TTT: Hukkat 5771 – July 2/3, 2012

July 1st, 2011 by admin | Filed under TTT.

Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Hukkat v`Rosh Hodesh 5771
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ

There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:
1. When? Possible time-frames: February or March, 2012, Summer 2012
2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum
3. Having a chairman to organize
If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities (NOTE: HAVE GOTTEN SEVERAL RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)
Saturday, August 6th, 9:30 AM service
Friday, August 12th, 8 PM service
Saturday, August 13th, 9:30 AM service

Baby-sitter Seeking Clients – See Below

July 2, 2011 – 30 Sivan 5771
Annual: Numbers: 19:1 – 22:1 (Etz Hayim, p. 880; Hertz p. 652)
Triennial: Numbers: 19:1 – 20:21 (Etz Hayim, p. 880; Hertz p. 652)
Haftarah: Isaiah 66:1 – 24 (Etz Hayim, p. 1220; Hertz p. 944)
Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser
Baldwin, New York
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘You and your brother Aaron take the rod and assemble the community, and before their very eyes order the rock to yield its water. And Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod. Out came copious water, and the community and their beasts drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.” (Numbers 20:7-12)
“The Jewish people were at the critical juncture of transitioning from desert life to Israel. At the rock, God’s instructions to Moses are carefully chosen to reflect this transition. Forty years earlier, when Moses was told to hit the rock, the people had just come out of brutal slavery in Egypt, and hitting was a language they understood. But this time, Moses was called upon to lead a generation who’d grown up in freedom; a generation that required the softer approach of speaking.” (Rabbi Shraga Simmons)
“This is really one of the saddest passages in the Torah. Moses, the longtime leader of the Israelites and the greatest teacher and prophet our tradition has ever known, loses control of himself, and is punished in a particularly harsh way (from his point of view) by God. If anyone else had done the same, they surely would have been given a second chance. However, for all the same reasons that we may feel that Moses should have received some compassion, he was held to the highest accountability for his actions. As the leader of the people, he was expected to be the paragon of faith and virtue. In positions of high leadership, the tough decisions and constancy of action are expected even during times of weakness. That’s what separates a great leader from a good leader. Moses was great leader, but had his moments of weakness. For that, he was held accountable.” (Rabbi Jordan D. Cohen)
“Can it really be that the towering figure of Moshe, liberator and lawgiver, parent and prophet, is to be done away with in the blink of an eye, over a fit of justifiable temper? But it is a public moment, and there the answer may lie. The Bible consistently takes a stringent view of leadership: that leaders must be above reproach, and that they must not lose sight of the fact that it is God whom they represent.” (Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses)
“For desert dwellers the water supply is a matter of life and death, and the fortyyear sojourn of Israel in the desert is punctuated by many references to water, notably the story of Moses’ striking a rock and bringing water from it, which he did with so much arrogance as to be prevented from entering the Promised Land.” (Northrop Frye, The Great Code)
Sparks for Discussion:
What was Moses’ sin? A variety of answers are offered: arrogance, weakness, temper, inattention, imprecision, public malfeasance, an outmoded form of leadership. Which of these sins are the most serious? In Moses’ leadership? In our own personal, spiritual, and moral lives?
Is it accurate to say that “the Bible consistently takes a stringent view of leadership: that leaders must be above reproach”? Where else in the Bible to we see this principle reflected or contradicted? Is it reasonable – or possible – to apply so lofty a standard to our leaders? Or is “above reproach” an ideal toward which leaders (or all of us) are to aspire while knowing the goal is never to be attained?
Are there single sins or personal transgressions that outweigh long lives of goodness, service, leadership and piety led by otherwise “towering figures” in our own time? What makes a single sin, or, for that matter, a single act of virtue, so very defining?
If Moses was under no circumstances to strike the rock, why did God instruct him to bring along his staff? Was Moses set up?
Is the “life and death” nature of water critical to this narrative? Did Moses imperil the Israelites physically, by improperly seeking water, or spiritually, by improperly serving God? Or perhaps these two themes combine to suggest that properly serving God – with total submission and detailed precision – is a matter of life and death?
Your thoughts are always welcome…

Baby-sitter Seeking Clients

Reliable, experienced babysitter available: contact information for Dana”: Cell: 201-463-1221 Home: 973-912-0638, email:

Led by Rabbi Mark & Genya Mallach
October 23 – November 3, 2011
For more information, contact Barry Segal:

A. Saturday, July 9th, 9:30 AM: Baby naming of Sophia Kujbus, granddaughter of Pamela & Jack Barocas
B. Monday, August 8th, 7:45 PM: Erev Tisha B`Av services
C. Thursday, August 18th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
D. Saturday, August 20th, 9:30 AM:
1. Simhat Bat of Robyn Leigh Weiss
2. Auf Ruf of Richard Yablonsky & Janet Labendz

E. Friday, August 26:
1. 6:30 PM: Temple Pre-Shabbat BBQ – all are welcome – contact the temple office to RSVP:
2. Follow by twilight Kabbalat Shabbat services (dinner requires an RSVP, but you may still come to the services, figure around 7:45 PM)

You can also visit my website at:

For updated information go to: