Crushed for Brilliance

"And you shall command the Children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to elevate a light at all times" [Exodus 27:20]. The Torah requires that only the purest form of olive oil be used for lighting the Menorah in the Holy...
Finding Fault or Favor

Finding Fault or Favor

The Torah says that "the nation shall judge," and a verse later, "the nation shall save" [Num. 35:24-25]. The Talmud learns from the juxtaposition of these verses that the Sanhedrin, the High Court, should side with saving the accused, try to find merit for him, and...

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The Killer Peacemaker

The Killer Peacemaker

"Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon the Priest, has turned away My anger from the children of Israel, by being zealous for My vengeance amongst them; and [thus] I did not destroy the children of Israel in My vengeance. Therefore, I say, behold I give to him...

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Imaginary Fears

Imaginary Fears

Several years ago, one of the writers for Torah.org reached out to me in a hurry. He had made a mistake, and wanted to stop distribution of the email he had just sent. What was his mistake? He had identified the weekly reading as "Parshas Bila'am" — this was, of...

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Motivation Misdirection

Motivation Misdirection

As happens every so often, an organization made an innocent mistake, and was condemned by those anxious to find fault. In this case, the organization made the unfortunate choice of quoting one of the most evil figures of modern history. It is recorded that Hitler said...

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Reaching for Perfection

Reaching for Perfection

This week's reading includes a very difficult chapter in the story of the Exodus, that of the spies. These twelve spies, one from each of the twelve tribes, entered the Land of Cana'an to see what awaited the nation. With two exceptions, Yehoshua and Kalev, they...

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Healthy Cravings

Healthy Cravings

by Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld This week's reading includes one of the strangest episodes in the entire Torah. The Jewish People have been out of Egypt for over a year, headed slowly but surely towards the Promised Land. Despite the harsh environment of the desert...

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