Passover I 5772-2012

“Optimism and Faithfulness”

The message of Passover is the message of Springtime, of optimism and redemption. While we celebrate our salvation by the Al-mighty, we must remember the challenges that our people endured and continue to endure today. We must step forward to show our own personal goodness and, by extension, the extraordinary goodness of our faith and our tradition.

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Shoftim 5770-2010


Enmity is regarded by Judaism as so corrosive that even hating one's friend in one's heart is explicitly prohibited by the Torah. The Talmudic interpretation of a verse in parashat Shoftim offers a surprising definition of "enemy."

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Chukat 5768-2008

"The Death of Aaron"

Why was Aaron mourned by all the people of Israel while Moses was not? The Midrash suggests that Aaron had a very special relationship with all the people because of his great commitment to love and pursuit of peace. It was Aaron's obsession with peace that brought enemies together and turned them into friends. He was an extraordinary promoter of marital harmony between husbands and wives and was able to turn the wicked into penitents. This resulted in a powerful and abiding love that the people felt for Aaron.

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Passover 5768-2008

"The Wind and the Sun"

The Passover Haggadah cites the verse from Deuteronomy 26:7, "Va'yah'ray'oo," which states that the Egyptians treated the Hebrews badly. Rather than translate "va'yah'ray'oo," to mean that they treated us "badly," the Abarbanel indicates that its root stems from the word "ray'ah," or friend. Rabbi Piron concludes that Jews need to be on guard more from our so-called friends who embrace us and draw us away from our moral and ethical moorings, than from our enemies who try to physically destroy us.

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