Chukat-Balak 5769-2009

"The Ultimate Value of Human Life"

In the first of this week's double parashiot, a battle takes place. Described in only three verses, it is a battle between Israel and the Canaanite king of Arad. The commentators suggests that in the battle only a single maidservant is captured from Israel. Israel vows to defeat the enemy, and G-d delivers the enemy into their hands. This obscure battle teaches us about the great lengths that our enemies would go to deceive us and how precious human life is to the people of Israel, regardless of whether the person is Jewish or not.

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B’shalach 5769-2009

"Pharaoh Sends the People of Israel out of Egypt"

The opening verse of parashat B'shalach is rather challenging. The Hebrew word "Vy'he" is seen as an indication of sadness. Why sadness at such a triumphal moment? Also, the verse asserts that Pharaoh, not G-d, sent the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Can this be true?

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