Bamidbar – Shavuot 5772-2012

"Techelet--Genuine Sincerity in Faith"

The Torah delineates very specific procedures for preparing the Tabernacle furnishings before the camp of Israel travels in the wilderness. From the priestly procedures to cover the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle, we learn a profound lesson regarding the primacy of faith.

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Behar-Bechukotai, Yom Yerushalayim 5772-2012

"Living Outside the Land of Israel"

Although the Midrash regards the importance of the mitzvah of dwelling in the land of Israel as equivalent in value to all the other Torah mitzvot combined, the debate still rages today regarding the obligation for all Jews to dwell in the land of Israel.

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Emor 5772-2012

"Lessons from a Priest’s Wanton Daughter"

The bad habits that we see some of our children developing may not be due to the children’s own personal shortcomings, but rather a result of the failure of proper parental nurturing. The only way for the priests, parents, and children to become sanctified and remain sanctified is for parents to serve as sanctified examples for their children and their families.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5772-2012

"Respect for Elders"

Our rabbis suggest that according filial respect and honoring elders are the fundamental building blocks of a healthy society, without which the world would soon revert to a state of chaos.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5772-2012

“The Essential Ingredient for Repentance and Prayer--Humility”

The highly symbolic ritual of purification of the person stricken with the Tzaraat disease has much to teach us about achieving proper Teshuva (repentance) and the art of offering exalted prayer.

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Shemini 5772-2012

"The Efficacy of the Oral Code"

In parashat Shemini we encounter one of many verses in the Torah that seems to indicate that Torah clearly does not make sense without an Oral Code. Although every verse of the Biblical text has a definite literal meaning, virtually every verse has its own particular interpretation in the Oral Code to facilitate our understanding of the Biblical text.

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Passover II 5772-2012

“G-d Shall Do Battle for You, and You Shall Remain Silent”

On the seventh day of Passover, we celebrate the salvation of the people of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians by the splitting of the Red Sea. Faith is what worked for the people at the shores of the Red Sea, and faith is what still works for the Jewish people today.

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Passover I 5772-2012

“Optimism and Faithfulness”

The message of Passover is the message of Springtime, of optimism and redemption. While we celebrate our salvation by the Al-mighty, we must remember the challenges that our people endured and continue to endure today. We must step forward to show our own personal goodness and, by extension, the extraordinary goodness of our faith and our tradition.

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Tzav 5772-2012

“Spiritual Movements in the Life of a Jew”

In this week’s parasha we learn of the waving of parts of the peace offering sacrifice. The Lubavitcher Rebbe suggests that this waving has much to do with the spiritual movements in the life of a Jew.

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Vayikra 5772-2012

“Pass the Salt, Please!”

In parashat Vayikra we learn of the obligation of placing salt on all sacrificial offerings, including all animal, wheat and wine offerings. What is the purpose and function of this ritual?

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5772-2012

“A United People Build the Tabernacle”

What were the special qualities of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), which ensured its durability, that were not found in the permanent Temples of Jerusalem?

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Kee Tisah 5772-2012

"The Preeminence of Shabbat"

Smack in the middle of the Torah portions dealing extensively with the building of the Tabernacle, the Torah boldly exhorts the people to observe the Sabbath day. What is the relationship between Shabbat and the building of the Temple and Tabernacle?

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Tetzaveh 5772-2012

"Where is Moses?"

Since the entire design and execution of the Tabernacle was done under the supervision of Moses, it is particularly surprising that the name of Moses does not appear, even once, in parashat Tetzaveh.

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Terumah 5772-2012

"The Outer Altar"

Although we have no Temple or Tabernacle today, the powerful symbolism of the Tabernacle furnishings lives on. We must continue to study the details and nuances of the outer altar and of the entire Tabernacle, because their lessons are eternally and profoundly relevant.

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Mishpatim 5772-2012

"Capital Punishment: Revenge or Restitution?"

In parashat Mishpatim, the Torah introduces the concept of capital punishment. Is the execution of a murderer an act of vengeance, or is it intended to serve as restitution for the loss of human life?

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Yitro 5772-2012

"Who is the Real Jethro?"

The Torah portrays Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, as a man of great distinction. No other personage of non-Jewish origin is accorded as much honor. Yet, the Midrash offers several ambivalent portraits of the man.

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B’shalach 5772-2012

"Pharaoh's Ultimate Fate"

In Exodus 15, after the splitting of the sea, Moses leads the People of Israel in triumphant song, and Miriam leads the women of Israel in a song of victory. That is the last that we hear of Pharaoh, or is it?

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Bo 5772-2012

"The Plague of Darkness"

The ninth plague of darkness precedes the most intense and final plague, death of the first born. What exactly occurred during this plague and what role was it meant to play in preparation for the Exodus?

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Va’eira 5772-2012

“The Decline and Collapse of the Egyptian Magicians”

The Bible reports that the Egyptian magicians encourage Pharaoh’s resistance by replicating several of the Ten Plagues. Soon, however, we learn of the precipitous decline and collapse of the Egyptian magicians.

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Shemot 5772-2012

“A Truly Moral Man Goes Out To His Brethren”

Although Jews may prefer to regard Moses exclusively as the leader of the Jewish people, Moses clearly emerges as the shepherd of all humankind.

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Vayechi 5772-2012

"The Scepter Shall Not Depart from Judah"

The commentators are divided over whether Jacob’s statement, that the scepter shall not depart from Judah, was intended as a decree or as a promise.

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Vayigash 5772-2011

"Joseph and Judah: A Confrontation for Posterity"

The confrontation between Judah and Joseph was not only intended to achieve the release of Benjamin, but was a struggle for the leadership of Israel between two larger-than-life brothers.

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Va’etchanan 5771-2011

"The Ten Commandments: The Differences"

The fact that there are two versions of the Ten Commandments in the Torah with slight differences in the texts raises significant questions. These questions are confronted head-on by the incredibly intellectually honest approach of Jewish scholarship. This educational legacy of Judaism, which encourages students to constantly search for truth, has shaped young Jewish minds for millennia, resulting in unparalleled intellectual achievements.

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Chukat 5771-2011

"The Well of Miriam"

In parashat Chukat, the great prophetess, Miriam, passes away. The fact that, immediately after Miriam’s passing, there is no water for the People of Israel leads the rabbis to conclude that in Miriam’s merit, a well of water traveled with the people of Israel for 40 years in the wilderness, and, with her demise, the well vanished. What was the nature of Miriam’s well?

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