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                         PARSHAT B'HAALOTECHA

This week we read Parshat B'haalotecha which begins with the specific directions for arranging the seven flames of the Menorah in the Mishkan. Our Parsha also includes the story of B'nai Yisroel complaining about the Manna that sustained their lives and the episode of Miriam who spoke against her brother Moshe. 

It seems that our ancestors remembered the healthy, low carbohydrate diet of fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic (Bamidbar 11:5) that they received for free while slaves in Egypt! Now they were getting strange food from heaven. What was this stuff? 

Our sages teach that the Manna was an incredible food from Hashem that tasted like any food one desired and it was totally digested, leaving no waste product! Imagine - the perfect food - and people complained??? (Bamidbar 11:10) 

We've always heard that there are two types of people: The optimist who sees the glass half full and the pessimist who sees it half empty. Perhaps, there is a third type, the negativist who complains about everything and is not satisfied even when life is good. Negativists lack the fundamental ability to show appreciation for the blessings they receive each day. When they are given a half glass of water they demand to know who stole the other half. They quickly forget all the good that is done for them and choose to dwell on what they believe is still lacking, and to which they are entitled. They would do well to learn the timeless advice of Pirkei Avot that teaches us to judge everyone and everything in the most favorable way (Pirkei Avot 1:6). 

Moshe demonstrates the Torah's attitude towards someone who offends you. He requests that Hashem spare Miriam's punishment and he prays for her as well. Moshe chooses light (positive - optimistic) over darkness (negative - pessimistic) Bamidbar 12:13. 

Indeed, as taught by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch, our people are lamplighters. In days of old, a person would have to light each street lamp with a torch. Although the lamps were always ready to be lit, we needed that special individual to bring light and warmth to every corner of the town. Today, we spread light throughout the world by learning Torah and doing Mitzvot. 

When we appreciate Hashem's blessings and gifts in our lives and reach out to others, we bring closer the ultimate light - the coming of Moshiach. 

Kol Tov!  Our best to's all good. Shabbat Shalom, CM 

Considering that people actually complained about the perfect Manna food, what does that tell you about human nature? 


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