Matot-Masei 5779-2019

“Jeremiah’s Prophecy: An Ancient Message for Contemporary Times”
(Revised and updated from Matot-Masei 5760-2000)

The message of prophet Jeremiah, which is read during the “Three Weeks,” is entirely appropriate for this period of sadness that we experience each year at this time. In addition, there are distinct and powerful parallels between the rebuke that Jeremiah gave to the ancient people, and our contemporary experiences.

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Mikeitz 5775-2014

“Why Did Joseph, the Viceroy of Egypt, Never Contact His Aged Father?”

Joseph had already served for nine years as the second most powerful person in Egypt when his brothers come to Egypt to buy food. Why hadn’t the all-powerful Joseph previously contacted his family in Canaan, or at least informed them of the impending famine?

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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.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

B’ha’alot’cha 5772-2012

"Eldad and Medad"

Eldad and Medad are two relatively unknown Biblical personages, and yet, their powerful message and actions continue to resonate loud and clear.

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0 Comments10 Minutes

Mikeitz 5771-2010

"Joseph’s Bold Advice to Pharaoh"

The commentators are troubled by Joseph’s temerity. How does a young Hebrew slave boy, a prisoner, have the chutzpah to instruct the great Pharaoh how to save his country and its citizens from impending famine?

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Balak 5770-2010

"A Nation that Dwells Alone"

There are those who argue that the concept of a nation that dwells alone is a very dangerous and harmful model. On the other hand, the nation that dwells alone is a truly special nation, and that specialness is a great blessing and privilege. When the nations of the world start expecting less of us, then we are in trouble.

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0 Comments6 Minutes

Vayeishev 5766-2005

"The Vast Majority of the Time, G-d Rules the World"

Although most of us live our lives under the assumption that we have freedom of will, there are times when G-d invokes a divine plan, requiring human beings to follow a preordained script. In parashat Vayeishev, we see the very dominant role that G-d plays in Joseph's life, and the inexorable fulfillment of the divine predictions found in the Covenant between the Pieces.

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Re’eh 5764-2004

"Identifying a True Prophet"

Identifying and distinguishing a true prophet from a false prophet is rather difficult. It is particularly complicated because the Torah maintains that the prophecies and predictions of false prophets may come true, and that the message of even a true prophet may, at times, not be fulfilled. The issue of identifying true prophecy has been fraught with danger for the Jews, especially during the last 2000 years of Christian history.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

B’ha’alot’cha 5764-2004

"Searching for Eldad and Medad"

Eldad and Medad were the two worthy elders who were left behind when Moses gathered the 70 elders to help him bear the burden of the nation. There is much to learn from the extensive Midrashic portraits of Eldad and Medad, especially about how to correctly identify quality Jewish leaders.

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Shoftim 5763-2003

"Astrology, Witchcraft and Spiritualism in Judaism"

In parashat Shoftim, the Torah tells us that when the Jewish people enter the land of Israel they must not follow the abominable practices of the nations that reside there. It is strictly prohibited to cause a son or a daughter to pass through fire, to practice divination or astrology, or to visit one who reads omens. Patronizing a sorcerer, an animal charmer, inquiring of the Ov or Yidoni, or consulting the dead is forbidden. The Jews are supposed to be wholehearted with G-d and not support the magic or spirituality of the ancients. The questions remains, is there any efficacy to witchcraft or to the magic of the ancients?

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Toledot 5763-2002

"The Deeds of the Fathers are Signposts for the Children"

In parashat Toledot we read for the third time the story of our patriarchs going to Egypt or to Gerar on account of famine. This time it's Isaac and Rebecca, rather than Abraham and Sarah, but the stories are virtually identical to the previous two. The famed Italian Bible scholar, Umberto Cassuto, suggests that this story is a paradigm, and its frequent repetition is predictive of what will happen to the Jewish people in the future. There will be a famine, and the families of the descendants of Abraham and Isaac will leave Canaan and go into exile. The men will be threatened with death, but the women will be allowed to live. Eventually, the people will go out with great wealth.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Matot-Masei 5760-2000

"Jeremiah's Prophecy: An Ancient Message for Contemporary Times"

The message of Jeremiah, which is read during the Three Weeks, is entirely appropriate for this period of sadness that we experience at this time of the year. There are distinct parallels between the rebuke that Jeremiah gave to the ancient people and our contemporary experiences.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes