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Weekly Parsha

VAYISHLACH 5781 11/30/2020 09:55 AM

One of the more perplexing questions that is raised in this week's Torah reading is why Yaakov sends agents and messengers to Eisav to inform his brother of his return to the land of Israel. King Solomon in Proverbs had already advised to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak. So why should Yaakov place himself in a situation of anticipated danger and difficulty when it could have avoided. ...

VAYETZE 5781 11/22/2020 01:49 PM

We are all aware of the famous comment of Rashi on the opening word of this week's Torah reading: that the departure of a pious man from the community leaves a void and a negative impression. This comment is in line with the pattern that we have seen from the beginning of the Book of Bereishit, i.e. that the Torah is more interested in the lives of individuals, than in the general pattern of...

Toldot 11/15/2020 12:42 AM

The question raised by all of the commentators who have dealt with this week's Torah reading is a simple one: How could it be that Eisav, a child who is raised in the house of great and holy parents, Yitzchak and Rivkah, could somehow turn out to be a terribly evil person – a murderer, rapist, thief and criminal? It is difficult in the extreme to truly comprehend this issue. However, all...

CHAYEI SARAH 5781 11/8/2020 12:17 PM

Jewish tradition teaches us that the house of our mother Sarah had unique qualities. I have written about this often but add the following nuance to my previous writings. We are taught that in the tent of Sarah there were three outstanding qualities: the blessing of bountiful bread that is the quality of hospitality, the cloud of spirituality that always hovered over her home and the fact that...

VAYERA 5781 11/1/2020 10:34 AM

One of the main issues in this week's Torah reading is the relationship between Yishmael and Yitzchak. Yishmael is the son of Abraham and Hagar, while Yitzchak is the son of Abraham and Sarah. It is common knowledge that, as the half-brothers grow up together, the differences between them in character, spirituality, ambition, and behavior become increasingly apparent. Sarah notices that Yishmael...

LECH LECHA 5781 10/25/2020 05:18 PM

We are aware that one of the ten tests and challenges that confront our father Abraham is the Almighty's commandment to Abraham that forms the name of this week's Torah reading. Abraham is directed to, ‘go, for your sake,’ leave the comforts and familiar surroundings of your home and society, and to take a journey into a strange and unknown land. According to Chassidic tradition, this...

NOACH 10/18/2020 03:10 PM

The concluding portion of this week's Torah reading deals with the society that built the great Tower of, and the beginning of the lifetime, and accomplishments of our father Abraham. To me there is a relevancy and immediacy to this theme as it appears in this week's Torah reading. What is described in the Torah is the creation of a totalitarian society, ruled by dictatorship, fear, and...

BERESHITH 5781 10/12/2020 10:46 AM

This week's opening parsha of the Torah can be viewed as having bookends. There are two main characters in the story of humanity that are introduced to us. At the beginning of the parsha, the Torah tells us of the creation of Adam, the original human being, and the progenitor of all of us. Thus, the Torah records the tragedy of his life and he becomes, so to speak, the story of all human beings...

VZOT HABRACHA 5781 9/29/2020 03:47 PM

It is interesting that our great leader and teacher Moshe followed the lead of our father Jacob when it came to blessing the Jewish people before he left the world. The blessings that Moshe bestowed were individual and particular. Each tribe was given its own blessing and its mission. Every human being is different, and even the greatest amongst us who, on the surface, appears similar,...

Ha'azinu 9/21/2020 12:09 AM

Moshe appeals to Heaven and earth to somehow hear his words and bear testimony to the accuracy of his prophecies. Nature does not have a will of its own, but, rather, is bound by the original directions and system created by God when the universe came into being. Unlike human beings who possess free will and can make choices even when those choices are against their own self-interest, nature is...