Re’eh 5779-2019

“Charity! The Investment That Keeps Giving”
(Revised and updated from Re’eh 5760-2000)

A major theme of this week’s parasha concerns how to deal with the impoverished members of the Jewish community. Rather than an act of kindness, the Torah regards “charity” as the right thing to do and a fundamental concept of life and morality.

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Devarim 5779-2019

“Judaism’s Unique View of Justice and the Judicial System”
(Revised and updated from Devarim 5760-2000)

In parashat Devarim, Moses delivers his valedictory admonition to the Jewish people. Knowing that the nation’s
security depends significantly on the efficacy of its legal system, Moses reminds the people again and again to be trustworthy in judgment. In this parasha, Moses lays out the foundation of Jewish jurisprudence, a legal system that was unparalleled in the ancient world. Summing it all up, the prophet Isaiah declares that “Zion shall be redeemed in justice, and that those who return to her shall be redeemed through righteousness.”

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Vayeitzei 5776-2015

“Disclosing Personal Information For Shidduch Purposes”

The issue of relating private information for the sake of marriage is a serious one. The first encounter between Jacob and Rachel reveals some interesting facts and has bearing on this issue.

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Re’eh 5774-2014

“Giving Charity Kindly and Generously”

The Torah introduced the revolutionary concept of charity to the world. Despite its virtually universal acceptance today, it was not always looked upon favorably in many societies.

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Vayeira 5772-2011

“Were Lot’s Daughters Moral or Immoral?”

After the destruction of Sodom, Lot’s daughters, thinking that the whole world had been destroyed, ply their father with wine and bear children with him. The commentators struggle with their actions.

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Noah 5771-2010

“Man’s Struggle with Evil”

In parashat Noah we learn much about man’s struggle with evil. Furthermore, there are quite a few unexpected similarities between the times of Noah and contemporary times.

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Vayigash 5767-2006

"Two of the Seventy Souls"

The Torah lists 70 descendants of Jacob who entered Egypt. Two names seem to be out of place among the 70 "souls" that are recorded: Serach, the daughter of Asher, and Shaul, the son of the Canaanite woman. Who were these unusual people, and why were they singled out?

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Noah 5766-2005

"The Seven Commandments Given to the Descendants of Noah"

Parashat Noah is the source for what is known as the Seven Noahide Principles, seven basic laws that are the fundamentals of civilization and humanity. All non-Jews are required to abide by these seven principles, which are regarded as the minimal standards of human behavior in society. These laws also play a significant role in Judaism's reluctance to accepts converts.

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Naso 5763-2003

"The Hypocrite as Exemplar"

Why is the Torah portion concerning the person who fails to fulfill his religious obligation juxtaposed with the portion of the woman who is suspected of being unfaithful to her husband? From this unusual textual positioning we learn much about human nature. Providing a favorable example is far more impressive and effective than preaching.

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Behar-Bechukotai 5762-2002

"The Extraordinary Mitzvah of Tzedaka, Charity"

The word tzedaka that we mention in Parashat Behar does not mean charity, but rather justice and righteousness. It is not an act of charity to be generous, it is the correct thing to do.

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Re’eh 5761-2001

"Charity! The Investment with the Greatest Return"

In this parasha, the Jewish people are told to care for their poor. "Thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut their hand from thy poor brother." Judaism has a rather unique understanding of charity, arguing that the poor person is doing a kindness to the donor, rather than the other way around. It is no wonder that with this deeply ingrained charitable philosophy, the Jewish people have always excelled in charitability. Unfortunately, as Jews move further away from tradition, they have become less and less charitable.

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Devarim 5760-2000

"Judaism's Unique Views on Justice and the Justice System"

In parashat Devarim, Moses gives his valedictory admonition to the Jewish people. Knowing that the entire nation's security rests on the efficacy of its legal system, Moses reminds the people again and again to be truthful in judgment. In this parasha, Moses lays out the foundation of Jewish jurisprudence, a legal system that was unparalleled in the ancient world. The prophet Isaiah sums it all up by saying that "Zion shall be redeemed in justice and those who return to her shall be redeemed through righteousness."

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0 Comments9 Minutes