 However today in the US people burn cultural symbols – and then attack synagogues that have never had anything to do with racial discrimination! As The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported, just about a week ago a fountain dedicated to the memory of holocaust victims was destroyed in a local memorial park.

That is not an attack on bagels – that is an attack on Sanctity and Humanity – of the Torah and of all people of good faith.

Don't forget those medical front liners – but WE JEWS ARE ALL SPIRITUAL FRONT LINERS! Heal the Hatred!

A kind word AND SOME TORAH - pack a powerful spiritual TORAH healing greater than bagels and matza balls!

 

Shabat Shalom

 

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

 

Portion Korach - Survival of the Fittest?

Portion Korach - Survival of the Fittest?
 
Who and what was Korach? Moses' cousin - and a rival for leadership of the Temple Cult.
 
He was smart - but his name Kor Rach means - cold of spirit. Think about that.
In this portion, Moses has some detractors, so ...What doès he do?
 
He tries to reason with them!  Maybe some people just like to make trouble?
 
So things aren't perfect there in the desert -Still, isn't it better than slavery?
 
The complainers were really fighting the Almighty - why pick on Moses and Aron?
 
Moses had a cushy life before the Almighty laid the whole Egypt thing on him!
 
And then - he didn't need 40 years in the desert  -
 
and he could have taken the two tablets with him and gone back -
to Midian with his father in law .. for an easy retirement
 
G-d doesn't like complaining.
G-d doesn't need pettiness.
Insensitivity (including greed) is like a virus!
And Habbit - it keeps you from stepping up to the plate when needed!
 
So Korach seems to have got a lot of people fired up and challenging Moses -
because of the above 4 "cardinal mistakes."
 
And there was a fault under where they stood opposite Moses -
and the earth swallowed them up!
 
So who survived?
 
Ohn did because his wife didn't let him join the confrontation.
 
And the children of Korach survived - and later became leaders - but they "saw the light" -
 
It was the light Moses brought down from Sinai - and it covered him - so that it says
 
"When Moses walked through the camp in the desert he had to wear a HEAD COVERING -
because he was SO RADIANT!
 
That's what the Torah can do for all of us - make us SHINE!
 
 
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion SheLach Anashim (great people) in Israel – A little Kabala for great people

Portion SheLach Anashim (great people) in Israel – A little Kabala for great people

 

 Shakespeare wrote " All the world's a stage - and all the men and women merely players...

The Torah implies (and it rhymes with the above)

All the world's a temple - and all the men and women do their mjtzvahs.

Shakespeare himself would say "Aye Where's the rub?" (Nu - so what?)

I have to ask - Do people THINK what they DO? Is everything just a game or a musical?
Seems like Shakespeare would have to say "no" - people just ACT -
except for the plotting and conniving ones -And maybe a rare bird like Hamlet!
 
Our Torah portion is filled with "conniving ones" - mostly great leaders of the Israelites (in the desert) -
and how they got our forebears into trouble!

(Does that sound familiar in today's world? Personally, I don't see a single European or Asian leader concerned with truth or the world or with healing the world despite this Pandemic that threatens everyone and everything!
Africa and South America? Are all leaders plotting opportunists? Maybe it goes with the territory -

for most people – except a Moses and a Joshua and a Caleb! (And the women in the desert seem to be above the conniving).

So those great leaders went to Canaan to spy out the potential adversaries -
and on return told the peoplè "Forget about it - we just can't do it! Don't try for Israel!"

They were maybe afraid or maybe were worried they might lose ledership rewards IF ALL THE Israelies took themselves
into a whole new  Land of Milk and Honey -
a beautiful country ! It is not so clear from the Torah wording why they dissuaded the Israelites from entering the Land of Israel.

 It was a commandment for them to spy - Moses sent them.

Commandments must be followed according to Kabbalah in 3 ways-
Verbally, with thoughtfullness - and then following the commandment.

They missed it - the point - and messed up.

The results were that all that generation had to die in the desert, and only the children of that generation came into the land  -
and conquered it - with Joshua and Caleb – those 2 spies who trid to convince the people that the other 10 were wrong.

 The Kabbala implies that we can defeat false ideas by making all our actions and words focused on the positive methods above.

 But how to focus on those 3?

Reb Shlomo Carlebach taught that:

You can't look at Israel like a stage to play out the (Canaanite or Euro-Asian) perversions,
cooked up by enmies of truth - whether at the UN or EU - or by "world class" anti semites.

Only if we have "Moshiach Eyes" –
Searching Eyes Ready for a Redeemed World -
can we all get past today and past today's limitations - to reach a Holy Potential -

For the Land and the People of Israel - and for healing the World.
 

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz (in Israel)

Portion – Theory of Relativity - Baha Alote cha in Israel – Naso in the Galut (Outside Israel)- where are YOU

Portion – Theory of Relativity -  Baha Alote cha in Israel – Naso in the Galut (Outside Israel)- where are YOU
 
 
Last week Shavuote was 1 day in Israel, 2 days outside Israel with the second day on Shabbat. So in Israel we went ahead to the next Torah portion, and “outside” is reading what we read last week.

Not to sound too Kabbalistic BUT – this Shabbat should SPIRITUALLY “blow everyone’s mind”! Why?

In Israel we read the portion with its name meaning “Raising you UP” (Baha Alote cha);

In Diasspora (everywhere else) – we read Naso – from the root meaning “pick up - the BURDEN”.

Wherever you are, you need to try to connect to the Torah, to be insulated from worldly problems. It works!

In the Israel portion there is so much to learn from! And it takes you “on a journey” away from all the talk about corona corona corona – statistics and statistics – issues and issues.

I bring here just a little idea about RELATIVE CONTEXT.

(NO – NOT ABOUT THE in-laws ) – but about WHERE are YOU? Are you – raising up – or feeling the burden?

In this week’s portion it says 3 times in the fourth Aliyah (of seven): That the Israelites in the desert “camped by word of the L-rd” and “journeyed onward” by word of the L-rd”.

An idea from one of the teachers where I pray was expressed thusly:

Imagine a tiny child being held by it’s mother, what will be the answer if you ask “where are you”?

The answer will be “I’m with Mommy”. If you are in a store, in a playground, going on a bus, the answer from a child held by the mother has got to be, “I’m with Mommy”.

Wherever the Israelites traveled those 40 years in the desert – they were around the Tabernacle, and protected by the Almighty.

So too, this week's Israel portion teaches us to feel the protection – not the burden – of being near the Tabernacle and near the Almighty.  And to raise up the spirits of others – even if sometimes we think it is a burden.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz