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May 28, 2017

Archive for Torah Portion

Nasso (Take) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Naso

Numbers 4:21-7:89

This Week’s Torah Portion | May 28 – June 03, 2017 – 3 Sivan – 9 Sivan, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion describes the children of Israel’s preparations to set out on a journey from Mount Sinai to the land of Israel. The bulk of the work revolves around the tabernacle. The census in the tribe of Levi continues, and there is a description of the distribution of duties between the families of Levi, Gershon, Kohat, and Merari. The Creator gives an order to send the impure people outside the camp as preparation for the inauguration of the tabernacle.

Afterward the portion narrates different situations in which the people need the help of the priests and the tabernacle. The incidents are connected to negative acts such as stealing, a person swearing in the name of the Creator in vain and must offer a sacrifice, and a woman who strayed and is suspected of committing adultery and is therefore brought to the priest. There are also positive incidents, such as the story of the hermit, detailing the laws that a person who makes a vow takes upon himself, and the blessing of the priests, the blessing that the priests bless the people.

The end of the portion discusses the gifts of the presidents and the great celebration—the inauguration of the tabernacle. The portion ends with the conclusion of the preparations, when the people of Israel can set out to the land of Israel.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah speaks only about our soul and how we should correct it. We do not correct the body because the body is an animal and acts according to its nature. We must reinstate the “portion of God from above” (Job 31:2); this is the soul.

We do it as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice”[1] because “the light in it reforms.”[2] When we begin to connect to others under the condition, “love your neighbor as yourself,”[3] we find how repelling we find this act. We do not want to see anyone, only use them for our own benefit.

This is our nature, as the Creator said, “I have created the evil inclination.” However, the more we study and try to draw closer to each other, and discover how utterly impossible it is, the more we feel our nature as bad, as ill will, evil inclination. Then we need a means to correct it, and this is the light that reforms.

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BaMidbar (In the Desert) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BAmitbar

Numbers,  1:1-4:20

This Week’s Torah Portion | May 21 – May 27, 2017 – 25 Lyar – 2 Sivan, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, BaMidbar (In the Desert), begins with the Creator commanding the children of Israel by tribes to bring men who had served in the army and were at least twenty years old, and appoint them as heads of tribes and presidents. Following the nomination, Moses is requested to explain to them where each tribe should be during the journey and while stopping in the desert, how to arrange themselves by tribes and banners according to the four directions, with the tabernacle in the middle.

The portion reiterates the role of the Levites, who are to serve in the tabernacle. The tribe of Levi is special because it has no place or lot of its own; it is to serve everyone and help everyone, especially the priests in the tabernacle. The role of the Levites is to assemble and disassemble the tabernacle at each stop during the journey of the children of Israel. They must follow strict rules that explain what to do with each part of the tabernacle and how to keep the vessels of the tabernacle.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah is divided into two parts: external and internal. The external Torah is the one we read and know. It is the Torah that our fathers (ourselves in previous incarnations, since our souls reincarnate from generation to generation) observed in the past. However, there are things to sort in it. The Torah describes the journey of the children of Israel in the desert and how they should conduct themselves there. It details how to build the tabernacle, divide into priests, Levites, and tribes, how to set up the camp, and how to continue the journey where each one moves from place to place under the tribe’s banner up to the boundaries of the land of Israel and the onset of its conquest.

The inner Torah is actually the main thing. Through it we correct and adjust ourselves internally in order to discover that upper force from which we receive the Torah in actual fact. That is, it is about revealing the Creator to the creatures. Here we are talking about man as a small world, where all that is described in the Torah—priests, Levites, Israel, and the twelve tribes—is within us as replications. The inner Torah touches each of us and instructs us what we must do in order to discover the upper force here and now.

One who has not corrected him or herself is certainly immersed in the ego, the evil inclination, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”[1] That state is called a “desert.” The sensation of the desert is the place of the Klipot (shells/peels), meaning uncorrected desires. While in that feeling we have nothing to revive us, to give us spiritual life. Even if we have material abundance we still feel that we are in the desert.

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BeHukotai (In My Statutes) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BeHukotai

Leviticus, 26:3-27:34

This Week’s Torah Portion | May 14 – May 20, 2017 – 18 Lyar – 24 Lyar, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, BeHukotai (In My Statutes), deals primarily with the topic of reward and punishment for the children of Israel according to their behavior—whether they follow the ways of the Creator. It is written, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and do them” (Leviticus, 26:3). The portion begins with presenting the reward: “Then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit” (Leviticus, 26:4). Opposite that is the presentation of the punishment: “But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments” (Leviticus, 26:14), “I will appoint terror over you: the tuberculosis and the malaria,” (Leviticus, 26:16), and the worst punishment of all—exile.

