Pinchas 5777-2017

"Pinchas and King David"

While both Pinchas and King David killed in the name of G-d to bring sanctity into G-d’s world, only Pinchas was rewarded immediately with the eternal covenant of the priesthood. King David, on the other hand, was denied the right to build the Temple in Jerusalem.

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Naso 5776-2016

“Reflections on the Meaning of Peace"

The Birkat Kohanim, the threefold priestly blessing, was one of the most impressive features of the ancient Temple service. The ultimate of the three blessings was the blessing of peace.

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Pinchas 5773-2013

“The Lesson of the Broken Vav

A most unusual scriptural anomaly is found in the verse in which G-d confers upon the zealous Pinchas the blessing of a “Covenant of Peace.” The letter “vav” in the Hebrew word “Shalom,” peace, is broken. What is the reason for this broken letter?

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Noah 5773-2012

"The Power of Unity"

Why was the generation of the flood punished more harshly than those who built the Tower of Babel?

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Bechukotai 5771-2011

"Peace--The Greatest of All Blessings"

G-d’s reproof of the Jewish people always begins with abundant blessings. The series of blessings that precede the reproof in parashat Bechukotai conclude with perhaps the most exalted of all blessings–-the blessing of peace.

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Noah 5770-2009

"The Message of the Rainbow"

What is the origin of the rainbow that the Al-mighty showed the survivors of the Great Flood? What is the symbolic meaning of this beautiful natural phenomenon?

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Vayikra 5769-2009

"Shlamim: Expressing Wholehearted Gratitude"

The Shlamim sacrifice, or Peace offering, plays a central role in the Jewish sacrificial rite. Although sacrifices are no longer offered today, their inherent symbolic meanings are still quite cogent. The ability to express gratitude for no particular reason, but merely because one is satisfied with one's life, is a feeling that is vitally important for people to articulate.

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Vayeira 5769-2008

"Shalom Bayit, Little White Lies"

In parashat Vayeira, when Sarah learns that she is going to have a child at age 90, she laughs skeptically and says, "After I have withered shall I be fertile again, and my husband is old!" When G-d asks Abraham why Sarah has laughed, He omits Sarah's disrespectful reference to Abraham, saying instead that Sarah referred to herself about being old. Why the change?

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Lech Lecha 5769-2008

"A Blessing on Your Head"

When he leaves his homeland and sets forth for Canaan, Abraham is promised by G-d that He will bless those who bless Abraham. This Divine promise has greatly impacted on Abraham's descendants. Blessings have played an enormously important role in many aspects of Jewish life throughout the millennium.

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5764-2004

"Building a 'New' Sanctuary"

This has been a difficult and challenging year for the Jewish people. Terror attacks, anti-Semitism, assimilation and intermarriage are on the rise. It has also been a particularly hard year for observant Jews, who have been challenged with the appearance of crustaceans in their waters and wigs that might have been used for idolatry. Perhaps what we need during this period of mourning for the Temple is to spiritually chill-out, to calm down and find a sanctuary in our belief system.

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Vayechi 5764-2004

"Can It Be a Mitzvah to Lie?"

When Joseph's brothers come to seek forgiveness from him, a battle of "truth" versus "peace" takes place. The meaning of these two values goes from absolute to relative, leaving the ethical fabric of the world to appear tattered and threadbare, without the proper perspective.

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Matot-Masei 5763-2003

"The Massacre of the Midianites: Does Judaism Countenance Genocide?"

In parashat Matot, G-d tells Moses to mobilize the army of Israel and exact vengeance on the Midianites. The rabbis of old are troubled by this call. They explain that "genocide" was never countenanced by Jewish law, but rather that it was necessary to always first sue the enemy for peace and give them opportunity to flee if they refused to live in peace. Nevertheless, Jewish tradition teaches that one should not be overly compassionate, otherwise one will wind up being cruel at a time when compassion is appropriate.

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