Vayeitzei 5779-2018

“The Deceivers are Deceived”

Jacob, the deceiver of Esau, is himself deceived by Laban. Torah law insists that employer-employee relationships must be based on truth and honesty.

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Lech Lecha 5779-2018

“Why Did G-d Choose Abraham?”

As opposed to other great, righteous people and leaders, the Torah does not specify why Abram was chosen by G-d.

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Lech Lecha 5778-2017

“The Beautiful, Barren Matriarchs”

All four matriarchs were both beautiful and barren. The commentators wrestle with the reason for these blessings and challenges.

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Shelach 5776-2016

“A Name Change Becomes a Game Changer"

By changing the name of Hoshea to Joshua, Moses also changes Joshua’s personal powers and his ultimate destiny.

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Lech Lecha 5776-2015

“What’s in a Name?—a Change of Destiny”

A change of name in Jewish tradition often means a change in destiny, and in certain instances, a dramatic transformation in the history of humankind.

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Korach 5775-2015

“The Devastating Impact of Dispute”

Why is the dispute of Korach any worse than the other three rebellious outbreaks of the people, the Golden Calf, the Murmurers and the spies? Each one of these was an affront to G-d’s dignity, yet the Al-mighty forgave the people.

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Shelach 5775-2015

“The Sin of the Spies--Revisited”

The Baal HaTanya suggests that the sin of the scouts was due to their desire to live in a false utopian world of total spirituality, in the full embrace of the Al-mighty, rather than to have to engage in the real world where they would earn their bread by the sweat of their brow.

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Vayigash 5771-2010

“When a Jew Goes Down to Egypt”

How is it that for 22 years, the second most powerful person in Egypt never found the opportunity to visit the land of Canaan if only to see his beloved father and family, from whom he had been so brutally separated?

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Vayechi 5770-2009

"Rachel's Burial Place in Bethlehem"

Jacob interrupts a most important message to his son Joseph by recalling his failure to bury Rachel in Hebron. What could possibly have been his motivation?

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Devarim 5768-2008

"Establishing the Rightful Owners of the Land"

In parashat Devarim, the Torah goes into excruciating and puzzling detail concerning the nations who dwelt in the Land of Canaan. All this is done in order to emphasize the constant change of kingdoms and nations, underscoring that there never was one permanent owner to the land. It is undisputedly "G-d's land" to apportion according to His will--to the People of Israel.

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Vayeitzei 5768-2007

"How Dare You Accuse Me!"

When Laban accuses Jacob of stealing his teraphim (household idols), Jacob confidently responds: "With whomever you find your gods, that person shall not live." How is it possible for Jacob to be so certain that there was not a single thief among his family members or servants?

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