Bo 5776-2016

“How Impactful was the Plague of Locusts?”

The plague of locusts is unique among the ten plagues that were visited upon the Egyptians, because it contained a message for Pharaoh, for the Egyptians and for the People of Israel, as well. How impactful was the plague of locusts?

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Passover 5775-2015

“Learning to Revere G-d”

The Bet HaLevi explains why the Israelites gained a sense of “Yir’aht Shamayim,” reverence for Heaven, only when they saw the Egyptians drown at the sea, and not earlier when they beheld the Ten Plagues that struck the Egyptians in Egypt.

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B’shalach 5775-2015

“One Heart, as One Man”

Israel’s enemies have mastered the art of enmity. The most effective response to this enmity must be the unity of the People of Israel.

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Bo 5775-2015

“The Intuitive Jew”

Since the thirst for the Al-mighty can never be fully sated, a Jew must strive to become an “Intuitive Jew.”

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Va’eira 5774-2013

“Moses, the Reluctant Prophet”

How could any mortal refuse the Al-mighty’s mission, especially when G-d sends Moses to redeem His people, whom Moses loves so dearly?

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Shemot 5774-2013

“G-d Recognizes His People's Sufferings”

What was it that G-d saw in the behavior of the People of Israel that caused the Al-mighty to respond to the people’s cries at this particular time?

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Matot-Masei 5773-2013

“Pinchas Avenges the Midianites”

Why is the zealous Pinchas chosen to lead the people of Israel into battle against the Midianites?

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Balak 5773-2013

"Balaam’s Second Vision: Lo, a People that Rises Like a Lion"

The commentators differ widely on the meaning of Balaam’s second vision, in which Balaam compares the Jewish people to a young lion who leaps up and does not rest until it has feasted on its prey.

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Korach 5773-2013

“The Rebellion Against the Lonely Leader”

What sparked the rebellion against Moses? Why was this great man the lonely leader of Israel?

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B’ha’alot’cha 5773-2013

"Contemporary Implications of Ancient Rebellions"

In parashat B’ha’alot’cha, we read of two egregious rebellions that occurred on the heels of the momentous Revelation at Sinai. There is much to be learned from the timeless lessons that emerge from these episodes.

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B’shalach 5773-2013

Why Israel Lost Faith at the Red Sea

A small verse, describing the Israelites’ panic at seeing the approaching Egyptian troops, reveals many significant lessons that help explain why Israel lost faith at the Red Sea.

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Balak 5772-2012

“Balaam, the Sorcerer, Becomes a Prophet”

When Balaam comes to curse the People of Israel, he arrives as a sorcerer. By the time he departs, he is transformed by G-d into a prophet!

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Matot 5771-2011

“Leadership and its Moral Responsibilities”

Parashat Matot underscores the complexity of Jewish leadership. It is from the episode in this parasha that our rabbis derive the important principle that leaders are to be held responsible for the wrongdoings of the people, for they have the power and authority to protest.

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Bamidbar 5771-2011

“Good Neighbors and Bad Neighbors”

The commentators explain that there are different ways in which good neighbors and bad neighbors impact upon those who live nearby.

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B’shalach 5771-2011

"Avoiding the Philistines"

Despite G-d’s intentions to bring the people to the Promised Land, G-d does not lead the Israelites on a direct route to Canaan. The commentators question: What was the Al-mighty’s strategy in taking a roundabout route?

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B’ha’alot’cha 5770-2010

"The Murmurers"

The ancient "murmurers" were people of little faith whose lack of confidence led them to mourn their own lives. Murmuring is hardly only an ancient Jewish manifestation. It is very much part of today's reality, one that leads only to greater tragedy.

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Kee Tisah 5770-2010

"Moses Wrestles with G-d"

When Moses descends from the mountain after spending forty days and nights with G-d, he finds the people of Israel worshiping the Golden Calf. G-d wants to destroy the people and start a new nation from Moses. Moses argues fiercely with G-d. What is the nature of the argument?

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Chukat-Balak 5769-2009

"The Ultimate Value of Human Life"

In the first of this week's double parashiot, a battle takes place. Described in only three verses, it is a battle between Israel and the Canaanite king of Arad. The commentators suggests that in the battle only a single maidservant is captured from Israel. Israel vows to defeat the enemy, and G-d delivers the enemy into their hands. This obscure battle teaches us about the great lengths that our enemies would go to deceive us and how precious human life is to the people of Israel, regardless of whether the person is Jewish or not.

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B’shalach 5769-2009

"Pharaoh Sends the People of Israel out of Egypt"

The opening verse of parashat B'shalach is rather challenging. The Hebrew word "Vy'he" is seen as an indication of sadness. Why sadness at such a triumphal moment? Also, the verse asserts that Pharaoh, not G-d, sent the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Can this be true?

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Masei 5768-2008

"Optimism: The Call of the Hour"

From slight nuances in the textual structure, we learn that the priorities of the people were different from the priorities of Moses. Our rabbis teach that Moses possessed a sense of optimism that was lacking in the people of Israel.

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Chukat 5768-2008

"The Death of Aaron"

Why was Aaron mourned by all the people of Israel while Moses was not? The Midrash suggests that Aaron had a very special relationship with all the people because of his great commitment to love and pursuit of peace. It was Aaron's obsession with peace that brought enemies together and turned them into friends. He was an extraordinary promoter of marital harmony between husbands and wives and was able to turn the wicked into penitents. This resulted in a powerful and abiding love that the people felt for Aaron.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5768-2008

"The Gift of Spiritual Potential"

Perhaps greater than Moses' natural leadership abilities, his great brilliance and scholarship and teaching capabilities, and his extraordinary humility, was his unremitting and unconditional love for the Jewish people who tested him and rejected him so many times.

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Behar-Yom Ha’atzmaut 5768-2008

"The Incredible Yovel--The Jubilee Year"

In parashat Behar, the Torah introduces the revolutionary concept of Yovel, the Jewish Jubilee year, that was celebrated every fiftieth year of the Sabbatical cycle. According to the commentators, the Jubilee was intended to train the Jews in compassion, charity, and justice. However, it was much more than just that.

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Shemot 5767-2007

"The Etiquette of Evil"

The Ramban brilliantly responds to the question of why Pharaoh needed to deal shrewdly and in an a roundabout manner with the "Jewish Problem" of his time, rather than deal with it in a forthright and forceful manner.

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B’ha’alot’cha 5766-2006

"With G-d as our Guide"

During their long sojourn in the wilderness, the ancient Israelites were guided by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. In effect, all the journeys of the ancient Hebrews were carefully orchestrated and coordinated by G-d. While the Israelites are no longer physically in the wilderness, there is still a great need for contemporary Jews to be guided by the Al-mighty in all their travels and in all their sojourns.

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