Kee Teitzei 5779-2019

“Polygamy, Illegitimacy and Punishing the Innocent”
(Revised and updated from Kee Teitzei 5760-2000)

Summary: The concept of מַמְזְרוּת--mam’z’rut, illegitimacy, in Judaism, is a very painful topic in Jewish life, but one that underscores the extreme sanctity with which Judaism views the family. Once the sanctity of life is compromised, Jewish life is compromised. The Torah has much to teach concerning proper conduct and compassion in the face of profoundly difficult societal issues and choices.

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Pinchas 5779-2019

“The Daughters of Zelophehad: Legitimate Feminist Claims”
(Revised and updated from Pinchas 5760-2000)

Distinguishing between legitimate and non-legitimate claims has become a challenging issue, especially when “political correctness” is mixed into the brew. In parashat Pinchas, we encounter the revolutionary claim of the daughters of Zelophehad who win the right to inherit their father’s ancestral land in Israel. Along with other issues concerning women that are found in the Torah, the case of Zelophehad’s daughters underscores that Judaism was always ahead of other civilizations in establishing fair and equitable parameters for Jewish women.

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Korach 5779-2019

“Controversy Versus Conflict”
(Revised and updated from Korach 5760-2000)

The Mishnah in Avot teaches that every controversy that is for the “sake of Heaven” will endure, while those that are not for the sake of Heaven will not endure. The example that the Mishnah provides for a controversy that was not for the sake of Heaven is the conflict of Korach and his assemblage. Although some of Korach’s claims may have been legitimate, the method that he used to drive them home proves that he was not a pursuer of truth, but, rather, a pursuer of controversy.

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B’ha’a’lot’cha 5777-2017

“The Convert and the Second Passover”

The fascinating laws of פֶּסַח שֵׁנִי--Pesach Shay’nee, the second Passover, not only inform us of the true reasons for Passover observance, but also enlighten us regarding important practices in determining Jewish law.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

B’ha’a’lot’cha 5776-2016

“Moses Realizes that His Dreams Were Not Going to be Fulfilled"

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik provides new insights into a well-known narrative in parashat B’ha’a’lot’cha, explaining why Moses’ dreams of entering the Promised Land were not realized.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Kee Teitzei 5773-2013

"The ‘Mitzvah’ of Divorce, Revisited"

While stability in family life is a much hoped-for ideal, Judaism was remarkably ahead of its time in understanding that an unhappy husband or wife can sometimes not be reconciled, and that marriages must, at times, be terminated.

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Balak 5771-2011

"Taking the Law Into One’s Own Hand"

In response to a lewd sexual act performed publicly by Zimri and Cozbi, Pinchas the son of Elazar responds zealously, spearing the perpetrators and killing them. How does tradition look upon Pinchas’ decision to take the law into his own hands?

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Shoftim 5764-2004

"Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue"

The Torah's ideas of a judicial system and the pursuit of justice have revolutionized jurisprudence throughout the world.

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Re’eh 5764-2004

"Identifying a True Prophet"

Identifying and distinguishing a true prophet from a false prophet is rather difficult. It is particularly complicated because the Torah maintains that the prophecies and predictions of false prophets may come true, and that the message of even a true prophet may, at times, not be fulfilled. The issue of identifying true prophecy has been fraught with danger for the Jews, especially during the last 2000 years of Christian history.

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Kee Teitzei 5760-2000

"Polygamy, Illegitimacy and Punishing the Innocent"

The concept of mamzerut, illegitimacy in Judaism, is a very painful topic in Jewish life but one that underscores the extreme sanctity with which Judaism views the family. Once the sanctity of life is compromised, Jewish life is compromised. The Torah has much to teach about conduct and compassion in the face of difficult societal issues and choices.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Pinchas 5760-2000

"The Daughters of Tzelafchad: Legitimate Feminist Claims"

Distinguishing between legitimate and non-legitimate claims has become a fine art, especially when "political correctness" is mixed into the brew. In parashat Pinchas, we encounter the claim of the daughters of Tzelafchad who win the right to inherit their father's ancestral land in Israel. Along with other issues concerning women that are found in the Torah, the case of Tzelafchad's daughters underscores that Judaism is really light-years ahead of other civilizations in establishing fair and equitable parameters for Jewish women.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Korach 5760-2000

"Controversy Versus Conflict"

The Mishnah in Avot teaches that every controversy that is for the sake of heaven will endure, while those that are not for the sake of heaven will not endure. The example that the Mishnah gives of a controversy that is not for the sake of heaven is the conflict of Korach and his assemblage. Although some of Korach's points may have been legitimate, the method that he used to drive them home proves that he was not a pursuer of truth, but rather a pursuer of controversy.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes