Va’eira 5767-2007

"Even a Hardened Heart has a Silver Lining"

The fact that G-d hardens the heart of Pharaoh presents many theological issues, but what is often overlooked is that as a result of Pharaoh hardening his heart, the Jews achieved full liberation from Egypt, rather than to go out to the wilderness, worship G-d there for three days and have to return to Egypt.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Shemot 5767-2007

"The Etiquette of Evil"

The Ramban brilliantly responds to the question of why Pharaoh needed to deal shrewdly and in an a roundabout manner with the "Jewish Problem" of his time, rather than deal with it in a forthright and forceful manner.

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes

Vayechi 5766-2006

"The Passing of a Patriarch"

Father Jacob had given his children explicit instructions how to conduct his funeral and burial. His instructions, however, clashed with the political and social mores of Egypt. The all-powerful Joseph needed to navigate the very sensitive path necessary to accommodate the Egyptians, yet ensure the fulfillment of his deceased father's wishes.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Va’eira 5765-2005

"Teaching a New Reality About Divine Power Through The Ten Plagues"

The ten plagues were not simply ten random events. They were carefully structured symbols that came to negate contemporary Egyptian beliefs, and teach very powerful lessons about faith in G-d and His ultimate power. The ten plagues also successfully worked to discredit the power of the chartoomim and chachamim, Pharaoh's sorcerers and wise men.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Shemot 5765-2004

"In the Merit of Miriam"

In this week's parasha we learn of the birth and development of Moses. We also learn, albeit anonymously, of his mother, father and sister. The Midrash, however, builds up the role of Miriam (Moses' sister), portraying her as a formidable savior and heroine of her people.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes

Vayeishev 5765-2004

"A Personality Profile of Joseph"

The personality of Joseph is complex and fascinating. Much of Joseph's future life is determined by his early childhood, especially the death of his mother and the fact that he was favored by his father. How Joseph deals with these elements of his life constitutes one of the most fascinating stories in human literature.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Bo 5764-2004

"The More Things Change..."

In the last moments of their sojourn in the Egyptian land that held them in bondage for hundreds of years, the Jews are told to gather gold and silver from their former Egyptian masters. To the casual observer it appears that the Jews are vengefully looting Egypt. Perhaps, though, the fulfillment of this command represents the mental journey that the Jews must travel from slavery to freedom. The looting of Egypt and its repercussions, are felt to this day.

Read More


0 Comments13 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5763-2003

"Watch Out for Laban, He is More Dangerous Than Pharaoh"

As part of the Bikkurim declaration, the celebrants stated that "An Aramean tried to destroy my father." The Torah thus sees the Aramean, Laban, as more dangerous than Pharaoh. The fact that Pharaoh wants to do us in is well known, so we can protect ourselves. Our brother Laban, however, the wily Aramean, is always out there waiting for us, feigning love, conspiring to defeat us. We need always be on watch for him.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Shemot 5763-2002

"The Making of a Concerned Jewish Leader"

Who is the child Moses and how does he merit to become the "savior" of Israel? Both the biblical texts and the Midrashic elaborations give us hints to help us understand how a child who is raised in Pharaoh's court becomes a devoted and dynamic Jewish leader. The fact that he is raised by his biological mother, Yocheved, until he is weaned, is undoubtedly a critical factor. Although tradition is purposely ambiguous, Moses not only receives his rearing from his mother and his sister as a young child, but also from Bitya, the daughter of Pharaoh, who may very well be the secret heroine in Moses' life and consequently a key player in the destiny of the Jewish people.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Va’eira 5761-2001

"The Subtle Slavery"

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," embodied in our admiration for, and indeed worship of, alien cultures, that is a cause of concern for Jews, even today.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Shemot 5761-2001

"The Not-So-Obvious Process of Enslavement"

When the sons of Jacob and their families arrive in Egypt, they are sent to live separately from the Egyptians in the land of Goshen. Nevertheless, Pharaoh and the Egyptians are threatened by them and decide to deal wisely with the Jews, eventually resulting in the Hebrews' brutal enslavement. How was Pharaoh able to convince the Egyptian citizens to enslave the Jews, descendants of Joseph, who, less than 100 years before, had saved all the Egyptian people from starvation?

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes