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Idea on the Portion of the Week

This week's portion of Shelach is known primarily for the profoundly tragic sin of the spies, but tucked in the end is the very practical mitzvah of "taking Challah" referring to the obligation of separating a little of the dough before baking. In ancient times that dough would be presented to the Kohen but today it is disposed of with dignity.

Rabbi S. R. Hirsch notes that the verse refers to this mitzvah as Terumah, which is another gift to the Kohen, but at the beginning of the process rather than at the end. Specifically Terumah is removed from the harvest as the wheat is being threshed while Challah is removed right before baking. He derives a connecting theme between the two namely that it helps one remember God's assistance in one's sustenance from the beginning of the process until the final product. Additionally, Terumah teaches this lesson while we are in the "field" while Challah instructs us in the confines of our household.

Tue, July 16 2019 13 Tammuz 5779