Naso 5765-2005

"A Lesson from the N’seeim--the Tribal Leaders"

The fact that the Torah dwells at great length on the gifts of the tribal princes should serve as a clue for us that there is much to be learned from this Torah portion and from the behavior of the princes, as well as from the actions of Moses and Aaron.

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Bamidbar 5765-2005

"Lessons from Traveling in the Wilderness"

Parashat Bamidbar goes into great detail regarding the setup of the encampment of the ancient Israelites as they lived and traveled in the wilderness. These details, seemingly insignificant, provide essential lessons for Jews, lessons that we should master, and implement in our own lives, thus insuring the survival of our people.

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Bechukotai 5765-2005

"Achieving Peace and Security for the Jewish People"

Parashat Bechukotai pronounces the ultimate formula for achieving peace for the Jewish people. G-d declares: "Im bechukotai tay'lay'choo," if the Jewish people wish to attain peace and ultimate blessing, they must follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them. Security is a factor of the Jewish people's relationship with G-d.

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Behar 5765-2005

"The Torah's Revolutionary Economic System"

Parashat Behar often gets lost in the shuffle following Passover and before the summer, and yet contains many revolutionary concepts, challenging the prevailing ideas of both capitalism and socialism. The Torah provides its own modified economic system that attempts to insure the humanity of all people in all situations.

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Emor 5765-2005

"Priests and Death: An Unusual Relationship"

In parashat Emor, the commentators explain why a lay priest may contaminate himself upon the death of his closest seven relatives, but may not be defiled for the death of strangers. Through the laws of death, the Torah teaches the Jewish people the infinite value of life.

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Kedoshim 5765-2005

"Living a Sanctified Life"

The revolutionary concept of living a sanctified life might seem daunting, but in reality it is a goal to be aspired to by every Jew. The exalted concept of being G-d-like is not out of the realm of human possibility.

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Passover II 5765-2005

"On the Seventh Day the Walls of Water Split"

According to tradition, the children of Israel marched through the Sea of Reeds (the Red Sea) on the seventh day of Passover. The Torah in Exodus 14 declares twice that "the waters were a wall for them on their right and on their left." This unusual repetition of the phrase begs elucidation, and, of course, there is much to learn from this repetition.

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Passover I 5765-2005

"In Every Generation"

The story of the Exodus and the celebration of the Passover recalls the physical salvation of the Jews from the slavery of Egypt at the hand of Pharaoh. But more than the physical suffering of the Jews throughout the ages, the spiritual losses have taken an even greater toll on the Jewish people. The festival of Passover is an important opportunity for the vast majority of the Jews of the world who are now rapidly assimilating to experience a true spiritual redemption during this Festival of Redemption.

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Metzorah 5765-2005

"And you think that Tzara'at is Weird?"

The ancient Biblical claims that a person could contract a dermatological disease by speaking lashon hara strains our rational credibility. And yet, every day scientific knowledge uncovers new and incredible discoveries that seem to be as absurd as the Biblical disease Tzara'at. Yet, many of these scientific discoveries are valid, in fact, we could not conduct our lives without utilizing these new scientific powers and discoveries. So, let's not be so quick to dismiss the Biblical disease, Tzara'at. In light of what we've already discovered scientifically, Tzara'at may not at all be in the realm of impossibility.

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Tazria 5765-2005

"Some Important Lessons That We Learn from the Ancient Biblical Tzara'at"

The laws of the Biblical disease, tzara'at, are complex, and seem rather irrelevant. By surveying the nuances of the text in parashat Tazria we learn many profound messages about judging others favorably, healing ourselves and coming closer to G-d.

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Shemini 5765-2005

"The Little Steps that Lead to Big Accomplishments"

In parashat Shemini we learn that Moses and Aaron come in to the Tent of Meeting. From the Torah's emphasis on these steps they took in coming, we learn the vital importance of the little, often-dismissed, actions. These actions should not be treated lightly. Indeed, they are to be regarded and valued as an integral and primary part of the ultimate goal.

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Tzav 5765-2005

"Do Sacrifices Have Any Relevance for Us Today?"

Our rabbis ask if the ancient sacrificial rituals have any relevance for us today. They respond by saying that both prayer and Torah study are meaningful contemporary substitutes for sacrifices, especially if we pray and study with full-hearted enthusiasm and proper awareness. If we do so, it is considered as if we have rebuilt the Temple and restored the altar to its ancient place of glory.

