Va’eira 5781-2021

“Mesmerized by the Subtle Slavery”
(updated and revised from Va’eira 5761-2001)

The Torah tells us that Pharaoh literally had to chase the Jews out of Egypt, not only because Egypt was the country that they knew as their home, but because Egypt embodied values from which they were not prepared to separate. It is this “subtle slavery,” reflected in our admiration for, and indeed worship of, “alien” cultures and values, that is a cause of concern for Jews, even today.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Shemot 5781-2021

“The Not-So-Obvious Process of Hebrew Enslavement”
(revised and updated from parashat Shemot 5761-2001)

The message of parashat Shemot is that the Jewish people probably became slaves long before the Egyptians enforced slavery upon them. Long before the back-breaking labor, the Sons of Israel had probably become slaves to Egyptian culture, Egyptian fashion and Egyptian values. It was inevitable that these committed Jewish-Egyptian “patriots” would become so deeply dedicated to Egypt politically, civically and emotionally that they would ultimately be unable to extricate themselves.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Bo 5776-2016

“How Impactful was the Plague of Locusts?”

The plague of locusts is unique among the ten plagues that were visited upon the Egyptians, because it contained a message for Pharaoh, for the Egyptians and for the People of Israel, as well. How impactful was the plague of locusts?

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

B’shalach 5775-2015

“One Heart, as One Man”

Israel’s enemies have mastered the art of enmity. The most effective response to this enmity must be the unity of the People of Israel.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Bo 5774-2014

“In the Blink of an Eye”

Almost instantly, the status of the Jews in Egypt is transformed from that of vile enemy to respected friend, underscoring that salvation from G-d can occur in the blink of an eye.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Va’eira 5774-2013

“Moses, the Reluctant Prophet”

How could any mortal refuse the Al-mighty’s mission, especially when G-d sends Moses to redeem His people, whom Moses loves so dearly?

Read More


0 Comments14 Minutes

Vayigash 5774-2013

“The Dreams and the Divine Covenant”

As Jacob’s entire family bows down before Joseph, all of Joseph’s dreams finally come true. But not only Joseph’s dreams come to fruition, the prophesies and predictions of the Covenant between the Pieces have also begun to be realized.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

B’shalach 5772-2012

"Pharaoh's Ultimate Fate"

In Exodus 15, after the splitting of the sea, Moses leads the People of Israel in triumphant song, and Miriam leads the women of Israel in a song of victory. That is the last that we hear of Pharaoh, or is it?

Read More


0 Comments12 Minutes

Va’eira 5772-2012

“The Decline and Collapse of the Egyptian Magicians”

The Bible reports that the Egyptian magicians encourage Pharaoh’s resistance by replicating several of the Ten Plagues. Soon, however, we learn of the precipitous decline and collapse of the Egyptian magicians.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Shemot 5772-2012

“A Truly Moral Man Goes Out To His Brethren”

Although Jews may prefer to regard Moses exclusively as the leader of the Jewish people, Moses clearly emerges as the shepherd of all humankind.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Vayeishev 5772-2011

“Interpreting the Dreams of Others”

In Canaan, Joseph dreamed about himself and his family. Now, a prisoner in Egypt, others were the dreamers, and Joseph becomes the interpreter of their dreams.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Va’eira 5771-2011

"Messages from the Nile"

As the central feature of Egypt, it was logical that the Nile would be the first object of G-d’s wrath. Hence, the first two plagues, blood and frogs, are visited upon the Nile. But, there is much more that the Nile represents.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Shemot 5770-2010

"In Those Days, In These Times"

In a single generation, unbridled adulation for Joseph turns into the enslavement of the entire Jewish people. How did it happen? Are Jews possibly facing a similar future in North America today?

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Mikeitz 5770-2009

"Pharaoh's Dream: The Variations and Nuances"

When it comes to the bible, the story is often in the details. The repetitious narrative of Pharaoh's dreams is an important source of new information about Pharaoh, Egypt and Joseph's subsequent interpretation of Pharaoh's dream.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

B’shalach 5769-2009

"Pharaoh Sends the People of Israel out of Egypt"

The opening verse of parashat B'shalach is rather challenging. The Hebrew word "Vy'he" is seen as an indication of sadness. Why sadness at such a triumphal moment? Also, the verse asserts that Pharaoh, not G-d, sent the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Can this be true?

Read More


0 Comments17 Minutes

Va’eira 5769-2009

"Why Didn't the Egyptians Rebel Against Pharaoh?"

Egypt had already suffered through seven plagues. The Egyptian people were down on their knees. Why didn't the citizens rebel against Pharaoh? Why did they allow their storied civilization to be destroyed before their very eyes?

Read More


0 Comments12 Minutes

Bo 5768-2008

"Is This What You Call Borrowing?"

The Torah tells us that the former Jewish slaves borrowed gold and silver utensils and garments from their Egyptian neighbors, emptying out Egypt. Couldn't the Al-mighty have found a better way to fulfill the Abrahamitic promise that the Jews would leave their exile, slavery and persecution with great wealth?

Read More


0 Comments14 Minutes