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Congregation Brothers of Israel

L'dor Vador—From Generation to Generation since 1883
לדור ודור


Chaired by Dr. Ellier Russ. This committee coordinates programs and classes to engage members in lifelong learning. Events include our yearly Scholar in Residence program, Talmud Study, and more. Guest speakers, online webinars and Shabbat morning discussions additionally provide congregants with opportunities to expand their knowledge of Judaism and living a Jewish life.


 In fulfilling the following commandments one enjoys the yield in this world while the principal remains for all eternity honoring father and mother, performing deeds of loving kindness, punctually attending the house of study morning and evening, showing hospitality to strangers, visiting the sick, helping the needy bride, attending dead, praying .with devotion, and making peace between individuals. And the merit of Torah study is equal to all of these. Talmud Shabbat in 12e


July 13, 2024    1 Tammuz  5784
Torah   Numbers 19:1-22:1   Triennial   Numbers 20:1-21:10
  Haftorah:  Judges 11:1-13

We believe that in times of great strife, words of Torah can provide stability and comfort in our lives.
We know that you join us in praying for the safety of our soldiers and citizens, and that together we mourn the terrible losses already suffered.
We stand together for a strong and secure Israel.


 Bex Stern-Rosenblatt
 WhereYou Go I Will Go

The Book of Numbers is a tragic book. It starts full of promise, with a census of the Israelites in all of our might. But by the incident of the spies, that census becomes a list of all of us who must die before our wandering is over, before our children can enter Canaan. By the time we get to the end of the book, a whole generation has died. We are now in the stories of our deaths, the tales of our disobedience and its punishment.  One way or another, by the time we get to the end of the book, the entire first generation, except for Moses, Caleb, and Joshua, will have died off. And by the end of the next book, Moses will be gone too. 

The question stands then, why should Moses or Aaron or Miriam have thought they were immune from God’s decree over the sin of the spies? God had told us that the corpses of our entire generation would rot in the desert. Indeed, in our parashah this week, Miriam and Aaron both die. Yet in our parashah, an alternative story is told for Aaron and Moses’s deaths. It is not enough that they are from the wrong generation, that they too were cursed to die. Rather, God singles them out for having failed to sanctify God before the Israelites in the incident of getting water from a rock. 

In Deuteronomy, when Moses retells the reason for his death, this explanation is gone. Rather, in his version of the spy story he says, “Against me, too, the Lord was incensed because of you, saying, ‘You, too, shall not come there. Joshua son of Nun, who stands before you, he it is who will come there.” Moses makes it seem as if just as the children will enter the land but not the first generation on account of the spies, so too Joshua will enter the land but not him. 

If we take Moses’s account at face value, the Book of Numbers becomes yet more tragic. After the sin of the spies, Moses was doomed to die in the desert. God had first offered to make a new great nation of him, but Moses rejected that offer. He chose to remain with the people. And so, he remains with them too in their punishment. Moses does not realize this. It doesn’t click for Moses that he too will not enter the promised land. It is not until his sister dies that his own mortality becomes real for him. The story of striking the rock occurs in order for God to let Moses know he will die, that the decree against the people is also a decree against him. It is not just they who are rebels. Moses rebelled as well. Moses has had a death sentence as long as they have, but he was not aware of it until now, he was not aware that he had chosen it for himself until now. 

The midrash in Bemidbar Rabbah 19 picks up on this and takes it in two different directions. The first possibility is that even though Moses and the people are given the same sentence, the crimes they committed were different. Numbers mentions Moses’s crime explicitly here so that we do not think that he is caught up in the greater crime of the people. The second possibility is that God encouraged Moses to go down with the ship, as it were. God says to Moses, “Is it to your credit that you took out six hundred thousand, buried them in the wilderness, and you are taking in another generation?... Rather, remain alongside them and come with them.” There is a time when a leader has to recognize that the world has moved on without him. When Moses buries Miriam and Aaron, he buries part of himself too. The striking of the rock is the wake up call Moses needs to hear the sentence decreed against him after the sin of the spies. His calling is to step aside for Joshua, to remain alongside the generation of the desert.



