Chukat-Balak 5780-2020

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose--History Repeats Itself!”
(Updated and revised from Parashiot Chukat-Balak 5760-2000)

According to tradition, the nations of Moab and Midian were mortal enemies. As usual, we see, once again in parashat Chukat, that the one thing that unites our enemies is their enmity of Israel, which is greater than their hatred for each other. That pattern has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Indeed, the deeds of the fathers are the signposts for the children.

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Balak 5779-2019

“History Repeats Itself! Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”
(Revised and updated from Chukat-Balak 5760-2000)

According to tradition, the nations of Moab and Midian were mortal enemies. As usual, as we see once again in parashat Balak, that the one thing that unites our enemies is their unremitting enmity of Israel, which is greater than their hatred for each other. That pattern has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Indeed, parashat Balak confirms that: “The deeds of the fathers are the signposts for the children.”

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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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0 Comments10 Minutes

Balak 5771-2011

"Taking the Law Into One’s Own Hand"

In response to a lewd sexual act performed publicly by Zimri and Cozbi, Pinchas the son of Elazar responds zealously, spearing the perpetrators and killing them. How does tradition look upon Pinchas’ decision to take the law into his own hands?

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0 Comments10 Minutes

Balak 5770-2010

"A Nation that Dwells Alone"

There are those who argue that the concept of a nation that dwells alone is a very dangerous and harmful model. On the other hand, the nation that dwells alone is a truly special nation, and that specialness is a great blessing and privilege. When the nations of the world start expecting less of us, then we are in trouble.

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Balak 5767-2007

"The Enemy Within"

Who were Balak and Bilaam? According to Midrashic sources, they are both descended from Abraham's family. Balak was the son of Lot, while Bilaam was Laban's son and brother to Rachel and Leah. Jewish history has a long pattern of evil emanating from good and good emanating from evil. What accounts for this perplexing pattern?

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0 Comments11 Minutes

Balak 5764-2004

"How Goodly are Your Tents O' Jacob?"

Targum Jonathan, the Aramaic translation of the Torah, says that Bilaam saw the schools of the Jewish people and was moved to say: "How goodly are your tents O' Jacob?" The "number one" priority in Jewish life is to ensure that committed Jews remain committed. There is no better way of ensuring that commitment, than by providing outstanding intensive Jewish education for our children. If we fail to do so, then our Jewish future is in jeopardy.

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0 Comments14 Minutes

Shemot 5763-2002

"The Making of a Concerned Jewish Leader"

Who is the child Moses and how does he merit to become the "savior" of Israel? Both the biblical texts and the Midrashic elaborations give us hints to help us understand how a child who is raised in Pharaoh's court becomes a devoted and dynamic Jewish leader. The fact that he is raised by his biological mother, Yocheved, until he is weaned, is undoubtedly a critical factor. Although tradition is purposely ambiguous, Moses not only receives his rearing from his mother and his sister as a young child, but also from Bitya, the daughter of Pharaoh, who may very well be the secret heroine in Moses' life and consequently a key player in the destiny of the Jewish people.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Chukat-Balak 5760-2000

"History Repeats Itself! Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

According to tradition, the nations of Moab and Midian were mortal enemies. As usual, as we see once again in parashat Chukat, the one thing that unites our enemies is their enmity of Israel, which is greater than their hatred for each other. That pattern has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Indeed, the deeds of the fathers are the signposts for the children.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes

Chukat-Balak 5760-2000

"History Repeats Itself! Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

According to tradition, the nations of Moab and Midian were mortal enemies. As usual, as we see once again is parashat Chukat, the one thing that unites our enemies is the enmity of Israel, which is greater than their hatred for each other. That pattern has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Indeed the deeds of the fathers are the signposts for the children.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes