Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4)


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Rabbi said on behalf of Abba Jose ben Dosthai that there is no contradiction, for the latter part of Hosea speaks of counting done by human beings, while the earlier part of Hosea speaks of counting by Heaven. Rava found support in Numbers for the proposition that sometimes texts refer to "sons" when they mean a single son. A Tanna in the name of Rabbi deduced from the words "the sons of Korah did not die" in Numbers that Providence set up a special place for them to stand on high in Gehinnom.

Rabbah bar bar Hana told that once when he was travelling, an Arab showed him where the earth swallowed Korah's congregation.


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Rabbah bar bar Hana saw two cracks in the ground from which smoke issued. He took a piece of wool, soaked it in water, attached it to the point of his spear, and passed it over the cracks, and the wool was singed. The Arab told Rabbah bar bar Hana to listen, and he heard them saying, "Moses and his Torah are true, but Korah's company are liars. A Midrash explained why the sons of Korah were saved. When they were sitting with their father, and they saw Moses, they hung their heads and lamented that if they stood up for Moses, they would be showing disrespect for their father, but if they did not rise, they would be disregarding Leviticus , "You shall rise up before the hoary head.

At that moment, thoughts of repentance stirred in their hearts.

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A Midrash taught that at the moment when the earth opened up, Korah's sons were suspended in the air. But as soon as thoughts of repentance stirred in their hearts, God accepted them. Whatever thoughts one of the sons developed, the others developed as well, so that all three were of one heart.

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They stood separately like three pillars. The Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer taught that the prophet Jonah saved the fish that swallowed Jonah from being devoured by Leviathan , and in exchange, the fish showed Jonah the sea and the depths. The fish showed Jonah the great river of the waters of the Ocean, the paths of the Reed Sea through which Israel passed in the Exodus , the place from where the waves of the sea and its billows flow, the pillars of the earth in its foundations, the lowest Sheol , Gehinnom, and what was beneath the Temple in Jerusalem.

Beneath the Temple, Jonah saw the Foundation Stone fixed in the depths, and the sons of Korah were standing and praying over it. The sons of Korah told Jonah that he stood beneath the Temple of God, and if he prayed, he would be answered. Forthwith, Jonah prayed to God to restore Jonah to life. In response, God hinted to the fish, and the fish vomited out Jonah onto the dry land, as reported in Jonah A Baraita taught that the Serah the daughter of Asher mentioned in both Genesis and Numbers survived from the time Israel went down to Egypt to the time of the wandering in the Wilderness.

The Gemara taught that Moses went to her to ask where the Egyptians had buried Joseph. She told him that the Egyptians had made a metal coffin for Joseph. The Egyptians set the coffin in the Nile so that its waters would be blessed. Moses went to the bank of the Nile and called to Joseph that the time had arrived for God to deliver the Israelites, and the oath that Joseph had imposed upon the children of Israel in Genesis had reached its time of fulfillment.

Moses called on Joseph to show himself, and Joseph's coffin immediately rose to the surface of the water. Similarly, a Midrash taught that Serah mentioned in Numbers conveyed to the Israelites a secret password handed down from Jacob so that they would recognize their deliverer. The Midrash told that when as Exodus reports "Aaron spoke all the words" to the Israelite people, "And the people believed" as Exodus reports , they did not believe only because they had seen the signs.

Rather, as Exodus reports , "They heard that the Lord had visited" — they believed because they heard, not because they saw the signs. What made them believe was the sign of God's visitation that God communicated to them through a tradition from Jacob, which Jacob handed down to Joseph, Joseph to his brothers, and Asher, the son of Jacob, handed down to his daughter Serah, who was still alive at the time of Moses and Aaron.

Asher told Serah that any redeemer who would come and say the password to the Israelites would be their true deliverer.

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So when Moses came and said the password, the people believed him at once. Interpreting Numbers and , the Gemara noted a dispute over whether the land of Israel was apportioned according to those who came out of Egypt or according to those who went into the land of Israel. It was taught in a Baraita that Rabbi Josiah said that the land of Israel was apportioned according to those who came out of Egypt, as Numbers says, "according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.