 The Serpent Of Healing

Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein

Insights from Hassidut



Rabbi Daniel Silverstein teaches Hassidut at the CY and directs Applied Jewish Spirituality ( In these weekly videos, he shares Hassidic insights on the parashah or calendar.




Moses' Arms
Ilana Kursha

Though Moses may be slow of speech, his arms
Have power. It’s a lesson he has learned
Since striking that Egyptian with bare hands
And killing him! Then fleeing in concern. 

Moses’ arms have power. So God told 
Him at the burning bush: “What’s in your hand?”
"A rod,” said Moses. God said, “Cast it down!”
Behold, a snake was writhing in the sand. 

Next came the plagues. Said God, “Lift up your arms!”
The Nile turned to blood. Then frogs and lice,
There weren’t any magic words. No tricks.
For Moses, lifting up his arms sufficed. 

And then, the sea. The people, terrified. 
When Moses lifts his arm, the waters flee
The people cross. Then Moses lifts his arms
The water walls collapse, and now they’re free!

Since Moses knows his arms have hidden strength,
When Amalek attacks, he shows no fear
He raises his two arms. His people win
His arms can solve all problems, it appears. 

Or not. His arms can draw the water forth
From desert rock. He’s done it once before
But this time, when the thirsty people groan
God has another plan for him in store. 

“Talk to the rock,” says God. But Moses thinks,
“I’m slow of speech. My strength is in my hands.”
He hits the rock. With that, his fate is sealed.
He will not enter in the promised land. 

The people drove him mad with their complaints.
But sometimes, strength lies also in restraint.

The Talmud teaches that the Torah was given in black fire on white fire (Y. Shekalim 6:1). The black fire is the letters of the Torah scroll, and the white fire is the parchment background. In this column, consisting of a poem on each parashah, I will try to illuminate the white fire of Torah – the midrashim, stories, and interpretations that carve out the negative space of the letters and give them shape.

Connecting Heaven and Earth

Vav – a special letter
You probably know that there is a correspondence between Hebrew letters and numbers. Number 6 corresponds to the letter “vav”. “Vav” is shaped like a hook holding two things together (ו); normally, “Vav” is translated as “and”. This letter is also referred to as “vav of connection” therefore, “the Sixth Day”—Yom HaShishi (Yom Vav)—connects the spiritual and physical; heaven and earth, six days of Creation and Shabbat. 

The day of connection
We can see a wonderful confirmation in today’s Jewish life. Anyone who has experienced Shabbat in Israel knows that Friday, Yom Shishi, is a really special day of the week, since it is the beginning of Shabbat. As such, it connects and holds together the six days of the week and the most important day of the Jewish week, Shabbat (Saturday). 

Discover the nuances of the Bible
The importance of this day is clearly emphasized in Judaism: the day we celebrate as the Jewish New Year, is not actually the anniversary of Creation, it is the anniversary of the sixth day of Creation—Yom Hashishi. According to Jewish understanding, Creation became meaningful when man was created: the Sixth Day connected heaven and earth, and God was proclaimed King! Enroll in our live online Biblical Hebrew course and Hebrew will reveal the nuances of the Scripture!  

 Chukat 5784: 

Shabbat Shalom Weekly

by Rabbi Yitzchak Zweig

JULY 12, 2024
Chukat, Numbers (19:1-22:1)


Torah Portion of the Week
CHUKAT,, Numbers  19:1-21:1


Quote of the Week

Instead of fighting the darkness, bring in the light.
– Eckhart Tolle


Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality. When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism!
— Martin Luther King Jr.


On-Line Learning

Rabbi Gaber lead several Adult Education programs using ZOOM  "You don’t have to leave the warmth and comfort of your home to hear a discussion on confronting Antisemitism and Hate or the Human Genome or to discuss how to bring Judaism into the 21st century. 

See the CBOI On-line Learning page in Learn Navigation bar to see all the  On Line Zoom Learning sessions.



Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784