Torah E-Thought: The value of a smile
This Week at Chabad Lubavitch Leeds

Light Candles in Leeds :

Friday, 30th June  8:00pm
Shabbat Ends,
10:52 pm
Torah Portion: 

Chabad Lubavitch Leeds   Email: [email protected]   Phone:

Message from the Rabbi
Dear Friend,

Last night we celebrated the Impact Care Awards Dinner. You can see some pictures below, it was a very special event!

The year has flown by and it’s just over a month until the summer holidays! Bookings are open for our Camp Gan Israel Summer Camp. The Original and Still the Best! You can read about it
here .

Wishing you a Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Eli Pink
Director of Education
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds


In this week’s Parshah, the Torah tells us about the “Big Three”—the trio of leaders who led the Jewish Nation from Egypt into the desert. At the very start of the Parshah, we learn about the passing of Moses’s big sister Miriam. Right after informing us of her passing, the Torah tells us, “And there was no water for the congregation” and Rashi comments: “What happened that there was suddenly no water? From here we learn that they had the well of water all 40 years of desert travel in the merit of Miriam.” 

At the end of that same chapter, we learn about the passing of Aharon Hakohein. The Torah informs us that “the entire congregation saw that Aharon has passed away, and the entire House of Israel wept for Aharon for thirty days.” Right after his passing, the Torah tells us, “And the Canaanites heard… and fought with Israel.” On that, Rashi comments: What did the Canaanites hear? “They heard that Aharon had died and that the Clouds of Glory had departed,” and so they thought that they now had permission to do battle against Israel. So the Clouds of Glory that protected the Jews in the desert were in Aaron’s honour.

Moses passed away at the end of the Torah and the entrance of the Jewish people into the Holy Land. With his passing the manna stopped.

When we read the different accounts, we see a strange anomaly. With Miriam’s passing, we are not told by the Torah of any mourners. Contrast this to the passing of Aharon, the Torah tells us, “And the whole House of Israel wept for Aharon,” “the menfolk and the womenfolk.”
With Moses’s passing the Torah tells us, “and the Children of Israel wept for Moses,” on which Rashi notes that from the fact that it does not say, “the whole House of Israel” but only “the Children of Israel,” we deduce that only the menfolk wept for his passing.
Moses, the ultimate leader, who took us out of slavery and provided us with manna in the desert and was not mourned by most of the nation? Miram, who provided the Jewish people with the most important need: water and we find no mention of even a single individual mourning over Miriam at all, yet with Aharon, the entire Nation of Israel, wept for his passing!

The Chabad Lubavitch video house Jewish Educational Media has put together a special project in which they interview people who merited meeting the Rebbe. They’ve interviewed over 1,500 people to date on their personal experiences with the Rebbe. What’s interesting is that when you listen to these testimonies, you notice that the interviewees don’t remember everything that the Rebbe said to them at their meetings. What they do remember clearly is the smile that the Rebbe gave them. But more than that, what people truly remember and repeat and recount to everyone is the good feeling the Rebbe gave them when they were in his presence. They felt that someone truly cared about them—that someone truly loved them with all his heart.

And that was the defining uniqueness of Aharon Hakohein. As Rashi says in our Parshah: Why did the entire House of Israel mourn his passing? “Because Aharon pursued peace and implemented love between disputing parties and between husbands and wives.” Aharon Hakohein’s entire mission was to draw everyone close. As Ethics of the Father’s recount about Aharon, “Love peace and pursue peace, love the creations and bring them close to Torah.”

This teaches us something very interesting about human nature. We can give a person food and water to save his very life - but it’s still no guarantee that the person will remember you. But a person to whom you give a smile, or a good feeling will always remember you and your smile forever.

Last night we celebrated the Impact Care Awards Dinner for teenagers who have been volunteering with communal organisations this year. It is the very embodiment of what the Chassidic movement and Chabad Lubavitch stand for – following in the legacy of Aharon Hakohein to provide care for our community – and it was amazing to see another generation of teenagers rising to this challenge. Please G-d they will be an inspiration for all of us!

Camp Gan Israel

Upcoming Events
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Friday, Jun. 30, 2023 - 8:00 pm
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Impact Care Awards 2023
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Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshat Chukat-Balak

The name of the Parshah, “Chukat,” means “Statute [of the Torah]” and it is found in Numbers 19:2. The name of the Parshah, “Balak,” refers to Balak, king of Moab, and it is found in Numbers 22:2.

Moses is taught the laws of the Red Heifer, whose ashes purify a person who has been contaminated by contact with a dead body.

After 40 years of journeying through the desert, the people of Israel arrive in the wilderness of Zin. Miriam dies and the people thirst for water. G-d tells Moses to speak to a rock and command it to give water. Moses gets angry at the rebellious Israelites and strikes the stone. Water issues forth, but Moses is told by G-d that neither he nor Aaron will enter the Promised Land.

Aaron dies at Hor Hahar and is succeeded in the High Priesthood by his son Elazar. Venomous snakes attack the Israelite camp after yet another eruption of discontent in which the people "speak against G-d and Moses"; G-d tells Moses to place a brass serpent upon a high pole, and all who will gaze heavenward will be healed. The people sing a song in honor of the miraculous well that provided the water in the desert. Moses leads the people in battles against the Emorite kings Sichon and Og (who seek to prevent Israel's passage through their territory) and conquers their lands, which lie east of the Jordan.

Balak, the King of Moab, summons the prophet Balaam to curse the people of Israel. On the way, Balaam is berated by his donkey, who sees the angel that G-d sends to block their way before Balaam does. Three times, from three different vantage points, Balaam attempts to pronounce his curses; each time, blessings issue instead. Balaam also prophecies on the end of days and the coming of Moshiach.

The people fall prey to the charms of the daughters of Moab and are enticed to worship the idol Peor. When a high-ranking Israelite official publicly takes a Midianite princess into a tent, Pinchas kills them both, stopping the plague raging among the people.

Learn: Chukat-Balak in Depth
Browse: Chukat-Balak Parshah Columnists
Prep: Devar Torah Q&A for Chukat-Balak
Read: Haftarah in a Nutshell
Play: Chukat-Balak Parshah Quiz