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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Pinchas 5775-2015

“Learning by Example”

Role models can serve as sources of inspiration, for both good and evil. The zealous actions of Pinchas can be traced back to the heroic actions of his grandfather Aaron.

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Vayikra 5774-2014

“The Essence of Sacrifice”

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firer argues that the primary purpose of the rituals of animal sacrifice is to prevent future sinful actions, rather than atone for past trespasses.

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Vayikra 5773-2013

"Achieving Spiritual Ascendance Through Sacrifice"

Why do Jewish children begin their study of Torah with the complicated laws of sacrifice? What is ultimately achieved by the bringing of animal sacrifices?

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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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Tetzaveh 5770-2010

"The Central Role of the Golden Altar and the Incense"

The order of the Tabernacle furnishings in the text of the Torah is rather perplexing. All the furnishings are listed together, with the exception of the Golden Altar. What was so special about the Golden Altar that warranted that it be listed separately?

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Pinchas 5768-2008

"The Zealotry of Pinchas as seen through the Midrash"

The vast majority of the people of Israel rejected Pinchas for his act of zealotry when he stabbed Zimri and Cozbi as they performed an act of public harlotry. Pinchas' life of hardship is revealed to us through the extensive Midrash cited by the great scholar Eliyahu Kitov.

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Shemini 5768-2008

"The Eighth Day"

Our Torah portion, Shemini, opens on the eighth day of the consecration ceremony. In contrast to the number seven that represents nature and the natural way in which the world is conducted, the number eight is supernatural. It is a great gift to humankind from G-d. The "eighth day" that the Al-mighty gives His people, must be utilized as an opportunity to begin afresh, to redeem ourselves from the errors of the past.

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Sukkot-Hoshana Rabbah 5768-2007

"The Festival of Sukkot Comes to a Dramatic Close"

The festival of Hoshanah Rabbah, which concludes the Sukkot holiday, is often considered a minor observance, and frequently falls between the cracks. It is however a most significant day in which all of humankind is judged. It is therefore filled with meaningful rituals and traditions that are key to fully appreciating the true significance of this important holiday.

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Emor 5766-2006

"Striving for Perfection"

The theme of perfection repeats itself frequently in parashat Emor. Not only do the Priests and the sacrifices need to be physically unblemished, even the thoughts of the donors and the Priests must be clean and pure as well. The theme of striving for perfection is a constant and repetitive theme in Jewish life, toward which each Jew is encouraged to strive.

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Yom Kippur 5765-2004

"G-d's Gift to His People on Yom Kippur"

One expects sinners and criminals to pay for their sins and crimes, either by way of monetary assessment or physical punishment such as incarceration. And yet, the Divine method of judgment is so different. When the Al-mighty grants forgiveness, He wipes the slate clean and says "You've sinned, you've trespassed--just don't do it anymore." There is no expectation of compensation or further punishment. Forgiveness has been granted! It is a Divine gift based purely on G-d's love for His people.

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