Interfaith Numbers Parshiyot


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This thread has been created for interfaith discussion of Bamidbar following the weekly parshah.

mahalo dauer for setting up the "sticky" for the numbers parshiyot .... I was reading an article by Rabbi Shranga Simmons about Shavuot .... which is coming right up and is the "single most important event in Jewish History - the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai" which also makes this particular parsha Bamidbar very important .... the reading of Baidbar takes place on the Sabbath before the Shavuot holiday and Rabbi Nosom Weisz did a great job in his thesis o the Book of Mamidbar which establishes the norms of a Jewish society. ( .... he says that this book begins to describe the social contract that binds together the individuals that comprise the Jewish people just as the Covenant of Sinai sets the seal on this contract .... the internalization of the system of ethics is a necessary prelude to the receivinb of the Torah."

so bandit, the first part of this relates to the naming and the placement of the 12 tribes around the tabernacle (we have that diagram in the wilderness of the Camp of Israel) .... which you already know I associate with the 12 pairs of cranial nerves that operate the internal system of the seven energy centers that must move the energy into the place of the altar in the portable tabernacle to reach the place in which we meet g-d face to face .... this would be equivalent to the receipt of the torah which will take place on Shavuot .... a most important holiday that is celebrated within one's self, there are no outward signs of this celebration .... one typically would read and study the Torah all night long by him or herself ....

I'm really excited about what I read by Rabbi Shraga Simmons ( because he said that "on Shavuot morning, we read the biblical book of Ruth and Ruth was a non-Jewish woman whose love for God and Torah led her to convert to Judaism. The Torah intimates that the souls of eventual converts were also present at Sinai, as it says: 'I am making (the covenant) both with those here today before the Lord our God, and also with those not her today.' (Deut 29:13)." While I've read before that some have translated this to mean the Jewish people that had not been born yet were also present, this is the first time I've seen the possible interpretation that it could have meant the souls of future converts. Since I have now decided that I want to convert (if anyone will have me .... I'm going to try with the reform group who seem more open to this) this whole period of the 50 days following the Passover has special significance in all its symbolism.... I even hung a Mezuzah on my door on Mother's Day (given to me by a friend) even though I had no special permission or blessings to do this .... but it is there for me to see every day and for all my friends and family to see ....

In the parsha today the placement of the Jewish people outlined by the Torah gives us the message that we are souls and not bodies and our placement is based on our soul .... "the accedptance of Torah amounts to the accedptance of oneself as a soul" and "as a soul there is no reason to display any reluctance in accepting one's assigned position in the encampment of the Israel. This brings one into perfect harmony with all the other souls in a way that still allows for self-definition. Parshat Bamidbar is truly a proper prelude to the Shavuot holiday."

Although I do not know for certain, I believe my placement may be with the tribe of Levi because this is the name carried by my grandfather who never claimed to be Jewish .... or I might belong to another tribe, another placement .... one day I will know in my heart where my soul is placed and accept whereever it is as perfect and balanced .... this Friday I will attend my first synagogue .... will let you know how it goes .... he hawai'i au, poh
aloha e bandit - where are you, I feel as though I'm responding to myself on the parsha project .... well that's ok too, but it does limit the perspective a bit .... lol ..... I read something in "Zohar, The Book of Enlightnment" translation and introduction by Daniel Chanan Matt which I found fascinating ....

"If this gift was given by the Blessed Holy One to Moses alone, how could he give Her to another? How could he say that the Children of Israel should take this gift? Ah, but of course He gave Her to Moses, not to anyone else! (I am assuming here that we are talking of the Torah as the gift ... note from Poh)

A parable.
There was a king among his people,
but the queen was not with the king.
As long as the queen was not with the king,
the people did not feel secure;
they could not dwell safely.
As soon as the queen came,
all the people rejoiced and dwelt safely.

So, at first, even though the Blessed Holy One
performed miracles and signs through Moses,
the people did not feel secure.
As soon as the Blessed Holy said
'Have them take My gift: I place My Dwelling in your midst!'
everyone felt secure and rejoiced in the rite of the Blessed Holy One,
as it is written:
'On the day that Moses consummated setting up the Dwelling' (Numbers 7:1)
for the Bridge of Moses came down to earth!

Rabbi Sim'on cired, and said
'Now I know for sure
that the High Holy Spirit is vibrating within you.
Happy is this generation!
A generation like this will not arise until King Messiah appears!
Torah has been restgored to her ancientry!
Happy are the righteous
in this world and the world that is coming!"

Note from Poh .... I looked at Numbers 7:1 which starts with "On the day that Moses finished setting up the Tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings, as well as the altar and its utensils. " then we go through rather elaborate offerings from the different tribes for the next 12 days .... and it ends with "When Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he would hear the Voice addressing him from above the cover that was on top of the Ark of the Pact between the two cherubim: thus He spoke to him."

