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Prior to Shabbat, 5 items to keep in mind

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. Today, Friday, is Rosh Chodesh Av. Rosh Chodesh, the 1st of the month, is normally celebrated as a happy occasion, but our sages stipulated: "When the month of Av begins, we decrease in our happiness." We have already begun following certain customs associated with mourning as we approach Tisha B'Av (9th of Av), commemorating the destruction of the Holy Temple, which arrives next Saturday night.

2. This week's Torah Portion, Masei, is the tenth and last parasha in the Book of Numbers. The stories we have been reading in the Torah come to an end this week. Starting next week, we will be reading the Book of Deuteronomy that is devoted entirely to the parting speech of Moshe Rabbeinu as he bids farewell to the people.

3. As we are about to enter the Land of Israel, our Torah portion lists the names of the 42 places where the nation set up camp during its journey through the desert. Instead of just looking forward, Moshe Rabbeinu asks us to look backward as well. It is as if Moshe is urging us to adopt an historical perspective, that we remember our successes and our failures, too, and that we recall the events that transpired in each encampment, as suggested by its name.

4. Our commentators explain that the Torah portion of Masei teaches each of us to seriously contemplate our journey through life. The Ba'al Shem Tov, founder of the Chasidic movement, explained it like this:

"The journeys and encampments written about in the Torah are certainly meant to show the correct path that a Jew should follow all the days of his life."

5. This Shabbat, Jews living outside of Israel will catch up to those living in Israel in terms of reading the same weekly Torah portion. For a considerable period of time this year, the Torah portion read inside Israel was one portion ahead of what was read outside. Starting now, the same pulse, as measured by the weekly Torah portion, will be felt throbbing equally in us and in our brethren who dwell in the Diaspora.


ספר חדש לקוראים הצעירים ולכל המשפחה

"לגדול! 3", על תנועת החסידות ועלינו

להנחה - השתמשו בקוד קופון 3333

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