Tazria-Metzorah 5780-2020

“Challenging the Stereotypes: Purity and Impurity in Childbirth”
(edited and revised from Parashiot Tazria-Metzorah 5761-2001)

In parashat Tazria, we encounter one of the most perplexing laws found in the Torah–-the law of impurity and purity of a mother following childbirth. A host of explanations are offered by the commentators and thinkers. Although none of the answers are entirely satisfying, they do reveal a great deal of wisdom and insight on the part of the Torah, reflecting a rather extraordinary understanding of the essence of human relationships.

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Kee Teitzei 5773-2013

"The ‘Mitzvah’ of Divorce, Revisited"

While stability in family life is a much hoped-for ideal, Judaism was remarkably ahead of its time in understanding that an unhappy husband or wife can sometimes not be reconciled, and that marriages must, at times, be terminated.

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Eikev 5763-2003

"Is there Truth to the Notion of Spiritual Accountability?"

In the second paragraph of the Shema, we read of the Jew's relationship of responsibility and accountability toward G-d. Could it be that just as there is a physical accountability in the world, there is a spiritual accountability, as well? The Torah categorically affirms this notion.

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Kee Teitzei 5762-2002

"Transforming an Enemy Into a Friend"

The Torah contains two quite remarkable laws concerning the treatment of animals. In parashat Kee Teitzei, we learn of the law of teh'eenah, that we must help a friend load an animal whose load is falling off. In parasahat Mishpatim, we learn the law of peh'reekah, of helping a friend unload an animal that is falling under its load. From the Talmudic discussion concerning one who is confronted with two animals, one that needs to be loaded and another that needs to be unloaded, we learn some remarkable laws about both animals and human beings.

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0 Comments6 Minutes

Tazria-Metzorah 5761-2001

"Challenging the Stereotypes: Purity and Impurity in Childbirth"

In parashat Tazria, we encounter one of the most perplexing laws found in the Torah--the law of purity and impurity of a mother following childbirth. A host of explanations are offered by our commentators and thinkers. Although none of the answers is entirely satisfying, they do reveal a great deal of wisdom and insight on the part of the Torah, reflecting a rather extraordinary understanding of the essence of human relationships.

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0 Comments5 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.

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0 Comments7 Minutes