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Weekly Parsha

KI TISA 5781 3/1/2021 09:27 AM

I approach this week's Torah reading while still under the influence of the great holiday of Purim. As such, I have long noticed that according to the Talmud, the name of the hero of the Purim story, Mordechai, is alluded to in the portion of this week's Torah reading, which describes the spices that constitute the incense offering in the tabernacle and temple. The names of Haman and Esther, that...

TETZAVEH - PURIM 2/21/2021 10:56 AM

In this year of 5781 here in Jerusalem, the Torah reading of Tetzaveh coincides with the day of Purim itself. There seems to be great similarities between this Torah reading and the reading of the book of Esther on Purim. Throughout the entire Torah, we find that the name of our great teacher Moshe (after his birth) is found in each weekly portion, with one lone exception. In Tetzaveh Moshe’s...

TERUMAH 2/14/2021 12:07 AM

I think that we can all agree that it is difficult and challenging to part with one's wealth on behalf of an altruistic cause that will bring to the donor no immediate discernible physical profit or gain. Human beings are very possessive when it comes to money. Money and territorial rights are two main issues that have existed throughout the ages regarding disputes between individuals and even...

MISHPATIM 2/7/2021 12:50 AM

After the granting of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, this is followed with a long and detailed list of instructions, commandments, and laws. The mere existence of such a list presupposes the willingness of the population to follow these laws and instructions. As we are all aware, because of the ongoing incidents that mark our attempt to deal with the current corona virus...

YITRO 5781 1/31/2021 12:42 PM

One of the basic lessons learned from this week's Torah reading, though barely discussed by the commentators, is that there is no perfect system of justice if it involves human beings and judges. After the granting of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, our teacher Moshe allows himself to become the sole judge regarding disputes that arise in the camp of the Israelites. He is besieged...

Bo 1/17/2021 05:12 PM

Since every word of our holy Torah carries with it many layers of significance and importance, it is incumbent upon us to understand why this particular word, Bo, is employed by the Torah to describe a certain situation. In the opinion of the commentators to the Torah, the word Bo, which appears at the beginning of this week's reading, contains a deeper meaning than the simple translation...

VAEIRA 5781 1/11/2021 09:32 AM

The Mishne in Avot questions why the world was created, so to speak, by ten statements and utterances from Heaven. It explains that this shows the importance of life on this planet, and of the infinite universe itself, that it was lovingly created, when one statement alone would have been sufficient. The repetition of the statements of creation were a sign of affection between the Creator and...

SHEMOT 1/3/2021 09:39 AM

It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely scenario than the one described for us in the Torah as to the process of redemption of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery. We can readily understand a personality of holiness and tranquility such as Aaron becoming the hero and redeemer of the holy people of Israel. We could also easily understand that the redemption could come from negotiations and...

VAYECHI 12/28/2020 10:59 AM

At the end of the book of Bereshith, as we read in this week's Torah reading, there is little warning as to what the very next Torah reading will discuss and describe. The transition, from the benign and idyllic last years of the life of our father Jacob, is a harsh reality of servitude and slavery visited upon his descendants. From the biblical narrative, it appears to have been sudden and...

VAYIGASH 5781 12/20/2020 12:00 AM

The brothers and Joseph finally meet each other head-on, without pretense and subterfuge. When Joseph reveals himself to the brothers, the veil of secrecy, role-playing, distrust, and enmity is ripped away. The dreams that apparently were the cause of this gripping family drama now reappear in their stark and simple meaning. The sheaves of grain are the brothers and the constellation of...