Parsha Podcast with Ari Goldwag
Summary: This unique Parsha podcast is filled with machshava, deep philosophical Jewish thought, based on traditional sources, from the ancient to the recent. All of the ideas are rooted in Torah tradition, filled with a spiritual message that is potent and poignant for the times.
Why was Moshe insistent on setting aside the cities of refuge on the Eastern side of the Jordan river if they would not be activated until a number of years later? When was Moshe the beneficiary of a 'city of refuge,' or more accurately, a miraculous salvation from Hashem, after which he ran away from Pharaoh? What was the miraculous way he was saved? How did Hashem remind him of this salvation many years later when he was to be sent to save the Jewish people? What is the idea of Moshe 'singing a shira-song' for this salvation? Where is the place of refuge in our times? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
Why did the nations seem at first to fear the people of Israel, then come out bravely to attack us as we approached their territory? What was the strength they saw in us and what was our perceived weakness? Why did the Emori people ultimately bless 'the hands' of Moshe, even as they were being defeated? Why did Og, king of Bashan, receive his name from the word 'ooga' which means a piece of cake? What are the two ways of perceiving this Matza-cake? Why did Og talk about the 'puny' nature of Yitzchak when he was born and express his desire to 'crush him with his little finger?' How was Og ultimately felled, and what will be the feeling of the nations of the world as regards the Jewish people in the end of days? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What did Bircas Hamazon (Grace after Meals) look like when the Jews were still wandering in the wilderness? Why is Israel referred to as the 'desired land' in the second blessing of Bircas Hamazon, and why is it such a central theme to the blessing for food? Why do we refer also to the bris, the Torah, and life in this second blessing? Why did Hashem give this special land to the people of Israel? Why did the 31 kings desire this land for centuries, and what is meant by their desire to 'drink of its waters?' Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
Why does the story of the daughters of Tzlafchad immediately follow the statement of the Torah about the death of a generation because of the sin of the spies? What are the two instances where the women 'fixed that which the men broke?' What made the women defy the men and retain their trust in Hashem despite the many voices to the contrary? Why does the Torah enumerate the lineage of these righteous women? What was the lesson of the death of Uza, as he tried to catch the Aron (Ark) for Dovid and what was the lesson of the daughters of Tzlafchad for Moshe? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What can we learn from the negative ways of someone like Bilaam? How does Bilaam remove responsibility from himself for the great heights he has fallen from in his desire to curse the Jewish people? How does he deny the good that was done for him - his very existence is because of the people he wishes to curse - and seek the destruction of his benefactors? Why is it that if a person seeks to curse others, he ultimately is cursed himself? What is the lesson for us in each of these examples, as regards responsibility, appreciation, and seeking to bless others? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
Why does Moshe prove that Aharon is chosen by Hashem with a test of placing the staff of each prince in the Mishkan (Tabernacle)? Why, according to one opinion, is each prince's staff broken off from a single piece of wood? Why is Aharon's staff the very same staff of Yehuda? Why will that staff be used by Moshiach? What is the concept of the staff, in general? Why do these very staves serve to direct the water of the well to each of the tribes? How does this water parallel the Torah? Where is the source of the 'water' and the source of the Torah that it represents? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What is the concept of the Tzitzis? How do they steer us away from the destructive seductions of the world around us? What is the concept of holiness? How did Korach use the concept of holiness in a negative way? Why did he come to Moshe holding a pair of tzitzis? Why did he seek advice on the matter from his wife? What was the mistake of Korach, and what is the true Torah outlook on hierarchy versus equality? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What is the theme that runs through both the stories in parshas Behaaloscha and Shlach? What was at the root of the complaint of the people about their not having meat? What was at the root of the people's belief that they could not succeed in conquering the land of Israel? How do these mistakes manifest in our own times? What is the correct approach to correcting these complaints? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What is the connection between the offerings of the Nesiim (princes) and the command to Aharon to light the Menorah in the Mishkan (Tabernacle)? What is the deeper connection between the lighting of the Menorah and the blessing of the Kohanim that they give to the Jewish people? What is the deeper lesson of the Menorah in the vision of Zechariah Hanavi? Why was the Jewish people 'embarrassed' by the redemption beginning on seeming to not complete immediately? What is the mitzvah of the Menorah that continues until this day, even without the presence of the Mishkan or Beis Hamikdash itself? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What is the parallel between receiving the Torah at Har Sinai and the Mishkan (Tabernacle) which had the Tablets at its center in the Ark of the Covenant? How do we know that all the physical blemishes of the people were cured at the giving of the Torah? Why is the proof of this from their statements of subservience to Hashem's will? What was the effect of the return of the blemishes in the form of Tzara'as (spiritual leprosy) and Zav? What do we learn from the fact that these also need to be sent out of the camp? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What is the concept of the counting of the Jewish people? Why does it seem to denote judgment on one hand, and love on the other? Why does Hashem speak (through the prophet Hoshea) of the inability to count the Jewish people in the context of His anger at them? Why does He refer to us as 'not His nation' and then immediately reassure as that we will always be His nation? What is the analogy of the king who is angered at his queen and threatens to divorce as he simultaneously buys her expensive jewelery? What is it that the nations of the world attempt to do to extinguish Hashem's love for us - yet they do not succeed? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
Why was Avraham rewarded for his kindness with the angels if they did not need the food and drink he offered them? Why was this reward 'paid' to his great great grandchildren, and not directly to him immediately? Why was it such a great lack in the people of Amon and Moav who did not give food and drink to the Jewish people if they already had all the food and drink they needed anyway? Why are all their offspring punished by being unable to fully convert to Judaism? Why was Yisro rewarded for feeding Moshe when he was obligated to do so out of gratitude for Moshe's kindness to his daughters? Why was this kindness also paid back to his great great grandchildren? What is the lesson of the kindness of Boaz to Rus (Ruth)? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
Why do the righteous need to 'step out' or 'go out' of their place in Paradise in order to see the wicked suffering in Gehenom? Why do the righteous rejoice in the fact that they experienced suffering in this world? What is the concept of the word 'kerum' which has a dual meaning - raising up and being rooted in a vineyard? What is the concept behind the 'taking out' of the righteous by the nations of the world to be punished for their commitment to Torah? What is the ultimate 'taking out' of the wicked which finally shows the root of their place? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What is the connection between the 1st of Nissan and Yom Kippur? When was the command given initially to contribute to the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)? Why was Aharon specifically commanded about all of the service of Yom Kippur on the day of the dedication of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)? How do the offerings of the High Priest correspond to the central themes in the lives of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov? What is the significance of the fact that those central events either took place on or were intimately connected to Yom Kippur? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.
What is the concept of the spiritual leprosy called 'Tzara'as?' Why does the Torah use the word 'Adam' which seems to refer not just to the Jewish people, but also to the nations of the world? Why is the Queen afraid when she sees the whip hanging on the wall, and what does the King mean when he calms her by saying to eat, drink, and be joyful, as they are meant for the servants and not for her? Why did R' Yehuda Hanasi blame himself when he hurt his pinky, and what did R' Yishmael mean when he said it was the fault of the people of the generation? What can be learned from the teaching that a woman can cause her baby to be leprous through her own sins? Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.