This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
An ancient Jewish theme is the idea of one person blessing another. Everyone has the power of blessing to a certain extent, but some people have it to a greater degree. The person giving the blessing is calling on G‑d to help a particular individual, to pour on him or her Divine bounty and goodness.
Near the beginning of the Torah, G‑d told Abraham "You will be a blessing… through you will be blessed all families of the earth." G‑d was hereby granting Abraham the power of blessing. Much of the Torah concerns blessings from one person to another, such as the blessings of Isaac and later of Jacob. Indeed, every parent has a special power to bless his or her children.
They traveled together, a single mass of two million people moving slowly through the sands. Each tribe precisely positioned, each group in perfect formation, their footprints marking the desert.
At the center of this great mass was the Tabernacle, the holy house of G‑d. Immediately surrounding the Tabernacle was the tribe of Levi: Moses, Aaron, and their immediate families to the east; the Gershon family to the west; the Kehat family to the south; and the Merari family to the north.
Arrayed around these four families were the remaining twelve tribes of Israel. Three tribes to the east, three to the west, three to the north and three to the south.
My friend Aviva came to visit Chaya Mushka and me in the hospital. Just four weeks earlier, my daughter was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder. Only 5 percent to 10 percent of babies with this condition survive their first year.
“I just don’t understand why this would happen to you,” she said to me. We sat facing one another in the NICU. I held Chaya Mushka and kicked the rocking chair into motion. “You and Sholom Meir seem to be such good people ... ”