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[Dvar Torah] Beha'alotcha

In this week's parsha - Beha'alotcha, Aaron is commanded to “raise light in the lamps” of the Menorah, and the tribe of Levi is initiated into service in the Sanctuary. A “Second Passover” is instituted in response to the petition, “Why should we be deprived?” by a group of Jews who were unable to bring the Passover offering in its appointed time because they were ritually impure. G‑d instructs Moses on the procedures for Israel’s journeys and encampments in the desert, and the people journey in formation from Mount Sinai, where they had been camped for nearly a year. The people are dissatisfied with their “bread from heaven” (the manna), and demand that Moses supply them with meat. Moses appoints 70 elders, to whom he imparts his spirit, to assist him in the burden of governing the people. Miriam speaks negatively of Moses, and is punished with leprosy; Moses prays for her healing, and the entire community waits seven days for her recovery.

I believe that we can all learn an extremely valuable lesson from the Israelites’ behavior in the desert. Throughout the parsha they continuously refer to their lives in Egypt as a more comfortable place, even though they were enslaved there. Sitting here right now we all would agree that this idea is quite selfish and blatantly foolish but for generations, Egypt was their home, a familiar home they were used to. Suddenly they are told to leave by an individual and only he has relations with G-d. They are told to pack up their belongings and march to an unknown land. Today we know that it was the best thing that has happened to our people, but we need to remember their point of view and emotions.

I can compare this to several aspects of our lives: Imagine our teachers as Moses that we are the Israelites: they continue to push us to our limits, out of our comfort zone; they  always have trust in us and know that they are taking us to a good place. And yet as students, often, we do not want to listen to them or their philosophies and would rather put as little energy as possible. We sometimes tend to ignore and push away the challenges they set us. As somewhat immature, developing children, we always believe we will be ok without the adults who guide us and their demands. BUT, in 20, 30,40 years or even at the end of our days we will realize and thank those who pushed us in the same way that the Jewish people now look back and thank G-d and Moses for ensuring we are achieving and striving toward our destiny . We should allow ourselves to act like the Israelites but understand inside that it is all in G-d's purpose.

Another point with a similar message we can see in the parsha. This is referring to where Aaron is asked to step up and light the Menorah. Behaalotecha means, literally, to ‘raise’ or to ‘step up'. We, as a school, can also relate to Aaron as we are ending the school year. We ourselves are stepping up, some of us to a new grade, some of us to college, to new countries and some will begin pursuing new adventures. It is extremely important to remember, as we are stepping up to stay true to ourselves and remember the sacrifices we and our society has made to ensure we can step up. Thank your teachers, thank your parents, but most importantly thank yourself as now it is your time to step up.

Shabbat shalom and enjoy your summer, each and everyone of you deserve it!

Yoav, Grade 9