Candle lighting time is 8:35
This week I am borrowing the Parshah message from Chabad.org because I have something else that I would like to spend my time writing about.
“Moses conveys the laws governing the annulment of vows to the heads of the tribes of Israel. War is waged against Midian for their role in plotting the moral destruction of Israel, and the Torah gives a detailed account of the war spoils and how they were allocated amongst the people, the warriors, the Levites and the high priest.
The tribes of Reuben and Gad (later joined by half of the tribe of Manasseh) ask for the lands east of the Jordan as their portion in the Promised Land, these being prime pastureland for their cattle. Moses is initially angered by the request, but subsequently agrees on the condition that they first join, and lead, in Israel’s conquest of the lands west of the Jordan.
The forty-two journeys and encampments of Israel are listed, from the Exodus to their encampment on the plains of Moab across the river from the land of Canaan. The boundaries of the Promised Land are given, and cities of refuge are designated as havens and places of exile for inadvertent murderers. The daughters of Tzelafchad marry within their own tribe of Manasseh, so that the estate which they inherit from their father should not pass to the province of another tribe.”
It was just a little more than a year ago that I traveled to Israel for the first time on the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Mega Mission, and I must tell you that it was a trip that added immeasurably to my appreciation of what it means to be a Jew.
In recent weeks we have been reading each Shabbos about how the Children of Israel are getting closer and closer to their arrival in the Holy Land, and how the generation that originally departed from Egypt will not be included among those who get to enter. Even Moses, the greatest prophet ever to live, will not be allowed to enter.
But one year ago I did get to go to this remarkable place that was given to the Jewish people by Hashem.
We spent the first few days of our journey in Pittsburgh’s partnership region of Karmiel-Misgav before journeying south to the Holy City itself, the City of David, Jerusalem. As we approached Jerusalem our bus stopped at the Haas Promenade, the site where legend says that Hashem took Abraham to show him where his descendants would one day build the Holy City.
What an experience! The view from Haas Promenade cannot adequately be put into words. There, across a narrow valley, was the City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. And I was there, at a place where even Moses had not set foot. I literally sobbed uncontrollably before exiting the bus to recite the Shehecheyanu with my bus mates.
Israel was one incredibly emotional experience after another as we traveled to Masada, the Dead Sea, and so many sites that resonate in the hearts of the Jewish people.
As we returned to Jerusalem from Masada at nearly midnight, I was listening to my MP3 player that was playing from a song list with over 200 titles. And what song should randomly begin playing just as we approached the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem? The theme from Exodus, “This land is mine, God gave this land to me.” Coincidence? I think not.
Yes, Israel is an incredible place to visit, and if you have not been there you really must go.
Next year, the Chabad of the South Hills will be sponsoring a mission to be led by Rabbi Mendel & Batya Rosenblum. Delegations from across the globe will be joining for this tour of the Land of Israel which will take place from March 23 – April 1, 2014.
The Chabad does wonderful work in the field of Jewish education and you do not have to be Orthodox to partake of their excellent classes or this mission. Ellen and I have taken several classes and we learned a great deal. And most of the participants are not Orthodox, so do not be afraid that the Chabad will try to make you frum. Rabbi Mendy accepts you as you are and I’m sure that a mission with he and Batya will be a fabulous experience.
The Chabad is also sponsoring two upcoming events that may be of interest to you. The first is a senior luncheon on July 10.
The second is a Family BarBQ on August 4 at Scott Park
No Charge, Event Sponsor – $180.