You are currently browsing the daily archive for June 26, 2011.


  • Selected events
  • On this weeks Torah portion: Chukat: Singing or Sadness?
Selected events
Monday, 25 Sivan
Among the millions of Jews cruelly killed by the Romans were the “Ten Martyrs”–all great sages and leaders of Israel–memorialized in a special prayer recited on Yom Kippur. Three of them–Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha and Rabbi Chanina S’gan Hakohanim–were killed on Sivan 25 in the 2nd century.
Thursday, 28 Sivan
After escaping Nazi-occupied Paris, and many perilous months in Vichy France, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushkah, boarded the SS Serpa Pinto in Lisbon, Portugal. On Monday, June 23–Sivan 28 on the Jewish calendar–at 10:30 A.M., they arrived in New York.

Shortly after his arrival, the Rebbe’s father-in-law, the then Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Schneersohn (who had been rescued from Nazi-occupied Warsaw in 1940), appointed him to head the social and educational outreach programs of Chabad-Lubavitch. Thus the Rebbe began his decades-long revolutionary work to revitalize Jewish life in the Western Hemisphere, which spread, by means of the emissaries (“shluchim”) he dispatched from his New York headquarters, to every part of the world.

On this weeks Torah portion: Chukat: Singing or Sadness?
“Then Israel sang this song, ‘Come up well, we will answer you.  The well which the princes dug, the leaders of the nation hewed it, they carved it with their staffs”
Numbers 21:18
This verse is mentioned when recounting the events of the desert.  It was, as Rashi fills in, a song that was sung about Moses and Aharon for the water which came from the well.  The same well, however, was the incident when they did not follow God’s command exactly, and for that minor disobediance, they were told they would die in the desert.
1) Was it appropriate for the Jewish people to sing about the miracle of water coming out of the well?
2) Why is this song not recorded with the original incident, when Moses and Aharon actually hit the rock?
3) Why were Moses and Aharon not mentioned as leading the Jewish people at that time?
Please share your answers in the comments.  See below.
To take a tangent, if a person’s father dies, the person recites the blessing reserved for sad occasions: ‘Blessed is the true judge’.  If a person receives a large inheritance that benefits him and other people, the person reciets the blessing reserved happy occasions that benefit many people, ‘Blessed are you…who is good and does good.’  If a person’s father dies and receives a large inheritance, the person recites both the blessing for ‘the true judge’ and ‘who is god and does good.’
This same idea is at play here.  Even when something bad happens, we need to notice and celebrate the good.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 77 other followers

Jewish Almanac iPhone App

History of the Jewish Almanac

June 2011