Our Moral Compass

Recent stories illustrate the need for a moral compass, guidance to find correct behavior. Current events have given me new insight into how urgently we need the Torah to lead us in every area of our lives. In an opinion piece appearing today, a writer in the Jewish Chronicle confessed that he was ashamed [his word] of what he had written just days earlier. What he wrote previously included...

Where Effort Really Counts

In this week's reading, we learn about the commandment of Shmittah, the Sabbatical of the Land. The Torah says: “Six years shall you sow your field, and six years shall you prune your vineyards, and gather its produce. But in the seventh year, it will be a Holy Sabbath, a Sabbath to God; you shall not sow your field, and you will not prune your vineyards.” [Leviticus 25:3-4] The commentary of...

Love Thy Offensive Neighbor

We hear people speaking a great deal about "love your neighbor as yourself," but not so much about the words which come before them. The full verse reads: "Do not take revenge, and do not bear a grudge against the children of your nation, and love your neighbor as yourself; I am G-d" [19:18]. These two prohibitions -- against revenge and holding a grudge -- don't sound nearly as flowery and...

Self Preservation

In this week's Torah reading, the double portion of Tazria-Metzorah, most of our attention is directed to the phenomenon of Tzara'as, a spiritual blemish. People erroneously compare it to leprosy... but clothing and buildings don't become leprous. The Talmud (Ehrchin 15b) tells us that the cause of Tzara'as is Loshon Hara, speaking evil of others -- Reish Lakish teaches that Metzorah, the word...

Always New

For seven days and nights, Aharon and his sons sat at the entrance to the Tabernacle, as they were commanded to do. Then the eighth day arrived, the first day of Nissan, a year after leaving Egypt, and it was time to bring the first offerings to G-d. Aharon first brought sin and elevation offerings for himself, and then the sin offering on behalf of the nation. The verse reads [9:15]: "And...

Our Moral Compass

Recent stories illustrate the need for a moral compass, guidance to find correct behavior. Current events have given me new insight into how urgently we need the Torah to lead us in every area of our lives. In an opinion piece appearing today, a writer in the Jewish...

read more

Where Effort Really Counts

In this week's reading, we learn about the commandment of Shmittah, the Sabbatical of the Land. The Torah says: “Six years shall you sow your field, and six years shall you prune your vineyards, and gather its produce. But in the seventh year, it will be a Holy...

read more

Love Thy Offensive Neighbor

We hear people speaking a great deal about "love your neighbor as yourself," but not so much about the words which come before them. The full verse reads: "Do not take revenge, and do not bear a grudge against the children of your nation, and love your neighbor as...

read more

Self Preservation

In this week's Torah reading, the double portion of Tazria-Metzorah, most of our attention is directed to the phenomenon of Tzara'as, a spiritual blemish. People erroneously compare it to leprosy... but clothing and buildings don't become leprous. The Talmud (Ehrchin...

read more

Always New

For seven days and nights, Aharon and his sons sat at the entrance to the Tabernacle, as they were commanded to do. Then the eighth day arrived, the first day of Nissan, a year after leaving Egypt, and it was time to bring the first offerings to G-d. Aharon first...

read more

It’s OK That We Don’t Know

In this week’s reading, Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, says something truly profound. He says: “I don’t know.” He says this in other places, for example about certain species that were unknown to him. But I don’t remember him saying this in a case similar to this one.

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