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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Shelach 5778-2018

“Moses Called Hoshea the Son of Nun, ‘Joshua’”

Why did Moses pray for the well-being of only Joshua, and not for the well-being of Caleb and the other 10 scouts?

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B’ha’a’lot’cha 5778-2018

“The Seventy Elders: The Challenge of Jewish Leadership”

The seventy elders chosen by Moses to serve the people were well-known for protecting the people from harm, by allowing themselves to be beaten instead of beating the Israelites.

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Naso 5778-2018

“Counting the ‘Special’ People”

All the tribes of Israel were counted by Moses “according to their families and according to their fathers’ household.” The righteous Israelites and the righteous converts were not counted in that manner.

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Bamidbar-Shavuot 5778-2018

“Counting a Very Special People"

The counting of the Children of Israel in ancient times did not seek to identify the skills or aptitudes of those who were counted. It was a survey of those who had a genuine connection to G-d. On the festival of Shavuot we all seek to assert our special relationship with the Al-mighty.

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Behar-Bechukotai 5778-2018

“Torah From Sinai”

The revolutionary laws of Shemitah, of allowing the land to lie fallow every seven years, is a prominent example of laws that confirm the existence of G-d and the divinity of the Torah.

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Emor 5778-2018

“The Great Moses Seems Not to Know the Answer”

In four major cases in the Torah, Moses seems to be unable to respond to the issues, and must wait to receive the proper answer from Heaven.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5778-2018

“The Extreme Sanctity of the Holy of Holies--Revisited”

The exalted holiness of the Holy of Holies chamber in the Tabernacle and Temple, plays a key role in ancient and
contemporary Jewish history.

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Tazria-Metzora 5778-2018

“Looking at Tzara’at from a Different Perspective”

Summary: With the explosive growth of social media and the growing trend to let it “all hang out,” those who are concerned for the sanctity of speech need to follow the Torah’s strong advice to scrupulously guard our tongues and isolate the habitual speakers of evil.

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Shemini 5778-2018

“Kashrut and Copepods”

Although many Jews know that kosher mammals must have split hooves and chew their cuds and that kosher fish must have fins and scales, very few are aware of the major prohibition of eating bugs, insects and creeping crawling things.

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Passover II /Final Days 5778-2018

“Passover: The Final Days ”

The splitting of the Red Sea was not only necessary to ensure the physical rescue of the Israelites, but also to prepare the people for their new future in the Promised Land.

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Passover 5778-2018

“The Opening Act”

The wise authors of the Hagaddah knew well that if the reader’s or participant’s attention is not captured in the first few moments of the Seder ritual, then the likelihood of success is much diminished. That is why they created a natural, dramatic opening for the Seder, one that has had repeated success for more than two thousand years.

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Tzav–Passover 1 5778-2018

Tzav--Passover 1 5778-2018

Just as the Mincha, the meal offering that was offered in the ancient Temple, sanctified everything it touched, so do we hope that the Passover symbols and rituals will sanctify and elevate all those who experience them at the Passover Seder.

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Vayikra 5778-2018

"The Sins of a Leader”

By implying that all leaders and princes will sin, is the Torah teaching that all systems of government are doomed to failure?

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5778-2018

"Bringing G-d Home”

Just as the Mincha, the meal offering that was offered in the ancient Temple, sanctified everything it touched, so do we hope that the Passover symbols and rituals will sanctify and elevate all those who experience them at the Passover Seder.

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Kee Tisah 5778-2018

"Safeguarding the Covenant"

The Torah provides a formula to safeguard Israel=s covenant with G-d: separate from the negative influences of the non-Jewish nations.

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Tetzaveh 5778-2018

“The Brothers: Moses and Aaron”

The Book of Exodus not only introduces the concept of brotherhood, but provides an extraordinary paradigm of brotherhood through the special relationship of Moses and Aaron.

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Terumah 5778-2018

“The Cherubs”

The word “Cherub” appears only twice in the Torah. In one instance they are referred to as “angels of destruction,” in another they are described as “angelic faces of children.” How can these contrasting descriptions be reconciled?

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Mishpatim 5778-2018

“Heaven Made Me Do It!”

The Torah states, that in certain instances G-d causes “accidents” to happen that will result in loss of human life. What are the limits of human “free will?”

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