Shabbat Shalom, 8 Sivan 5774

The parsha for this week is Be’halot’cha,  translated from Hebrew as “when you step up”, covering Numbers  8:1-12:16.  In Be’halot’cha, Moses is given direction in mounting the lamps in the Tabernacle and performing Passover rituals. In addition, he is given the task of consecrating the Levites (whom were selected for early retirement at age 50) and told to convince his people, the Israelites, to follow a cloud and heed the calls of two silver trumpets.

The trumpet signal system:

–  One long blast  of both trumpets calls the community to assemble at the entrance of the Tent of the Meeting.

-Hear a single blast from a single trumpet? You can ignore this call, unless you happen to be a Chieftain.

-Frequent, short blasts  are used to sound an alarm to alert  the community to movement or war.

-In a celebratory mood? Mixed blasts are sounded for celebratory occasions.

Despite this audio alert system, Moses found that folks were not always happy to follow orders.  There was kvetching galore, especially a rash of complaining and griping from the “riffraff” about the lack of meat. This led to a sudden influx of quail and manna that triggered a plague in which Miriam spoke against Moses. In her anger, she complained about her sister-in law (called her ” a cuchite woman”) and questioned why Moses was so special to be the only one G-d spoke directly to “mouth to mouth”. Name calling is never nice, and Miriam did not get off easy; she was struck with a nasty skin ailment and cast out of the tents for seven days.

An interesting side note, Rabbi Jose ben Hanina asserted that manna tasted different depending on the age of the eater: for an infant manna has the taste of honey; for children and youth it tastes a bit like bread;  elderly find it has the taste of oil.

Translation, via JTS: http://learn.jtsa.edu/content/translations/beha-alotekha/torah-portion/beha-alotekha

Commentary sources:

URJ:http://www.reformjudaism.org/learning/torah-study/bhaalotcha

JTS:http://learn.jtsa.edu/parashah/Beha-alotekha/5773?t=24-16-43-55

Rabbi Falcon: http://www.rabbitedfalcon.com/weekly-focus/

Aish: http://www.aish.com/tp/

Animated at G-dcast:http://www.g-dcast.com/behaalotcha

A note on Kehillah Kedoshah: Mazel tov is in order! Ten folks gathered yesterday in response to a request for a minyan for Kaddish- a true mitzvah! Thanks to everyone that took time out of their day to come together for a meaningful and lovely Yizkor.  WIJC is a lay-led, volunteer-run havurah that relies on community members for event planning, service leading and communications. If you’d like to take part in organizing a holiday gathering, educational opportunity, shabbat dinner, or other Jewish themed event,  please send an email to wijc@whidbey.com and share your thoughts.

Candle lighting time on South Whidbey is 8:47 for Shabbat at 9:56 for havdalah.

Funding for Whidbey Island Jewish Community was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Special Initiatives Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

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