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Vayikra 5765-2005

"The 'Sacrifice' That Lasts Forever "

Much of the Book of Leviticus, especially parashat Vayikra, deals with the rites and rituals of animal sacrifice. Sacrifice, however, does not only mean the sacrifice of offerings in the Tabernacle, it also means the Jews preparedness to do everything that is necessary to guarantee that Jewish children are given proper Jewish educations, thus ensuring a bright Jewish future.

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Pekudei 5765-2005

"Bezalel: the Artist who Broke the Mold"

In parashat Pekudei, the Tabernacle is finally completed and erected. No one involved in its fashioning deserved to celebrate the completion of G-d's "dwelling place" more than Bezalel, who supervised its construction. No one deserved to glory in its beauty more than Bezalel, and yet this artist humbly fulfilled every instruction that he received from G-d, and did not feel himself at all reduced by being a mere "implementor." There is much we can all learn from Bezalel's humility and self-effacing attitude.

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Vayakhel 5765-2005

"Bezalel's Artistic Legacy"

Throughout the ages, Judaism has struggled with its mixed attitude toward art and sculpture. One of the few unconditionally positive statements about art is the Torah's description in parashat Vayakhel of Bezalel's many talents. Aside from his prodigious skills, Bezalel was also a master teacher of art, and it is not unlikely that, because of his artistry and singular devotion, we today enjoy the aesthetic gifts that have been passed down through him from generation to generation.

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Kee Tisah 5765-2005

"Shabbat as a Priority in Jewish Life"

In the middle of the Torah portions that deals with building the Tabernacle and the sin of the Golden Calf, the Torah unexpectedly reaffirms the sanctity of the Sabbath day. From this, our rabbis deduce that Shabbat is a foremost priority that supercedes even the building of the Tabernacle, the Mishkan. This same overriding principle profoundly impacts on Jewish life in contemporary times.

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Tetzaveh 5765-2005

"A Flame in Every Jewish Heart"

The "light" of the Menorah has multiple meanings. Our commentators teach us that every Jew must light a Ner Tamid, an eternal lamp, in his/her own heart, not only in the Tabernacle or the tent, but in the street, the marketplace and at the baseball game. Committed Jews must see themselves as "ambassadors" for Jewish life in order to stem the tide of assimilation and to win back the masses who have already walked away from Jewish life.

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Terumah 5765-2005

"Identifying the Essentials of Life"

Moses Mendelssohn, the German-Jewish philosopher, identifies three basic elements of workmanship that are employed in the building of the Tabernacle: essential arts, useful arts and ornamental arts. These categories are important in order to identify the labors of humankind and ascribe value to them. Their identity also helps us discern which skills and arts are useful and essential, and those that may lead to overindulgence.

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Mishpatim 5765-2005

"The Conundrum of Charity--Who Benefits More?"

According to many commentators, parashat Mishpatim contains the source of the biblical commandment of gemilut chasadim--the requirement to render kindness to the needy. Caring for the poor and the needy is not easy, but it could turn out to be a great opportunity for blessing and for growth.

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Yitro 5765-2005

"Jethro's Advice to an Overburdened Leader"

Jethro warns his son-in-law, Moses, that he is in danger of burning out by biting off more than he can chew. It takes a great man like Moses to heed Jethro's difficult advice and share the leadership responsibilities with others. The well-being of the People of Israel was always Moses's utmost concern, hence, his decision to delegate authority resulted in great benefit for the People of Israel.

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B’shalach 5765-2005

"Vah'chah'moo'shim“-A Call to Arms"

In parashat B'shalach the Torah tells us that the Israelites went out of Egypt, "chah'moo'shim," usually translated as "armed." Chah'moo'shim however is a word that has many interpretations and many deep and subtle meanings that teach us that much more than physical/military defense is needed to protect the Jewish people.

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Bo 5765-2005

"Opening Their Hearts so They Can Hear"

Among the many fascinating verses of Parashat Bo, we find the actual sources of three of the four sons that are recorded in the Passover Hagaddah. There is a profound lesson to be learned from all the Biblical sources, but especially the verses that apply to the Rasha, the so-called "prodigal child."

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Va’eira 5765-2005

"Teaching a New Reality About Divine Power Through The Ten Plagues"

The ten plagues were not simply ten random events. They were carefully structured symbols that came to negate contemporary Egyptian beliefs, and teach very powerful lessons about faith in G-d and His ultimate power. The ten plagues also successfully worked to discredit the power of the chartoomim and chachamim, Pharaoh's sorcerers and wise men.

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