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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Kee Tisah 5767-2007

"Making Each Person Count"

The Torah in parashat Ki Tisah calls upon each adult male Jew to donate a half shekel to the Tabernacle. Ostensibly, the purpose is to count the number of soldiers who were available for service in the army. However, the half shekel has many symbolic meanings that are remarkably relevant even today.

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Kee Tisah-Purim 5762-2002

"The Story of Esther--Making Choices for Jewish Destiny"

When Esther receives the report that Mordechai is leading a great mourning and wailing, she is thrown into a panic. Some commentators regard Esther's reaction as a personal failure on the Queen's part to rise to the challenge. In effect, Esther respond's to Mordechai's appeal by saying "Do you expect me to risk my life and compromise my lofty position for the Jewish people?" Mordechai's response to Esther strikes a sensitive chord. Despite her initial reluctance, Esther redeems herself, fulfills her mission brilliantly, and goes on to become one of the great heroic figures of Jewish history.

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Terumah-Purim 5761-2001

"Amalek, Purim and the Mitzvah of Getting Drunk"

The Code of Jewish Law suggests that a person is required to become intoxicated on Purim until he doesn't know the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai. One explanation given for this tradition is that all year long Jews use reason as a means to faith. However, once a year, on Purim, we strip away all traces of reason and serve G-d with our faith alone.

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