CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 4

Voices of Torah
Sh'lach L'cha
(JOSHUA MINKIN)
Rashi explains that the story of the spies
follows the story about Miriam because
"she was punished for maligning her brother
and these wicked men saw it, but did not learn
their lesson." The spies' evil report of Canaan
is understood to be analogous.
Rabbi Yisrael Morgenstern of Pilov comments,
"A profound lesson is hinted at here: If a person
does not want to see the truth, nothing will
help, even if one shows it to him clearly. Such
a person has closed his eyes and cannot see".
(Torah Gems, vol. III, p. 58). The spies saw
what they wanted to see.
History is replete with examples. When a
belief is contradicted by historical events,
true believers have been known to refuse to
accept factual reality. We see this in our own
history. Many followers of the late Rabbi
Menachem Mendel Schneerson proclaimed
him "Melech Moshiach-King Messiah" while
he was yet alive and, upon his death, denied
the reality of his demise and proclaimed his
future resurrection. Similarly, many Bratzlaver
Chasidim believe Rebbe Nachman will one day
rise from the dead to lead his Chasidim again.
Unfortunately, this retreat from truth has
become a feature of our current political
reality: recorded events are derided as fake
news, strenuous attempts are made to discredit
science, and truth-speakers are accused of
political machinations. Reality often presents
us with inconvenient truths. We cannot afford
leaders who close their eyes and deny reality.
We must be the ones to exclaim, "The emperor
has no clothes!"

Korach
(AMY SCHEINERMAN)
The tenth commandment invariably proves its importance. According to Midrash Rabbah, Korach's rebellion
originated in jealousy concerning who would lead his clan, which gave rise to a stunning sense of entitlement: "The
prince of the ancestral house of the Kehat clan was Elitzafan ben Uziel (Numbers 3:30). Korach said, 'Father had four
brothers: The sons of Kehat: Amram, Yitzhar, Hebron, and Uziel (Exod. 6:18). Concerning Amram, the first-born:
his son Aaron attained greatness and his brother Moses rules. Who deserves second [place]? Is it not the second
[son]? I am Yitzhar's son...the appropriate one to be prince of my clan, yet [Moses] appointed Uziel....Therefore, I
am dissenting and nullifying all he has done.' Therefore: Korach took... (Num. 16:1)" (B'midbar Rabbah 18:2).
Teachings of the Chachamim, early Chasidim, and Mussar masters on the midah of humility are more crucial than
ever before. Envy and its dangerous offspring, entitlement, often arising in childhood and poisoning families, have
always found their way into the broader arenas of society and politics throughout human history, with insidiously
destructive results for communities, nations, and today the very future of our precious Blue Marble.
The midrash encourages us to engage in introspection concerning our own motives, as well as to evaluate leaders of
our congregations, organizations, communities, and nation to determine whether envy or ideals fuel their priorities
and endeavors. Recognizing envy in ourselves and others is a critical key to distinguishing between hubris and
entitlement, on the one hand, and principles and gratitude, on the other.

Chukat-Balak
(AMY SCHEINERMAN)
The Shinto Ise Jingu shrine in Japan is constructed of cypress boards and a thatched roof, yet it is among the
longest-standing structures in the world. How is that possible? Every 20 years for the past 1,300 years, locals tear it
down and rebuild it anew.
Rabbi Mordechai Yosef of Isbitza, writing on the mysterious rite of the red heifer's ashes in Mei HaShiloach, quotes
Shir HaShirim Rabbah 5:9, which envisions the nations of the world asking the meaning of this mitzvah. God
declares it a chok, an eternal statute without explanation, inspiring King Solomon to compare the life of Israel
with that of other nations. The Isbitzer comments: God deals with Israel differently than the other nations in that
no evil reaches the depth of the life of Israel. The first way this is manifest concerns loss and death. Other nations
experience loss and death as one would a shattered, irreparable vessel. But for Israel, death is like a vessel whose
sections are merely disassembled [but presumably remain fundamentally intact]. In addition, the heifer's redness
reflects our strength. Even when we are under the power of an oppressive earthly ruler, we are always and only
under the "yoke" of God, as the never-yoked parah adumah hints. The red heifer passage precedes the deaths of
Miriam, Aaron, and Moses, so that Israel will understand that there is no death in the usual sense: the sprinkling of
the purifying waters hints at future renewal.
However many excellent ways there are to envision and embody renewal, the concept is central to Jewish myths,
metaphors, and historical experience because renewal is crucial to our unity and continuity.

