Devarim 5772-2012

"The Al-mighty’s Relationship with the Nations of the World"

As the People of Israel conclude their 40 year trek through the wilderness, they emerge as a triumphant nation, having defeated the most powerful nations in the world. Nevertheless, Moses tells them in G-d's name that they must zealously respect the rights and privileges of the other nations as well.

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Vayigash 5772-2011

"Joseph and Judah: A Confrontation for Posterity"

The confrontation between Judah and Joseph was not only intended to achieve the release of Benjamin, but was a struggle for the leadership of Israel between two larger-than-life brothers.

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Pinchas 5769-2009

"Joshua, the Worthy Successor"

In parashat Pinchas, Moses asks G-d to designate a successor to serve the future generation. Joshua is chosen. Who is Joshua, and why was he chosen to succeed the great Moses?

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Shoftim 5768-2008

"Waste Not--Want Not"

A single isolated law prohibiting chopping down trees in times of war has evolved into a fundamental body of vital precepts, which prohibit the wanton waste and the callous destruction of property and nature.

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Matot-Masei 5766-2006

"Taking a Stand Against the Banality of Evil"

In Parashat Matot, we learn that the Israelite soldiers are instructed to avenge the harlotry of Midianites that resulted in the deaths of 24,000 Israelites in a plague. Despite this exceptional instance, the Jewish soldiers are reluctant to kill the women and children until a Divine command is issued. Why a Divine command? To teach how concerned Judaism is that killing never ever becomes casual or mundane, and to assure that indifference to life never finds a home in the hearts of the Jewish people.

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Shoftim 5762-2002

"The Torah - The First Environmentalist Treatise"

The Torah's commandment in Genesis to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, "to work the land and to protect it," was humanity's first call for conservation and protecting the environment. This revolutionary message that the Torah introduced 3,300 years ago is as fresh, as vibrant and as green as if it were given today. Many additional revolutionary environmental laws may be found in parashat Shoftim.

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Matot-Masei 5761-2001

"Setting Our Priorities Straight"

In parashat Matot we learn of the tribes of Reuben and Gad (later joined by half of Menashe) who choose to remain on the eastern side of the Jordan. Moses is concerned that they will not join in the battle to conquer the Holy Land. The tribes respond, "We will build pens for our livestock and cities for our small children," and of course they will send troops. Moses, however, corrects them, telling them that their children should come before their livestock. The value of human life is infinite and must always come first, even in a thoroughly materialistic generation such as the one in which we live.

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