Hashem told Moshe to appoint Yehoshua bin Nun to become his successor. The Rambam in Mishne Torah asks why specifically Yehoshua merited to be selected when there were other more qualified candidates, like Elazar and Pinchos, who surpassed him in their intellectual acuity. The Rambam answers that although Yehoshua, Pinchos, and Elazar were all students of Moshe, Yehoshua was his most faithful disciple. He ministered to Moshe, followed him everywhere, and scrutinized his every action. About him, Chazal say that personally attending a Torah scholar is greater than studying itself. This is why Yehoshua merited to inherit the mantle of leadership from Moshe.

A religious Jew by the name of David Gellis was on a business trip to Chicago. He spent an entire week involved in business and upon its conclusion, he grabbed an afternoon flight on Friday back to New York. Shabbos was late and he figured he had enough time to make it home once he landed in New York before the z’man. Unfortunately, right from the start, he realized there was a problem with the flight. Although all the passengers had boarded, the plane had still not budged from the terminal. A half hour went by and suddenly the plane began to move. David relaxed a bit as he wasn’t too far behind schedule. But then, he looked out the window and saw that his plane, which had begun to taxi toward the runway, was now headed right back to the terminal, right back to where it had started. The minutes ticked by and soon, the flight was a full hour behind schedule. David was beginning to sweat as he realized he might not make it back home in time for Shabbos.

The lessons of Bilaam the Prophet, his talking donkey, and the angel who stood in his way, are immense and valuable. Bilaam was a wicked man who was graced with Divine powers. Instead of using them for good purposes, he employed them to curse others, to build up his personal prestige, and gain wealth through illicit actions. Nevertheless, Hashem sent an angel of mercy to protect him and turn his heart away from sin. Hashem sends warning signals to each and every one of us on a daily basis. Some are meant to protect us and some are meant to harm us. It is up to us to make the correct choices in our lives, so that the angels who are sent are “Angels of Mercy” and not, G-d forbid, “Angels of Death.”

The Gemara cites the Biblical source for the requirement of ten men to complete a minyan. Moshe Rabbeinu sent spies to scout out the Land of Canaan. Ten of them returned and issued a report concluding that it was not a conquerable land. Hashem was disappointed with their lack of faith in His abilities and tells Moshe and Aharon: “How long will this evil ‘assembly’ provoke to complain against Me?” From here it is deduced that an “assembly” is comprised of ten men. In Parshas Kedoshim, the posuk states: “I shall be sanctified among the children of Israel.” We explain the word ‘among’ here by reference to its use in another place: “Separate yourselves from ‘among’ this assembly.” Since the term “assembly” in our posuk refers to the ten spies, so too, the former posuk, “You shall be holy,” refers to an “assembly” -  in other words, a “minyan” of ten.

In the summer of 1944, the Nazis were already on the defensive, as Allied forces led by the United States, Great Britain, and Russia continued their push into Europe, liberating countries one by one. As a result, the Germans were constantly disbanding satellite work and concentration camps and shipping the inmates off to larger camps like Auschwitz, Majdanek, and Mauthausen. Reb Yosef Friedenson z”l was then a young man interned in the Starachowitz slave labor camp, and when the camp was shut down, he was shipped to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He arrived on the morning of Tisha B’av 1944, and was thrown into the garish existence and nightmare that defined Auschwitz.

Rashi writes: “Our Rabbis said (in the Sifrei) that the people cried in the desert over the matter of families, over the relationships that had become forbidden to them.” In the desert, there occurred a general breakdown in morality that became pervasive throughout the camp of B’nei Yisrael. Although the pasuk states that the people complained about a lack of meat to consume, many commentators infer that their real grievance was of a much more sinister and promiscuous variety, to which “the anger of Hashem flared greatly, and in the eyes of Moshe it was bad.”