Ben-Tzion Spitz
Former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay

Behaalotcha: A Father’s Blessing

 Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father! -Lydia Maria Child 

The Children of Israel had no sooner started their desert journey when they start complaining. Moses, fed up with the growing irritation cries out to God, asking rhetorically that if he gave birth to these stubborn people does it give him the obligation to care for their every need and whim?

Moses is so despondent by the burden of the people of Israel that in his despair he actually asks God to kill him. God helps Moses by both providing meat to the insatiable Israelites as well as directing Moses to gather seventy elders to assist in the burden of leadership.

While on the theme of birth and sons, the Baal Haturim on 11:12 takes the opportunity to relate some of the characteristics that a father normally transmits to his sons. He names five:

  1. Looks/appearance
  2. Strength
  3. Wealth
  4. Wisdom
  5. Longevity

When these characteristics are good and passed down to children, fathers can take some measure of pride, and children some measure of gratitude. When the characteristics are poor, fathers can feel some guilt and children can assign blame.

However, neither pride nor guilt, gratitude or blame will help us make the most of the gifts we possess.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Bar-Ilan University, training grounds for many fathers and sons.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He is the author of six books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. He is the publisher of Torah.Works, a website dedicated to the exploration of classic Jewish texts, as well as TweetYomi, which publishes daily Torah tweets on Parsha, Mishna, Daf, Rambam, Halacha, Tanya and Emuna. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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