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Weekly Parsha

NASSO 5781 5/16/2021 12:09 PM

The Torah reading of this week continues with the count of the different families within the tribe of Levi. We are aware that this tribe has been chosen for public service in the Temple and, generally, on behalf of the Jewish people. They do not own land, and their financial support is based upon the tithe that the Jewish people contributed from their produce. The Levites serve at special...

BAMIDBAR 5781 5/9/2021 12:07 AM

Our Parsha begins this fourth book of the written Torah by stating that the Lord spoke to Moshe in the desert of Sinai. In fact, this entire book takes its identity from the fact that it was spoken to Moshe and written by him while in the desert of Sinai. A question naturally arises about the significance that all of this was taught and expounded upon in the desert of Sinai. What difference does...

BEHAR – BECHUKOTAI 5781 5/2/2021 12:00 AM

The reading of these two sections of the Torah concludes the book of Vayikra – the book that contains most of the commandments given to the Jewish people on Sinai and for all eternity. One of the central commandments that appears in this week's reading is that of shmita – the rules regarding the sabbatical year that the Jewish people were to observe when they were in the land of Israel. This...

EMOR 5781 4/25/2021 01:00 PM

The Torah reading this week includes a review of the holidays of the Jewish calendar. The list of holidays is repeated numerous times in the Torah. We find it in the book of Shemot and again in the book of Devarim, and here in our reading in the book of Vayikra. Since there are no needless repetitions in the holy text of the Torah, commentators over the ages have offered many explanations as to...

ACHAREI MOT – KEDOSHIM 5781 4/18/2021 11:32 AM

The Torah reading for this week is a double portion, which together contains the largest number of commandments that appears in any one section of the holy Torah. One question which has challenged Judaism throughout the ages is why do we need so many commandments to fulfill our obligation to be good, kind, and faithful? Is it not sufficient that we understand the general principles as outlined...

TAZRIA – METZORA 5781 4/11/2021 12:11 AM

The Torah indirectly, but softly and clearly, speaks to the continuity of the Jewish people and the human race generally, through the idea of having children. It has been statistically shown that as prosperity rises in certain sections of society, the birthrate in that section of society declines. For me, this was always counterintuitive, because if one is prosperous, then one can certainly...

SHMINI 5781 4/5/2021 02:16 PM

One of the more distinguishing life values which Judaism advocates is the type of food that a Jew eats. There are foods that Jews are commanded to eat such, as matzah on Pesach and continuing with Pesach, there are also forbidden foods such as leavened bread. The laws and customs regarding kosher food are numerous and complex. Perhaps no other area of Jewish life, except for the Sabbath and its...

TZAV 5781 3/21/2021 12:04 PM

The Torah begins this week's reading with the verbal commandment –Tzav – ordering Moshe to command and demand from his brother Aaron certain fulfillments of ritual and service in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. The verb that is used is one of strength. Just as in a well-disciplined army, an officer's commands are fulfilled to be able to execute grand strategies, so,...

VAYIKRA 5781 3/14/2021 11:06 AM

Moshe hears the voice of the Lord as God calls to him. However, it is not the same experience that it was at Mount Sinai. There, it was with noise and fanfare, thunder and lightning, pageantry, and awe. At Mount Sinai, even the soundwaves were visible and real. But here, according to the Midrash, it is a private revelation exclusive to Moshe. The great heavenly voice is not heard outside the...

VAYAKHEL – PIKUDEI 5781 3/7/2021 12:00 AM

The book of Shemot concludes with the detailed accounting of the materials collected and used in the building of the Tabernacle. Even though this accounting may appear to us to be superfluous and even overly detailed, the words and letters that appear in this week's Torah reading are as holy and important as any others that appear in our holy Scriptures. There is an important overriding...