Bo 5780-2020

“Rational Love and Emotional Love: A Lesson from Tefillin”
(revised and updated from Bo 5760-2000)

From the ritual of Tefillin we learn that there is both “rational love” and “emotional love,” a love of the mind and a love of the heart. While both these loves are important, in Judaism, emotional love trumps rational love.

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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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Vayishlach 5777-2016

“Esau and Jacob Embrace and Kiss: Sincere or Insincere?”

After more than two decades of separation, Esau and Jacob meet and embrace. Is the reunion a true reconciliation or a temporary respite in the hatred that is deeply ingrained?

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Vayeitzei 5777-2016

“The Great Deception”

Deceptions are found frequently in the book of Genesis. While they are often painful and devastating, they, on occasion, lead to great redemption and salvation.

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B’shalach 5775-2015

“One Heart, as One Man”

Israel’s enemies have mastered the art of enmity. The most effective response to this enmity must be the unity of the People of Israel.

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0 Comments9 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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Behar-Bechukotai 5773-2013

"The Value of a Woman"

As one would expect, in parashat Bechukotai, there is much discussion and controversy regarding the concept of valuing human beings, especially concerning the lower level at which women are valued.

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Kee Tisah 5773-2013

“The Vengeful G-d--Revisited”

The last of the 13 Attributes of G-d’s mercy is that G-d will not completely cleanse sinners. Is the G-d of the Hebrew Bible a “vengeful G-d”?

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Nitzavim-Rosh Hashana 5773-2012

“The Return to G-d”

Our rabbis declare that in the place where the penitents stand, even the most righteous cannot stand. Why should G-d feel closer to the penitent than to one who has never sinned?

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Eikev 5772-2012

“Loving the Stranger”

If attitudes of antipathy and xenophobia are often directed at mere strangers, how much more so to strangers who wish to convert to Judaism, who are neither members of our families, nor of our people. Consequently, the Torah laws regarding the proper treatment of converts are rather extensive and quite detailed.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5771-2011

"The Thirteen Attributes of G-d’s Mercy"

After the sin of the Golden Calf, G-d forgives the people and pronounces what are known as the “13 Attributes of G-d’s Mercy.” These “13 Attributes” are considered the most exalted prayer that a Jew may utter when beseeching G-d for mercy. It is important to know the intended meanings of these fateful words.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5770-2010

"Loving Thy Neighbor"

The Torah's statement bidding the Jewish people to love one's neighbor as oneself is universally regarded as one of the greatest pronouncements of human morality. Nevertheless, it has been the subject of much vitriolic criticism.

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Kee Teitzei 5766-2006

"The Mitzvah of Marriage, Kiddushin and Ketuvah"

In parashat Kee Teitzei, we find that a positive mitzvah, the mitzvah of marriage, is derived from a negative mitzvah, the prohibition of defaming one's wife. With the mitzvah of marriage, the ketubah, a most remarkable ancient document to guarantee women's rights, is also introduced.

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Eikev 5763-2003

"Is there Truth to the Notion of Spiritual Accountability?"

In the second paragraph of the Shema, we read of the Jew's relationship of responsibility and accountability toward G-d. Could it be that just as there is a physical accountability in the world, there is a spiritual accountability, as well? The Torah categorically affirms this notion.

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Kedoshim 5763-2003

"Giving Proper Reproof"

Judaism maintains that if one has a justified complaint against another it is preferable to state it directly than to brood over it. However, giving proper reproof is an art in and of itself. The great Chazon Ish (Rabbi Abraham Isiah Karelitz, 1878-1953) declared that since we no longer know how to give proper reproof, it is preferable not to offer reproof.

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Chayei Sara 5763-2002

"The Torah's Recipe for Finding a Proper Mate"

This week's parasha is a primary source from which we learn much about the qualities that one should look for when seeking a mate. The lessons that may be gleaned from our scriptures serve as a sound guide, even for contemporary times. They are not primitive. In fact, in many instances, they are light-years ahead of contemporary practices and understandings.

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0 Comments12 Minutes

Yitro 5761-2001

"Can the Torah Prohibit Feelings that are Part of Normal Human Emotions?"

The tenth and final commandment of the Decalogue, the prohibition against covetous desires, seems to indicate that human beings can control their thoughts and their desires. Is that true?

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0 Comments6 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.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Bo 5760-2000

"Rational Love and Emotional Love: A Lesson From Tefillin"

From the ritual of tefillin we learn that there is both "rational love" and "emotional love," a love of the mind and a love of the heart. While both these loves are important, in Judaism emotional love trumps rational love.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes