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Weekly Parsha

BALAK 5781 6/20/2021 12:30 AM

The Talmud incisively comments that it is not the mouse that is a thief,but, rather, it is the hole in the wall that allows the mouse entry into the house that is the culprit. There is no question that the villain in this week's Torah reading is Bilaam. His hatred of the Jewish people is long-standing. He was one of the advisors to the Pharaoh of Egypt who encouraged that tyrant to enslave the...

CHUKAT 5781 6/13/2021 12:27 AM

The fate of the generation that left Egypt and came to the Sinai desert is finally sealed in this week's Torah reading. Even though we already read in last week's Torah portion about the disaster and eventual demise of that generation because of the slanderous report of the Spies that visited the land of Israel, Moshe somehow was convinced that he himself would escape their fate. He appears to...

KORACH 5781 6/6/2021 12:33 AM

The Torah teaches us in this week's reading that one should never underestimate the power and influence that ego and arrogance can play within the lives of people who are otherwise seen as wise, capable, and even moral. Throughout the ages, the commentators have asked themselves the famous question, quoted by Rashi and based on midrash: “What drove Korach to commit such a foolish act?” ...

SHLACH 5781 5/30/2021 12:00 AM

The land of Israel has always posed a problem for the Jewish people. On one hand, it is and always has been our national homeland, the land promised to us by the Lord from the days of our forefathers. It is the Holy Land, the most special place on earth. On the other hand, the record of the Jewish people in the land of Israel, and their behavior and attitudes, has often been a spotty one. The...

BEHALOTCHA 5781 5/23/2021 12:00 AM

We are familiar with the Rashi’s comment in the second verse of this week's Torah reading that the Priest who lit the candelabra was to keep the fire close to the wick, until the wick itself caught fire and rose by itself. This is a lesson not only regarding the lighting of the great candelabra in the Temple but is also a metaphor for many life situations. Unless the wick itself truly catches...

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...