Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5780-2020

"Who is Truly Religious?”
(Updated and revised from Parashiot Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5761-2001)

Traditional “religious” Jews are often identified as those who scrupulously observe the “Big Three:” Shabbat, Kashrut and the laws of Family Purity. From parashiot Acharei Mot and Kedoshim we learn that this definition needs to be updated to include an ethical component–that one must be certain to behave and act honestly and morally, within all realms of life.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Eikev 5779-2019

Eikev 5779-2019
“Feast or Famine--What Judaism Says About Food”
(Revised and updated from Eikev 5760-2000)

The Torah in parashat Eikev boldly proclaims that human beings do not live by bread alone, but only by G-d’s decrees. As part of the process of hallowing all aspects of daily life, Judaism spiritualizes the act of eating. Food is important to Jewish life, not only because it is the staple of life, but because it is the staple of faith and a key element in developing sensitivity and proper moral and ethical behavior.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Acharei Mot 5779-2019

“The Forbidden Relationships Work Both Ways”
(Revised and updated from Acharei Mot 5760-2000)

Parashat Acharei Mot lists, in a very forceful manner, the rules and regulations regarding immoral and forbidden sexual relationships. It is this text that is read publicly at the afternoon Yom Kippur service in order to remind the Jewish people of proper moral conduct. However, it is also perhaps a reminder to G-d that just as He expects His people to be loyal to Him, so must He be loyal to His people and not exchange us for any other people.

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes

Tetzaveh 5779-2019

“Clothes: A Reflection of the Divine Image”
(Revised and updated from Tetzaveh 5760-2000)

Clothes play an important role in Judaism and in Jewish tradition. After all, the Al-mighty was the “First Designer” of clothes for Adam and Eve. The clothes that the priests wore, not only invested them with sanctity, but also represented the values that the priests were trying to communicate to the people.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Naso 5773-2013

“Playing the Subordinate Role: A Lesson from the Levites”

The commentators suggest that there is much to learn from the Gershonites and Merarites about how a person should view a seemingly subordinate role.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5773-2013

"The Sanctity of The Holy of Holies"

What is the role, function and mystique of the “Holy of Holies?”

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Lech Lecha 5773-2012

"To the Land that I Will Show You"

Why does the Al-mighty direct Abram to leave his home in Ur Kasdim and go to the land that “He will show him,” rather than specifically instruct Abram to go to the land of Canaan?

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Naso 5772-2012

"The Most Famous of All Nazarites--Samson"

In parashat Naso we learn of the laws of the Nazarite, a person who seeks holiness. The Nazarite vows not to drink wine or anything derived from grapes, not to cut his hair, nor to become contaminated by coming in contact with the dead. It is for this reason that the rabbis chose the story of Samson, who was also a Nazarite, to serve as the weekly Haftorah, the prophetic message, that supplements this week’s Torah reading.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Behar-Bechukotai, Yom Yerushalayim 5772-2012

"Living Outside the Land of Israel"

Although the Midrash regards the importance of the mitzvah of dwelling in the land of Israel as equivalent in value to all the other Torah mitzvot combined, the debate still rages today regarding the obligation for all Jews to dwell in the land of Israel.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Terumah 5770-2010

"Earning a Meaningful Living"

The vital message of the Shulchan, the Table of Showbread, is that not only do our prayers and our worship need to be sanctified. Our work, our labor and our means of earning a living need to be sanctified as well.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Matot 5768-2008

"Striving for Refined Speech"

In this week's parasha, parashat Matot, we learn of the injunction against profane speech. It is from here that we learn not only to avoid negative speech, but to always strive to make our speech as refined as possible.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Terumah 5767-2007

"G-d's Love Letters"

The "obsessive" focus on the details of the erecting of the Tabernacle often seems overwhelming. In truth, however, these details convey profound messages to us, and should be properly viewed as "love letters" from G-d that are to be found in each verse. They, therefore, need to be studied for a new and profound message each time they are read.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Shemini 5766-2006

"Those Remarkable Dietary Laws"

Kashruth in the 21st century is far more than a religious ritual. It is a profound bond that unites Jew to Jew, a most meaningful tether that secures an individual to a nation, the sacred energy that connects a people and a nation to its very essence.

Read More


0 Comments13 Minutes

Emor 5765-2005

"Priests and Death: An Unusual Relationship"

In parashat Emor, the commentators explain why a lay priest may contaminate himself upon the death of his closest seven relatives, but may not be defiled for the death of strangers. Through the laws of death, the Torah teaches the Jewish people the infinite value of life.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Kedoshim 5765-2005

"Living a Sanctified Life"

The revolutionary concept of living a sanctified life might seem daunting, but in reality it is a goal to be aspired to by every Jew. The exalted concept of being G-d-like is not out of the realm of human possibility.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5764-2004

"The Jewish Attitude Towards Sexuality"

The two Torah portions that are read in this weekly portion discuss many laws pertaining to sexuality. Study of these rules proves that Judaism focuses not on repression, but on control and balance.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5761-2001

"Who is Truly Religious?"

People often define a traditional Jew as one who keeps the "Big Three:" Shabbat, Kashrut and the laws of Family Purity. From parashat Kedoshim we can learn that this definition needs to be revised and updated to include an ethical component--that one must behave and act morally, especially within the realm of business.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Eikev 5760-2000

"Feast or Famine - What Judaism has to Say About Food"

We learn in parashat Eikev that human beings do not live by bread alone, but only by G-d's decrees. As part of the process of hallowing daily life, Judaism spiritualizes the act of eating. Food is important to Jewish life, not only because it is the staple of life, but because it is the staple of faith and moral behavior.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Acharei Mot 5760-2000

"The Forbidden Relationships Work Both Ways"

Parashat Acharei Mot lists, in a very forceful manner, the rules and regulations regarding immoral and forbidden sexual relationships. It is this text that is read publicly at the afternoon Yom Kippur service in order to remind the Jewish people of proper moral conduct. However, it is also perhaps a reminder to G-d that just as He expects His people to be loyal to Him, so must He be loyal to His people and not exchange us for any other people.

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes