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...

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...

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.

You’re Not All That

This week's reading, Vayikra, beginning the Book of Leviticus, teaches several lessons which all follow a single theme. The reading discusses sacrifices, including those for inadvertent sins. But not just for the "common folk," for you and me, but rather for the High...

Doing it Right

Dedicated in honor of the wedding of Zvi Menken to Devorah Krycer on March 11, 24 Adar. “Like all that G-d Commanded Moshe, so the Children of Israel did all of the work. And Moshe saw all the labor, and behold, they had done it; in accordance with what G-d had...

First, Choose a Direction

This week's reading begins with Rivka's pregnancy, which came about only after many years and many prayers. And then we read a verse which, according to Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki himself, begs further explanation: "And the children struggled within her, and she said 'if...

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Losing Perspective

What on earth — or perhaps, off earth — did Nimrod and his followers think they could accomplish? How could building a tower enable them to “make war against G-d?” [Rashi to 11:1]

Not only is the idea nonsensical, but they contradicted themselves: “They said: ‘Come, let us build a city and tower, its head in the Heavens, and make a name for ourselves, that we not be scattered across the earth.'” [11:4]

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Daunting or Doable?

It is not in Heaven, such that one could say ‘who will go up to Heaven and take it for us’… For this matter is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it” [30:12, 14]. At first glance Torah observance can seem daunting, filled with myriad rules and regulations governing every aspect of life.

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We Don’t Know the Story

In this week's reading, we are told "you shall be 'simple' with Hashem your G-d" [Deut. 18:13]. As you might suspect, "simple" is a very incomplete translation of "Tamim," which also means pure and unsullied. Our forefather Yaakov is called "a simple man, dwelling in...

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An Active Response to Tragedy

The Ninth of Av, which this year begins on Monday evening, is a national day of mourning for the Jewish people. 3329 years ago, we mourned needlessly on this day, responding to the report of the spies that we would be unable to overcome the Canaanites and move into...

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Transfer of Leadership

What grew Jewish communities in America was not the Rabbi of the synagogue, but those who built day schools to educate the next Jewish generation, as Moshe taught Yehoshua. Giving our children a strong Jewish education remains the singular way that we preserve a Jewish future.

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