Why Do We Need Window Shades?

The Chapters of the Fathers [4:1] quotes Ben Zoma: “Who is wealthy? He who is happy with his lot.” H’ gives to each person all of his needs, and another person cannot take even a penny unless G-d wants it to be so. So why should we be jealous of the fortune of others?

What Do you Live For?

The Talmud, at the end of the first tractate, Brachos, learns a fascinating lesson from the verse: "This is the Torah [the law]: when a person dies in a tent...” [19:14] This verse speaks about impurity that attaches to everything in the same building as someone who...

Learning from the Spies

Our Torah reading relates the tragic story of the Spies, sent to travel through the Land of Canaan in advance of its conquest by the People of Israel. “Send men for yourself, and they will spy out the Land of Canaan, which I give to the Children of Israel, one man for...

The Importance of Good Company

This week, we witness Moshe throwing up his hands in despair. Moshe, Moshe Rabbeinu, our master teacher, he who transmitted the entire Torah directly from G-d to the Jewish People, has had it with the Jews. He's done. "And Moshe said to Hashem, 'why have You done such...

Building the Tabernacle

Rabbi Shamshon Rephael Hirsch explains that building a Jewish society with justice and humaneness is a prerequisite, before we can build something as holy as the Tabernacle. It is the foundation, without which the gifts to the Tabernacle are no Mitzvah at all.

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Mission of the Mundane

This week's reading, Mishpatim, judgments, is aptly named. Yes, the Hebrew name of a parsha, a reading, is simply its first uncommon word, but there are no coincidences, right? Mishpatim is filled with exactly what the name implies: judgments, interpersonal laws. We...

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Read the Writing on the Wall

In this week's reading, G-d tells Moshe and Aharon to show Pharoah the miraculous signs that prove Moshe is speaking on G-d's Command, and Pharoah must indeed let the Jews go free to worship. G-d predicts that Pharoah will test them in this way: "when Pharaoh speaks...

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Egyptian Amnesia

As we concluded Sefer Bereishis, the Book of Genesis, last week, the nascent Jewish People found themselves in very good circumstances. Yosef was second only to Pharoah himself, having saved the entire country from famine. There was no reason to expect what actually...

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The Misunderstood Maccabees and Miketz Miracles

There is a lot of misinformation about the Chanukah holiday. People teach that the Greeks took over Israel, the Jews fought back, the Jews won the battle, and then there was the miracle of the oil -- enough oil to explain the Menorah, Latkes, and Sufganiyot (Israeli...

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War & Peace… Together

Our reading begins with Yaakov returning to the land of Cana'an, re-encountering his brother Esav after several decades of separation. This was, however, no ordinary family reunion. After Yaakov received his father's blessing intended for Esav, Esav decided to kill...

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