B’ha’alot’cha 5762-2002

"Is This What the Torah Predicted?"

In parashat B'ha'alot'cha we find two extremely telling stories concerning two groups of ancient Israelites. The first, the "mixed multitude," cry out, "Our souls are dried up, there is nothing at all." The second group protest to Moses that they do not wish to miss celebrating the ritual of the Pascal sacrifice together with their families and the entire people of Israel. These two groups may very well represent the millions of alienated contemporary Jews who have declared that their souls are dried up and a growing number of contemporary Jews who love their Judaism and wish to reach out to, and inspire, their turned-off brothers and sisters who are ignorant of their heritage..

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Naso 5762-2002

"The Challenge of the Priestly Blessings"

The issue of whether human beings can encourage G-d to bless them, or if human beings can actually bless G-d, is not easily resolved. One thing we know for sure is that mortals certainly need G-d's blessings.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes

Shavuot 5762-2002

"Beyond the Book of Ruth: The Untold Story"

Why is it that we recall King David through the reading of the story of Ruth on Shavuot, asks Rabbi Eliyahu KiTov? To teach that a person can become a tool for the purpose of heaven on this earth only through affliction and suffering. This is the message that Eliyahu KiTov finds embedded throughout the Book of Ruth.

Read More


0 Comments13 Minutes

Bamidbar 5762-2002

"Counting on the People of Israel"

The excruciating detail that the Torah goes into when reporting on the census of the People of Israel underscores the importance of the organizational structure of the Jewish people. The redundant counting of the Jewish people in the parasha may be a rabbi's nightmare, but the detail underscores each Jew's preciousness. This high regard for each Jewish soul is what really keeps our people together and unified.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Behar-Bechukotai 5762-2002

"The Extraordinary Mitzvah of Tzedaka, Charity"

The word tzedaka that we mention in Parashat Behar does not mean charity, but rather justice and righteousness. It is not an act of charity to be generous, it is the correct thing to do.

Read More


0 Comments12 Minutes

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5762-2002

"Shaatnez: Understanding Irrational Decrees"

The laws of Shaatnez, in parashat Kedoshim, of not wearing wool and linen together, fall under the category of laws that are known as chukim--decrees which are commands from G-d that have no apparent rational reason. The esoteric laws of Shaatnez that appear so out of place in contemporary times have much to teach us about sensitivity toward others, and that the great gift of clothes must never be taken for granted.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Yom Hashoah 5762-2002

"Reflections on the Holocaust"

America's Jews are walking away from Jewish life in record numbers. Part of the problem may be due to the fact that obsessing over the Holocaust is exacting a great price on American Jews.
If we are to stop the hemmorhaging of Jewish life in America, intensive, positive, joyous, Jewish education experiences must become a priority.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Tzav 5762-2002

"Understanding Shabbat Hagadol"

Our commentators offer a host of reasons to explain why the Sabbath prior to Passover is called by the grand name "Shabbat Hagadol," the Great Sabbath. Whatever the reason for this Sabbath to be given such a distinguished name, it is always a very special Sabbath for the Jewish people.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Vayikra 5762-2002

"The Lesson of the Mincha Offering--Giving with a Full Heart"

Among the many profound lessons that the Mincha offering teaches, is that Judaism is not the religion of the wealthy. In fact, Judaism provides venues of expression and of worship for all the people of Israel, rich and poor, young and old, male and female alike. The Mincha offering specifically teaches that one must give with a full heart.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes

Vayakhel-Pekudei 5762-2002

"The Original Jewish Renewal Movement"

On the Sabbath prior to the new month of Nisan, a portion known as Parashat Hachodesh is read, announcing the arrival of the new month of Nisan, the first month of the year. Nisan is the month of redemption and salvation. It is a time when the Jewish people burst forth from darkness and despair to allow the glory of G-d to shine forth. This is the original Jewish renewal movement.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Kee Tisah-Purim 5762-2002

"The Story of Esther--Making Choices for Jewish Destiny"

When Esther receives the report that Mordechai is leading a great mourning and wailing, she is thrown into a panic. Some commentators regard Esther's reaction as a personal failure on the Queen's part to rise to the challenge. In effect, Esther respond's to Mordechai's appeal by saying "Do you expect me to risk my life and compromise my lofty position for the Jewish people?" Mordechai's response to Esther strikes a sensitive chord. Despite her initial reluctance, Esther redeems herself, fulfills her mission brilliantly, and goes on to become one of the great heroic figures of Jewish history.

Read More


0 Comments12 Minutes

Tetzaveh 5762-2002

"The Korban Tamid--a Lesson in Consistency"

The Tamid, the perpetual offering, was brought every morning and afternoon of every day of the year. Unfortunately, we no longer have a Temple and can no longer offer sacrifices. All we have is prayer. Now we must show our consistency and faithfulness to G-d through our prayers.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Terumah 5762-2002

"The Centrality of Torah"

The Holy Ark was the central furnishing of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), which housed the Torah. Since Torah is the elixir of life for the Jewish people, the Ark, with its nonremovable staves, went with the people whenever they moved. This ancient practice teaches us that at the very core of our homes must be the Torah.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Mishpatim 5762-2002

"'An Eye for an Eye' in Jewish Law"

If an "eye for an eye" in the Bible does not literally mean an eye for an eye, but rather monetary compensation, why then does the Torah use this expression?

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Yitro 5762-2002

"Structural Secrets of the Decalogue"

The Torah contains some very powerful subliminal messages that may not be articulated in the text, or written in the letters and the ink, but may be found instead in the white spaces. That is why there are many lessons to be learned from simply studying the structure of the Ten Commandments.

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes

B’shalach 5762-2002

"G-d: The Source of Sweetness"

Immediately after the great miracle of the parting of the seas, the Jews arrived at a place called Marah, where the water had turned bitter. G-d tells Moses to throw a bitter branch into the water and miraculously the waters become sweet. Our commentators suggest that the Torah wishes to convey the message to humankind that ultimately there is really no such thing as "bitter or sweet." Whatever we experience is merely a reflection of G-d's will.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Bo 5762-2002

"Rituals Work, Rituals Work"

The prodigal child of the Haggadah asks, "Why do we need all these mitzvot and all the rituals?" The rituals of Judaism are vitally important; they are the flesh that covers the bones and give substance and meaning to the words of our sacred texts. Without rituals we are practicing an eviscerated form of Judaism, "Play-Dough" or "Mother Goose" Judaism, if you will.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Va’eira 5762-2002

"Can We Question G-d and Get Away With It?"

Parashat Va'eira opens with G-d berating Moses for saying that things have only gotten worse for the people of Israel since Moses intervention. Strict interpretation holds Moses accountable for his presumptuousness, eventually resulting in his inability to enter the promised land. The more liberal interpretation implies that G-d desires to be challenged, hoping to find justification that would exonerate those guilty of improper acts.

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes