This week's Torah portion creates a picture of the 12 tribes of Israel marching over the wilderness terrain in well-organized troops, the divisions of Judah to the east of the tabernacle, Ephraim on the west, and the other tribes assigned to positions in between. An army of men, women and children who once marched hunched over from intolerable service to Pharaoh were now marching upright, in formation, in service of God, with banners streaming above them, as it is written: "The Israelites shall camp each with his standard, under the banners of their ancestral house" (Numbers 2:2).
To: My vegetarian husband
From: His guilt-ridden wife, who keeps falling off the vegetable cart
Less than a 100 years ago, the average age of menarche for American girls was almost 16. Today, 12 is considered late. Theories for such early onset range from the amount of growth hormones injected into the food we eat to the amount of electrical light we absorb. Regardless, it creates a dangerous duality in girls which I often see when working with a bat mitzvah.
In Parshat Naso, we are introduced to the rituals concerning the sotah, a wife who is suspected of adultery.
Our Torah portion devotes more than 60 verses to the census of the Israelites.
The freeways were quiet and the city seemed peaceful at 4:30 a.m. as I drove to the hospital.
Years ago, my husband and I climbed the alleged Mount Sinai, the Perseus shower streaked the Egyptian night sky with shooting stars.
Abram was despondent in his tent, deeply wearied from battle, having just returned from chasing kings from Dan to Damascus.
Abram had looked death in the eye and sat distraught over his own future. God listened to His friend's lament and then He took him outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And he added, "So shall your offspring be" (Genesis 15:5).
This verse is remarkable in many ways, and like every verse of Torah, it has an elixir of magic cleverly hidden in its heart, which we will together attempt to uncork.