But Rabbi Jonathan taught that the land was apportioned according to those who entered the land, for Numbers says, "Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance. For in all other modes of inheritance in the world, the living inherit from the dead, but in this case, the dead inherited from the living.

go to link Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar taught a third view — that the land was divided both according to those who left Egypt and also according to those who entered the land of Israel, so as to carry out both verses. The Gemara explained that according to this view, one among those who came out of Egypt received a share among those who came out of Egypt, and one who entered the land of Israel received a share among those who entered the land.

And one who belonged to both categories received a share among both categories. Abba Halifa of Keruya asked Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba why Genesis reported that 70 people from Jacob's household came to Egypt, while Genesis —27 enumerated only 69 individuals. Rabbi Hiyya reported that Rabbi Hama bar Hanina taught that the seventieth person was the mother of Moses, Jochebed , who was conceived on the way from Canaan to Egypt and born as Jacob's family passed between the city walls as they entered Egypt, for Numbers reported that Jochebed "was born to Levi in Egypt," implying that her conception was not in Egypt.

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Similar uses appear in Genesis to teach Esau 's enduring wickedness, in 2 Chronicles to teach Ahaz 's enduring wickedness, in Esther to teach Ahasuerus 's enduring wickedness, in 1 Chronicles to teach Abraham 's enduring righteousness, in Exodus to teach Moses and Aaron's enduring righteousness, and in 1 Samuel to teach David's enduring humility.

The Gemara asked why the Tannaim felt that the allocation of the Land of Israel "according to the names of the tribes of their fathers" in Numbers meant that the allocation was with reference to those who left Egypt; perhaps, the Gemara supposed, it might have meant the 12 tribes and that the Land was to be divided into 12 equal portions?

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The Gemara noted that in Exodus , God told Moses to tell the Israelites who were about to leave Egypt, "And I will give it you for a heritage; I am the Lord," and that meant that the Land was the inheritance from the fathers of those who left Egypt. A Midrash noted that Scripture records the death of Nadab and Abihu in numerous places Leviticus and ; Numbers and ; and 1 Chronicles This teaches that God grieved for Nadab and Abihu, for they were dear to God. A Midrash explained why the report of Numbers —11 about the daughters of Zelophehad follows immediately after the report of Numbers about the death of the wilderness generation.

The Midrash noted that Numbers says, "there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh," because the men had been unwilling to enter the Land. But the Midrash taught that Numbers says, "then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad," to show that the women still sought an inheritance in the Land. The Midrash noted that in the incident of the Golden Calf , in Exodus , Aaron told them: "Break off the golden rings that are in the ears of your wives ," but the women refused to participate, as Exodus indicates when it says, "And all the people broke off the golden rings that were in their ears.

Noting that Numbers reported the generations from Joseph to the daughters of Zelophehad, the Sifre taught that the daughters of Zelophehad loved the Land of Israel just as much as their ancestor Joseph did when in Genesis he extracted an oath from his brothers to return his body to the Land of Israel for burial. Chapter 8 of tractate Bava Batra in the Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud and chapter 7 of tractate Bava Batra in the Tosefta interpreted the laws of inheritance in Numbers —11 and —9.

Rabbi Joshua taught that Zelophehad's daughters' in Numbers —4 petitioned first the assembly, then the chieftains, then Eleazar, and finally Moses, but Abba Hanan said in the name of Rabbi Eliezer taught that Zelophehad's daughters stood before all of them as they were sitting together. Noting that the words "in the wilderness" appeared both in Numbers where Zelophehad's daughters noted that their father Zelophehad had not taken part in Korah 's rebellion and in Numbers which tells the story of the Sabbath violator , Rabbi Akiva taught in a Baraita that Zelophehad was the man executed for gathering sticks on the Sabbath.

Rabbi Judah ben Bathyra answered Akiva that Akiva would have to give an account for his accusation. For either Akiva was right that Zelophehad was the man executed for gathering sticks on the Sabbath, and Akiva revealed something that the Torah shielded from public view, or Akiva was wrong that Zelophehad was the man executed for gathering sticks on the Sabbath, and Akiva cast a stigma upon a righteous man.

