Our guest this week is Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, senior rabbi of Toronto’s Beth Avraham Yosef Congregation. Rabbi Korobkin is a past executive board member of the Rabbinical Council of America, having also served as regional vice president. He is the founder of the RCA's Rabbis' Forum, an exclusive listserv for Orthodox rabbis. Rabbi Korobkin received his rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, where he studied Jewish law, ethics and philosophy. He received his Master of Arts degree in medieval Jewish and Islamic thought from UCLA's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and his Master of Science degree from the Johns Hopkins University School for Engineering at the Applied Physics Laboratory. He was an adjunct professor at Muhlenberg College, and wrote a feature column for Hakol, the Lehigh Valley's Jewish newspaper. Before moving to Canada in 2011, he was Rosh Kehilla (spiritual community leader) of Yavneh in Los Angeles. He also provided synagogue services for the Orthodox Union's entire west coast region. He has served as spiritual leader for Young Israel Synagogue of San Diego (where he was also the congregation's founding rabbi) and for Congregation Sons of Israel in Allentown, PA. He is the author of the new translation of the classic philosophic work The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith.
This week's Torah portion – Parashat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1) – Features the death of Aaron and Miriam, brother and sister of Moses; the famous story of Moses striking the stone; and Israel’s battles against the Emorite kings Sichon and Og. Our conversation focuses on a very curious segment dealing with an Israelite being taken captive and on Israel’s use of the power of prayer in their military struggles.
If you would like to learn some more about parashat Chukat, check out our conversation with Rabbi Sharon Braus.