I can't help but think about tghe 50 days of Omer and Shavuot which is coming up right around the corner (June 1) .... I've posted a few thoughts on this day in other threads .... and it appears to me that when the Torah is given to Moses (Shavuot) for the Jewish people, the parsha in Numbers is telling us about an event that takes place on top of the "Ark of the Pact between the two cherumbim" which is the altar located in the portable tabernacle in our own brains .... I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, the Torah does call out to us .... the crown of our head, the place of the king, the place that the annointment takes place (as the energy passes through the base of the brain through the olivares .... the oil that annoints) is nothing if the Torah (the queen) is not present .... the bridge that is formed is the meeting of heaven and earth and that is what opens us to the promised land of milk and honey .... the process of enlightenment which is described in the Zohar tells us how to access this place, as does the Torah in her inner meanings .... and I love this from the Zohar and the Song of Songs "Into this skull trickles dew .... the dew is the flow of emanation above 'manna and wisdom' .... constantly overflowing ... the Head overflows with dew 'Song of Songs 5:2' and the dead are destined to come to life .... In the time to come, the Blessed Holy One will shake the hair of His head, as if it were possible, and bring down a reviving dew and bring the dead to life, as it is said: 'I am asleep, but my heart is awake .... My head is filled with dew'

We are all in a deep sleep, but our hearts are awake and I still think we can reach out even further on this Shavuot by going within ourselves to find that place, that dwelling and meet the queen to complete the cycle .... I don't know if any of this makes sense to others, but it is crystal clear to me even if I am not capable to explaining it well with words .... he hawai'i au, poh
wil .... how happy you made me to know that someone was here .... my friend that I was going to go with had to cancel for some family matters so we have rescheduled for the Friday that I get back from Wisconsin (I leave on Thursday and will be there until June 5) .... I am so ready to go and can't wait, but I was a little afraid to go by myself to just show up .... so I'll wait for my friend to go with me at least the first few times .... I will post about my first visit to the synagogue .... mahalo nui wil, poh
back from the beutiful state of Wisconsin and I've decided I'll keep posting on the interfaith parshiyot project since I'm trying to keep up with the parsha's anyway .... it is a good exercise to reflect on the segments of the Torah we well as look at possible interpretations .... this project was set up to invite various interpretations and discussions, so I will keep hoping that others might decide to join in .... and yes, I did make my first visit to a synagogue .... I was very nervous and went with a friend who is a convert .... she wasn't sure if she would remember the chants and songs, but it all came back and pretty soon she was lost in her own prayers and thoughts .... I pretty much tried to read out of the book of songs (or chants?) and follow the services .... it is a reform synagogue and the rabbi is a woman .... she was filled with graciousness and passion when she spoke and invited participation of the community present .... we were sitting in the back and she invited us to move forward and join the community .... that evening was a combination of adult and children services so there was some great story-telling for the children .... I felt very welcomed by the community and we are invited back .... what I really loved was the focus on a world of peace and even taking the time to reflect on the outside environment, the clouds, the grass, the trees and of course families .... the services were very beautiful and even if I didn't understand the Hebrew language, I enjoyed the cadence and actually understood a few words here and there .... the English was of course easy for me to understand .... during the service children were periodically running around and laughing which gave a natural feel to the whole time .... so those are a few of my impressions and I will return to the synagogue .... aloha nui, poh
I think what pervades every Jewish assembly I've been family. Whether it was orthodox, reformed, liberal...the celebration, the social aspect, the childrens involvement...always hit home.

I was reading the parsha last week...(if I'm on the right track) and contemplating all the tribes, the numbers, what was brought to the table...I needed to spend more time with that...gotta get back to it, thoughts were flying all over...
as far as I can tell everything is carefully linked together into a cohesive whole .... I've got to do some further studying on the placement of the tribes around the tabernacle (the camp of israel) and the order in which the census is taken .... this is also connected in some fashion to the placement of the stones on the breastplace of the high priest .... the walk and spiritual progress takes place in an orderly manner with G-d in the center of our lives .... so even the census takes place in a particular order ....

Mary Douglas's book "Leviticus as Literature" has some important insights into this process because she also describes a process of spirituality .... based on a tripartite architecture of the temple the book of Leviticus actually takes us on a journey thorough each compartment and also describes the actions we must take or perform in each compartment ...

still in my mind all of this is preparing us for the process of enlightnment or seeking wisdom .... we cannot meet g-d face to face in the inner sanctum unless we are prepared and have walked the entire path .... this path is both external and internal .... external in the way we live our lives and internal in the process of moving the energy in the body up into the center of the brain .... the 12 pairs of cranial nerves (symbolic of the 12 tribes in my opinion) must gather together to begin the process and bridge the three hemispheres of the brain .... I think I'm beginning to understand why the "oral" torah is the heart of this whole system, it is only in the vibrations of the words themselves, the sounds, and the direction or progress of the stories that the system operates ....

so even in the numbers parshiyot, it is increasingly important to look at the structure of the book as it takes us on our walk of knowledge .... looking at each parsha by itself is helpful to understand each time a deeper knowledge or message, but we still need to cross reference its connection in the circle of twelve ....

I don't know that I am capable of doing this because I'm not as familiar with the OT .... I've still got so much studying to do, but I see a sense or an outline of what it appears to be all about .... I think I need to find a good study group to work with .... aloha nui, poh