A Theme for the Seder

The Passover Seder is one of the most commonly-observed Jewish rituals today. People who neglect lighting candles in honor of Shabbos, or fasting for Yom Kippur, will gather around the table on Passover to retell the story of the Exodus. There is clearly something...

Who’s Got the Lights?

A man helped his blind friend to find his way home, protecting him from stumbling along the road. When they eventually reached the blind man’s house, the sighted one asked as they walked through the door: “Can you please turn on the light for me?” As it was his house,...

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Half Measures

The dimensions of the various components of the Mishkan (The Tabernacle) are specified in great detail in this week’s Torah portion. These measurements were certainly relevant at the time, required information for those tasked with its construction. The lessons of the...

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Good Judgment

Our reading begins, "And these are the judgments..." [Ex. 21:1] The laws in the Torah described as "judgments" are civil laws, which every society must have in order to avoid anarchy. Yet the Torah emphasizes that its civil laws are of Divine origin, like the laws...

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Take the Next Step

What happens when you hear something that truly inspires you? What do you "take home" afterwards? I once heard that there are three possible reactions people might have. Some will simply shrug it off, thinking, "it really wasn't important to me, and won't affect me...

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Grab the Opportunity

Rabbi Sholom Schwadron ztl, the famed Magid (storyteller and inspirational speaker) of Jerusalem, would tell the story of an Israeli soldier who was terribly anxious and fearful in the middle of a heavy battle. Bullets and explosives were landing all around him, and...

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Follow Failures

Moshe (Moses) came to the Jewish people to tell them their exile would soon be coming to an end. Yet what was their response? "They did not listen to Moshe, because of their shortened spirit and hard work" [Ex. 6:9]. G-d then tells Moshe to go to Pharaoh, to tell him...

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