In this week’s Parsha, the Israelites are attacked by Canaanites from Arad. Bnei Yisrael prays for God’s help and the Israelites subsequently experience a military victory over their attackers. They continue their journey but “the soul of the people was discouraged along the way.”
Once again they complain to God and Moshe, demanding to know why they were brought out of Egypt.
Right. Glorious, glamorous, luxurious Egypt.
Sometimes Parsha can get downright depressing.
Anyhoo, Hashem sends venomous snakes, and many of the people die from their bites. A classic Teshuvah (repentance) ensues and Moshe prays on their behalf. The response?
Bamidbar 21:9 Moses made a copper snake and put it on a pole, and whenever a snake bit a man, he would gaze upon the copper snake and live.
In Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 29a, the logical question is asked. Did the brass serpent actually cure the snake bites? The answer is – of course not. The snake is a symbol for mankind to look upward to our Father in Heaven, for it is He who heals.
Another question remains, though. Why would a serpent be a symbol of repentance?
According to Rabbi Mordecai Kamenetzky Moshe experienced a terrifying incident in his first meeting with God. Moshe threw down his staff which then transformed into a snake. Hashem then told Moshe to ‘confront the snake and grab it’. As Rabbi Kamentzky says,
Miraculously, it conformed back into a very benign stick (Exodus 4:1-5). Moshe now teaches that very lesson to Klal Yisrael. It is easy to run from your fears and horrors. Sometimes you may be running from the very monster that bit you. But if you confront the monster with fire in your eyes and sincerity in your heart, then you have nothing to fear. For with the right frame of mind, the very animal that took control of you is not only harmless, it becomes a source of strength.
This week’s recipe is inspired by the snake on the stick. Think ‘flesh’ on a stick – a kabob stick, to be exact.
Grilled Chicken Kebab
- 9 skinless, boneless, chicken thighs
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon hot sauce (depending on your taste)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Cut each thigh down the middle and pound as flat as possible.
- Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.
- Place chicken in bowl to marinade. The longer the better! (Try for at least an hour.)
- Thread two pieces of chicken along the kabob sticks, one after the other.
- Spray bar-b-q with Pam or oil spray.
- Bar-b-q until brown.
B’tayavon and have a great Shabbat!