But the Gemara answered that Akiva learned a tradition from the Oral Torah that went back to Sinai, and thus the Torah did not shield the matter from public view. The Gemara then asked, according to Rabbi Judah ben Bathyra, of what sin did Zelophehad die as his daughters reported in Numbers that "he died in his own sin"? The Gemara reported that according to Rabbi Judah ben Bathyra, Zelophehad was among those who "presumed to go up to the top of the mountain" in Numbers to try and fail to take the Land of Israel after the incident of the spies. Rabbi Hidka recounted that Simeon of Shikmona , a fellow disciple of Rabbi Akiva, taught that Moses knew that the daughters of Zelophehad were entitled to inherit, but he did not know whether they were to take the double portion of the firstborn or not and thus, as Numbers reports, took the case to God.

Moses would have in any case written the laws of inheritance in Numbers —11 and —9, but as the daughters of Zelophehad were meritorious, the Torah tells the laws of inheritance through their story. Rabbi Hanina or some say Rabbi Josiah taught that Numbers , when Moses found himself unable to decide the case of the daughters of Zelophehad, reports the punishment of Moses for his arrogance when he told the judges in Deuteronomy "the cause that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.

Rav Nahman cited a Baraita to explain the case of the daughters of Zelophehad: God had intended that Moses write the laws of inheritance, but found the daughters of Zelophehad worthy to have the section recorded on their account. The Mishnah taught that the daughters of Zelophehad took three shares in the inheritance of the Land of Israel: 1 the share of their father Zelophehad, who was among those who came out of Egypt; 2 their father's share among his brothers in the estate of Hepher , Zelophehad's father; and 3 an extra share in Hepher's estate, as Zelophehad was a firstborn son, who takes two shares.

A Baraita taught that Zelophehad's daughters were wise , Torah students , and righteous. Reading Numbers , the Mishnah taught these rules for the order of inheritance: the son preceded the daughter, and the son's offspring preceded the daughter.


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The general rule was that the offspring of one who had precedence in inheritance also had precedence. The father had precedence over all his offspring if none were the direct offspring of the decedent. The Gemara implied that the sin of Moses in striking the rock at Meribah compared favorably to the sin of David. The Gemara reported that Moses and David were two good leaders of Israel.

Moses begged God that his sin be recorded, as it is in Numbers , —24, and —14, and Deuteronomy David, however, begged that his sin be blotted out, as Psalm says, "Happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is pardoned. One had committed an indecent act, while the other had eaten unripe figs of the seventh year in violation of Leviticus The woman who had eaten unripe figs begged the court to make known for what offense she was being flogged, lest people say that she was being punished for the same sin as the other woman.

The court thus made known her sin, and the Torah repeatedly records the sin of Moses. Noting that Moses asked God to designate someone to succeed him in Numbers , soon after the incident of Zelophehad's daughters, a Midrash deduced that when the daughters of Zelophehad inherited from their father, Moses argued that it would surely be right for his sons to inherit his glory. God, however, replied in the words of Proverbs that "Whoever keeps the fig-tree shall eat its fruit; and whoever waits on the master shall be honored.

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As he had served Moses with all his might, he was worthy to serve Israel, and thus God in Numbers directed Moses to "take Joshua the son of Nun" as his successor. Reading Ecclesiastes , "The sun also rises, and the sun goes down," Rabbi Abba taught that since we of course know that the sun rises and sets, Ecclesiastes means that before God causes the sun of one righteous person to set, God causes the sun of another righteous person to rise. In Proverbs , Wisdom which the Rabbis equated with the Torah says, "By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. And the Midrash taught that Proverbs , "And he who waits on his master shall be honored," also alludes to Joshua, for Joshua ministered to Moses day and night, as reported by Exodus , which says, "Joshua departed not out of the Tent," and Numbers , which says, "Joshua.

The Gemara taught that God's instruction to Moses in Numbers to put some of his honor on Joshua was not to transfer all of the honor of Moses. The elders of that generation compared the countenance of Moses to that of the sun and the countenance of Joshua to that of the moon. The elders considered it a shame and a reproach that there had been such a decline in the stature of Israel's leadership in the course of just one generation.

The Mishnah taught that "one inquired [of the Urim and Thummim] only for a king.

Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4) Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4)
Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4) Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4)
Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4) Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4)
Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4) Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4)
Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4) Torah Commentary Course - Numbers/Bamidbar (Torah and Glory Schools Torah Commentary Course Book 4)

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