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Weekly Parsha

EKEV 8/18/2019 10:16 AM

In this week's Torah reading Moshe teaches us that he was instructed by heaven to construct an ark made of wood in order to house the two tablets of stone that he received on Sinai. I have written about this subject before and it is one that has been noted heavily by the commentators to the Torah. But I have become aware of an insight that I feel has great relevance to understanding many of the...

VAETCHANAN 8/11/2019 11:42 AM

The Torah reading of this week always coincides with the Shabbat that falls after the fast of the ninth day of Av. Because of the nature of the prophetic reading, it is seen as the Shabbat of comfort and consolation, which are difficult commodities to acquire. Tragedies are not easily erased from one's mind and affect one's permanent personality and view of life. Comfort and consolation rarely...

DVARIM 8/5/2019 10:18 AM

This final book of the five books of the Torah is the great oration of Moshe at the conclusion of his 40 years of leadership and service to God and the Jewish people. In it he reviews the events of that period and his observations and comments regarding those events and the behavior of the people of Israel during those decades of miraculous existence in the desert of Sinai. The underlying...

MASEI 7/29/2019 09:51 AM

It is the nature of human beings to look on the past with nostalgia. Often, we do so in a very selective manner, remembering the good and pleasant, and conveniently forgetting or ignoring the sad and unpleasant experiences. This is especially true in our time, when sections of the Jewish world, especially within the society of Orthodox Jews who descended from Eastern European ancestors, paint...

MATOT 7/24/2019 09:58 AM

The word for a staff, stick or even a scepter is the same word –mateh – that is used to describe the tribe or an integrated group of people. As has been often noted, the Hebrew language is rather sparing in its vocabulary. Therefore, often the same word is used with other meanings in different circumstances. But there always is a connection between the various uses of the word in different...

PINCHAS 7/14/2019 06:28 AM

Judaism constantly stresses the importance and worth of the individual. Even though there are billions of people living on our planet, the worth of the individual should not be diminished by this fact. In the Torah reading of this week the Lord informs Moshe that it was the action of one individual – Pinchas – that saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Jews from destruction. The...

BALAK 7/7/2019 06:12 AM

We are all sufficiently sophisticated and experienced in our time to realize that wars are conducted on many different levels and not necessarily always on the battlefield or with massive armies. The Torah readings of this week introduces us to perhaps the first recorded use of psychological warfare and propaganda in human history. The magician, soothsayer and prophet of the non-Jewish world,...

CHUKAT 6/30/2019 06:25 AM

The climax of the tragedies that have been recorded for us in the previous readings of the Torah appears in this week’s reading. Driven to anger and exasperation, Moshe disobeys the order of God to speak to the rock and extract water from it and instead he raises his staff and smites it a number of times. This act does produce water, but it leads to the confirmation of the fact that neither...

KORACH 6/25/2019 11:02 AM

The tragedies and difficulties that befell the Jewish people in the desert of Sinai continue to multiply in the Torah reading of this week. This week's sad story involves unique personalities affected by human ambition, jealousy and a complete misreading of one's true role in the family and society. Korach sees himself as being a far greater person than he really is. He is convinced that he...

SHLACH 6/16/2019 10:46 AM

Much has been written and taught regarding the motives of the leaders of Israel, those who Moshe sent to spy out the land of Israel in advance of the Jewish people entering their homeland. After all the explanations, it remains a baffling mystery as to how such great people could have been so wrong on such an important issue. Just as they were able to convince an entire generation to believe as...