Weekly Bible Reading for May 9-15: Bamidbar (In the Wilderness)

This coming week, May 9-15 2021 (29 Iyar-4 Sivan), the Bible reading plan covers the following portions.

Bamidbar (In the Wilderness)

09 May Numbers 1:1-19 Isaiah 10:1-11:16 Acts 16:35-17:15 Psalm 90:1-17
10 May Numbers 1:20-54 Isaiah 12:1-14:32 Acts 17:16-34 Psalm 91:1-16
11 May Numbers 2:1-34 Isaiah 15:1-18:7 Acts 18:1-28 Proverbs 25:1-5
12 May Numbers 3:1-13 Isaiah 19:1-21:17 Acts 19:1-27 Proverbs 25:6-11
13 May Numbers 3:14-39 Isaiah 22:1-23:18 Acts 19:28-20:16 Proverbs 25:12-17
14 May Numbers 3:40-51 Isaiah 24:1-26:21 Acts 20:17-38 Proverbs 25:18-22
15 May Numbers 4:1-20 Hosea 2:1-22 Acts 21:1-19 Proverbs 25:23-28

The complete annual Bible reading plan for 2020-21 (Hebrew year 5781) is available at this link:

Fox Byte 5775 #54: V’Zot Habrachah (This is the blessing)

וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה

BFB151003 Five Chinese BrothersEven superheroes have their weaknesses.  If it were not so, the stories about them would be over very quickly and would not be quite so interesting.  This is perhaps a reflection of our human condition.  No individual is complete within himself or herself.  We need one another to do things we cannot do for ourselves and to watch out for dangers hidden in our blind spots.  Together we survive and thrive, but separately we grow weak and perish.

Hopefully we learn this lesson in childhood.  Good children’s literature certainly upholds this principle, whether it is The Cat in the Hat helping bored children amuse themselves and then clean up the mess, or The Ugly Duckling finding unexpected help to teach him who he is.  So it is with The Five Chinese Brothers, a classic modern retelling of an ancient Chinese story.  In her 1938 version of the tale, Claire Huchet Bishop tells of five remarkable brothers who live with their mother near the sea.  Although they are identical, each brother has a unique ability.  One can swallow the sea, and thus is a highly successful fisherman.  The second brother has a neck as hard as iron, the third can stretch his legs to any length, the fourth is immune to fire, and the fifth can hold his breath as long as he desires.

One day the First Brother goes fishing in the company of a lad who had begged to go with him.  When the brother swallows the sea, the boy runs out to collect the treasures exposed on the now dry ground.  Before long the Brother grows tired and signals to the lad to return, but he ignores the signals and continues wandering along the seabed.  When the Brother must release the sea from his mouth, the waters cover the wayward boy.  In sadness the Brother returns home, where he is arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by beheading.

Happily for the family, the execution never succeeds.  The First Brother has opportunity to go home and say farewell to his mother, but it is the Second Brother who returns.  His neck of iron turns the executioner’s blade, leading to a revised sentence of death by drowning.  The sequence repeats, with each Brother coming in to overcome successive sentences – the Third Brother’s long legs prevent drowning in the sea; the Fourth Brother’s resistance to fire defeats the flames of the execution stake; and the Fifth Brother survives an airless night in a sealed oven.  Having failed to execute the offender, and not realizing that his Brothers have taken his place each time, the judge proclaims him innocent.

How simple and how profound is the lesson from this children’s tale.  Brothers need one another, each contributing of his abilities to do his essential part in bringing peace and long life to the family and to the nation.  That is just as King David said:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes.  It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.  (Psalm 133:1-3 NASB)

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What We Missed About Pentecost

"The Numbering of the Israelites" Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux
The Numbering of the Israelites
Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux

Here are some things that seldom come together in the same sentence:  genealogy, Israel’s tribes, Apostle Paul, Moses and Aaron, Ruth and Boaz, the Holy Spirit, and Torah.  What could these all have in common?  They all come together in the Feast of Weeks, known in Hebrew as Shavuot, and in Greek as Pentecost.  Together they reveal to us is God’s plan to bless every family and nation on earth.

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