This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Bemidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)

I discuss the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Rabbs every Monday at 7pm PST on my live cam and on YouTube.

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This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Bemidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20).

* Tonight’s show comes from the House of Rabbs.

* Life is not mainly dramatic revelations from God. Life is mainly wandering in the wilderness, like this book.

* The tabernacle, and later the temple and the synagogue, serve as substitutes for and reminders of the divine revelation at Mount Sinai.

* What do you do with something precious in Judaism such as a Torah scroll? You wrap it up and put it away. Same with women. The glory of a king’s daughter is in her modesty. All precious things deserve protection and safeguards.

* Dennis Prager often says, I never eat dishes. The Torah, however, is obsessed with the sanctity of dishes and utensils.

* The Torah doesn’t tell us about the descendants of Moses. Why? Because they did not carry on his teachings. In Judges and Kings I, Moshe’s descendants celebrate around another golden calf.

* You can be a great man and a miserable father. In fact, great men are usually lousy fathers. In Billy Graham’s autobiography, he says he has one major regret that weighs on him — that he ignored his kids while he was saving the world. Such fathers get old and find their kids ignore them. Men tend to want to save the world and a lot of women want to save a man.

* We also have reason to believe that Moses was not a great husband. A life just devoted to God is not a Torah life. It’s a sin for a man not to marry if he can.

* Torah does not blame Moses for being a bad husband and father. He may have been great on both counts until God called him to lead the Jewish people.

* None of us can embody everything good in life. So it is good to take up a task.

* The purpose of the Jews is to carry God in the world, just like the ancient Jews carried the tabernacle through the desert. Boredom comes from a lack of purpose, not from a lack of things to do. Secularism and affluence leads to boredom. (Dennis Prager)

* Why do secular Jews disproportionately preoccupy themselves with social action? Because they’re bored.

* Holy objects like the ark reminds us that there is a realm beyond the physical. Like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I walk around Pico-Robertson on those days and the spiritual seems more real than the physical.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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