Parshas: Beha’aloscha

Beha’aloscha – בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ

Beha’aloscha (Hebrew for “when you step up”) is thematically diverse, beginning with the daily lighting of the golden menorah in the Mishkan. The Levites are initiated into the Tabernacle service. The Torah then describes the celebration of Passover in the second year in the desert, complete with the bringing of the Korban Pesach (Passover offering).  Some men could not bring the offering due to ritual impurity, and were thus commanded to celebrate Pesach Sheni, a ‘make-up Passover’ a month later. Lesson: Second chances are available.  Additionally, the standard procedure by which the Jewish people would break camp to travel in the desert is described. Soon after leaving Mt. Sinai, the people begin to kvetch. Spurred by the mixed multitude of insincere converts who joined the Jewish people upon leaving Egypt, the complaining is directed toward the manna, their daily miraculous portion of heavenly bread. G-d sends a massive flock of quail which the people gather to eat; those who had complained about the lack of food overstuff themselves and die during this supernatural event.  The portion concludes with Miriam speaking loshon hara (defamatory words) to Aaron about their brother Moses.  She is punished by G-d with tzaraas (a skin condition indicating a spiritual deficiency) and is quarantined outside the camp for seven days.