Grape Clusters and Rabbi Jossie

Rabbi Jossie (Joseph) ben Joezer was a Talmudic sage whose life marked the transition of one era to the next. According to the Talmud, when Rabbi Jossie and his colleague…

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Pinchas 5768-2008

"The Zealotry of Pinchas as Seen Through the Midrash" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Last week's parasha, parashat Balak, closed with the story of Pinchas' zealotry. As we read in that…

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Tetzaveh 5760-2000

"Clothes: A Reflection of the Divine Image" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, Parashat Tetzaveh, we read of the big'dei k'huna, the priestly garments, with very…

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Tetzaveh 5779-2019

“Clothes: A Reflection of the Divine Image” (Revised and updated from Tetzaveh 5760-2000) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week’s parasha, Parashat Tetzaveh, we read of the…

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Cohen, Katz, Kagen

Meet a man named Cohen and it is fair to assume that he is a descendant of the priestly tribe, going all the way back to Aharon the High Priest. We all know that there are distinctly…

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Pidyon Ha’ben – Redeeming the Firstborn

“You must redeem the firstborn of a person ... when he is one month old, for the value of five silver shekels” (Numbers 18:15-16). God sanctified the firstborn male Israelites when He…

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Pidyon Ha’ben – Redeeming the Firstborn

“You must redeem the firstborn of a person ... when he is one month old, for the value of five silver shekels” (Numbers 18:15-16). God sanctified the firstborn male Israelites when He…

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Pidyon Ha’ben – Redeeming the Firstborn

“You must redeem the firstborn of a person…when he is one month old, for the value of five silver shekels” (Numbers 18:15-16). God sanctified the firstborn male Israelites when He…

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When Funerals Are Forbidden

Any man who is a patrilineal descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses, is deemed to be a kohain, a member of the priestly family of Israel. Aaron and his sons were called upon by God to…

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Top of the Class

Among the scholars quoted in Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers, are clusters of sages who are interconnected whether due to being from the same city, are part of the same generation or…

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Helping Others

How well do you know your neighbors? One of the most common comments about society today is how much more isolated people are from one another than they were in the days of a more…

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Emor 5762-2002

"Death and the Kohanim--the Children of Aaron" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Emor, the parasha begins with the laws of the sanctity of the Kohanim,…

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Metzorah 5774-2014

“The Peddler and Evil Speech” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Metzorah, again addresses the Biblical affliction Tzara’at, צָּרַעַת. Parashat Metzorah teaches…

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Emor 5780-2020

“Death, and the Kohanim--the Children of Aaron” (updated and revised from Parashat Emor 5762-2002)   by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   In this week’s parasha, parashat Emor, the…

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Talk to the Expert

One of the greatest dangers of the age of the internet is the abuse of medical information by lay people with no medical training, who suspect that they may be ill. Whether it is a…

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Follow Those Who Know

Follow the advice of Jossie ben Joezer of Tzeredah, who said: "Let your house be a meetinghouse for the sages and sit amid the dust of their feet" (Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the…

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Paying the Pledge

It is easy to pledge money to an organization. There are an astounding number of well-intentioned non-profits that send mailings, or solicit donations over the phone. There are also…

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In Uniform

The role played by dress codes is a topic that, every few years, sparks discussion and debate. Whether the question is school uniforms or the influence of “casual Friday,” people usually…

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Tazria 5771-2011

“Childbirth and Ritual Impurity” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Our latest grandchild, Yosef Yehudah Berger, was born to our children, Ayelet and Gavriel Berger, on Thursday, March 10th,…

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Naso 5780-2020

The Ordeal of the Sotah -- Barbaric or Enlightened? (Revised and Updated from Parashat Naso 5761-2001) by Rabbi Ephraim Z.  Buchwald This week’s Torah portion, Naso, with 176 verses, is…

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The Death of Aaron

In every generation, there are men and women who truly make an impact on the world. These incredible individuals are honored both in life and in death, particularly at their time of…

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Jewish Genetics

The fact that one’s genetic code is a combination of the DNA one inherits from both mother and  father is a basic lesson of high school biology. According to traditional Jewish…

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A Spiritual Diagnosis

Common wisdom, and often specific regulations, discourage doctors from diagnosing or healing their own close family members. In such cases, the necessary objectivity is often missing.…

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Challah Is Taken

The Hebrew word "challah" does not actually mean bread, but rather refers to the tithe of the bread that was given as a gift to the priests in ancient times (Numbers 15:20). Exactly when…

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The Torah Service

The Torah Service is central to the Saturday morning synagogue service and has much ceremony and fanfare. It begins with the opening of the aron ha’kodesh (holy ark - the cabinet housing…

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Challah Is Taken

The Hebrew word "challah" does not actually mean bread, but rather refers to the tithe of the bread that was given as a gift to the ancient priests (Numbers 15:20). Exactly when the term…

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War In The Torah

The Torah’s protocols of war begin with the following verse: "When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses, chariots and a nation greater than you..." (Deuteronomy 20).…

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