Tzav 5769-2009

"Judaism's Upbeat View of the Past"

The very first service of the day that the Kohen performed was known as Terumat Hadeshen, the lifting of the ashes. Rabbi Hirsch sees it not as the first act of the service of the new day, but rather as the final act of the preceding day's service. This optimistic interpretation underscores Judaism's singularly positive attitude toward life. Yesterday's frustrations, mistakes, errors and sins are not something to be erased from our consciousness, but rather something to be seen as a way station in our perpetual growth, in our never-ending effort at self-improvement.

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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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