Tzav 5775-2015

“When Performing a Mitzvah Comes at a Significant Personal Cost”

The priests of old were profoundly challenged when they worked in the Tabernacle and Temple, since their service resulted in a significant loss of personal income.

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Lech Lecha 5774-2013

“Setting the Stage for the Jewish Future”

Our sages say that the deeds of the forefathers are signposts for the children. The story of Abraham and Sarah are truly predictive of both future Jewish history and contemporary Jewish life.

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Vayikra 5773-2013

"Achieving Spiritual Ascendance Through Sacrifice"

Why do Jewish children begin their study of Torah with the complicated laws of sacrifice? What is ultimately achieved by the bringing of animal sacrifices?

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Vayikra 5771-2011

"No Leaven or Honey on the Altar"

Once the Torah prescribes the procedures for the various fine flour offerings, Scripture warns that none of the offerings may be brought on the altar together with leaven or with honey. What is the reason for this odd prohibition?

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5769-2009

"Blood-the Essence of Life"

The Torah, on numerous occasions, prohibits eating blood. It also requires that the blood of certain non-domesticated wild animals, such as deer, as well as birds that are slaughtered for food, be covered with earth. What is the reason for this strict prohibition against blood, and why is the blood of only certain animals covered?

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Matot 5768-2008

"Striving for Refined Speech"

In this week's parasha, parashat Matot, we learn of the injunction against profane speech. It is from here that we learn not only to avoid negative speech, but to always strive to make our speech as refined as possible.

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Shelach 5765-2005

"Bread Alone"

On the heels of the grievous sin of the scouts, G-d forbids an entire generation of men, 20 years old and up, to enter the land of Israel. Strangely, the story of the scouts is followed immediately by two Torah portions that focus specifically on Israel--sacrifice and libations, and the giving of challah. The law of challah required that a portion of dough from every loaf of bread that is baked be given to the Priest. This gift of challah, underscores the primacy of sustaining our teachers and spiritual leaders and maintaining the excellence of Jewish education throughout the generations, even in the diaspora.

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5762-2002

"Judging our People Favorably"

The powerful words of Isaiah in this week's Haftorah resound today with surprising relevance, as if they were pronounced only yesterday. Despite Isaiah's harsh assessment of the people, we, like the prophet of old, need to look upon the people of Israel and judge them favorably. After all, contemporary Jews face similar challenges to those of the ancients and need to be judged favorably as well.

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