Shemini 5774-2014

“This is What the L-rd Meant When He Said”

What did Moses mean when he began his words of condolence to his bereaved brother, Aaron, with the enigmatic phrase, “Of this did the L-rd speak, saying.”

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Vayechi 5771-2010

“A Very Imposing Camp”

The Torah informs us that when Joseph and his family went to bring his father Jacob to Canaan for burial, they were accompanied by both chariots and horsemen--a very imposing camp. Was this great retinue a reflection of the Egyptians’ enormous respect for Jacob and Joseph, or were there other, more nefarious, reasons for this show of respect?

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Eikev-Tu B’Av 5766-2006

"The Fifteenth of Av"

The deep mourning period of the Three Weeks between the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av have concluded and the holiday of the 15th of Av is upon us. Although Tu B'Av is a relatively minor holiday today, the Talmud states that it once was one of the most festive days in the Jewish calendar. Many diverse reasons are given for its observance. Perhaps the main reason is to pull the Jewish people out of the sadness and depression of the long period of mourning that precedes Tu B'Av, and give the Jewish people reason to be optimistic and joyous when looking toward the future.

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Va’etchanan-Tisha B’Av 5762-2002

"Loving the Land of Israel"

One of the kinot, the liturgical poems that are read on Tishah B'Av, speaks of the calamity that befell the Jewish communities of the Rhineland, Germany--Worms, Speyer and Mainz (Mayence)--in the year 1096 during the First Crusade. The ArtScroll commentary on this poem throws out a profound challenge to the Jewish people today. Will we rise to the occasion and acknowledge the special gift of the land of Israel, or will we ignore it, and continue to compose elegies for the losses that we sustain?

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