Balak 5774-2014

“Upstaged by a Donkey”

What are the lessons to be learned from Balaam’s extraordinary confrontation with his own donkey?

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Balak 5772-2012

“Balaam, the Sorcerer, Becomes a Prophet”

When Balaam comes to curse the People of Israel, he arrives as a sorcerer. By the time he departs, he is transformed by G-d into a prophet!

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Bo 5769-2009

"It's Payback Time!"

In parashat Bo, the Torah states that the male firstling of every donkey must be redeemed with a lamb. If it is not redeemed, then it must be killed by breaking its neck. From this, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch learns that, "He who selfishly refuses to redeem his donkey, is himself sentencing it [his possessions] to destruction." Are we now witnessing such a period in Jewish life? Is it because of our failure to use our possessions properly during the many years of abundance that we are witnessing the evaporation of massive amounts of Jewish wealth?

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Kee Teitzei 5762-2002

"Transforming an Enemy Into a Friend"

The Torah contains two quite remarkable laws concerning the treatment of animals. In parashat Kee Teitzei, we learn of the law of teh'eenah, that we must help a friend load an animal whose load is falling off. In parasahat Mishpatim, we learn the law of peh'reekah, of helping a friend unload an animal that is falling under its load. From the Talmudic discussion concerning one who is confronted with two animals, one that needs to be loaded and another that needs to be unloaded, we learn some remarkable laws about both animals and human beings.

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