Va’eira 5779-2018

"The Cups of Redemption"

Rabbi Asher Weiss maintains that there are four levels of slavery that parallel the four languages of liberation found in parashat Va’eira, and are represented by the four cups of wine that we drink at the Passover Seder.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Vayishlach 5779-2018

“Jacob’s Challenging Life”

Our Patriarch Jacob, lived a life of many challenges. Yet, he never gave up hope and never became bitter. There is much to learn from father Jacob about facing and living with overwhelming adversity.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

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.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Vayechi 5777-2017

“The Passing of the Last of the Patriarchs”

According to tradition, Jacob was the first man to die of disease. The world is still unresolved regarding the benefits of a sudden death as opposed to a long terminal illness.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Lech Lecha 5777-2016

“Abram’s Dispute with Lot”

The dispute between the shepherds of Abram and those of Lot was far more than a quarrel over land and possessions. It was due to basic and fundamental philosophical differences regarding ethics and values between Abram and his nephew.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Vayishlach 5776-2015

“Jacob Tarries in Succot”

Jacob had taken an oath to return to his family home in Canaan. And yet, for reasons unknown, Jacob tarries for years in Succot and Shechem before returning home.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Lech Lecha 5775-2014

“Lot Grows Increasingly Estranged from his Uncle Abram”

What starts off as an extremely close relationship between Abram and his orphaned nephew Lot, eventually becomes a complete estrangement. What was the cause of that estrangement?

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Lech Lecha 5773-2012

"To the Land that I Will Show You"

Why does the Al-mighty direct Abram to leave his home in Ur Kasdim and go to the land that “He will show him,” rather than specifically instruct Abram to go to the land of Canaan?

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Shelach 5772-2012

"Had I Only Known!"

How sad it is that many of us fail to consider the long-range implications of our evil deeds and our inadequate actions.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Vayeishev 5772-2011

“Interpreting the Dreams of Others”

In Canaan, Joseph dreamed about himself and his family. Now, a prisoner in Egypt, others were the dreamers, and Joseph becomes the interpreter of their dreams.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

B’shalach 5771-2011

"Avoiding the Philistines"

Despite G-d’s intentions to bring the people to the Promised Land, G-d does not lead the Israelites on a direct route to Canaan. The commentators question: What was the Al-mighty’s strategy in taking a roundabout route?

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Shelach 5769-2009

"Long-Term Consequences"

When the ancient Israelites heard the evil reports of the ten scouts, they stayed up all night and cried. The Talmud states that G-d reacted to this crying by declaring "You cried for no reason, I will give you good cause to cry." That very day, the 9th of Av, was consequently designated in Jewish history as a day of evil in which many calamities occurred, including the destruction of both Temples. Although G-d forgave the young generation of the wilderness, He still held the people accountable for what they had done. Contemporary Jews must also consider the role they play and the long-term consequences of their actions.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Shelach 5768-2008

"We Were like Grasshoppers in Our Eyes"

There is grave danger in the Jewish people seeing themselves as helpless and powerless. Very often this self-perception is a self-fulfilling reality. The ancient scouts saw themselves as pygmies and grasshoppers and were perceived by others as impotent and weak. We dare not allow that to happen to our generation. Strong leadership depends upon our faith in G-d and own self-confidence and self-esteem.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Shelach 5767-2007

"The Ma'ah'peelim: Forcing Their Way Into the Promised Land"

Because of the evil reports of the ten scouts recorded in parashat Shelach, G-d decrees that the generation of the wilderness shall not enter the land of Israel. Nevertheless, the next morning, a large group of people arise early to force their way up the mountain toward Canaan and are smitten by the Amalekites and the Canaanites. These rebels are known as the "Ma'ah'peelim." Why were they not allowed into the land of Israel, and why were they punished so severely?

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Lech Lecha 5766-2005

"Abraham, Father of the Jewish Nation"

Abraham plays such a key role in the development of the Jewish people and in the world arena that there are more chapters devoted to his life than to the creation of the world and to the previous 20 generations of humankind. It is Abraham's ethical and moral character that leads to Abraham being the chosen of G-d. The multi-talented Abraham becomes the religious and nationalistic leader of Israel, and the forefather who takes hold of the land of Israel/Canaan for the Jewish people.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Shelach 5764-2004

"Where Did the Spies Go Wrong?"

