Chayei Sarah 5781-2020

“The Personality of Isaac: The Passive Patriarch”
(updated and revised from Chayei Sarah 5761–2000)

Much of the life of Isaac appears to reflect his seemingly passive nature. Yet, it is apparently through his passivity that he achieves greatness. It is Isaac, the "passive patriarch," who takes hold of the land of Israel, probably because he, as opposed to Abraham and Jacob, never left the land. He toiled on the land, worked the land, plowed the land and harvested the land. Through his quiet perseverance, Isaac achieved more than many others accomplish with much noise and bravado.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5780-2020

“Challenging the Stereotypes: Purity and Impurity in Childbirth”
(edited and revised from Parashiot Tazria-Metzorah 5761-2001)

In parashat Tazria, we encounter one of the most perplexing laws found in the Torah–-the law of impurity and purity of a mother following childbirth. A host of explanations are offered by the commentators and thinkers. Although none of the answers are entirely satisfying, they do reveal a great deal of wisdom and insight on the part of the Torah, reflecting a rather extraordinary understanding of the essence of human relationships.

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Mishpatim 5772-2012

"Capital Punishment: Revenge or Restitution?"

In parashat Mishpatim, the Torah introduces the concept of capital punishment. Is the execution of a murderer an act of vengeance, or is it intended to serve as restitution for the loss of human life?

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Chukat 5771-2011

"The Well of Miriam"

In parashat Chukat, the great prophetess, Miriam, passes away. The fact that, immediately after Miriam’s passing, there is no water for the People of Israel leads the rabbis to conclude that in Miriam’s merit, a well of water traveled with the people of Israel for 40 years in the wilderness, and, with her demise, the well vanished. What was the nature of Miriam’s well?

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Tazria 5771-2011

“Childbirth and Ritual Impurity”

In face of the great challenges that young mothers face, every birth brings trauma, fear, lack of confidence. Scripture states that when a woman bears a child, she shall be impure. But when that period ends, there is re-entry and welcoming, in the fullest sense.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Tazria-Metzorah 5767-2007

"The Conundrum of Childbirth"

The Torah in parashat Tazria declares that after the birth of a male child, a woman is in a state of ritual impurity for seven days followed by a state of ritual purity for 33 days. After the birth of a female child, the birth mother is in a state of ritual impurity for 14 days, followed by a state of ritual purity for 66 days. Our rabbis are perplexed by the law that a woman should be in a state of ritual impurity at all after giving birth to a child, and why the numbers of days of impurity and purity are doubled for a female child as opposed to the birth of a male child.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Kee Teitzei 5763-2003

"The Torah's Radical Approach to Child Rearing"

In parashat Kee Teitzei, we learn of the law of the Ben Sorer U'moreh, the wayward and rebellious son. The Code of Jewish Law sets out very precise guidelines for child rearing that at first blush seem extremely harsh. However, after careful analysis, we see that the Torah is basically establishing boundaries between parent and child, leading to a healthy and loving parent-child relationship.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Tazria-Metzorah 5761-2001

"Challenging the Stereotypes: Purity and Impurity in Childbirth"

In parashat Tazria, we encounter one of the most perplexing laws found in the Torah--the law of purity and impurity of a mother following childbirth. A host of explanations are offered by our commentators and thinkers. Although none of the answers is entirely satisfying, they do reveal a great deal of wisdom and insight on the part of the Torah, reflecting a rather extraordinary understanding of the essence of human relationships.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes

Chayei Sara 5761-2000

"The Personality of Isaac: The Passive Patriarch"

Much of the life of Isaac appears to reflect his seemingly passive nature. Yet it is apparently through his passivity that he achieves greatness. It is Isaac, the "passive patriarch," who takes hold of the land of Israel, probably because he, as opposed to Abraham and Jacob, never left the land. He toiled on the land, worked the land, plowed the land and harvested the land. Through his quiet perseverance, Isaac achieved more than many others accomplish with much noise and bravado.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes