Vayikra 5774-2014

“The Essence of Sacrifice”

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firer argues that the primary purpose of the rituals of animal sacrifice is to prevent future sinful actions, rather than atone for past trespasses.

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Bo 5773-2013

"Interfacing with the Non-Jewish World"

Moses boldly tells Pharaoh that not only will the Israelites not leave their flocks behind in Egypt when they depart, but that Pharaoh himself will donate flocks that will be used by the Israelites in their worship in the wilderness. This declaration raises many thorny issues about the use of non-Jewish resources in Jewish life.

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Emor 5770-2010

"Striving For Perfection"

Much of parashat Emor speaks of holiness, faultlessness, striving for perfection and the proper observance of the holy days. Have we lost the desire to reach perfection in the modern world?

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Shemini 5770-2010

"The Show Must Go On"

Moses and Aaron disagree over whether the Rosh Chodesh sin offering should have been brought on the heels of the great tragedy that befell Aaron with the loss of his two sons. The debate has to do with whether the "show" must always go on, and under what circumstances should it go on. What are the key differences between the positions of Moses and Aaron on this issue?

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Tetzaveh 5770-2010

"The Central Role of the Golden Altar and the Incense"

The order of the Tabernacle furnishings in the text of the Torah is rather perplexing. All the furnishings are listed together, with the exception of the Golden Altar. What was so special about the Golden Altar that warranted that it be listed separately?

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Matot 5768-2008

"Striving for Refined Speech"

In this week's parasha, parashat Matot, we learn of the injunction against profane speech. It is from here that we learn not only to avoid negative speech, but to always strive to make our speech as refined as possible.

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Emor 5767-2007

"Waiting Until the Eighth Day"

The Torah states in Leviticus 22:27 that an animal must be at least eight days old before it may be offered for sacrifice. The commentators propose a host of original and interesting rationales to explain the purpose of this particular rule, underscoring the importance of the nuances that we derive from the textual study of the verses of the Torah.

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Emor 5766-2006

"Striving for Perfection"

The theme of perfection repeats itself frequently in parashat Emor. Not only do the Priests and the sacrifices need to be physically unblemished, even the thoughts of the donors and the Priests must be clean and pure as well. The theme of striving for perfection is a constant and repetitive theme in Jewish life, toward which each Jew is encouraged to strive.

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Shelach 5765-2005

"Bread Alone"

On the heels of the grievous sin of the scouts, G-d forbids an entire generation of men, 20 years old and up, to enter the land of Israel. Strangely, the story of the scouts is followed immediately by two Torah portions that focus specifically on Israel--sacrifice and libations, and the giving of challah. The law of challah required that a portion of dough from every loaf of bread that is baked be given to the Priest. This gift of challah, underscores the primacy of sustaining our teachers and spiritual leaders and maintaining the excellence of Jewish education throughout the generations, even in the diaspora.

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Vayakhel 5763-2003

"Defining True Generosity"

Although people tend to say that generosity is simply giving of one's wherewithal to help another, Judaism defines true generosity as giving with a full and willing heart. It is the willing heart that determines true and genuine generosity.

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0 Comments5 Minutes