Passover II 5772-2012

“G-d Shall Do Battle for You, and You Shall Remain Silent”

On the seventh day of Passover, we celebrate the salvation of the people of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians by the splitting of the Red Sea. Faith is what worked for the people at the shores of the Red Sea, and faith is what still works for the Jewish people today.

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Chukat-Balak 5763-2003

"How to Market G-d!"

In parashat Chukat, the Jewish people, once again challenge G-d by speaking against the Al-mighty and Moses and asking, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness...?" In response to this arrogant display of lack of faith, G-d sends fiery serpents to attack the rebellious hordes, and a large number of people die. To stop the plague, Moses builds a fiery serpent and places it on a tall pole so that all who are bitten will look at the serpent and live. What is the role of this serpent? After all, it seems to be very much akin to voodoo.

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Shelach 5762-2002

"What's in a Name?"

Unexpectedly, the Torah spells out the names of each of the twelve leaders who were sent to represent their tribes and scout out the land of Israel. However, when we compare the names of these individuals with the names of the princes who were selected in Numbers Chapter 1 to help Moses count the tribes, we see something rather startling. The names of the princes are far more complex, and contain many more symbolisms. They are substantial names for substantial people. The names of the scouts on the other hand are very short. The names of the princes have many references to G-d. The names of the scouts have few references to G-d. What is the message that the names communicate?

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