Tzav 5780-2020

“Behold, I am Sending You Elijah the Prophet”
(Revised and update from Tzav 5761-2001)

The prophet Malachi predicts that toward the end of days, Elijah will arrive. The prophet’s arrival will spark a momentous movement of return to Judaism. At this fateful hour, parents and children will interact with each other and will be drawn closer to each other through the word of G-d. That time may very well be now!

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Sukkot II 5777-2016

“Why is Sukkot Celebrated in the Fall rather than in the Spring?”

Why is Sukkot celebrated in the fall rather than in the spring?

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Va’eira 5776-2016

“The Lessons of Genealogy”

The genealogy of Moses and Aaron teaches many important principles about life, and provides insightful life lessons for all to master.

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Behar-Bechukotai 5775-2015

“The Odd Conclusion to the Book of Leviticus”

Rabbi Dr. Hayyim Angel asks why the book of Leviticus ends with the Tochacha, G-d’s fearsome reproof of the Jewish people, and is followed by a series of instructions regarding the redemption of vows and tithes.

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Kee Tavo 5774-2014

“Finding Respite”

After the horrors of the Holocaust were made public, many Jews were under the impression that with the establishment of the State of Israel, its miraculous rebirth and development, the perfidious scourge of anti-Semitism would somehow abate and eventually vanish. For a while there was, what seemed to be, a universal sensitivity. But, only sixty years later, that sensitivity has vanished, and there is now a virulent outbreak of anti-Semitism in countless countries throughout the world, even on the streets of New York and Los Angeles.

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Vayechi 5770-2009

"Rachel's Burial Place in Bethlehem"

Jacob interrupts a most important message to his son Joseph by recalling his failure to bury Rachel in Hebron. What could possibly have been his motivation?

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Va’etchanan-Tisha B’Av 5768-2008

"A Hopeful Message for Jewish Future"

In parashat Va’etchanan, we find the well-known citation, “Kee to’leed ba’neem,” which is read on Tisha B’Av. It predicts that the Jewish people will stray from G-d and commit horrible sins. And yet, in one of the most optimistic statements, G-d assures His people that they will always be welcomed back with open arms, no matter how far they stray.

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Pinchas 5767-2007

"Rosh Chodesh, the Modest Holiday"

The two concluding chapters of Parashat Pinchas detail the supplementary offerings that were brought on festivals and holidays. Included in this list is the offering for Rosh Chodesh, the New Moon. The New Moon plays a crucial symbolic role for the Jewish people. It was the establishment of the calendar based on the New Moon that made it possible for the Jewish people to continue their observances, despite our enemies' unremitting efforts to undermine them.

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Va’eira 5765-2005

"Teaching a New Reality About Divine Power Through The Ten Plagues"

The ten plagues were not simply ten random events. They were carefully structured symbols that came to negate contemporary Egyptian beliefs, and teach very powerful lessons about faith in G-d and His ultimate power. The ten plagues also successfully worked to discredit the power of the chartoomim and chachamim, Pharaoh's sorcerers and wise men.

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Vayechi 5765-2004

"The Sealed Torah Portion"

Parashat Vayechi is the only portion in the Torah that is "sealed," beginning as a direct continuation of the previous week's parasha, Vayigash. There are many reasons suggested by the rabbis for this "closure." Their numerous responses lead us on an intriguing and revealing excursion of Judaism and Jewish history.

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Toledot 5763-2002

"The Deeds of the Fathers are Signposts for the Children"

In parashat Toledot we read for the third time the story of our patriarchs going to Egypt or to Gerar on account of famine. This time it's Isaac and Rebecca, rather than Abraham and Sarah, but the stories are virtually identical to the previous two. The famed Italian Bible scholar, Umberto Cassuto, suggests that this story is a paradigm, and its frequent repetition is predictive of what will happen to the Jewish people in the future. There will be a famine, and the families of the descendants of Abraham and Isaac will leave Canaan and go into exile. The men will be threatened with death, but the women will be allowed to live. Eventually, the people will go out with great wealth.

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Passover 5761-2001

"The Final Days of Pesach--Days of Unity"

For Jews who live in the Diaspora, the last day of Passover is meant to be a day of unity, hit'chab'root, of coming together. Just as the ancient Children of Israel go down into Egypt as 70 souls, as members of 12 disparate tribes and emerge as one united nation, so are contemporary Jews bidden to emphasize what common bonds we have, rather than the differences. Passover, after all, is in the month of Nissan, the month of redemption. Only through unity will the Jewish people be fortunate enough to achieve ultimate redemption.

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Vayechi 5761-2001

"Revealing the Time of the Coming of the End of Days"

Parashat Vayechi is the only Torah parasha that has no empty spaces between the beginning of the new parasha and the end of the previous week's parasha. Vayechi is consequently considered a "sealed" parasha. The rabbis say that the reason the parasha is sealed is because Jacob wished to reveal when the end of days would be--when the Messiah would arrive. G-d, however, did not agree that Jacob should reveal this information. The Malbim explains that revealing when the Messiah would arrive would have left the Jewish people depressed that the wait would be so long. However, now that we have come much closer to the Messianic era, it is permissible to calculate and predict the arrival time of the Messiah.

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