In this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Nasso, we learn about a nazir – someone who decides to separate himself from wine and haircutting (physical pleasures) in order to dedicate their days to God and Torah only!
In this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Beha’alotcha, we learn about Moses’ complaint to God – that he just can’t lead the people alone. He needs help and support.
In this week’s parsha, Parshat Shlach, the Jewish nation lets their fears take over. They send spies to see the Land that G-d has been promising them since Avraham, but instead of using the visit to generate excitement and practical tactics for conquering the land, they focus on the enemies that are there and declare that “on second thought, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”
In Parshat Balak we learn about Bilaam, a famous non-Jewish prophet and sorcerer, and his eagerness to accept the job offered to him by Balak, king of Midyan, to curse the Jewish nation.
In this week’s parsha, the Torah teaches us about keeping our promises and vows.
In this week’s Parshat Devarim, Moshe reviews some of the highlights of the nation’s 40 years in the desert. One would assume that he chooses incidents that are particularly educational for Bnei Yisrael to think about. One such example is the sin of the spies.
In this week’s parsha, the Torah commands the Jewish people to take care of its poor people.
In this week’s Torah reading, Abraham’s shepherds and Lot’s shepherds quarrel. The Torah tells us that there just wasn’t enough grazing land for everyone’s sheep when they traveled together. So Abraham told his nephew to go one way, and he would go the opposite way.
The Torah tells us that Lot saw the area of the plains of Jordan, right by Sdom and Ammorah, and wanted to live there. We learn right here, in this context, that the people of Sdom were “wicked and sinful towards Hashem” (Chapter 13 verse 14). Unfortunately, that didn’t make Lot hesitate.
What is interesting is that in the middle of this story, the Torah describes the land Lot chose in great detail by saying that “it was well-watered everywhere…like the land of Egypt” (Chapter 13 verse 10).
Why is that necessary and significant information? Why is it important to tell us about the way in which Lot’s choice of land was irrigated? And how is that like Egypt? What do we know about Egypt’s water supply? They lived by the Nile and it supplied them with water. This river was so important to their society, they worshipped it. G-d actually chose the Nile as the target for the first plague. What other way might a country have/receive water?
Think of the land of Israel. The Torah in Sefer Dvarim, Chapter 11 Verse 10 tells us that Israel is a land that is “not like Egypt” because, unlike Egypt, “from the rain of the heavens it will drink water.” Israel, we are told, needs rain. It does not have a guaranteed water supply like the Nile River in Egypt.
Why does all this matter? And why should we know that Lot chose a land that is like Egypt in how