Yitro 5770-2010

"The Arrival of Jethro"

Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, who was once the religious leader of Midian, leaves fame and fortune behind to cast his lot with the Jewish people and their G-d. Jethro, perhaps the first convert to Judaism, sets a high standard for future converts and returnees to Jewish observance.

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Nitzavim 5765-2005

"The Hidden Things Belong to G-d"

Parashat Nitzavim contains one of the most enigmatic verses of the Torah, which states that the hidden things are for the Lord, our G-d, but the revealed things are for us and for our children forever, to carry out all the words of the Torah. In their efforts to clarify the meaning of this verse, our rabbis offer a number of cogent elucidations. One of the most moving explanations is that, when the final redemption comes, the Jews who had become so assimilated (hidden) among other peoples that their origins have become forgotten will be reunited (revealed) with the rest of the Jewish people, and restored to their status as beloved members of the Jewish nation.

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Yitro 5765-2005

"Jethro's Advice to an Overburdened Leader"

Jethro warns his son-in-law, Moses, that he is in danger of burning out by biting off more than he can chew. It takes a great man like Moses to heed Jethro's difficult advice and share the leadership responsibilities with others. The well-being of the People of Israel was always Moses's utmost concern, hence, his decision to delegate authority resulted in great benefit for the People of Israel.

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Lech Lecha 5763-2002

"The Two Birds of Israel"

The "Covenant Between the Pieces" is full of symbolism regarding the future of the Jewish people. Three 3-year-old animals--a heifer, a goat and a ram--are slaughtered and cut in half. Two birds, a turtledove and a young pigeon, are not cut. The animals, say the rabbis, represent the nations of the world who seek to destroy the Jewish people. The birds, the turtledove and the young pigeon, on the other hand, symbolize the Jews. The animals are split in half, indicating that those nations who attack Israel will ultimately be destroyed. Scripture states that the "bird" is not cut, referring to only a single bird. Why are two birds necessary to represent the Jewish people? We are, after all, one people, not two. And why are the two birds referred to as a single bird?

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