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Back in 1996, Rabbi Finman was asked to speak to the niece of one of his students. After spending many hours answering her questions, the woman gave Rabbi Finman her e-mail address. Rabbi Finman wrote the woman a note and included in it a short insight into that week's Parsha and a short Chasidic story.

Realizing that this was something no one was yet doing,, Rabbi Finman sent the missive to his mailing list of about 30 people. Requests from recipients friends came pouring in. The next week Rabbi Finman sent the e-Parsha to 100 people. Within a year more than 2000 people were receiving it. Today, more than 14,000 receive the e-Parsha weekly and the requests keep coming in.

Matos/Maasai 5778
Pinchas 5778
Balak 5778
Chukas 5778
Korach 5778

Balak 5778

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In memory of Bennie Magy - Bentziyon ben Avraham v Elke Magy, who passed away Menachem Av 22, 5749 - August 23, 1989 and Rose Magy - Rivka Rayzel Bat Chayim Yaakov v'Chaya Tertza Arbit, who passed away Tamuz 2, 5765 - July 9, 2005. May their souls experience a lichtiger Gan Eden - an illuminated Garden of Eden and may their family only experience Simchas from now on. Sponsored by their son Paul Magy - Birmingham, Michigan.

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This week's YouParsha http://youtu.be/lDJVFKZA8co Why did Pinchas take action?

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One of the prophesies told by Bilaam in Parshas Balak, Numbers 22:2 - 25:9, is, "Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the seed of Israel?" Bilaam presents the eventual greatness of the Jewish people as a question. In actuality, though, dust, technically, could be counted. It would just result in a very large number. Bilaam should have said simply that the Jews are innumerable.

Two names are mentioned in this verse - Jacob and Israel. Jacob was his given name; Israel was acquired after wrestling with an angel. Jacob is an expression of action (the Hebrew root of Jacob -eikev means heal of the foot), the word rosh - head is found in Israel. The Yud at the beginning of Jacob's name represents divine wisdom. A Jacob - foot, can become an Israel - head, as divine wisdom permeates the actions of Jacob, elevating it to be a head.

Bilaam's prophecy was not referring to the number of Jews but to their accomplishments. Even when a Jew is on the level of Jacob - foot, he is able to draw down divine revelation into the lowest components of creation - dust, making the very dust a vehicle for conveying infiniteness.

Bilaam also said, "I see it - but it is not close." The "not close" refers to the Messianic area. The world was not ready for Moshiach in Bilaam's time. The dust was just dust. We are so much closer to Moshiach 3300 years later as "Who can (now) count the dust of Jacob" because of all the infinite G'dliness Jews have introduced into the world?

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Bilaam believed he could do an end run around G'd to curse the Jews. The Zohar describes that the first part of the night is governed by divine judgment; the latter part by divine kindness. He reckoned that he could curse the Jews in the instance of midnight while neither force governs. It did not happen and we lived happily ever after. From the Zohar we can understand how great Torah study and prayer is between midnight and dawn.

A friend of mine who is religious and attends a Chabad synagogue has a brother who - should we say - is not the least bit interested in Judaism. The brother recently went into hospice (Hashem should extend divine compassion on him). In his will, the brother instructed that he should be cremated. The Jewish way of taking care of bodies being archaic, etc. As much as my friend tried to discuss the matter, his brother would hear nothing of it. I suggested to my friend that he speak with his siblings and brother's significant other. They were all ambivalent - whatever the brother wanted was fine with them.

Last week, my friend was so bothered by this whole scenario that it woke him just before 3:00 AM. He decided to right to the Rebbe's Ohel (ohel@ohelchabad.org) requesting a brocha to find some way of convincing his brother to be buried the right way. He wrote that he would sit shiva and say kaddish. A little passed 3:00 AM, his brother woke with a start. He had a dream that my friend's Chabad rabbi - an emissary of the Rebbe, came to him and told him, "You haven't lived as a Jew, at least die as a Jew. Your brother wants to sit shiva and say kaddish for you. You must be buried and not cremated."

A few days later, the brother met with my friend and his rabbi. The will was changed and a plot was procured near the family. At the end of the meeting, the brother said to the Rabbi, "Rabbi, I am glad you are taking care of this. Now can you stop waking me up?"

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Tune into the JEWISH HOUR - Detroit's only Jewish radio program, with your host, Herschel Finman. Sundays 11:00 - Noon on WLQV 1500 AM - Detroit and www.faithtalk1500.com. Now available at the iTunes store (free of course) and on your smartphone - download the free stitcher app.

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