In Parshat Beha’alotcha, G-d commands the Jewish people to travel further into the desert, led by a divine cloud that rose from above the Tabernacle. However, the Jewish people complain, provoking G-d’s wrath. As the verse describes, “The rabble among them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!’” (Num 11:4-6).
Moses breaks down from the pressure of leading the people and asks G-d why He has brought such trouble on him. He is tired of being ridiculed and mocked; he even prays for death. In response to this complaining, G-d sends a rain of quail followed by a wave of fire that kills those who spoke against Him.
The word Beha’alotcha means when you step up. Our world has felt heavy these past few months, and often it is difficult to decipher whose responsibility it is to step up in times of despair and need. Does the responsibility fall on individuals, communities, government, or all three? In Parshat Beha’alotcha, we can see the important role that community plays in guidance. We watch the Jewish people complain as a united front, and we see G-d’s reaction. We are all subject to one law. When we make a collective decision, we must all be held responsible.
To be good members of our communities, we must do what is right. We are a part that makes up a whole. In these times of political unrest and societal challenges, it is incumbent on all of us to fulfill our roles as upstanding members of our communities. In this Parsha, Aaron lights the menorah every single day without tire. He has eagerness and excitement towards lighting this symbol of light and wisdom. We urge you to think about something that makes you feel the same passion that Aaron felt, and we urge you to use that passion in your communities. Inspired action is what will make the world a brighter, and more meaningful place, and community is what is going to enact that change.
PWR Sh’lichim, Blossom Bogen-Froese and Brandon Weiner
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
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