Vayeira 5779-2018

“The Tension Between Human Love and Divine Will”

In a clash between human love and Divine will, Divine will must always prevail.

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Kee Teitzei 5778-2018

What is the purpose of performing mitzvot?

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Vayishlach 5777-2016

“Esau and Jacob Embrace and Kiss: Sincere or Insincere?”

After more than two decades of separation, Esau and Jacob meet and embrace. Is the reunion a true reconciliation or a temporary respite in the hatred that is deeply ingrained?

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Vayeitzei 5777-2016

“The Great Deception”

Deceptions are found frequently in the book of Genesis. While they are often painful and devastating, they, on occasion, lead to great redemption and salvation.

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Eikev 5776-2016

“Caring for the Weak and the Vulnerable"

Many, if not most of the mitzvot of the Torah are revolutionary. Yet, perhaps none is more remarkable than the mitzvah to love the stranger, and caring for the weak and the vulnerable.

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Vayeira 5776-2015

“The Trials of Abraham”

According to the Mishnah in Avot, Abraham faced ten trials in his life. It was Abraham’s preparedness to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, through which Abraham succeeded in cleansing himself and the world from the primordial sin of the Garden of Eden.

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Noah 5776-2015

"Noah - A Hero of Limited Proportions"

In contrast to Abraham’s bold vision and all-encompassing perspectives, Noah is seen as a man of extremely limited vision.

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Vayigash 5769-2008

"Deferred Punishment for the Sale of Joseph"

The rabbis attribute the martyrdom of the ten righteous Torah scholars in the time of Hadrian to the sale of Joseph. What is the connection, and why was the punishment so long in coming?

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Behar-Yom Ha’atzmaut 5768-2008

"The Incredible Yovel--The Jubilee Year"

In parashat Behar, the Torah introduces the revolutionary concept of Yovel, the Jewish Jubilee year, that was celebrated every fiftieth year of the Sabbatical cycle. According to the commentators, the Jubilee was intended to train the Jews in compassion, charity, and justice. However, it was much more than just that.

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Toledot 5768-2007

"Esau's Loud and Bitter Cry"

When Esau realizes that he has been deceived of his blessing, he lets out a loud and bitter cry. Our commentators struggle to understand the cause and repercussions of this bitter cry. Some of the commentators suggest that all future generations pay for causing undue pain to Esau, expressed in his loud and bitter cry.

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Rosh Hashana 5768-2007

"The Sounding of the Shofar"

What are the reasons for the sounding of the shofar, and what are its meanings? Why do we sound 100 blasts of the shofar? What should be our proper inner intentions and thoughts when the shofar is sounded?

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Matot-Masei 5763-2003

"The Massacre of the Midianites: Does Judaism Countenance Genocide?"

In parashat Matot, G-d tells Moses to mobilize the army of Israel and exact vengeance on the Midianites. The rabbis of old are troubled by this call. They explain that "genocide" was never countenanced by Jewish law, but rather that it was necessary to always first sue the enemy for peace and give them opportunity to flee if they refused to live in peace. Nevertheless, Jewish tradition teaches that one should not be overly compassionate, otherwise one will wind up being cruel at a time when compassion is appropriate.

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