Yitro 5764-2004

"Why G-d Cannot Share the Limelight"

G-d chose to speak directly to the People of Israel when He pronounced the first two statements of the Ten Commandments. These two directives set a path of exclusive monotheistic worship for the Jewish people. These words also created a foundation of moral absolutes in the world, as well as a demand for the ethical behavior expected of those created in G-d's image.

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B’shalach 5764-2004

"The Malbim Teaches the Lessons of the Manna"

From the life of the Malbim, the great 19th century Torah commentator, as well as from his brilliant and complicated explication of the "manna" that the Jewish people were given to eat in the wilderness, we find reminders of G-d's continuous support. Sustenance is always sent from the Al-mighty, whether it overtly rains from heaven, or comes in a more subtle manner.

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Bo 5764-2004

"The More Things Change..."

In the last moments of their sojourn in the Egyptian land that held them in bondage for hundreds of years, the Jews are told to gather gold and silver from their former Egyptian masters. To the casual observer it appears that the Jews are vengefully looting Egypt. Perhaps, though, the fulfillment of this command represents the mental journey that the Jews must travel from slavery to freedom. The looting of Egypt and its repercussions, are felt to this day.

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Va’eira 5764-2004

"The Names of G-d and Their Meanings"

The names of G-d are many, each revealing to the world a different aspect of the Creator. In this parasha, the universe's understanding of G-d is heightened by Moses to a level never before conceived, even by the patriarchs. After Moses, the world's notion of G-d is never to be the same again.

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Shemot 5764-2004

"The Message of the Burning Bush"

Why does G-d choose to reveal Himself to the world's greatest prophet from the midst of a burning bush? What lessons reside in the endowments of a small thornbush that are reflected in the manifestation of the Divine presence? It is a message of humility on G-d's part, and a means of elevating all of His people.

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Vayechi 5764-2004

"Can It Be a Mitzvah to Lie?"

When Joseph's brothers come to seek forgiveness from him, a battle of "truth" versus "peace" takes place. The meaning of these two values goes from absolute to relative, leaving the ethical fabric of the world to appear tattered and threadbare, without the proper perspective.

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Vayigash 5764-2003

"The Secret of Jewish Survival in Exile?"

From Jacob's plans to bring his family to Egypt to be with his long-lost son Joseph, we learn a profound lesson about Jewish continuity. Jacob sees to it that the people of Israel will be securely ensconced in Goshen, the suburb of Egypt, that is to be their new home. What Jacob regards as essentials for the survival of his family in his day, are truly timeless needs that Jews must meet in every one of the lands that Jews call home.

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Mikeitz-Chanukah 5764-2003

"Chanukah--The Struggle of Joseph and Judah"

Clothed in his coat of many colors, Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and eventually sold to Egypt. His subsequent involvement in Egyptian society is contrasted by Judah's purist, more conventional philosophy. These two viewpoints are echoed in the struggle of Chanukah, as Jews throughout the ages question how much to participate in the culture of the day.

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Vayeishev 5764-2003

"The Two Sides of Joseph"

Joseph, the child that Rachel bears after many years of barrenness, is an answer to her prayers, but Joseph soon becomes a thorn in the side of his brothers. How does a child, who is both adored by his parents and loathed by his siblings, develop? In this case, he becomes a Master of Dreams, a father of two tribes, and a viceroy of the mightiest empire in the ancient world.

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Vayishlach 5764-2003

"Who Was Esau?"

It's hard to imagine why there is an entire chapter of the Torah dedicated to the genealogy of the descendants of Esau, Jacob's wicked brother. Yet, a remarkable lesson is to be learned from this seemingly out-of-place chapter. Through the hints that are found in the text, a people is better understood, their way of life elucidated, and as a result, the worthiness of the nation of Jacob, that is the people of Israel, is underscored.

