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.

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Kee Tavo 5778-2018

“A Wandering Aramean?”

In the beautiful declaration that plays a prominent role in the Bikkurim ceremony, there is an ambiguous reference to “a Wandering Aramean.”

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Eikev 5778-2018

The Torah prohibits bringing an “abomination” into one’s home. This ancient message resounds profoundly in contemporary times.

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Re’eh 5776-2016

“Preserving the Sanctity of Sacred Objects and Sacred Ideas"

The land of Israel, is only one part of the “cult of sanctity” that is central to the Jewish faith. It is, therefore, quite logical to treat all of Judaism’s central features and traditions with utmost awe and sanctity.

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Kedoshim 5776-2016

“Tattoos"

Parashat Kedoshim includes the prohibition of making cuts on one’s skin as a sign of mourning and forbids the drawing of permanent tattoos on the body.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5775-2015

Having Thoughts About False Gods

The Torah strongly prohibits not only worshiping idols, but even giving credence to their existence. This seems to go against the broad perception of Judaism as an open-minded faith, that encourages intellectual inquiry.

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Kee Tavo 5772-2012

“Persecution’s ‘Silver Lining’”

In G-d’s reproof of the Jewish people, He declares that even in exile the people will not find rest for the soles of their feet. Can persecution actually prove to be a blessing in disguise?

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Mikeitz 5772-2011

"Joseph Takes His Brother Simeon Hostage"

Joseph’s decision to take Simeon hostage was not at all coincidental. Why was Simeon singled out from among all Joseph’s brethren? When analyzing this episode in depth, the commentators reveal that many subliminal issues were in play.

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Balak 5771-2011

"Taking the Law Into One’s Own Hand"

In response to a lewd sexual act performed publicly by Zimri and Cozbi, Pinchas the son of Elazar responds zealously, spearing the perpetrators and killing them. How does tradition look upon Pinchas’ decision to take the law into his own hands?

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Shelach 5771-2011

"Challah–-All Possessions Are From the L-rd"

Why do the laws regarding idolatry in the Torah follow the portion regarding the mitzvah of “Challah” (giving a portion of dough to the priests)? The Midrash suggests that it comes to teach that fulfilling the mitzvah of Challah serves as a powerful denial of the efficacy of idolatry.

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Acharei Mot 5771-2011

"The Unfathomable Practice of Molech Worship"

After presenting an extensive list of prohibited marital and family relationships, the Torah, in parashat Acharei Mot, concludes with specific prohibitions against Molech worship, sodomy and bestiality. What was Molech? How was it practiced? Did Jews actually engage in this horrendous form of idolatry?

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Va’etchanan-Tisha B’Av 5769-2009

"Tisha B'Av: Never Beyond Redemption"

Given the extent of the evil, and the commitment to evil that pervaded those early generations, it is almost inconceivable that G-d would grant his prodigal children forgiveness. Yet, not only did G-d grant forgiveness to His children, He actually predicted their return, saying that no matter how distant the Jewish people stray, they will always be welcomed back.

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Kee Tisah 5769-2009

"An Opportunity for Those Who Seek to Repent"

The sin of the Golden Calf was a decisive event in Jewish history. Although it is generally regarded as a permanent stain on the record of the Jewish people, underscoring their abject faithlessness, according to some opinions, the people’s sinfulness was actually Divinely orchestrated in order to provide an opening for future generations to return from sin.

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Vayigash 5768-2007

"And Jacob Sent Judah Ahead"

Jacob sends Judah ahead to Egypt to prepare for the family's arrival in Goshen. Why does Jacob specifically choose Judah, and what exactly is the purpose of Judah's mission?

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Vayeitzei 5768-2007

"How Dare You Accuse Me!"

When Laban accuses Jacob of stealing his teraphim (household idols), Jacob confidently responds: "With whomever you find your gods, that person shall not live." How is it possible for Jacob to be so certain that there was not a single thief among his family members or servants?

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Lech Lecha 5766-2005

"Abraham, Father of the Jewish Nation"

Abraham plays such a key role in the development of the Jewish people and in the world arena that there are more chapters devoted to his life than to the creation of the world and to the previous 20 generations of humankind. It is Abraham's ethical and moral character that leads to Abraham being the chosen of G-d. The multi-talented Abraham becomes the religious and nationalistic leader of Israel, and the forefather who takes hold of the land of Israel/Canaan for the Jewish people.

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Chayei Sara 5765-2004

"Reaching Out to Family Members"

Despite the fact that all his family who still resided in his native Mesopotamia were steeped in idolatry, Abraham decides to send Eliezer back to his homeland to find a bride for his son, Isaac. There is much we can learn from Abraham's perseverance and persistence in reaching out to and retrieving his family members who were so distant from his faith and his traditions.

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Eikev 5764-2004

"Battling the Contemporary Abominations"

Referring to idolatry, the Torah in Deuteronomy 7:26 states: "You shall not bring an abomination into your home. You shall surely loathe it and you shall surely abominate it, for it is something bad." It is fallacious to think that there is no idolatry today. While the debate rages concerning the impact of television on children and home life, internet and violent video games have been added to the mix. There is no question whether these "idolatries" are impacting on our homes and schools. The only question is: How much? Society today is facing a battle for its survival and the survival of our children's souls. We must aggressively do battle with these abundant evils that are rapidly chipping away at our morality and our humanity.

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Vayigash 5764-2003

"The Secret of Jewish Survival in Exile?"

From Jacob's plans to bring his family to Egypt to be with his long-lost son Joseph, we learn a profound lesson about Jewish continuity. Jacob sees to it that the people of Israel will be securely ensconced in Goshen, the suburb of Egypt, that is to be their new home. What Jacob regards as essentials for the survival of his family in his day, are truly timeless needs that Jews must meet in every one of the lands that Jews call home.

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0 Comments8 Minutes