May 18, 2024 ~ Shabbat EMOR. Maqam HOSENI.

Shabbat Naso - שבת נשא

Maqam SABA

From Age 30

מבן שלשים שנה ומעלה - In the census of the Israelite army, all males from the age of 20 are counted. When it comes to the Levites in the Tabernacle, however, only those 30 and above are counted (Numbers 4:23). This is a ten year discrepancy! By contrasting these numbers, God teaches that when it comes to the physical pursuit of fighting in wars, the young age of 20 is enough, but when it comes to the spiritual pursuit of serving in the Tabernacle, greater skill and maturity is required. In addition, when it comes to acting as God's emissary, one must be fully ready from Day One. There is "no learning on the job" and "no room for error." The extra ten years give Levites the opportunity to shadow their peers for their future roles. In the pursuit of most professions, it is of utmost importance to devote many years of learning, preparation, and shadowing so that one minimizes initial errors and so that one gets a good start to their career. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 26, 2018.

Qadashav or Qodashav

וְאִ֥ישׁ אֶת־קֳדָשָׁ֖יו - There is some debate in the Syrian community over the pronunciation of the word קֳדָשָׁ֖יו (Numbers 5:10). Is it Qadashav or Qodashav? From a grammatical view, most agree that a Hataf Qames is pronounced AW (Qodashav). Yet, some have a tradition to pronounce it 'Qadashav'. In May 2007, Mr Joey Mosseri collected responses of many community members on this issue. The following said Qadashav: H Mordekhai Nadaf (quoting H Halfon Safdeyah A"H and H Yosef Hamaoui A"H), Eli M Mosseri, David Alhadeff (quoting H David A Tawil A"H), Rabbi Dr Raymond Harari (quoting Mr Saul E Tawil A"H of Beth Torah), Morris Arking, and Haim Shayo. The following said Qodashav: Mr Felix Tourgeman A"H, Rabbi Dr Elie Abadie, Rabbi Dr Henry Hasson (quoting Albert Mouhadeb of SLC), Mickey Kairey A"H, Norman Didia (quoting the "Ma'amar HaMa'arikh" of the Minhat Shai, which quotes Ibn Janah), Edward Azrak and Abe Zami. Tiqqun Highlights, June 15, 2019.

The Priestly Blessing

כה תברכו את בני ישראל - In 1979, at the Ketef Hinnom archaeological site, southwest of Jerusalem, two silver scrolls, containing the earliest known biblical text (circa 650-587 BCE), were discovered. These scrolls, originally used as amulets, contained Paleo-Hebrew inscriptions of the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26). Finding these specific words is highly significant, because it sheds light on the core beliefs of the Ancient Israelites during the First Temple period. It shows Israel to be a nation which relies on God as their source of physical blessing (יברכך) and security (וישמרך). It also shows that Israel sees God as their source of spiritual light (יאר) and charming character traits (ויחנך). Lastly, it views God as the ultimate remedy against depression by raising spirits during difficult times (ישא) and by providing (וישם) everyone (לך) with the feeling of inner peace (שלום). Beth Torah Bulletin, June 3, 2017.

Deuel or Reuel

בַּיּוֹם֙ הַשִּׁשִּׁ֔י נָשִׂ֖יא לִבְנֵ֣י גָ֑ד אֶלְיָסָ֖ף בֶּן־דְּעוּאֵֽל׃ - What is the name of the leader from the tribe of Gad; is it Elyasaf son of Deuel (דעואל) or Reuel (רעואל)? To answer this, we should review the sources. In the Masoretic Text, "Deuel" is found in Numbers 1:14, 7:42, 7:47, and 10:20, but in Numbers 2:14, it says "Reuel." In the Samaritan Pentateuch, it says "Deuel" for all of the above verses (including Numbers 2:14). In the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Bible into Greek, "Reuel," not "Deuel" appears throughout. Seeing both names, the Ramban (1194-1270) acknowledged that this individual, Deuel/Reuel, had both names and for this reason the Torah included both. In addition, Rabbi David Kimhi (1160-1235), the Radak, acknowledged in his commentary on 1 Chronicles 1:7 that there are many cases throughout the Tanakh where the Hebrew letters Dalet and Resh, Yod and Vav, and Alef and Heh, are used interchangeably. As a result, in some locations, the name Deuel is written and in others, Reuel. Masoretic Note, June 6, 2020.

Maqam of the Week: SABA

For Shabbat Naso (Numbers 4:21- 7:89), prayers are conducted in SABA, the maqam used for a circumcision, as per ALL Aleppo sources. Allusions to the word SABA are found twice in this Torah portion: "Lissbo SABA" (Hebrew: ‘army’) in Numbers 4:23, as well as "V'et Bitnekh SABA" in Numbers 5:21. There is a connection between Sota (unfaithful wife) mentioned in Numbers 5 and the circumcision (Mila). The Berit Mila serves as a protection against infidelity so that one can maintain a good marriage. Being that this maqam is associated with circumcision, it is also used here in order to remind us to conduct our affairs properly.