Bows and Arrows

Today, Lag Ba'omer, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, is a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar. Its observance commemorates the end of a tragic plague that took the…

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Bows and Arrows

Lag Ba'omer, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, is a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar. Its observance commemorates the end of a tragic plague that took the lives of nearly…

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Bows and Arrows

Lag Ba'omer, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, is a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar. Its observance commemorates the end of a tragic plague that took the lives of nearly all…

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Behar 5779-2019

“Wronging One Another, the Torah’s Unique Viewpoint” (Revised and updated from Behar 5760-2000) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   In this week’s parasha, parashat Behar, we twice…

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Emor 5781-2021

"The Blasphemer - A Midrashic View" (Updated and revised from Emor 5764-2004) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week’s parasha, parashat Emor, is, for the most part, concerned…

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The Tragedy of Jealousy

The Talmud (Yevamot 62b) relates that “Rabbi Akiva had 12,000 pairs of students...and all of them died in one period of time because they did not act with respect toward each other...they…

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The Tragedy of Jealousy

The Talmud (Yevamot 62b) relates that “Rabbi Akiva had 12,000 pairs of students...and all of them died in one period of time because they did not act with respect toward each other...they…

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The Tragedy of Jealousy

The Talmud (Yevamot 62b) relates that “Rabbi Akiva had 12,000 pairs of students...and all of them died in one period of time because they did not act with respect toward each…

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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 5773-2013

"Sanctifying G-d’s Name" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Emor, we find the seminal commandments to sanctify G-d’s name and the prohibition of desecrating…

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Bechukotai 5774-2014

“The Role of Exile in Jewish Theology” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald As we have noted previously (Kee Tavo 5762-2002), parashat Bechukotai is one of the two parashiot in the Torah,…

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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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Behar 5776-2016

“Bernie Sanders Meets Parashat Behar" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Behar, introduces many of the Torah’s revolutionary economic ideas (see Behar 5765-2005).…

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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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Emor 5778-2018

“The Great Moses Seems Not to Know the Answer” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Emor, we encounter the episode of the מְגַדֵּף, megadef, the blasphemer, which…

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Behar-Bechukotai 5769-2009

"Impoverishment: In those Days, in these Times" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Until the recent financial meltdown, it was difficult to conceive of impoverishment, especially in the Jewish…

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Count Out Loud

Set your computer or blackberry to remind you to count the Omer each evening. Here's a fun way to keep track of the Omer: Homer Counts The Omer!

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Tu B’Shevat

Tu B'ShevatNew Year for Trees Tu B’Shevat is a rabbinical, not biblical holiday. In fact, it is first…

What A Pretty Little

Appearances can be deceiving. Take little children, for instance. “What a pretty little girl” might be a misplaced compliment in many traditional communities where it is customary to…

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Emor 5770-2010

"Striving For Perfection" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Much of parashat Emor speaks of holiness, faultlessness, striving for perfection and the proper observance of the holy days. In…

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Behar-Bechukotai 5780-2020

“Setting a New Standard of Ethical Behavior” (Updated and revised from Parashiot Behar-Bechukotai 5761-2001) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week, we once again read two parashiot,…

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Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five survivors of the plague that took the lives of  24,000…

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Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five students who began studying with Rabbi Akiva after the horrible plague that…

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Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five students who began studying with Rabbi Akiva after the horrible plague that…

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Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five students who began studying with Rabbi Akiva after the horrible plague that…

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Laws and Customs of Shavuot

ShavuotLaws and Customs Table of Contents Festival Laws The Book of Ruth Customs Shavuot is a low-key, pensive holiday,…

The Ten Sephirot

Most people associate kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) with the Zohar (Book of Splendor). However, the earliest text to which the sages refer is Sefer…

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Rabbi Shimon’s Favorite Tree

On Lag Ba’omer, Jews around the world honor the memory of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a student of Rabbi Akiva who delved into the esoteric meaning of the Torah.  He taught what is…

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B’shalach 5764-2004

"The Malbim Teaches the Lessons of the Manna" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat B'shalach, the freed Israelite slaves experience the fullness of G-d's…

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Noah 5775-2014

“The Fate of Humankind is Sealed” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Noah, we read of the deluge that inundated the world, ending human life on earth except for…

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