It is amazing how selective our memory can be. People often yearn for the good old days: days full of poverty, pogroms and peddling. The ability to forget the difficulties of the past is a necessary tool for our mental well-being. It is that which allows us to put our lives back together and rebuild after personal or national tragedies.
“And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Sinai desert in the second year of the Exodus from Egypt, in the first month” (Bamidbar 9:1). Pesach Sheni presents a second chance, the opportunity for those who were unable to bring the pesach sacrifice at the right time to do so. Pesach Sheni’s stories and laws, to which the above verse refers, are the chronological opening to the book of Bamidbar. Yet this verse appears only in chapter nine.
"The Israelites marched for a three day journey “mei'har Hashem”, from G-d's mountain (Bamidbar 10:33).
It is the rare occasion when the Torah actually characterizes an individual. Rather through an analysis of the Biblical narrative, we are meant to draw appropriate conclusions, nuanced as they may be. It is, for example, the actions of Yosef and his brothers that are described in the text, without the Torah assigning blame for this tragic dispute. Of course this leads commentaries to differing conclusions, which no doubt is the intention of the Torah in the first place. After all, events and people’s actions are not black and white but have many shades of gray.
After reading through Sefer Breisheet and the sibling rivalry we encounter in generation after generation, it is a pleasure to come to Sefer Shemot and witness the beautiful sibling relationships between the children of Amram and Yocheved.
Like many a great leader, Moshe—the greatest of all leaders—had difficulty delegating authority. Knowing you can do the job better than others, it is not easy to watch as subordinates are not quite up to the level of their superiors.
One of the causes for disappointment with the generation that left Egypt was their constant complaining. Each week, as we study Sefer Bamidbar, we witness another complaint, often more than one per week. Whether it's the food, the drinks, the leaders, the religious obligations, the long journey, or the dangers lurking, there is always something to complain about.