5/20/2013 12:07 PM
The association of Aharon, and of all later High Priests of Israel, with the task of the daily lighting of the menorah/candelabra in the Temple is significant. In our current technologically advanced era, turning on the lights in a home or a room is hardly considered to be a difficult or especially meaningful event. The flick of a switch floods the area with light and illumination. However,...
5/13/2013 01:42 PM
The term that the Torah uses for counting the Levite family of Gershon is nasso – to raise and lift up. The word can also mean to carry and bear a burden. It can also mean to lead. When such words appear in the Torah with multiple, differing meanings – and Hebrew is replete with so many of them – the commentators remark that all of the possible meanings of that word are nuanced and meant...
5/6/2013 12:35 PM
I have always been fascinated as to why this book of the Bible and this week’s Torah reading is called Bamidbar – in the desert. The rabbis of Midrash have stated that the lesson involved here is that the Torah only remains in a person who empties all other causes from one’s midst, and is as open and unoccupied as is the desert. Nevertheless, there may be other insights that may be...
BHAR – BECHUKOTAI
4/29/2013 03:21 PM
The book of Vayikra concludes with a description of Jewish destiny and a foretelling of dire events that that will befall the Jewish people. The clear message in this parsha, and as repeated later in the book of Dvarim and in the words of the prophets of Israel over the next millennium, is that the Jewish people and its behavior and society are held to a high standard of loyalty and piety. ...
4/22/2013 02:27 PM
The review of the yearly holidays of Israel appears in this week’s parsha. This type of review also appears in a number of different places in the holy Torah. The reasons advanced by the commentators for this seemingly unnecessary repetition are many, varied and insightful. But there is one that truly resonates with me and I think it has great relevance to our times and circumstances. And...
ACHREI MOS – KEDOSHIM
4/16/2013 03:22 PM
To a great extent, reaction to defeat and tragedy is the true defining moment of one’s inner strength and faith. Aharon’s silence in the face of the loss of his two older sons is reckoned in Jewish tradition as an act of nobility and sublime acceptance of the unfathomable judgment of Heaven. Contrast Aharon’s silence and humble acceptance of fate with the response of Iyov to his...
4/7/2013 06:00 AM
We, in our current milieu and society, find it difficult to intimately relate to the facts, descriptions and rituals outlined for us in the subject matter of the parshiyot of this week. The laws and rituals of negaaim are addressed to those of past generations that were on a far different spiritual level than ours. Even the Talmud Bavli did not assign any specific volumes in its vast compendium...
4/3/2013 06:01 AM
After the seven days of excitement and joy upon the consecration of the Mishkan and the installation of Aharon and his sons as the priests of Israel devoted to the service of God and humans, tragedy strikes the family of Aharon and all of Israel. The commentators to Torah as well as the Talmud itself searched for the causes that created this sad situation. They attempted to answer the...
3/17/2013 09:00 AM
The parsha of Tzav more often than not coincides with the Shabat preceding Pesach – Shabat Hagadol, the “great Shabat.” At first glance there does not seem to be any inherent connection between the parsha of Tzav and Shabat Hagadol and Pesach. However, since Judaism little recognizes randomness or happenstance regarding Jewish life, and certainly regarding Torah itself, a further analysis...
3/11/2013 02:55 PM
This week’s parsha marks another new beginning in our public reading and personal understanding of the Torah. Whereas the first two books of the Torah are mainly narrative in nature and content, the book of Vayikra is mainly a book of laws and commandments and of the nature of purity and impurity, sacrificial offerings and priestly obligations. Vayikra not only offers us a change of...