Bemidbar (Numbers)Like the book of Leviticus, Numbers contains little 'narrative.' As its English name suggests, it contains several lists- each census of the Israelites. The Hebrew name comes from the first significant word(s): On the first day of the second month, in the second year following the exodus from the land of Egypt, in the wilderness of Sinai, (bemidbar Sinai)....The Israelites' journey through the desert concludes, and they get ready to enter the Promised land. There are thirty-six chapters, divided into ten parashiyot. The parashiyot of Be-Midbar are: Bemidbar, Naso, Be-haalotecha, Shlach Lecha, Korach, Chukat, Balak, Pinchas, Matot, and Masei.

Shelach Lecha

Shlach Lecha: The signs to enter God's Promised Land and see God's Presence may be found in surprising places!

(1782-1860), a very prominent architect of that era, was commissioned to design a new building. In his task, Kornahusel was obliged to follow only a few essential requirements: (a) according to the legal provisions in force, the facade had to resemble that of an ordinary building, thus hiding the synagogue situated behind itve scouts also give a discouraging report, indicating their lack of faith that they can conquer the Land. Only Joshua and Caleb are encouraging. Always fickle, the people accept that it will be too difficult to possess the Promised Land. They express their desire to return to slavery in Egypt. Angered by their lack of faith, God wants to destroy the people, but Moses successfully persuades God to relent. Instead, God decides to lengthen the Israelites' wandering in the wilderness to 40 years, one year for each day the scouts were in the Land. Now, none of the faithless generation of the Exodus will enter the Land. The parasha continues with laws about various kinds of sacrifices which will take effect when they are settled in the Land. We then read about another strange little event: a man transgresses the Sabbath by gathering sticks. The final paragraph of the parasha contains the commandment to attach tzitzit (fringes) to the corners of one's clothing.

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These summaries and introductions are used with permission of Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in Toronto, Canada. Kolel is a dynamic, pluralistic, egalitarian institution where men and women engage in Jewish learning which values both traditional and liberal interpretations. Kolel is a gateway into a richer expression of Judaism for each individual, wherever their journey of Jewish discovery may take them.

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