A collection of excerpts from Torah Club on the weekly Torah Portions, from Genesis to Deuteronomy.
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The journey from Egypt to the Promised Land is an apt metaphor for the spiritual journey through life. Between here and there we face tests, trials and all manner of adventures. We may face warfare, temptations, discontentment and agonizing hardships. As with the Israelites in the wilderness, our success or failure is determined by our reactions to these trials.
Each person is as valuable as Adam, the first man. Though Adam was only a single human being, he held within him the potential of all humanity. So, too, each person shares that same potential. No person should be dismissed as simply a number or a cog in the wheel. Every human being is a whole world.
The common denominator in all these family rankings is the central position of a father. In the biblical world, fatherhood was the essential ingredient for family and identity. Isn't that chauvinistic? Not from the perspective of the biblical woman. She regarded her father and husband as her prestige and her identity. They were the affirmation of her femininity. They provided her protection, sustenance and dignity. It's a different way of thinking from what we have today.
According to the sages, the encampments of Israel around the Tabernacle correspond to the placement of the angels around God’s throne. Likewise, the mustering of the hosts of Israel can be compared to the mustering of the hosts of heaven.