Vayeishev 5779-2018

“The Mystical Aspects of the Sale of Joseph”

The sale of Joseph by his brothers certainly impacted on the course of Jewish history. The story behind the sale is especially fascinating in its consequences.

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Naso 5775-2015

“The Fine Nuances of Jealousy”

Even negative attributes, such as jealousy, have their redeeming moments.

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Korach 5772-2012

"Jealousy, Lust, and Thirst for Honor"

There is a remarkable confluence between the story of Korach and the statement of Rav Elazar Ha’Kapar that is recorded in Mishnah Avot: “Envy, lust and obsessive desire for glory, remove a person from this world.”

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Toledot 5770-2009

"The Jew Under the Microscope"

Jewish material success in the diaspora has often resulted in resentment of the Jew. This principle is clearly articulated in Isaac's successful endeavors in Grar and his subsequent expulsion.

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Toledot 5765-2004

"Digging Wells"

Parashat Toledot tells of numerous occasions when Isaac and his servants go out to dig wells. What is so significant about well digging that impels the most important document in Judaism to not only recount that Isaac dug numerous wells, but to even list the well's names? Obviously, these ancient wells were signposts of Jewish identity, Jewish pride and Jewish outreach. We learn from Isaac and his wells that the anti-Semites do not respect Jews who are ashamed of their heritage. On the other hand, non-Jews cannot help but admire those Jews who stand up proudly and state without reticence or embarrassment, "I am a Jew!"

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Korach 5764-2004

"The Power of Strife"

Korach was unable to control his rage and his wrath. He succeeded in stirring up hundreds of people. Had he been willing to meet with Moses and discuss his differences, there might have been a reconciliation and a much different end for himself and his followers.

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Vayeishev 5764-2003

"The Two Sides of Joseph"

Joseph, the child that Rachel bears after many years of barrenness, is an answer to her prayers, but Joseph soon becomes a thorn in the side of his brothers. How does a child, who is both adored by his parents and loathed by his siblings, develop? In this case, he becomes a Master of Dreams, a father of two tribes, and a viceroy of the mightiest empire in the ancient world.

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Toledot 5764-2003

"The Theological Underpinnings of Anti-Semitism"

In one of the first recorded acts of anti-Semitism, the Philistines blocked up the wells that had been dug by Abraham's servants. The juxtaposition of this act with the description of the economic success that was enjoyed by Abraham's son leads one to believe that the motivation for the evil acts perpetrated against him was economic envy. Is that truly the primary cause of this and other hateful acts perpetuated against Jews?

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Korach 5763-2003

"Korach's Rebellion: Why is the Jewish Community Losing So Many of its Best and Brightest?"

According to rabbinic tradition, Korach was a great Torah scholar who went astray because of jealousy. But Korach was only the first of many great Jewish minds and personages who walked away from Jewish tradition. Perhaps the story of Korach can help clarify for us some of the root causes of Jewish apostasy.

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Vayeitzei 5763-2002

"The Transformation of Jacob"

At first glance, Jacob appears to be a congenital deceiver. He takes the birthright from his brother then steals Esau's blessing. Even Isaac describes the taking of the blessing by Jacob as an act of deception. Jacob however undergoes a transformation in which he realizes that evil cannot be deceived, but must be confronted directly. For this reason, Jacob is to be regarded as a particularly exalted figure, for teaching humankind how one is to deal with one's own shortcomings.

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