As we begin the calendar month of July, it once again gives me great pleasure to reach out to you with our monthly newsletter message.
Every year I look forward to reading together in shul the various parashiyot of Sefer Bamidbar, the Book of Numbers. These Torah portions are full of fascinating stories, beautiful morals and lessons, and Divine messages. Over the course of July, we will read the parashiyot of Korach, Chukat, Balak, and Pinchas.
In parashat Korach we read about Korach's ill-fated rebellion, when he and his followers questioned the leadership of Moshe. This parasha teaches us of the importance of communal unity, and the deleterious effect of argument and communal discord.
Parashat Chukat begins with the telling of the laws of the Parah Adumah, the red cow whose ashes were used to purify those effected by tumah, ritual impurity. One of the many strange aspects of this law is that its ceremony was not performed in the Beit Hamikdash itself, but rather on a hilltop outside of the Temple complex.
In Parashat Balak we read about how the king Balak contracts the seer Bilaam, a prophet to the nations, to curse the Israelite people. The plan goes awry as Bilam ends up not cursing the Jewish people, but rather speaking their praises instead.
The final parasha that will be read in the shul this month is Parashat Pinchas. In Parashat Pinchas we read about all of the special korabanot, Temple offerings, that were brought on the various holidays throughout the year. These passages serve as the Maftir readings in the shul throughout the year on each respective holiday.
I look forward to seeing you in the shul as we read these parshas together.
All the Best,
Rabbi Peretz Robinson