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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Mishpatim 5770-2010

"The Blessing of Health" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Toward the end of this week's parasha, parashat Mishpatim, G-d promises Moses that He is sending an angel before the Jewish people to…

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Emor 5775-2015

“Distractions, Distractions!” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s Torah portion, parashat Emor, opens with an extensive series of laws regarding the conduct of the Kohanim, the…

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Emor 5765-2005

"Priests and Death: An Unusual Relationship" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week's parasha, parashat Emor, continues the theme of holiness from last week's parasha, parashat Kedoshim,…

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Rabban Gamliel II

The old joke “2 Jews -- 3 opinions” is true now, and it was true in the era of the sages as well. In the aftermath of the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE), however, Rabban Gamliel…

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Tombstone

In Judaism, the dead are given great respect. One important tradition that reflects the Jewish faith’s respect for the deceased is the placing of a tombstone upon the grave. From a…

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Tetzaveh 5764-2004

"Keeping the Priests Humble" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Tetzaveh, we read in rather minute detail, about the garments that were worn by the…

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Emor 5772-2012

"Lessons from a Priest’s Wanton Daughter" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Emor, highlights the special status of the Kohanim, the priests, in the community of…

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Emor 5777-2017

“Communicating a Vital Message Clearly” by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Emor, contains 63 mitzvot-- 39 negative and 24 positive. Parashat Emor ranks second, after…

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Naso 5779-2019

"Traditional Judaism: Fundamentalist or Ascetic" (Revised and updated from Naso 5760-2000) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   In this week’s parasha, parashat Naso, we encounter the…

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Shoftim 5767-2007

"The King of Israel: The Privileged and Obligated Monarch" By Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In parashat Shoftim, we read the biblical statement regarding appointing a king in Israel. The…

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Naso 5760-2000

"Traditional Judaism: Fundamentalist or Ascetic" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Naso, we encounter the curious law of the Nazir, the Nazarite. In…

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Chayei Sarah 5769-2008

"Mourning and Eulogizing" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Although this week's Torah portion is entitled Chayei Sarah, which literally means "the life of Sarah," the opening part of the…

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The Royal Family and the Jews

On February 6, 1952, Queen Elizabeth II assumed the throne of “the United Kingdom and her other realms and Territories” upon the death of her father, King George VI. While the Queen is…

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