Pinchas
(MARK H. LEVIN)
On the level of p'shat, the story of Baal-peor (Numbers 25) appears to be that violent response to idolatry is
righteous. At Baal-peor , the Midianite woman Kozbi ("Deception") arouses God's jealousy and passionate anger
by seducing the Israelite Zimri for idolatry. They model rejection of God's covenant in response to the lure of nonIsraelite idolaters. Pinchas assuages God's wrath at Kozbi and Zimri's licentiousness by skewering the couple during
conjugal relations (Numbers 25:7-8), violence approved and rewarded with God's b'rit shalom (25:12).
(Continued on page 10)

4



CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020

CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 1
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 2
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 3
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 4
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 5
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 6
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - Insert1
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - Insert2
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 7
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 8
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 9
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 10
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 11
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2020 - 12
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G127194CCAR_JULAUG2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar-newsletter-may-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar-newsletter-march-april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G121493CCAR_JANFEB2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G121493CCAR_NOVDEC2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G120942CCAR_program2020-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G120006CCAR_SEPTOCT2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G118839CCAR_JULYAUG2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G118130CCAR_MayJune2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G116591CCAR_MarchApril2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G114808CCAR_ccar_januaryfebruary2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar_novemberdecember2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G110190_ccar_septemberoctober2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G110007_ccar_program2019-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G108502_ccar_julyaugust2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G107070_ccar_mayjune2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G104424_ccar_marchapril2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G102955_ccar_januaryfebruary2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G100626_ccar_novemberdecember2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G98488_ccar_septemberoctober18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G97581_ccar_program2018-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g96798_ccar_julyaugust18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g93944_combined_Nxtbook
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g92567_ccar_marapr18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g88385_ccar_janfeb18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g85420_ccar_novdec17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g82806_ccar_program2017-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g81898_ccar_septoct17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g79550_ccar_julyaugust17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g77012_ccar_mayjune17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g74115_ccar_marapr17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p72445_ccar_presscatalog_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g71726_ccar_janfeb17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g69487_ccar_program2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g69479_ccar_novdec16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g66966_ccar_septoct2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g59749_ccar_marapr2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G57794CCAR_janfeb16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g55905_ccar_novdec15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g55467_ccar_program2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar_presscatalog_2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g53915_ccar_sepoct15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g52303_ccar_julaug15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g51260_ccar_mayjune2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g49150_ccar_marapr2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g47771_ccar_janfeb2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g46474_ccar_novdec2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g45072_ccar_2014_2016_programbook
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g44603_ccar_sepoct2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g43456ccar_julaug2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g42173_ccar_majun2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g40480_ccar_marapr2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g39359_ccar_janfeb2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g38463_ccar_novdec2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar_foc2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g36831_ccar_2013_2015programbook
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g36868_ccar_sepoct2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g35408_ccar_julaug2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g34284_ccar_mayjun2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g33961_ccar_april2013convnewsletter
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g32840_ccar_marapr2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g31866_ccar_janfeb2013news
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g31203_ccar_2013convention
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g30708_ccar_novdec2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g29209_ccar_learningopportunities2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g28492_ccar_septoct2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g27500_ccar_jul-aug2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g26692_ccar_june2012newsletter
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g26209_ccar_may2012news
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g25534ccar_a2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g25202_ccar_program_schedule
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g25048ccar_march12
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g24265ccar_feb12
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g23589ccar_jan12
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g23378ccar
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g23012ccar_nxbk
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g22201ccar_nxtbk
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g22134ccar_finalhr
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/CCAR/g21463ccar_nxtbk
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar_july_aug2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/CCAR/g20502_nxtbk
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/63671_ccar_newsletter_cx1
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/63400_ccar_april2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/d19230_ccar_programresourceguide2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p19239_ccar_mar11
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p18776_ccar_feb11
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p18224_ccar_jan11
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g18063_ccar
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p17426_ccar_nov10
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/d16769ccar
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p16948_ccar_oct10
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com