May 22, 2013
This week our portion, Beha'alot'cha from the Book of Numbers, is filled with a series of incidents and events from the Wilderness Days, as well as a couple of important commandments. It's in this week's portion that instructions are given to create the first menorah, the seven-branched candelabrum that has become the most enduring symbol of Judaism. It's also here that we get the first rumblings of rebellion that will explode into full-fledged revolt against Moses and Aaron in just a few more weeks, the disastrous story of Korach. But most significant in this week's sedrah is a peculiar little story about gossip.
Moses has married a new wife, and his brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam, don't think much of her. So they begin to talk about her, and about Moses, behind his back, circulating rumors and gossip. She isn't of the right ethnicity, they don't like her influence on Moses, she probably laughs inappropriately or wears her hair too long.