Pinchas 5780-2020

“The Pain of Giving Reproof”
(Updated and revised from Parashat Pinchas 5761-2001)

The haftarah for parashat Pinchas, selected from the book of Jeremiah, opens with Jeremiah’s first two prophecies concerning an almond-wood staff that is shown to him by G-d, and the vision of the boiling cauldron that is bubbling over from the North. The boiling cauldron symbolizes that the evil that will come from the north–the Babylonian hoards, led by Nebuchadnetzer who will destroy the Temple. But, what is the symbol of the almond-wood staff? Could it be that G-d is trying to show the prophet that there should never be enthusiasm when delivering messages of reproof, no matter how deserving of reproof the people of Israel are? Conveying tragic messages should always be a painful experience for the prophet.

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Devarim 5774-2014

“Moses: The Lonely Leader”

According to the Gaon of Vilna, the connection between the challenge of leadership for Moses and the period of mourning for the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem is not only how these hardships came to be, but also the loneliness that both Moses and the city of Jerusalem experienced.

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Va’etchanan 5773-2013

"Behold the Beauty of the Land"

Moses pleads with G-d to allow him to enter the Promised Land to see the “good land,” the “good mountain” and “the Lebanon.” What exactly was Moses hoping to accomplish with this fervent plea?

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