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May 10, 2021

Archive for Torah Portion

BaMidbar (In the Desert) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BAmitbar

Numbers,  1:1-4:20

This Week’s Torah Portion | May 09 – May 15, 2021 – 27 Iyyar – 4 Sivan, 5781

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 02 – May 08, 2021 – 20 Iyyar – 26 Iyyar, 5781

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 02 – May 08, 2021 – 20 Iyyar – 26 Iyyar, 5781

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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Aharei Mot (After the Death) — Kedoshim (Holy) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

AhareiMot

Leviticus, 16:1-18:30—19:1-20:27

This Week’s Torah Portion | Apr 18 – Apr 24, 2021 – 6 Iyyar – 12 Iyyar, 5781

In A Nutshell

The portions, Aharei Mot (After the Death) and Kedoshim (Holy), are connected. In the portion, Aharei Mot, following the death of Aaron’s two sons—Nadav and Avihu—the Creator details before Moses various rules concerning the way Aaron may approach the Holy in the tabernacle: it requires offering several sacrifices. Aaron must choose between two male goats, one to be sacrificed as a sin offering, and the other to be sent to the desert as a “goat to Azazel.”

The portion also details the prohibition to slaughter for food without bringing an offering to the tent of meeting. The Creator instructs Moses to command the people not to follow the ways of the Egyptians and the Canaanites, and not to obey their rules. At the end of the portion the Creator tells the people of Israel not to be defiled by all the impurities that the nations that dwelled in the land of Canaan before them did because if they did, the land would repel them.

In the portion, Kedoshim (holy), the Creator says to the children of Israel through Moses: “You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus, 19:2).

The portion details many different commandments between man and God, between man and man, and some that concern offering sacrifices. The portion also deals with fearing Mother and Father, observing the Sabbath, and the prohibition on idol worship. Some of the Mitzvot (commandments) relate to the land of Israel, the land of Canaan, the tithing, fruits of the tree, idol worship, and other laws.

The portion ends with a complete prohibition on incest and adultery, which are punishable by death. The Creator commands the children of Israel to keep the laws when they arrive at the land of Israel, and refrain from what they did while in Egypt. They must separate between pure and impure beasts, and, likewise, the Creator will separate between Israel and the rest of the nations. This is how they will be Holy to Him.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Most people believe that the Torah speaks of this world, that it is full of physical actions and descriptions of animals, people, and objects, rules of social conduct, what is permitted, and what is forbidden. We either forget, or have never known that this world is but a replication of the spiritual world.

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Tazria (When a Woman Delivers) – Metzorah (The Leper) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Tazria—Metzorah

Leviticus, 12:1-13:59 – 14:1-15:33

This Week’s Torah Portion | Apr 11 – Apr 17, 2021 – 29 Nisan – 5 Iyyar, 5781

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Tazria (When a Woman Delivers), we learn about laws related to a woman who has delivered. If she delivers a boy, she is considered impure for seven days. On the eighth day the boy is circumcised and the woman begins a 33 day purification period. If the woman delivers a girl she is considered impure for fourteen days, and the purification period lasts 66 days.

The portion also details rules concerning afflictions. A person who is infected with something must come to the priest, who diagnoses the sore and knows the rules concerning each of them.

The portion, Metzorah (The Leper), is dedicated to the rules concerning leprosy, and what to do when one has been infected with it. A leper who has healed must be examined by the priest, then bring two birds. The priest slaughters one bird and dips the other in clean water.

The end of the portion discusses the impurity of nocturnal ejaculation and the rules concerning a woman in menstruation—anyone who touches her is impure until the evening.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Why are the rules in the portions described in such detail?

The whole Torah is an instruction by which to correct our nature. Man was deliberately created with an egoistic desire; this is why we want everything for our own good, as it is written, “For the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis, 8:21). Creation itself is the evil inclination, the sum of our negative qualities. The inanimate nature, the vegetative, and the animate around us are completely neutral—neither good nor bad. It is managed by the laws of nature that act instinctively on all its elements.

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