Matot-Masei 5766-2006

"Taking a Stand Against the Banality of Evil"

In Parashat Matot, we learn that the Israelite soldiers are instructed to avenge the harlotry of Midianites that resulted in the deaths of 24,000 Israelites in a plague. Despite this exceptional instance, the Jewish soldiers are reluctant to kill the women and children until a Divine command is issued. Why a Divine command? To teach how concerned Judaism is that killing never ever becomes casual or mundane, and to assure that indifference to life never finds a home in the hearts of the Jewish people.

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Va’eira 5766-2006

"Becoming Accustomed to the Burdens"

Why had the time now come to free Israel from bondage? While many reasons are offered, Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Peschischa suggests that G-d felt that the ancient Hebrews were becoming too accustomed to suffering--so it had to stop. A parallel may be drawn to contemporary times, when people become indifferent and unresponsive to the immorality of our own environment.

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Vayikra 5764-2004

"Insights for the Contemporary Soul from Ancient 'Primitive' Rituals"

As we begin Vayikra, the book of the Torah pertaining to the priestly service and the Temple sacrifices, we see how relevant these ancient laws are to our lives, even in contemporary times. The mandatory sacrifice brought after an unintentional sin, demonstrates that the root to repentance is awakening from apathy.

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