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Weekly Parsha

BECHUKOTAI 5/22/2016 04:10 PM

From a cursory review of this week’s Torah reading, one can easily come to the conclusion that God’s method for dealing with us is with earthly rewards and punishments. The blessings that appear in the reading are all physical, emotional and sometimes psychological. There is no mention of eternal life, the survival of the soul, and/or of the rewards in the World to Come. And the same is...

BEHAR 5/15/2016 02:42 PM

This week's Torah reading seems to emphasize that the granting of the Torah to Moshe, and through him to Israel generally, took place at the Mountain of Sinai. Since the Torah does not deal with incidental geographic details, this emphasis regarding the mountain bears study and analysis. Mountain climbing is a sport for the hardy of spirit and the physically fit. However most of us are perfectly...

EMOR 5/8/2016 12:10 PM

The Torah commandment regarding the counting of the seven weeks between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot appears in a timely fashion in this week's Torah reading. Over the many millennia of Torah study and commentary numerus ideas have been advanced as to the import and meaning of this commandment. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the simple meaning and apparent lesson is that we are to...

KEDOSHIM 5/6/2016 04:52 PM

The demands that the Torah imposes upon us with the large array of commandments that appear in this week's Torah reading are major and taxing. Nevertheless we have a rule that the Torah never demands the impossible from human beings or of human behavior. As such, I feel that the true challenge implicit in the commandment to be a holy and dedicated person – the idea that is present in the...

ACHREI MOS 5/2/2016 03:13 PM

The Torah has already described the tragedy of the family of Aaron, when his sons Nadav and Avihu died while performing incense burning on the day of the final dedication of the Mishkan/Tabernacle. So, why does the Torah return to the subject and mention it again in this week’s Torah reading? The commentators over the ages, from the time of the Talmud onwards, have derived many explanations,...

METZORA 4/11/2016 02:08 PM

This week's parsha is truly one of the most difficult subjects for people in our time to contemplate, understand or from which to gain knowledge and inspiration. The entire subject of these mysterious diseases, which manifested themselves on the human body, in clothing and even in houses and buildings is technically discussed in Mishna and also in various places in the Talmud itself. However, the...

TAZRIA 4/4/2016 02:58 PM

The ritual of circumcision has been one of the basic institutions of Jewish life since the beginnings of our familial and national existence. It is this covenant of our father Avraham which has always been a testament to the eternity of the Jewish people, to its heritage and identity. As in the case of Avraham circumcising his son Yitzchak on the eighth day after the infant’s birth, the...

SHMINI 3/28/2016 01:25 PM

The temptations of power are great. When one achieves notoriety, success and exalted public service there is always a danger that hubris and unnecessary behavior will take over. This is true even regarding great, noble and holy people. The adage that power corrupts has remained one of the truisms of all of human behavior throughout the ages. When the Torah describes the death of the two sons...

TZAV 3/22/2016 04:28 PM

The parsha deals initially with the concept of an eternal flame or light that would continually be present on the holy altar in the Mishkan/Tabernacle. This is not the sole instance in the Torah where this concept of an eternal flame, fire or light is discussed. The great golden candelabra in the Mishkan/Tabernacle was also to have one light that was to be deemed an eternal light that was never...

PURIM – II 3/22/2016 03:51 PM

The story of Purim takes place about 2500 years ago in the, long ago, almost forgotten, Persian Empire. Yet this ancient tale remains instructive to this very day. The details of the plot of the story, as recorded for us in the book of Esther, are well known to all. However, the implications and eternal lessons of those details and the overall story itself must be relearned in every...