November 21, 2018

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Beha’alotcha with Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs

Our guest this week is Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs, Rabbi and Director of ISH, a spiritual resource organization based in South Florida. Rabbi Jacobs majored in Religious Studies at Hobart William Smith Colleges. She received a Master’s of Divinity from Yale University and her Rabbinic Ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Jacobs is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow and a Chaplain for the Hollywood, Florida Police Department. She was the first female rabbi to serve as the President of The Broward County Board of Rabbis, and she was recently selected as one of the Forward’s most inspirational rabbis in North America. You can find her blog here.

This week's Torah Portion – Parashat Beha'alotcha (Numbers 8:1-12:15) – begins with the lighting of the menorah and then goes on to describe the cleansing of the Levites and the first celebration of Passover in the desert. The Torah subsequently describes a series of bitter complaints made by the people of Israel about life in the desert, and the portion concludes with Moses' sister Miriam speaking slander about Moses to their brother Aaron and getting punished for it with a terrible skin disease. Our discussion focuses on the Menorah and on its deep, enduring symbolism.

Our Past discussions of Beha’alotcha:

Rabbi Jonathan Case on Miriam’s sin and punishment

Rabbi Adam Chalom on anger and its role in the story of the people of Israel