If the people of Israel repent, the Creator promises to remember the covenant He has made with them and forgive them. It is written, “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God” (Leviticus, 26:44). The portion ends with additional laws concerning vows, ostracism, tithing, and others.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The issue of reward and punishment was not presented at the beginning of the Torah because it is impossible to understand it unless you are able to make free choice. Without this ability it is pointless to instructions on this issue. First you must learn the laws and judgments. Then, if you keep them you will be rewarded, and if not, you will be punished. You cannot punish in advance. First one needs to reach the spiritual degree of shifting from unfounded hatred to brotherly love, to “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] which is the whole Torah. This is the way we must walk: we must correct our evil inclination and turn it into a good inclination through the light that reforms[2], by studying the wisdom of Kabbalah, the wisdom of light.

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BaHar (On Mount Sinai) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BaHar

Leviticus, 25:1-26:2

This Week’s Torah Portion | May 14 – May 20, 2017 – 18 Lyar – 24 Lyar, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, Bahar (On Mount Sinai), deals primarily with what appears to be laws of finance. It begins with Moses being on Mount Sinai, receiving from the Creator the Mitzva (commandment) of Shmita (omission of cultivation) of the land every seventh year, and the Mitzvot (plural of Mitzva) of Yovel (jubilee, 50th year anniversary). The Creator gives His blessing to it so that the sixth year will be so productive that enough produce will grow to last for the next three years, to observe the Mitzvot of Shmita and Yovel without worrying about sustenance.

Later, the portion details laws of selling a house or property, redemption of a house or a field from one person to another, laws of the lot of the Levites, forbidding selling of towns or houses that belong to them, laws of selling a person from Israel to slavery, how to treat such a person, and laws prohibiting idols, pillars, and figured stones.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The laws that this portion details are spiritual laws. Shmita [1] is a profound and sacred matter. It exists only in the land of Israel, in a desire aimed toward the Creator, in order to bestow, toward love of others. The Shmita can occur in a desire only in a process of correcting the soul.

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Emor (Say) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Emor

Leviticus, 21:1-24:23

This Week’s Torah Portion | May 07 – May 13, 2017 – 11 Lyar – 17 Lyar, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, Emor (Say), begins with rules concerning priests, forbidding them to marry a divorced woman, a widow, or a whore, and permitting them to marry only a virgin. They are also forbidden to approach the dead. Only kin are permitted to be defiled and approach the dead. The High Priest is forbidden to be defiled even by his own kin have died. They are forbidden to shave their heads and beards, and they are forbidden to cast any flaws in their bodies. A Cohen (priest) with a blemish in his body will not be considered a priest, and will not be able to serve in the Temple. The portion also introduces laws of purity and impurity for priests, such as the prohibition on eating offerings, and the rules for a barren or divorced daughter of a priest.

The portion also mentions many rules concerning the Sabbath, Passover, the seventh of Passover, Shavuot, the Omer Count, and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). The end of the portion speaks of a quarrel between two men, one of whom said the name of the Creator and cursed. He was punished by ejection from the camp and execution by stoning.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

What is so special about this portion that elaborates so much about priests and festivals?

The correction is only a correction of the heart, which contains all 613 desires we need to correct from using our ego in order to receive into using it in order to bestow, in favor of others and love of others. The whole Torah deals with the correction of the heart. The first stage in the correction of the heart is when we get rid of the ego. The second stage is when we use all of our heart in favor of others.

The portion describes all the levels of correction. It is written, “And you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus, 19:6). This means that everyone must reach the highest degree (a Cohen [priest])——following the preparation described in the portions, Aharei Mot (After the Death) and Kedoshim (Holy). The Torah constantly promotes us until we enter the land of Israel and achieve Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator.

The portion starts with elaborating on the terms of the degree of priests. A person must correct the desires, as it specifies—prohibition on marrying a divorcee, a widow, or a whore. A priest must also avoid shaving his face and his head. He must also maintain these prohibitions until he is corrected and sees his desires in the image of man. It is as we learn regarding the perception of reality: the whole world is a reflection of our desires, an outward projection of our internality.

A priest must have natural desires that have been corrected into aiming to bestow. He must not impair his body, make any kind of paintings on it, or touch his hair. The hair is a special correction. The word Se’arot (hair) comes from the word Se’arah (storm). They are to be corrected and therefore must not be removed.

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