Chayei Sara 5766-2005

"Who Is Keturah?" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Chayei Sarah, soon after Isaac marries Rebecca, we learn that the elderly Abraham marries a woman named…

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Balak 5765-2005

"Bilaam, Prophet to the Nations" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald The Jews and their philosophers have long been troubled by the concept of "Chosenness." So uncomfortable were the people and…

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Balak 5761-2001

"Words of Eternal Truth from the Evil Prophet Bilaam" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Balak, we encounter Balak, the King of Moab, soliciting the…

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Re’eh 5773-2013

"How Far Must We Go to Avoid Evil?" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Re’eh, we learn of the Biblical command that the People of Israel must destroy all…

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It’s All Good

One ancient and ongoing philosophical question is: If God is perfect, and God created the world, can anything that God created be inherently bad? We all know that there is evil in the…

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Toledot 5773-2012

"The Sale of the Birthright" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Toledot, we learn of the sale of the birthright by Esau to his twin brother Jacob. In order to…

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5773-2013

"They’re Not Laughing At Me Anymore!" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s double parashiot, Nitzavim-Vayeilech, Moses gathers all the People of Israel together, re-enters them…

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A Trap of Wealth

If I were a rich man...The most important men in town will come to fawn on me...When you're rich they think you really know... The now classic words from the Broadway show "Fiddler on the…

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A Trap of Wealth

If I were a rich man...The most important men in town will come to fawn on me...When you’re rich they think you really know... The now classic words from the Broadway show Fiddler on the…

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Noah 5766-2005

"The Seven Commandments Given to the Descendants of Noah" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Noah, G-d blesses Noah and his children after the Flood, and graces…

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Eikev 5763-2003

"Is There Truth to the Notion of Spiritual Accountability?" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald This coming week's Torah portion, Parashat Eikev, contains the well-known second paragraph of the…

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Metzorah 5765-2005

"And you think that Tzara'at is Weird?" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week's parasha, parashat Metzorah, continues the theme of last week's parasha, Tazria, regarding the saga of the…

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Vayigash 5775-2014

"Joseph Calms His Brothers" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayigash, Joseph dramatically reveals himself to his brothers. Scripture reports that Joseph…

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Eikev 5776-2016

“Caring for the Weak and the Vulnerable" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Among the important mitzvot found in this week’s parasha, parashat Eikev, the Torah bids the Jew to be G-dlike by…

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The Great Sea Monster

For most of history, sea monsters were considered among the greatest perils of sea travel. Most probably, the “monsters” that they feared were simply whales, sharks and giant squid that…

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Heartfelt Repentance

It is easy to speak of teshuva (repentance), but, actually, the process of repenting is quite challenging. Much can be learned about repentance from the story of Eleazer…

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Fortunate! Fortunate! Forunate!

Central among the morning prayers known as Pesukei D’zimra, Songs of Praise, is Psalm 145, which is more often referred to simply as Ashrei. Actually, Ashrei is included in the service…

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Better Than A Bullock

In the times of the Temple, the most exalted form of worship was through sacrifices brought to Jerusalem. But, now the Jewish people have lived for centuries without the Holy Temple.…

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The Great Sea Monster

For most of history, sea monsters were considered among the greatest perils of sea travel. Most probably, the “monsters” that they feared were simply whales, sharks and giant squid that…

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The Great Hoshana (Hoshana Rabbah)

Rosh Hashana is known as the Day of Judgment (Yom Hadin), the day on which God judges every person. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the day on which God finalizes His verdict on the…

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The Great Hoshana (Hoshana Rabbah)

Rosh Hashana is known as the Day of Judgment (Yom Hadin), the day on which God judges every person. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the day on which God finalizes His verdict on the…

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Vayeitzei 5763-2002

"The Transformation of Jacob" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald This week's Torah portion, parashat Vayeitzei, continues the fascinating story of the patriarchal family of Isaac and the saga of…

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Pinchas 5772-2012

“Transferring Power” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Pinchas, we learn of the transfer of the leadership of Israel from Moses to Joshua. In Numbers 27:12,…

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Tetzaveh 5780-2020

“The True Story of Purim” (updated and revised from Tetzaveh 5761-2001)   by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week’s parasha, parashat Tetzaveh, speaks of the fashioning of the…

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5764-2004

"Hastening the Messiah" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Parashiot Nitzavim and Vayeilech are always read together before Rosh Hashanah, unless there is a Shabbat in between Yom Kippur and…

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Shemot 5770-2010

"In Those Days, In These Times" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This message may be a little late, but there seem to be strong parallels between the story of the enslavement of the Jews in…

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Bamidbar 5777-2017

“The Danger of Seeing the Holy Furnishings” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Bamidbar, concludes with G-d’s stern warning to Moses and Aaron forbidding the…

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Vayeitzei 5778-2017

“Three Wells ” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, Jacob leaves Beer Sheba to escape the wrath of Esau and travels to Haran to be with his uncle,…

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Who Was a Nazirite?

One of the areas covered in Parashat Naso is about the Nazirite. This is a man or woman who opts to avoid the vices of wine and grape products, eludes any contact with the dead and does…

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Western Wall History

The Western (Wailing*) Wall is the most accessible holiest location in Jewish life. With 28 rows of massive stones above ground (and 17 below), the wall itself is physically breathtaking.…

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