The Malbim, Rabbi Meir Yehudah Leibish, 1809-1879, offers a radically different interpretation of the story of the scouts. He proves that while the ten leaders begin as scouts, looking for the best lands for their individual tribes, they wind up as spies with a strategic military focus. As they travel through the land, their self-image changes. Losing faith and courage, they conclude that the people of Israel will never be able to take over the land of Canaan from the land's fearsome inhabitants.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Vayishlach 5764-2003

"Who Was Esau?"

It's hard to imagine why there is an entire chapter of the Torah dedicated to the genealogy of the descendants of Esau, Jacob's wicked brother. Yet, a remarkable lesson is to be learned from this seemingly out-of-place chapter. Through the hints that are found in the text, a people is better understood, their way of life elucidated, and as a result, the worthiness of the nation of Jacob, that is the people of Israel, is underscored.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Shelach 5763-2003

"Can Human Beings Achieve Immortality?"

On the heels of being informed that they will not enter the land of Israel, G-d tells Moses to instruct the people that upon entering the Promised Land they are to bring sacrifices with special wheat, oil and wine offerings. It seems rather cruel of G-d to rub salt into the wounds of the people by giving them instructions that they will never be capable of fulfilling. Perhaps the Torah is really telling these very same individuals that they can achieve immortality. While the Al-mighty informs the generation of the wilderness that they will perish, they learn that they will live on through their children who will be loyal to the faith system of Israel and will joyously celebrate and sacrifice in the land of Israel.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Noah 5763-2002

"The Story of Noah, Fact or Fantasy"

It is not at all surprising that many of the ancient near-East documents contain parallel stories of the flood. Perhaps the most famous is the Babylonian flood story known as the "Epic of Gilgamish." And yet, despite the parallels, the stories are profoundly different. While the details regarding the flood are similar, the Bible introduces a profound moral element. In the Biblical version G-d does not simply decide to destroy the world on a whim, but rather does so because of the corruption of the world's inhabitants. The fact that the Biblical story of the flood is not simply about gods who entertain themselves at humankind's expense is what makes the Noah story revolutionary and meaningful.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Vayigash 5762-2001

"The Virtues of Assimilation"

Once the brothers arrive in Egypt, there develops a difference of "philosophy" between Joseph and his siblings regarding assimilation and the possible loss of national identity while in Egypt. The brothers prefer to avoid any hint of permanent settlement in Egypt. By not establishing comfortable homes in Egypt, they hope to assure Israel's eventual exodus. Joseph, however, was optimistic about his family being able to lead a productive Jewish life in Egypt. Joseph does not see assimilation as total evil, but rather as a possible source of cultural enrichment, without resulting in a loss of personal identity.

Read More


0 Comments12 Minutes

Noah 5762-2001

"The 'Myth' of the Great Flood"

It is not at all surprising that many of the ancient near-East documents contain parallel stories of the flood. Perhaps the most famous is the Babylonian flood story known as the "Epic of Gilgamish." And yet, despite the parallels, the stories are profoundly different. While the details regarding the flood are similar, the Bible introduces a profound moral element. In the Biblical version, G-d does not simply decide to destroy the world on a whim, but rather does so because of the corruption of the world's inhabitants. The fact that the Biblical story of the flood is not simply about gods who entertain themselves at humankind's expense is what makes the Noah story revolutionary and meaningful.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Lech Lecha 5761-2000

"Lot, Nephew of Abram: The Promise and the Tragedy"

Abram was very close to his orphaned nephew, Lot, and did his best to educate him in the ways of morality and ethics, but Abram and Lot soon grow apart because of Lot's obsession with comfort and wealth. At first, Lot showed great promise. In fact, he probably could have been the material and spiritual heir of Abram, but instead chose the luscious plain--he chose Sodom.

Read More


0 Comments12 Minutes