Noah 5781-2020

“Noah: The Man Who Brings Comfort to the World”
(updated and revised from Noah 5761–2000)

Abram was very close to his orphaned nephew, Lot, and did his best to educate him in the ways of morality and ethics. But, Abram and Lot soon grow apart because of Lot's obsession with comfort and wealth. At first, Lot showed great promise. In fact, he possibly could have become the material and spiritual heir of Abram, but instead he chose the luscious plain--he chose Sodom.

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Va’etchanan 5779-2019

“The Torah’s Radical Approach to Parenting”
(Revised and updated from Va’etchanan 5760-2000

In parashat Va’etchanan, we learn of the famed “fifth commandment” calling for honoring father and mother. The Code of Jewish Law goes into extensive detail regarding the obligations of honoring and revering parents. A cursory study of the Code’s directives seem to place all the obligations on the children and extend to the parents all power and authority. Ultimately, Judaism attempts to create a very delicate balance. The radical regulations of parenting set down in the Talmud and in our Code are based on insights of our Torah. They are not only ancient and insightful, they also work.

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Vayikra 5773-2013

"Achieving Spiritual Ascendance Through Sacrifice"

Why do Jewish children begin their study of Torah with the complicated laws of sacrifice? What is ultimately achieved by the bringing of animal sacrifices?

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Kee Tisah 5773-2013

“The Vengeful G-d--Revisited”

The last of the 13 Attributes of G-d’s mercy is that G-d will not completely cleanse sinners. Is the G-d of the Hebrew Bible a “vengeful G-d”?

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Chayei Sarah 5773-2012

"Beware Not to Return My Son There!"

Why was Abraham so adamant about not allowing his servant, Eliezer, to take Abraham’s son, Isaac, out of the land of Israel to look for an appropriate mate?

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Emor 5772-2012

"Lessons from a Priest’s Wanton Daughter"

The bad habits that we see some of our children developing may not be due to the children’s own personal shortcomings, but rather a result of the failure of proper parental nurturing. The only way for the priests, parents, and children to become sanctified and remain sanctified is for parents to serve as sanctified examples for their children and their families.

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0 Comments14 Minutes

Metzora 5771-2011

"We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident"

Notwithstanding the uniqueness of the Declaration of Independence, the idea that certain concepts and ideas are truly “self-evident,” is not an original Jeffersonian concept. The Torah is filled with concepts and ideas that are regarded as self-evident.

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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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Lech Lecha 5770-2009

"Go for Yourself "

The Al-mighty tells Abram to leave his homeland, his relatives and his father's house and go to a land that G-d will show him. Although Abram is instructed to give up his past, he is not told to deny his past. Contemporary Jews, who undertake the journey of embracing tradition, are to be admired for their bold actions. While they may be called upon to abandon much of their past, they dare not deny their past. Doing so is invariably unhealthy and destabilizing.

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Kee Teitzei 5769-2009

"Ben Sorer U'Moreh--The Rebellious Son"

The case of Ben Sorer U'moreh, the prodigal son, is one of the most complex in Jewish law. Whether the Ben Sorer U'moreh actually existed is subject to dispute. Nevertheless, there is much to learn from the rules governing the treatment of the prodigal child.

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Vayechi 5769-2009

"Blessing the Children"

There is no greater joy for parents than to bask in the blessings of one's children. Unfortunately, there is no greater pain that one can endure than the shame brought upon one's family and on the family of humankind by our children.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Bo 5767-2007

"Learning by Teaching"

The Al-mighty tells Moses to approach Pharaoh so that He may show His wonders to Pharaoh and to the people of Egypt. Scripture tells us however that another important purpose of Moses' encounter with Pharaoh is that the Jewish people will know that the Lord is G-d, so that they will be able to communicate their faith to future generations. There is no more effective method of learning than through teaching.

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Toledot 5767-2006

"The Unanswered Prayer"

Rebecca is barren, and she and Isaac pray for a child. Scripture tells us that G-d responds to Isaac's prayer and Rebecca becomes pregnant. What happened to Rebecca's prayer?

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Va’etchanan 5765-2005

"The Jewish Attitude Towards Intermarriage"

In parashat Va'etchanan, we read of the stern prohibition against intermarriage with those who are not members of the Jewish faith. Different arguments are often presented why Jewish young people should not intermarry. Perhaps the most compelling argument is that only those who marry within the faith can hope to be part of the revolutionary mission of the Jewish people to perfect the world under the rule of the Al-mighty and to serve as a light unto the nations.

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Bo 5765-2005

"Opening Their Hearts so They Can Hear"

Among the many fascinating verses of Parashat Bo, we find the actual sources of three of the four sons that are recorded in the Passover Hagaddah. There is a profound lesson to be learned from all the Biblical sources, but especially the verses that apply to the Rasha, the so-called "prodigal child."

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Devarim 5763-2003

"The Gentle Reproof"

The book of Devarim records the words that were spoken by Moses in the last five weeks of his life, given as a last will and testament to his beloved people. In this parasha, Moses provides an example of how reproof should be given by alluding to the people indirectly, rather than announcing the exact sins that were committed. We may indeed learn from Moses how to give effective reproof with great gentleness.

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Noah 5761-2000

"Noah: The Man Who Brings Comfort to the World"

In the persona of Noah, our commentaries uncover a person of abundant talent. He is the first person whom the Torah refers to as "ben" (son), derived from the Hebrew word to build. Noah indeed is a primary builder of the world, a role that is continued by many of his descendants. Noah also brings comfort to the world, which is what the name "Noah" literally means. It is Noah who teaches humankind that technology has the power to reduce pain and travail, and that children can be a consolation for their parents' inability to complete their tasks. It is Noah who has the ability to bring comfort and uncover goodness, even in times of adversity.

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0 Comments10 Minutes

Va’etchanan 5760-2000

"The Torah's Radical Approach to Parenting"

In parashat Va'etchanan, we learn of the fifth commandment of honoring father and mother. The Code of Jewish Law goes into extensive detail regarding the obligations of honoring and revering parents. A cursory study of the Code's directives seem to place all the obligations on the children and all the privileges on the parents. However, Judaism attempts to create a very delicate balance. The radical regulations of parenting set down in the Talmud and in our Code are based on insights of our Torah. They are ancient and insightful, and they work.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes