Wednesday, 21 May 2014

This week's parashah-Bemidbar (Numbers 1 to 4 : 20 )

Hi All,

This week's Torah portion takes its name from the book that we are about to delve into, namely Bemidbar or Numbers . What is enjoyable about this book is that it contains many different types of writing : narratives, poetry, songs, prayers. prophecy, blessings, laws and lists. The overall themes are the journey toward 'the promised land',  moans, groans and ultimately the faithfulness of the Almighty. 

The beginning of this book can seem somewhat daunting and possibly irrelevant for any kind of spiritual guidance today, because the bulk of it is  mostly a long census list and various instructions on the obligations and responsibilities of the various times, but as ever the is stuff than we can draw out from this for today. To me it seems that the census was incredibly meticulous, which meant it would have take a lot of time, effort and organisation. 

Which got me thinking on the following train of thought -  
  • Time 
In today's society this is one of the most precious commodities that people have.  You cannot buy it, but it is something most people want. Yet we live in a 24 -7 world in which everything has to be done yesterday. There is increasingly little time to spend with family and friends, enjoying their company, enjoying leisure (yes you ARE allowed to do that!), undertaking non work activity. The list goes on. Thankfully we are blessed as Jews for having the institution of Shabbat. Whilst others might see this as a long list of 'don't do's ', I think we can see Shabbat as G-d's way of addressing this 24-7 lifestyle. That by divine legislation we are able to, once a week to relax and enjoy ourselves. If only the rest of the world could be as thus, perhaps we might live in a better society. Aside from this, is there any way that you as a person are able to make more effective use of the time you have during the week? And what will you do with that extra time, once it is found?
  • Effort 
This is a big challenge for me. Sometimes I just cannot sum up the effort and enthusiasm for any of my various projects. It is something I've got to work on.  I really, really want to do various stuff, which I've been putting off and off. No more procrastination, time to do ! We also need to put effort into our relationships. Perhaps you have someone who really pisses you off? Is it perhaps time to make the effort to reconcile 
yourself to that person? Or have you had an argument with someone? Perhaps it is time to make the effort to clear matters up.
  • Organisation 
This is something I need to work on. If we have time & effort, if we do not have organisation, we will not be as effective as we could be. Is there anyway you and me can improve our spiritual organisation? Regular Torah study, being able to pray at least once a day? And as Judaism is a practical faith, how organised are you for this life? Can you improve? I'll admit I need to work on that .

I hope these thoughts are helpful to people. I'd like to finish with this thought: G-'d's love is eternal (Psalm 136) and his compassions never fail, his faithfulness is great (Lamentations 3).

Be encouraged. Try. Do.


  1. Gay Frum (In Mexico this week)21 May 2014 at 16:26

    Thanks Hannah,

    That's given me a bit of Ruach Hakodesh for today.

  2. You Should Know Better21 May 2014 at 16:35

    You should do teshuva and ask for forgivenss for this kofer ba-Torah!

  3. "this kofer ba-Torah"

    Can't see that myself; care to explain?

  4. Hannah,

    Thanks for this D'var Torah. Made me think.

  5. There is no way Hannah is kofer ba-Torah! What a nasty comment about someone. You'd better stop now before you do any more Chillul haShem.

  6. Hi Hannah

    Love it!

  7. HI Hannah

    A new reader via the Archbishop Cranmer blog. I think what people are questioning is how can you claim to be or for that matter follow Orthodox Judaism given its stance on homosexuality and women, e.g. doesn't the Old Testament called for gays to be stoned to death & women following the out of day laws of purity? This does not seem to fit in with you being quite a feminist thinker and being openly gay in a gay relationship (I don't have a problem with homosexuals btw, I 'm just trying to understand how you can hold what appears to be contradictory opinions).

    Can you help me out here?

  8. Bible and Truth21 May 2014 at 17:35

    "The beginning of this book can seem somewhat daunting and possibly irrelevant for any kind of spiritual guidance today, because the bulk of it is mostly a long census list and various instructions on the obligations and responsibilities of the various times,"

    The Bible is the word of God to be follow to the letter.

  9. Hi David,

    I'm glad it made you think.

  10. Hi David,

    He /She can't explain anything, it is just Lashon hara

  11. Glad it helped. Um, what are you doing in Mexico? Are U on holiday?

  12. I never said that the Bible wasn't G-d's. But I will say it isn't just yours. Yes we Jews have to follow the Torah, but there is a thing about following its spirit as well!

  13. No longer can homophobes deploy those scriptures unchallenged to justify their calling committed homosexual relationships an abomination. The case is now as strong against the traditional homophobic interpretation of the clobber passages as the case for it. Did I say "as strong"? I mean to say, "stronger."

    Lastly, if the orthodoxish rabbis belonging to the Rabbinical Council of America have altered the direction of their thinking on the subject of homosexuality, tacitly condemning themselves for the position they took in the past on it, that same-sex attraction is socially acquired and therefore curable [the assumption of the now thoroughly discredited reparative therapy hoax], which they now no longer think, then what other change in their thinking are they going to surprise us with in the future on the selfsame subject? Or are they finished thinking?

    You Torah-loving and Leviticus-loving homophobes look out. I sense a gale coming that will blow you right off your feet and away. All I have to say is, good riddance.

  14. Plain and simple, there is no human being who can change, manipulate, or interpret authentic halacha to make male intercourse or certain other sexual activities allowable. To do so is a complete distortion of the Torah.

    We all want to be accepted. This is one topic which should--and unequivocally must be-- taboo, because it cannot be reconciled with Torah and halacha. We may want to be heard, we may be looking for that "life raft of savior", but no honest thinking person or 'rabbi' can, in good faith, give a heter to this deviant lifestyle. It is warped and impeded from the get-go. It is so antithetical to everything holy that we believe in, how can anyone believe otherwise?

    If you choose to live this way k'neged Torah, don't "come out" and look for acceptance from anyone, especially family and friends. You are putting them in an unnecessary and extremely difficult position, much like needing to choose between life and death if only 1 of 2 people could be saved.

    Torah and gaiety don't mix, that's just a simple fact. Would you "come out" and go public with your social security number, bank accounts, annual salary, or other sensitive information? No rational thinking person would. Just be smart and keep your choice private, should you choose to live this way

  15. "doesn't the Old Testament called for gays to be stoned to death & women following the out of day laws of purity?"

    Yes it does! So what does the author here think of that?

  16. Good stuff Hannah!

    Ignore the trolling below. It is getting pathetic.


  17. Thanks Sophie.

    You're a great friend.

  18. Off topic and beyond my toleration threshold. So I've deleted.

  19. Hi Hannah,

    Well I'm an engineer, so I work for big oil you see... I've 'come out' to my folks. I said to my mother & father 'you'll love me whatever I do, won't you?' They said 'yes of course'- G-d knows what was going through her mind at that stage- 'well I'm gay, I've got a boyfriend' . 'I love you no matter what, look forward to meeting at the next Shabbos you're around (:

  20. I've been following Hannah's blogs for about 10 years- first when she was 'Atheist at Uni', then 'Anna Anglican', then her 'Hannah's place' blog & finally this family blog. She is brilliant, a bit mad and a wonderful person.

  21. Gay Frum,

    I have as well. I think that her best blog was the atheist one, the other two were good, but weren't as ernest or passionate. I think this one, but I personally don't feel challenged. This isn't to slag anyone off, just my thoughts.

  22. Hi Gay Frum,

    Thanks for that. I've been going through my previous blogs - which I've still kept in files- what a journey it has been!

  23. Hi Paul,
    I think I went through a dark period where I lost my 'mojo'. It's coming back!!! :)

  24. Hey sis, I like this. How do you get more time, put more effort in and be more organised though?

  25. Hi Gay Frum,

    Thanks for letting me know about that great news! I'm sure that they'll like your partner and they'll like him. Enjoy your engineering work out in Mexico.


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