Lech Lecha 5781-2020

“Lot, Nephew of Abram: The Promise and the Tragedy”
(updated and revised from Lech Lecha 2000-5761)

Abram was very close to his orphaned nephew, Lot, and did his best to educate him in the ways of morality and ethics. But, Abram and Lot soon grow apart because of Lot's obsession with comfort and wealth. At first, Lot showed great promise. In fact, he possibly could have become the material and spiritual heir of Abram, but instead he chose the luscious plain--he chose Sodom.

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Vayeira 5780-2019

"The Preciousness of Hospitality"
(Updated and Revised from Vayeira 5760-1999)

While 99-year-old Abraham is recovering from his recent circumcision, he sees potential guests on the horizon. Despite his pain, he quickly runs toward the wayfarers and begs them not to pass by his tent without accepting his hospitality. There is much we can learn from Abraham’s manner of welcoming guests. It is essential that we not lose the capacity to properly perform the noble and ennobling mitzvah of “Hachnassat Orchim.”

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Noah 5780-2019

“The Vital Importance of Truthful Judgment”
(Updated and Revised from Noah 5760-1999)

In the narrative of the Tower of Babel, the Bible depicts a would-be omniscient G-d as having to come down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. If G-d is truly omniscient, why should He have to come down; surely He knows of the wickedness of the people? The Torah is faced with a daunting challenge: Are moral lessons more important than theological truths?

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Lech Lecha 5777-2016

“Abram’s Dispute with Lot”

The dispute between the shepherds of Abram and those of Lot was far more than a quarrel over land and possessions. It was due to basic and fundamental philosophical differences regarding ethics and values between Abram and his nephew.

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Vayeira 5775-2014

“One Woman’s Cry”

The Talmud states that because of the cries of one single young woman, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were entirely destroyed. We must attune our ears to hear and respond to the painful realities that many Jewish women face today.

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Lech Lecha 5775-2014

“Lot Grows Increasingly Estranged from his Uncle Abram”

What starts off as an extremely close relationship between Abram and his orphaned nephew Lot, eventually becomes a complete estrangement. What was the cause of that estrangement?

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Vayeira 5772-2011

“Were Lot’s Daughters Moral or Immoral?”

After the destruction of Sodom, Lot’s daughters, thinking that the whole world had been destroyed, ply their father with wine and bear children with him. The commentators struggle with their actions.

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Vayeira 5771-2010

"Lessons from the Evil of Sodom"

The Torah tells us that when Lot went out to speak to his sons-in-law to tell them to leave Sodom, he seemed to them as if he were joking. We Jews face serious threats today as well. Let us not look upon these threats with skepticism as if to say that we are impervious to danger.

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Devarim 5770-2010

"On That Day the Lord Shall Be One and His Name One"

Two little seemingly "throw-away" verses in Deuteronomy, 2:5 and 2:19, powerfully proclaim a singular all-embracing G-d of the world, Who cares for Israel as well as all the nations of the world.

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Lech Lecha 5768-2007

"The Battle of the Four Kings Against the Five"

Parashat Lech Lecha goes into great detail regarding the battle of the four kings against the five, raising questions of its significance. By studying the details of this battle, we learn many moral lessons, once again confirming that the Torah is primarily a guide for moral and ethical living, and not a book of history.

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Balak 5767-2007

"The Enemy Within"

Who were Balak and Bilaam? According to Midrashic sources, they are both descended from Abraham's family. Balak was the son of Lot, while Bilaam was Laban's son and brother to Rachel and Leah. Jewish history has a long pattern of evil emanating from good and good emanating from evil. What accounts for this perplexing pattern?

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Chayei Sara 5766-2005

"Who Is Keturah?"

Our rabbis debate who was "Keturah," the new wife that Abraham takes at the end of parashat Chayei Sarah. There are those that say that she was an entirely new wife. Others argue that Keturah is really Hagar, whom Abraham brought back and remarried. In his mission to be "Av hamon goyim"--a father to many nations--Abraham has six additional children with Keturah and five grandchildren. It is not unlikely that these children, grandchildren and great grandchildren influenced the world with the little Abrahamic tradition that they undoubtedly imbibed from their grandfather and great grandfather.

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Vayeira 5763-2002

"Sodom: The Home of Institutionalized Evil"

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in Sodom? Both the biblical texts and the accompanying Midrashic literature vividly describe the extraordinary evil practiced by people of Sodom, where virtue was declared vice and vice, virtue. Unfortunately, there are elements of Sodom that may be found in aspects of our contemporary society as well. If we are to protect ourselves from these harmful influences, we need to be on the alert and learn to identify those evil aspects.

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Lech Lecha 5761-2000

"Lot, Nephew of Abram: The Promise and the Tragedy"

Abram was very close to his orphaned nephew, Lot, and did his best to educate him in the ways of morality and ethics, but Abram and Lot soon grow apart because of Lot's obsession with comfort and wealth. At first, Lot showed great promise. In fact, he probably could have been the material and spiritual heir of Abram, but instead chose the luscious plain--he chose Sodom.

Read More


0 Comments12 Minutes

Vayeira 5760-1999

"The Preciousness of Hospitality"

The 99-year-old Abraham is recovering from his recent circumcision when he sees potential guests on the horizon. Despite his pain, he quickly runs towards the wayfarers and begs them not to pass by his tent without accepting his hospitality. There is much to learn from Abraham's manner of welcoming guests. It is essential that we not lose the capacity to perform the important mitzvah of "Ha'chanasat Orchim."

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Noah 5760-1999

"Does the Torah Ever Distort the Truth?"

In the story of the Tower of Babel, the Bible depicts a would-be Omniscient G-d as having to come down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. If G-d is truly Omniscient, why should He have to come down; surely He knows of the wickedness of the people? The Torah is faced with a formidable challenge: are moral lessons more important than theological truths?

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes