Vayeira 5781-2020

“Mount Moriah: Building for the Future through Love”
(updated and revised from Vayeira 2000-5761)

The place where G-d tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is known as Mount Moriah. This place, located in the heart of Jerusalem, is where the Temple was eventually built. The well-known legend maintains that G-d selected Mount Moriah as the place for Jewish worship because of the selfless brotherly love and devotion that was practiced there. If we are to re-acquire Mount Moriah, it can only be accomplished through the practice of true fraternity and sincere, selfless love.

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Rosh Hashana 5781-2020

“A Message for the High Holy Days: ‘Export, Export!’”
(updated and revised from Rosh Hashana 5763-2002)

During the period of the Ten Days of Penitence, we need to make our lives more spiritually meaningful. It is during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur that we must make particularly sincere efforts to "export" good deeds and acts of kindness.

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Toledot 5780-2019

“A Lesson from Jacob and Esau: Understanding and Accepting Differences”
(Updated and revised from Toledot 5760-1999)

Some bold commentators have suggested that the difficulties between Jacob and Esau may be due to the fact that not enough attention was paid to the innate differences in the children’s natures, and that they were both, mistakenly, given the same cookie-cutter education. There is always a great price to pay for not recognizing that children have individual and personal needs that must be addressed.

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Rosh Hashana 5780-2019

“The Judgment of Ishmael, and its Contemporary Implications for all of G-d's Creatures”
(Updated and revised from Rosh Hashana 5761-2000)

Even the wicked Ishmael was given a “pass” by the Al-mighty and allowed to survive, because at that time of judgment he was not “worthy” of punishment. Similarly, the Al-mighty is prepared to give every sincere penitent the benefit of the doubt and inscribe us in the Book of Life.

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Toledot 5779-2018

“The Dangers of Assimilation”

When peace was made between him and the king of Gerar, Isaac realized that it was time to move away, to distance himself so that he could maintain his strong Jewish identity and live a full Jewish life with intensity and passion. Contemporary Jews, may need to do the same to ensure their own continuity.

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Toledot 5777-2016

“The Exceptional Power of Prayer”

A powerful lesson regarding the immense power of prayer is taught when Isaac and Rebecca pray for a child and G-d responds affirmatively, with the births of Esau and Jacob.

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Chayei Sarah 5776-2015

“The Legacy of Ishmael”

The tendency of the descendants of Jacob to diminish the “specialness” of the children of Ishmael may be understandable, especially in light of the painful contemporary events. Nevertheless, upon examining the Biblical sources, it is impossible to deny the special qualities and endowments of the children of Ishmael.

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Vayeira 5776-2015

“The Trials of Abraham”

According to the Mishnah in Avot, Abraham faced ten trials in his life. It was Abraham’s preparedness to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, through which Abraham succeeded in cleansing himself and the world from the primordial sin of the Garden of Eden.

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Toledot 5775-2014

“Good Families Bad Children, Bad Families Good Children”

Although Esau and Jacob were twin sons born to Isaac and Rebecca, each one developed very differently and chose a very different lifestyle from the other.

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Chayei Sarah 5775-2014

“Are Marriages Made in Heaven?”

When Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, asks Laban and Bethuel, Rebecca's brother and father, whether they will allow Rebecca to return to Canaan to marry Abraham's son, they reply: "The matter stemmed from the L-rd! We can say to you, neither bad nor good." Are marriages made in heaven?

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Bereshith 5775-2014

“The Sad Destiny of the Firstborn Children”

A prominent feature of the book of Genesis is the struggle for dominance between the first born and the younger siblings. In each instance, the younger sibling is chosen to serve as leader.

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Kee Tisah 5774-2014

“Moses Argues with G-d to Save the Jewish People from Destruction”

Moses’ argument with G-d to forgive the people for the sin of the Golden Calf serves as a paradigm for future petitions of the Al-mighty to forgive the sins of His people.

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Chayei Sarah 5774-2013

"Yitzchak Establishes a Home with His New Wife"

The betrothal of Isaac and Rebecca can serve as a most valuable case study for finding a mate and establishing a successful home environment.

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Chayei Sarah 5773-2012

"Beware Not to Return My Son There!"

Why was Abraham so adamant about not allowing his servant, Eliezer, to take Abraham’s son, Isaac, out of the land of Israel to look for an appropriate mate?

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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?

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Toledot 5771-2010

“Isaac, the Man of Commitment”

When comparing Isaac’s experiences in Gerar, we find several similarities with Abraham’s experiences in both Gerar and Egypt. But what accounts for the many differences?

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Chayei Sarah 5771-2010

“What Shall I Do, My Parents Hate Him?!”

In parashat Chayei Sarah, we encounter the world’s first shidduch (arranged marriage) and the world’s first shadchan (matchmaker). In the past, we have discussed how Jewish law mandates that a woman not be married against her will, but what about the more general question related to children who refuse to listen to their parents’ opinion regarding choosing a mate, and wish to marry mates to whom their parents object? What is the protocol?

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