Tzav 5765-2005

"Do Sacrifices Have Any Relevance for Us Today?"

Our rabbis ask if the ancient sacrificial rituals have any relevance for us today. They respond by saying that both prayer and Torah study are meaningful contemporary substitutes for sacrifices, especially if we pray and study with full-hearted enthusiasm and proper awareness. If we do so, it is considered as if we have rebuilt the Temple and restored the altar to its ancient place of glory.

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Tzav 5764-2004

"Making the Menial Hallowed and Mundane Holy "

Examining the priestly service, we find something rather perplexing: the holy Cohanim who are engaged in honorable rites with much pomp and circumstance, begin the holy service with a decidedly menial duty each morning. The first service of the day involves removing and transferring the day-old waste of yesterday's ashes. This act not only serves to keep a priest's ego in check, it also teaches a valuable lesson about how truly important the "small stuff" really is.

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Bereshith 5763-2002

"Being Moral in an Increasingly Immoral Environment"

The early chapters of Genesis inform us of the incredible creativity of the descendants of Cain. The great-grandchildren of the world's first murderer become the builders, the ranchers, the musicians and the forgers of metal implements of the ancient world. It is as if the Bible is informing us that the great creative forces emerge from the violent person. What exactly is the message that the Torah is trying to convey?

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