Terumah 5780-2020

“The Centrality of Torah”
(updated and revised from Terumah 5762-2002)

The Holy Ark was the central furnishing of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), which housed the Torah. Since Torah is the elixir of life for the Jewish people, the Ark, with its non-removable staves, always traveled with the people whenever they moved. This ancient practice marked indelibly on all Jews, that at the very core of our lives must be the Torah.

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Pekudei 5779-2019

"Honesty and Integrity in Public Life”
(Revised and updated from Pekudei 5760-2000)

In parashat Pekudai, the Torah portion provides an exact accounting of the amount of gold, silver, and copper that was contributed to the construction of the Tabernacle. Honesty and integrity play a major role in the Jewish religion. Especially leaders, who are meant to serve as role models for the rest of the community, are expected to live up to the highest standards of probity.

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Vayakhel 5779-2019

"Jewish Women and Jewish Destiny"
(Revised and updated from Vayakhel 5760-2000)

We are told in parashat Vayakhel that the Jewish women responded immediately to the appeals that were made by Moses for gold for building the Tabernacle, swiftly removing their precious jewelry and rushing them to the Tabernacle. This was only one of the many heroic actions that the women of Israel performed. The key role that the women of Israel played in the redemption of the people of Israel is confirmed by the remarkable rabbinic statement asserting that “only in the merit of the righteous women, were our ancestors redeemed from Egypt.” It is quite likely that this is true, not only of the generation of Egypt, but for all subsequent generations as well.

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Tetzaveh 5779-2019

“Clothes: A Reflection of the Divine Image”
(Revised and updated from Tetzaveh 5760-2000)

Clothes play an important role in Judaism and in Jewish tradition. After all, the Al-mighty was the “First Designer” of clothes for Adam and Eve. The clothes that the priests wore, not only invested them with sanctity, but also represented the values that the priests were trying to communicate to the people.

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Terumah 5776-2016

“Charity–the Only True Possession”

Parshat Terumah teaches that the only eternal possessions are those that are given away as charitable gifts.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5775-2015

“Bringing Heaven Down To Earth”

The Biblical narrative describing the final erecting of the Tabernacle teaches that human beings can indeed build an earthly dwelling place for the Divine Presence, and they can even bring the Divine Presence down to earth.

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Pekudei 5774-2014

“Moses Retires from Center Stage”

Despite the superhuman efforts invested by Moses in the construction of the Tabernacle, Moses himself is prevented from entering the Tabernacle when the Divine cloud hovered over the Sanctuary.

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Terumah 5774-2014

“The Shulchan--Much More Than Just a Table”

The “Shulchan”–the Table of Showbread, one of the central furnishings in the Tabernacle and the Temple, was much more than just a table.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5773-2013

"The Sanctity of The Holy of Holies"

What is the role, function and mystique of the “Holy of Holies?”

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Shemini 5773-2013

“Authentic Religious Ecstasy”

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik suggests that Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Abihu, were judged more harshly because they were in positions of leadership and punished more severely because they attempted to experience religious ecstasy through prohibited means.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5773-2013

"The Jewish Connection"

The minutely detailed architectural plans of the Tabernacle and the precise designs of the priestly vestments underscore the interconnectedness of all the vessels and vestments. Interconnectedness is a vital feature of human life, and a most profound element of the Jewish religion.

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Tetzaveh 5773-2013

"The Centrality of Light"

Why does the commandment of lighting the candles appear at the beginning of this week’s parasha, rather than after the completion of the building of the Mishkan and the placement of the utensils?

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Terumah 5773-2013

"Form Over Content, or Content Over Form?"

Why did Moses change G-d’s instructions and direct Bezalel to first build the furnishings and vessels of the Tabernacle, and only then build the Tabernacle structure?

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