Shabbat Parashat Bamidbar| 5764
Bamidbar | | 1/8/2003
The sefer we are now starting has several names. R. Chanina B. Gamliel (Sota 36a) refers to it as Sefer Hapekudim (The Book of Countings). Rashi (ad loc.) calls it Sefer Vay’daber, based on its first word. And, of course, it is generally referred to as Sefer Bamidbar. The first name is related to important events that transpired within the book (two censuses) and the second is largely technical.
Case: A worker (plaintiff = pl)worked as a cleaner in a religious school for 12 years. Over time, the school was placed under the umbrella of the Chinuch Atzmai school system (defendant = def). The worker’s salary was then paid by the locality through a special budget arrangement. Still later, the locality assumed full responsibility for cleaning services at the school, but it refused to hire pl because of his age. Despite the fact that another worker was doing the cleaning, pl continued to come to work to clean. Def said that they would temporarily pay pl from a special charitable fund and try to help him find a job. After time, the fund ran out and no job was found. Def told pl that they would be able to continue paying him, but pl continued anyway. Pl nowdemands back pay and to continue to be employed.
Ethics are the measuring rod for determining what is good and what is bad. It is accepted among human thought that the measuring stick of ethics emanates from the inclinations of man’s heart, which we are in the practice of calling, his conscience. According to the Torah, one sets standards based on the way of Hashem, as it is revealed in the thirteen Divine Attributes [see Shemot 34:6-7]. This way of Hashem set out the ethical course of our patriarchs even before the Torah was given. It also is the foundation stone of all of the mitzvot of the Torah, whose general approach can be summed up in the command, “to go in all His ways” (Devarim 10:22), which Chazal explain as clinging to His Attributes.
Question: I am in charge of a teenage group at a religious camp. Every year that group goes on a five-day camping trip far from camp. Past experience tells us that this is an important experience for them beyond the good times, and the atmosphere enables us to make real educational gains. We are unable to bring along a sefer Torah and will not be near any shuls. (There will be regular minyanim.) May we go on the trip, knowing that we will miss kriat hatorah (Torah reading)?
This edition of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).