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Bamidbar 5765

Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!   Star Wars continues to top the chart as the last installment is brought to the Silver Screen. For many of us it is a marker in life -30 years ago we were young with the first episode and now we are middle-aged often with children and grandchildren. It's good to have markers in life to reflect on our goals and plans and accomplishments. Birthdays are excellent times to reflect.

The number of Jewish themes and ideas in Star Wars is fascinating. For instance, Yoda is suspiciously close to the Hebrew word "Yeda," knowledge. I suspect that Jedi comes from the same source. Even Anikan Skywalker -break up his first name into syllables and you have "Ani Kan," which translates directly from the Hebrew as "I am here" which is suspiciously close to Moses' response to the Almighty at the Burning Bush: "Hineni" -"Here I am" - ready and willing to do Your will. "Skywalker" does not appear to be of Hebrew derivation, though one can clearly see the spiritual connotations alluded to in the name.

If one looks, he can find lessons about life and the Almighty everywhere -including Star Wars. So, I now present for your consideration (and hopefully, for your enjoyment):


  1. There is a Force. (It is called God, the Almighty, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-good, Creator, Sustainer, Supervisor of the Universe.)
  2. The Force IS with you. (God is always there, constantly watching out for you and wants only your good.)

  3. There is a "Dark Side of the Force." (This is what is called in Hebrew the "Yetzer Hora" - the inclination to follow our bodily desires rather than our spiritual quest; physical pleasure as a goal is an illusion.)
  4. Success comes from conquering the Dark Side of the Force. (To come close to the Almighty, one must conquer and control his passions. Commitment and discipline are vital for success.)
  5. To become a Jedi Knight one must recognize the Force, study it, work hard and have a master. (To know God one must search for Him, read the Chumash - the Pentateuch, ask questions of people who know, have a teacher; don't think that it will just happen by chance.)

  6. To be acknowledged as a Jedi Knight, one must pass tests. (To come close to God, one must realize that everything in life is an opportunity to grow, perfect oneself and bridge the gap between you and Him. Difficult times are a test and God never gives you a test you cannot handle!)
  7. There are no coincidences (a prominent line from previous Star War prequels). (The Almighty interacts with history and with each individual's life; there is meaning in everything that happens; one SHOULD ask "Why is this happening to me?" But, he should ask out of wanting to understand ... not ask out of indignation and anger!)

Torah Portion of the Week

In the second year of travel in the desert, Moshe and Aharon were commanded by the Almighty to count all male Israelites between 20 and 60. There were 603,550 available for military service. The tribe of Levi was exempt because of their special duties as religious leaders. It is probably from here that countries give divinity deferments to clergy and divinity students.)

The twelve tribes were directed regarding the formation (three tribes were on each side of the Portable Sanctuary) in which they were to camp and travel.

The 22,300 Levites were commanded in the Sanctuary service. The family of Gershon was to transport the coverings of the Sanctuary. The family of Kehos carried the Ark, Table, Menorah and Altars. The family of Merari transported the boards, pillars, bolts and sockets.


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the Almighty spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai." (Numbers 1:1)

Why does the Torah specify "the wilderness" of the Sinai desert?

The Midrash Bamidbar Rabbah comments on this verse, "Whoever does not make himself open and free like a wilderness will not be able to acquire wisdom and Torah." This refers to having the trait of humility, which allows a person to learn from everyone and to teach everyone.

An arrogant person will only be willing to learn from someone he feels is befitting his honor. A humble person is only concerned with gaining Torah knowledge and will be grateful to learn new ideas even from one who has less overall knowledge than himself.

The Midrash teaches that the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai because Mt. Sinai was the lowest of all the mountains. This symbolizes that if a person wants to receive wisdom he must be humble. If he is full of himself there is little room for anything else.

(or go to

Jerusalem  7:06
Chicago 8:00  Guatemala 6:09  Hong Kong 6:45
Honolulu 6:51  J'Burg 5:05  London 8:50
Los Angeles 7:42  Melbourne 4:48  Mexico City 6:56

Miami 7:50  Moscow 8:45  New York 8:03
Singapore 6:51  Toronto 7:34


Choice, not chance, determines destiny.

In Loving Memory
of my father,
Avraham ben Natan
by Nathan Zemel


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