Vayikra 5774-2014

“The Essence of Sacrifice”

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firer argues that the primary purpose of the rituals of animal sacrifice is to prevent future sinful actions, rather than atone for past trespasses.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes

Terumah 5772-2012

"The Outer Altar"

Although we have no Temple or Tabernacle today, the powerful symbolism of the Tabernacle furnishings lives on. We must continue to study the details and nuances of the outer altar and of the entire Tabernacle, because their lessons are eternally and profoundly relevant.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Vayakhel 5771-2011

"Straying from Lofty Spiritual Moorings"

Not everybody is impressed by the people of Israel’s generosity when donating to the Tabernacle. One sage maintains that the people gave far more willingly to the Golden Calf than to the Tabernacle. Might this be an unredeemable stain on the people’s record?

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5769-2009

"An Opportunity for Those Who Seek to Repent"

The sin of the Golden Calf was a decisive event in Jewish history. Although it is generally regarded as a permanent stain on the record of the Jewish people, underscoring their abject faithlessness, according to some opinions, the people’s sinfulness was actually Divinely orchestrated in order to provide an opening for future generations to return from sin.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes

Va’etchanan-Tisha B’Av 5768-2008

"A Hopeful Message for Jewish Future"

In parashat Va’etchanan, we find the well-known citation, “Kee to’leed ba’neem,” which is read on Tisha B’Av. It predicts that the Jewish people will stray from G-d and commit horrible sins. And yet, in one of the most optimistic statements, G-d assures His people that they will always be welcomed back with open arms, no matter how far they stray.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Tazria 5768-2008

"The Odd Ritual Practices of the Metzorah!"

In parashat Tazria we are taught that the metzorah, the person who is afflicted with the disease tzah'ra'aht for speaking lashon hara, must rend his clothes. He is also forbidden to cut his hair, must cover his mouth and head, and needs to call out publicly: "Contaminated, contaminated!" In addition, he is isolated from the rest of the community. What are the meanings of these rituals and behaviors, and what impact are they expected to have on gossipers and slanderers?

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes

Tazria 5763-2003

"Tzaraat--The Spiritual Dermatological Disease"

According to Jewish tradition, the primary cause of the affliction tzaraat is lashon hara, speaking evil or slanderously of others. In ancient times, when one would speak evil of another person, a rash or infection would appear on the belongings or on the body of the perpetrator. On the surface, the assertion that one can develop a hideous skin rash from speaking evil seems quite preposterous, yet, there are many precedents for such things in life, science, and medicine.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Vayeishev 5763-2002

"Judah Emerges as the Leader of Israel"

As the natural, charismatic leader, Judah's brothers abide by his suggestion to sell Joseph rather than kill him. But now that father Jacob is inconsolable, the brothers blame Judah for their father's misery. Judah has a falling out with his brothers and departs from his household ostensibly renouncing his family connections. He marries a local woman, has three sons, two of whom die after they are married to Tamar. Unknowingly, Judah has a sexual relationship with Tamar who becomes pregnant. After sentencing Tamar to death by burning, Judah, rising to the occasion, admits his guilt and spares Tamar's life. Judah thus becomes the first Ba'al Teshuvah (penitent) and emerges as the leader of Israel.

Read More


0 Comments12 Minutes

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.

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes