Pinchas 5768-2008

"The Zealotry of Pinchas as seen through the Midrash"

The vast majority of the people of Israel rejected Pinchas for his act of zealotry when he stabbed Zimri and Cozbi as they performed an act of public harlotry. Pinchas' life of hardship is revealed to us through the extensive Midrash cited by the great scholar Eliyahu Kitov.

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Kee Tavo 5766-2006

"Respect for the Person and the Office"

In the ceremony of the bringing of the Bikurim, the first fruits, the Torah tells us that the farmer shall come to the Priest who "shall be in those days." From these added words, the rabbis learn that we must treat the contemporary Priest with great respect, even though he may not measure up to the standards of the Priests of old. The Torah teaches us to respect not only the person of the Priest, but the office of the Priesthood as well. It is an important message for contemporary America, with many ramifications concerning the future of our country.

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Pinchas 5766-2006

"The 'Zealotry' of Pinchas"

Seemingly out of the shadows emerges a controversial hero, Pinchas, who slays Cozbi and Zimri, two "high profile" individuals who publicly perform a lewd sexual act. Only a man like Pinchas, who had himself suffered a lifetime of ridicule and rejection, could have mustered the courage to stand up and defend the great Moses who was being subjected to ridicule and rejection.

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Emor 5765-2005

"Priests and Death: An Unusual Relationship"

In parashat Emor, the commentators explain why a lay priest may contaminate himself upon the death of his closest seven relatives, but may not be defiled for the death of strangers. Through the laws of death, the Torah teaches the Jewish people the infinite value of life.

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