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Weekly Parsha

BALAK 6/29/2015 01:40 PM

This week's parsha introduces us to the usual suspects who are always present and active in Jewish history and world affairs. Balak and Bilaam are prototypes of the enemies of the Jewish people throughout the ages. They really have no legitimate cause to be our enemies. They impute hostile and aggressive behavior to the Jewish people, when in reality none of this is present. They are...

CHUKAT 6/22/2015 02:51 PM

Over all of the millennia since the incident described in this week’s parsha regarding Moshe striking the rock instead of speaking to it, the great commentators to Torah have struggled to make this incident more understandable and meaningful to us ordinary mortals. At first glance, the punishment does not seem to fit the crime. Because of this, many of the commentators have seen the incident of...

KORACH 6/15/2015 01:02 PM

In last week’s parsha Rashi commented that when the Jewish people stated that they wanted to return to Egypt rather than proceeding to the Land of Israel they thereby intimated that they wanted to replace Moshe as their leader and crown a new king over them. In this week’s parsha, that earlier murmur of dissatisfaction with Moshe and his leadership becomes a full-throated shout. Korach...

SHLACH 6/8/2015 02:57 PM

Moshe, at the behest and request of the Jewish people, chooses twelve outstanding leaders and orders them to embark on a mission of spying regarding the Land of Israel and its current Canaanite population. Moshe is confident that this mission will reinforce the enthusiasm and commitment of the Jewish people to settle and build their national homeland, promised to them by God through their...

B’HALOTCHA 6/1/2015 01:39 PM

Without warning disaster strikes the people of Israel on their journey to the Land of Israel. Moshe boldly proclaimed that “we are traveling now on the way to the land of our destination.” The tribes have been numbered and counted, assigned flags and positions of march and they are accompanied on their journey by the Tabernacle of God placed in their midst. Everything is seemingly poised for...

NASSO 5/26/2015 12:43 PM

The tribe of Levi always seemed to have special responsibilities and privileges within the Jewish people. Our father Jacob spoke harshly of their father’s tendency to be impetuous and even violent, albeit for what was believed to be a holy and necessary cause. As a result of this admonition of Jacob, the tribe of Levi first assigned for itself a roll of service to the community of Israel and of...

במדבר 5/19/2015 12:32 PM

המסר העיקרי בפרשת השבוע וגם בחלק גדול מהתוכן של חומש במדבר הוא שאנחנו לא רק מחשבים מספרים אלא שחיים היהודים המספרים גם נחשבים. התורה מדגישה את העובדה שבלי יהודים אין יהדות. היהדות איננה רעיון או פילוסופיה. היא אמורה...

BAMIDBAR 5/18/2015 12:56 PM

The main message that is contained in this week’s Torah reading, as well as in much of the content of the chumash of Bamidbar, is that one does not only count numbers but that numbers really count in Jewish life. The Torah emphasizes for us the fact that without Jews there is no Judaism. Judaism is not an idea or a philosophy. It is meant to be a living organism and that requires human...

BECHUKOTAI 5/13/2015 01:49 PM

The book of Vayikra concludes this week with the Torah reading of Bechukotai. It presents rather stark choices to us. Blessings and disasters are described and it is apparently our behavior, actions and lifestyles – all of which are within our range of life choices – that will determine our individual fate and national future. It appears to be an all or nothing scenario with the Torah...

B’HAR 5/3/2015 02:20 PM

The emphasis that the Torah places on the location – Mount Sinai – where Moshe received the Torah and its commandments, and the particular commandment regarding the observance of a sabbatical year, has been an issue of much interest to the commentators on the Torah over the ages. Rashi, quoting the famous rabbinic dictum, states that the words “Mount Sinai” indicate to us that just as...