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Home » B'Ha'alotcha

B'Ha'alotcha: Food For Thought For Your Dinner Table

Submitted by on June 12, 2008 – 3:42 pmNo Comment | 2,238 views

Sunday: Eternal Lights

Aharon had hoped to deliver the inaugural ceremonies of the Mishkan, but when he saw that the tribal leaders were selected over him he was crestfallen. G-d comforted Aharon with the kindling of the Temple Lights. “Yours [the lights] are greater than theirs.”

Many years later, when the Syrian Greeks, defiled the Temple, Yehudah the Macabie, Aharon’s descendant, rededicated the Temple by kindling the lights. At that time the altar was in disrepair and the sacrificial rite was not yet reconstituted. The lights, however, were available for kindling. Today, the sacrificial rite is again no longer practiced, but the Temple lights are commemorated every year through the Chanukah lights. This is the meaning of G-d’s words to Aharon, “Yours is greater than theirs.” Ramban

Monday: Double Devotion

The tribe of Levi was devoted to G-d. In a curious phrase the Torah declares, “Presented, they are presented, the tribe of Levi to me.” The double phrase teaches us that the Levites were presented to G-d for the purpose of two distinct tasks, carrying the Tabernacle as our ancestors traveled across the desert and singing in the Levitic Choir. When the permanent Temple was built in Israel the task of carrying was substituted by the task of standing guard at the Temple gates.

These two tasks were mutually exclusive. Those who were tasked with singing in the choir were not permitted to stand guard and those tasked with standing guard were not permitted to sing. Rashi

Tuesday: The Second Pesach

The difference between the first and the second Pesach is that the first was initiated by G-d, the second was initiated by the people. The first holiday of Pesach was established when G-d appeared in Egypt to liberate our ancestors. The second Pesach was established when a number of Jews, who were ritually impure and thus unable to offer the first Paschal Lamb, begged Moshe for a second chance. “Why should we be denied,’ they demanded.

These people knew the answer to their question, yet they were granted a second chance because they desired to do the Mitzvah with sincerity. It is not only the pious that deserve to be drawn to G-d; it is the birthright of every Jew. Furthermore, when the impure Jew demands to do a Mitzvah we declare a national Jewish holiday. Toras Menachem

Wednesday: Joyful Compliance

When our ancestors traveled in the desert they followed the lead of the clouds. When the clouds spread out like a canopy the people would make camp, when the clouds gathered in the shape of a narrow beam the people journeyed forth. At times they remained in place for a long while and at times they departed within several hours.

The Torah relates these details to teach us an important lesson. Our ancestors complied with each instruction, regardless of difficulty or convenience. When they were told to remain in place for a long while, they complied with joy. When they were told to journey forth within twenty-four hours of making camp they also complied joyfully, though they were not yet rested. Their convenience was not their highest priority. G-d’s instructions were. Ohr Hachayim

Thursday: The Week’s Anchor

“They journeyed for three days away from G-d’s mountain.” This three-day journey is experienced every week. The first three days of the week bask in the glow of the previous Shabbat and the second three days of the week are preparation days for the following Shabbat. In this sense each half week represents a three day journey, either toward G-d’s mountain or away from it. When our week is experienced in this way, our Shabbat fulfills its purpose. Sefas Emes

Friday: The Aggrieved

“The aggrieved sought complaints that were evil in the ears of G-d.” Why does the Torah call their grumbling evil? They did not ask for anything forbidden, they only asked for meat.

A servant, who grows weary of serving, knows that he cannot gain his liberation by informing his master that he has tired of servitude. Instead he grows bitter and makes himself generally disagreeable in the hope that the master will tire of him and release him. The aggrieved Jews used the same tactic. They were not concerned with the specific issues they complained about. Their primary interest was to make themselves disagreeable and thus be released from the restrictions of Torah. They complained about all manner of things, but G-d understood their underlying motive and that was evil in His eyes. Toras Moshe – Alshich

Shabbat: Moshe was Humble

How could Moshe be the most humble person in the world if he was also the most advanced prophet in history and the man, who imparted the Torah to the Jewish people? Did he deny his own achievements?

Moshe did not take personal credit for his achievements. He recognized that his achievements were made possible through the talents given him by G-d. He credited G-d with his accomplishments and reasoned that if others were to receive the abilities that he was given they might have accomplished the same and possibly even more. This is how he reconciled his incredible humility with his unbelievable achievements. Sefer Mamarim 5710

Edited by Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort, director of Chabad in La Costa