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Vayeitzei 5764-2003

"In Praise of Humility"

Perhaps, the greatness of Jacob, our forefather, lies in the fact that he recognized the need to "nullify" himself before G-d in order to come ever closer to Him. Humility, seeing who one really is in relation to G-d, and removing one's ego from the picture, is a trait that is aspired to in every generation by Jewish leaders and laymen alike.

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Toledot 5764-2003

"The Theological Underpinnings of Anti-Semitism"

In one of the first recorded acts of anti-Semitism, the Philistines blocked up the wells that had been dug by Abraham's servants. The juxtaposition of this act with the description of the economic success that was enjoyed by Abraham's son leads one to believe that the motivation for the evil acts perpetrated against him was economic envy. Is that truly the primary cause of this and other hateful acts perpetuated against Jews?

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Chayei Sara 5764-2003

"Who Was the Matriarch Sarah?"

The death of Sarah, one of the physical and metaphysical progenitors of the Jewish people, is recounted in this week's parasha. In a few short lines of this week's parasha, an abundance of information is revealed about who Sarah was. Her life, though not easy, was full. And when she departed from the mortal world, she left an invaluable spiritual legacy for posterity.

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Vayeira 5764-2003

"The Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim--Visiting the Sick"

The directive to cling to G-d, entails that mortals follow G-d's ways. In this parasha, the Al-mughty pays a visit to an ailing Abraham, and thus introduces the practice of visiting the sick. This commandment is more intricate than it appears at first glance, and the reward associated with it, is often beyond comprehension.

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Lech Lecha 5764-2003

"A Scriptural Assessment of Lot"

Abraham's nephew, Lot, is perhaps the classic Biblical example of an "average Joe." With relatives who range from saintly to dastardly, it's no wonder that his deeds and descendants similarly run the broad moral spectrum.

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Noah 5764-2003

"Using Technology in the Service of the A-lmighty"

The Tower of Babel, an ill-conceived enterprise, is an example of the harm that results when human creative forces run amuck. The use of modern-day advances and technology is positive only when the motive behind such practice is grounded in the Divine architectural plan.

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Bereshith 5764-2003

"The Book of Humankind"

In an examination of a single verse in the first parasha of the Torah, a wealth of meaning is to be found. This "Book," which is in some ways the history of all human, unites the Jewish people and humanity. Alongside the idea that all people stem from one source, there is an allusion to the book that every person writes during the collection of years that is called life. The offspring of the first human, and those of every subsequent human being, are not just his/her physical progeny, but the legacy that he/she leaves to humankind.

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Simchat Torah 5764-2003

"Celebrating Torah"

Torah does not just punctuate, it permeates, the life of a Jew. Torah is meant to be nothing less than the Jews' preoccupation, all of the days and nights of one's life. Like the air that is breathed, or the heart that beats within a human chest, there is no possibility of Jewish life absent of Torah.

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Sukkot 5764-2003

"The Seven Protective Divine Clouds"

According to the Midrash, the Jewish people were protected in the wilderness from the elements and from enemy attack by seven clouds. Though it is often hard to believe, the Jewish people today are similarly cared for in exile. G-d indeed shields them, but Jews must do all they can to look after their own well-being.

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Yom Kippur 5764-2003

"Smashing the Golden Calves"

The sin of the Golden Calf is perhaps the most reprehensible crime that the Jewish nation has committed against G-d. At the foot of Mount Sinai, immediately following the miraculous exodus from Egyptian slavery, when the Al-mighty showed the world that He had chosen the Jews as His people, the people brazenly defied Him, and were unfaithful to their beloved Creator. Yom Kippur is a day to express regret, and vow to change the many ways that the Jewish people may have betrayed their relationship with their Father-in-Heaven during the previous year.

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Rosh Hashana 5764-2003

"Making Each Day Count"

The High Holidays are a time to rendezvous with our Maker, to own-up to the sins that we have committed during the previous year, and to emerge anew, ready to serve G-d with vitality, freshness, and enthusiasm. What is the secret to living a life full of life?

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