Yitro 5779-2019

“An Encounter with Jethro and the Non-Jewish World”
(Revised and updated from Yitro 5760-2000)

3,300 years ago, when xenophobia reigned supreme throughout the ancient world, the Torah admonished Jews not to reject sage advice simply because it emanates from a non-Jewish source. In fact, Jews are encouraged to look for good, healthy and valid ideas anywhere in the world, Jewish and secular, and embrace those ideas with open arms.

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Va’eira 5779-2018

"The Cups of Redemption"

Rabbi Asher Weiss maintains that there are four levels of slavery that parallel the four languages of liberation found in parashat Va’eira, and are represented by the four cups of wine that we drink at the Passover Seder.

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Shemot 5779-2018

“Getting the Jews Out of Egypt-–Two Views”

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firer argues that Moses and G-d had different approaches regarding the process of the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

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Vayechi 5779-2018

“Jacob Blesses His Grandchildren”

What were the special characteristics of Ephraim and Menashe that earned them the honor of serving as paradigms in the parents' Shabbat blessings for their male children throughout Jewish history?

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Vayigash 5779-2018

“The Innocent Victim”

When Joseph asked, "Is my father still alive?" he was asking his brothers how could they have been so unconcerned for the feelings of their poor father Jacob, who for 22 years, was inconsolable over the loss of Joseph.

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Mikeitz 5779-2018

"Why Did You Treat Me So Badly"

There was but a single instance in Jacob’s life where he complained to G-d about being treated badly. Jacob’s faithful attitude teaches the importance of having faith in G-d at all times, and that even in times of darkness, we must look forward to the dawning of a beautiful sun-filled tomorrow.

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Vayeishev 5779-2018

“The Mystical Aspects of the Sale of Joseph”

The sale of Joseph by his brothers certainly impacted on the course of Jewish history. The story behind the sale is especially fascinating in its consequences.

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Vayishlach 5779-2018

“Jacob’s Challenging Life”

Our Patriarch Jacob, lived a life of many challenges. Yet, he never gave up hope and never became bitter. There is much to learn from father Jacob about facing and living with overwhelming adversity.

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Vayeitzei 5779-2018

“The Deceivers are Deceived”

Jacob, the deceiver of Esau, is himself deceived by Laban. Torah law insists that employer-employee relationships must be based on truth and honesty.

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Toledot 5779-2018

“The Dangers of Assimilation”

When peace was made between him and the king of Gerar, Isaac realized that it was time to move away, to distance himself so that he could maintain his strong Jewish identity and live a full Jewish life with intensity and passion. Contemporary Jews, may need to do the same to ensure their own continuity.

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Chayei Sarah 5779-2018

“Abraham’s Eulogy for His Beloved Sarah”

While others, who spoke at Sarah’s funeral, emphasized how Sarah was a true help-meet to Abraham, Abraham himself spoke of his wife as a spiritual giant herself.

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Vayeira 5779-2018

“The Tension Between Human Love and Divine Will”

In a clash between human love and Divine will, Divine will must always prevail.

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Lech Lecha 5779-2018

“Why Did G-d Choose Abraham?”

As opposed to other great, righteous people and leaders, the Torah does not specify why Abram was chosen by G-d.

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Noah 5779-2018

“Noah’s Birds– The Raven and the Dove”

Noah dispatches two birds from the Ark--a raven and a dove. There are significant differences between how Noah relates to, and treats, these two birds.

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Bereshith 5779-2018

“Who was Enoch?”

Who was Enoch, and why did he die young? What was Enoch’s role in the primordial world?

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Haazinu-Sukkot 5779-2018

“The Challenges of Poverty and Wealth”

The confluent messages of parashat Haazinu and the festival of Sukkot both stress the Jews’ dependence upon the blessings of the Al-mighty.

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Vayeilech-Yom Kippur 5779-2018

“And Moses Went...”

When Moses went to the Jewish people on the final day of his life, he gave them a most profound spiritual gift.

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Nitzavim-Rosh Hashana 5779-2018

“Whatever Became of Sin?”

Parashat Nitzavim has been called “one of the greatest expositions on repentance in the Torah.” How appropriate it is to read these deeply inspiring words during the High Holy Day season.

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Kee Tavo 5778-2018

“A Wandering Aramean?”

In the beautiful declaration that plays a prominent role in the Bikkurim ceremony, there is an ambiguous reference to “a Wandering Aramean.”

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Kee Teitzei 5778-2018

What is the purpose of performing mitzvot?

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Shoftim 5778-2018

"Identifying the True Prophet"

Can true prophets be identified? If so, how? Are there prophets in our midst today?

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Re’eh 5778-2018

"The Torah’s Definition of True Wealth”

Parashat Re’eh contains among the most exalted texts in human literature concerning caring for the poor and the downtrodden.

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Eikev 5778-2018

The Torah prohibits bringing an “abomination” into one’s home. This ancient message resounds profoundly in contemporary times.

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Va’etchanan 5778-2018

According to tradition, Moses offered up no fewer than 515 prayers to be allowed to enter the Promised Land–-all to no avail. Yet, his continuing petition, even after his fate was definitively sealed, teaches that mortals must never give up hope and never despair. The mercy of the L-rd endures forever.

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Devarim 5778-2018

“The Final Rebuke"

During the last five weeks of Moses’ life, he delivers a subtle rebuke to the People of Israel, to prepare them for a successful entry into the Promised Land.

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Matot-Masei 5778-2018

“Judaism and Warfare”

The great battle that Israel waged to avenge Midian for leading the men of Israel astray is described in what appears to be a very cruel and heartless manner. Judaism’s attitude toward warfare is nevertheless quite enlightened.

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Pinchas 5778-2018

"Pinchas the Zealot?" 

Pinchas is not rewarded for taking the lives of those who performed the public act of harlotry. It is only Pinchas’ courage to sacrifice everything meaningful in his life in order to stand up for the

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Balak 5778-2018

The would-be curses of Bilaam, that became blessings, have served as a source of great inspiration for the Jewish people throughout the peoples’ challenging history.

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Chukat 5778-2018

"The People of Israel are Taught to be More Independent"

Miriam and Aaron have passed away. Moses will soon pass as well. The people must begin to adjust to a more natural lifestyle, rather than the supernatural life they lived during the 40 years in the wilderness.

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Korach 5778-2018

“Where Did Korach Go Wrong?”

Korach, who was reputed to be a very wise man, failed to understand that the leadership role that Moses played was not based on power, but was derived from being a devoted mentor and a master teacher.

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