Pinchas – Contributing to the outside world

The second half of Parashat Pinehas relates the different sacrifices which are brought every day, Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and each of the festivals. Of the various sacrifices, our Parasha relates two bulls are brought as burnt offerings עולה on Rosh Chodesh, each day of Pesach and Shavuot; one is brought on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur as well as Shemini Chag Atzeret. However, on Succot, 13 are brought on the first day, 12 on the second and so on finishing with seven of the seventh day which is Hoshana Rabba making 70 in total.

Our rabbis suggest that the 70 bulls represent the 70 nations of the world. It would seem therefore that we are considering the welfare of all peoples. It is not always appreciated that when the temple stood, sacrifices were not only brought by Jews or on behalf of Jews, non-Jews could also bring burnt offerings.

On Shemini Chag Atzeret we go back to one bull allowing us to be intimate so to speak with the Almighty and reassert our chosen status. So the question which begs to be asked is what type of relationship should we be seeking with other nations. Do we want to have an exclusive relationship with God or one which includes our fellow human beings?

Rabbi Alan Brill in his 2010 book entitled “Judaism and other Religions: Models of understanding” identifies four approaches providing sources from the Tanach, the Talmud and Jewish commentators and philosophers from medieval times through to the modern day.

One model he relates is “exclusivism” suggesting only ours is the true religion (Rashi, Maharal, Ari, Ramchal, Tanya). Secondly, “inclusivism” which purports that Judaism is best but others have part of that truth (Halevi, Rambam, Abarbanel, Radak, Rashba, Arama, […]

By |9:57 am|Sedra Sheets 5777|Comments Off

David Hamelech & Batsheva – Part 2:’What’s the story?’

Where did David go wrong? Find out with Rabbi Dov Levy


Download audio Here

By |11:33 pm|Jewish Concepts Shiur|Comments Off

Parashat Balack – Self made destruction

Thoughts from the Parasha
Self made destruction

Quoting our sages, Rashi says that Bileam was a prophet, so the nations could not have the excuse of favouritism by Hashem to the Jewish people who benefited from several prophets whilst they didn’t. Why did He choose Bileam and why did it go wrong for Bileam?

On paper, technically Bileam was well qualified to be a non-Jewish prophet. He was respected amongst the Moabites and Midianites as a man with special magical powers. So much so that a frightened Balak the King of Moav at the time promised him great riches and honour if he successfully cursed the children of Israel. Further, Bileam also demonstrated that he was able to connect to Hashem through the meditation rites and ruses he utilised.

He was however quite unsuccessful. Instead of cursing Israel, Hashem on three occasions put words of blessings in his mouth. Bileam completely understood from this the omnipotence of Hashem and how powerless he was to influence. Still he persevered – according to our Sages – advising Balak to use Moabite and Midianite girls to entice the Israelite men to sin and commit idolatry. Bileam himself was killed in the vengeance carried out by Israel on the Midianites.

It is difficult to believe that Hashem set Bileam up for failure, for surely he had free will like any other man. Indeed, the Mishnah in Pirkei Avot (5:19) suggests that it was his poor character traits which led to his doom. Contrasting Bileam directly with Avraham, the Mishna accuses Bileam of having ‘an evil eye, a haughty spirit and a proud soul’ עין רעה, ורוח גבוהה, ונפש רחבה. As Rav Kahati points out in his commentary on the Mishna, this parallels the […]

By |9:32 am|Sedra Sheets 5777|Comments Off

How to befriend the King – Balak

Rabbi Netanel Skypes in for a great Shiur.


By |9:59 pm|Tuesday Night Shiur - 5777|Comments Off

Aaron and the rock – Chukat 5777


Our Parasha relates the death of Aaron at the age of 123 and that the children of Israel mourned him for 30 days. Rashi emphasises in his commentary the love the whole people (men and women) had for him. As a lover and pursuer of peace אוהב שלום, רודף שלום he had intervened to help resolve multiple disputes between man and wife and between arguing rivals.

Just two paragraphs before, the Parasha speaks of the event which prevented Aaron and his brother Moshe entering the promised land before passing to the next world. With the congregation lacking water, Moshe hits the rock when Hashem asked him to speak to it resulting in both Moshe and Aaron being accused of not believing in and sanctifying Hashem יען לא האמנתם בי להקדשני. But what did Aaron do to be blameworthy? It was Moshe who took the staff (as commanded), who hit the rock (instead of speaking to it), chose which rock to hit (instead of asking the people), became angry and insulted the people calling them rebels. Aaron did none of this.

Whilst our commentators give a plethora of reasons for Moshe’s sin, they are relatively silent on Aaron’s role. We might suggest that  it is indeed Aaron’s silence which was his misdemeanour in this case. He should have protested his brother’s actions. This was of course not the only situation the Torah relates that Aaron acquiesced when challenged with a moral dilemma. The golden calf is one example and another is when Myriam his sister “spoke to him about” Moshe, he simply listened. He should have stopped her.
Aaron’s pursuit of peace and silence in adversity (for example when his sons Nadav and Avihu died וידם אהרון) made […]

By |12:46 am|Sedra Sheets 5777|Comments Off

Don’t let the snake bite! – Parashat Chukat


Rabbi Netanel Skypes in for another great shiur

By |9:49 pm|Tuesday Night Shiur - 5777|Comments Off

Do we want Hashem to test us? Part 1 – David Hamelech & Batsheva

Jewish Concepts Shiur.

Rabbi Levy delves into life’s tests, by taking a look at David Hamelech.


Click Here to Download

By |1:04 am|Jewish Concepts Shiur|Comments Off

Destructiveness of undermining behaviours – Shelach Lecha 5777

Please Download the Sedra Sheet Here

The request of the tribes to send spies to view the Land of Canaan was it would seem supported by both Hashem and Moshe. Hashem as the name of our Parasha  שלח לך  indicates tells Moshe to “send for you”. It is true He is saying “for you” but as shown in other cases where spies are used (Moshe sent spies to Yazer an Amorite town (Bemidbar 21:32); Joshua sending two spies to Jericho as related in our Haftara), He is not averse to the use of spies. Similarly, Moshe when he recounts the story in Devarim says that he was happy וייטב בעיני הדבר. Ramban says that Moshe was right as we shouldn’t rely on miracles. So what went wrong?

Moshe sends the 12 spies with two objectives. Firstly, he is interested militarily in the lay of the land, where the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses are. Secondly, he is looking for a report back to the people on how good the land and its fruits are, probably as a morale booster. 10 of the 12 spies however fundamentally undermine the mission’s objectives.

Instead of providing information to help with military tactics, they conclude that it is mission impossible. They grudgingly accept that the land is plentiful but then negate its value when they mendaciously say that the land consumes its inhabitants והארץ אוכלת את יושבה. Furthermore, instead of thrashing out their concerns privately with Moshe they go to the people initially in front of Moshe and then also behind his back creating a populist frenzy.

There are a number of lessons here. Firstly, in general whilst it is legitimate to have concerns, they need to be aired and talked through in […]

By |2:55 pm|Sedra Sheets 5777|Comments Off

TNS – What will you find in hidden Miracles – Shelach 5777

Rabbi Netanel Skypes in for another fantastic Shiur.

Uploaded on Jun 13, 2017



By |11:27 pm|Tuesday Night Shiur - 5777|Comments Off

TNS – What did Miriam do Wrong – Lashon Hara Shiur

Rabbi Netanel Skypes in for another fantastic Skypes shiur

Uploaded on Jun 7, 2017

By |11:24 pm|Tuesday Night Shiur - 5777|Comments Off