Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – June 17-18, 2022 (19 Sivan 5782)



June 17-18, 2022                                                                                           Parashat Beha’alotecha
19 Sivan 5782                                                                                               


In our Torah reading cycle, we are toward the beginning of the Book of Numbers. In Hebrew this book is called Bemidbar (in the wilderness). The parsha (Torah portion) for this week describes the children of Israel as they face the open expanse of their future. In a physical and a spiritual way, they are facing the wilderness. With Mount Sinai behind them, they set out on their wilderness trek toward the Promised Land. Over the next few weeks, we will read of the Israelites’ long and troubling 40-year journey toward the Steppes of Moab—to the very banks of the Jordan River. This is the physical part of the journey.

This journey is not only physical; throughout the journey, a spiritual transformation takes place. The stories describe how the children of Israel become the adults of Israel. As a people, they mature and grow, achieving independence and a new identity. The stories also depict the relationship between the people and their Divine “parent”—the One who engages in the sacred task of knowing when and how to hold on, and when and how to let go.

Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove writes that it is through this physical and spiritual journey that the people became self-reliant. Ralph Waldo Emerson noted: “discontent is the want of self-reliance.” If this is true, then it follows that happiness can be achieved through self-reliance. And if the people were becoming self-reliant in this part of their journey toward adulthood, then it follows that they must have found some happiness (it’s about time). The desert was a frightening expanse, filled with pitfalls and the very real possibility of failure looming all the time. But as their descendants with the advantage of insight and hindsight, we recognize that it was in the midbar (wilderness) that they truly found themselves.

Please join our Shabbat celebrations in the Synagogue (masks required) or on Channel 1960

Friday at 5:00 PM:           Shabbat Blessings in the Dining Room

Friday at 6:30 PM:           Shabbat Evening Service

Saturday at 10:00 AM:   Shabbat Morning Service followed by Blessings in the Dining Room


Candle lighting time for Shabbat for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 7:45 PM

Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:47 PM


Shabbat Shalom                                                                                               Rabbi Sherman