Eikev 5780-2020

“The Intermarriage Conundrum”
(updated and edited from parashat Eikev 5761-2001)

In Deuteronomy 7:3, the Jewish people are told not to give their daughters to the sons of the Canaanites or take their daughters for our sons. There really is no entirely compelling argument against intermarriage. It can only be appreciated by those who wish to play a role in the sacred mission of the Jewish people, to teach the world the idea of the sanctity of human life, and to work toward the perfection of the world under the rule of the Al-mighty.

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Pinchas 5780-2020

“The Pain of Giving Reproof”
(Updated and revised from Parashat Pinchas 5761-2001)

The haftarah for parashat Pinchas, selected from the book of Jeremiah, opens with Jeremiah’s first two prophecies concerning an almond-wood staff that is shown to him by G-d, and the vision of the boiling cauldron that is bubbling over from the North. The boiling cauldron symbolizes that the evil that will come from the north–the Babylonian hoards, led by Nebuchadnetzer who will destroy the Temple. But, what is the symbol of the almond-wood staff? Could it be that G-d is trying to show the prophet that there should never be enthusiasm when delivering messages of reproof, no matter how deserving of reproof the people of Israel are? Conveying tragic messages should always be a painful experience for the prophet.

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Matot-Masei 5778-2018

“Judaism and Warfare”

The great battle that Israel waged to avenge Midian for leading the men of Israel astray is described in what appears to be a very cruel and heartless manner. Judaism’s attitude toward warfare is nevertheless quite enlightened.

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Passover 5778-2018

“The Opening Act”

The wise authors of the Hagaddah knew well that if the reader’s or participant’s attention is not captured in the first few moments of the Seder ritual, then the likelihood of success is much diminished. That is why they created a natural, dramatic opening for the Seder, one that has had repeated success for more than two thousand years.

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Shoftim 5777-2017

“Judaism and the Principle of the Sanctity of Human Life”

The principle of the sanctity of life, a foremost principle in Judaism, is highlighted on multiple occasions in parashat Shoftim.

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Mishpatim 5777-2017

“Majority Rule"

The idea of “majority rule” may very well find its origin in the judicial laws of Judaism. Its fascinating ramifications are on broad display in parashat Mishpatim.

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Mishpatim 5775-2015

“Injuring a Fellow Human Being”

In parashat Mishpatim the Torah introduces the fundamental rules regarding instances of personal injury. In many instances, these ancient rules are practiced today and form the basis of jurisprudence in many contemporary legal systems.

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Passover 5774-2014

“The Opening Act”

The wise authors of the Hagaddah knew well that if the reader’s or participant’s attention is not captured in the first few moments of the Seder ritual, then the likelihood of success is much diminished. That is why they created a natural, dramatic opening for the Seder, one that has had repeated success for more than two thousand years.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Noah 5773-2012

"The Power of Unity"

Why was the generation of the flood punished more harshly than those who built the Tower of Babel?

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Noah 5767-2006

The Curse of Ham; The Blessing of Shem and Yafet"

The books of the Torah are filled with superb narratives, each one surpassing the next. The story of the flood is followed by the story of Noah planting a vineyard, resulting in the curse of his son, Ham, along with Noah's grandson, Canaan, and the blessing of Noah's sons, Shem and Yafet. What is the meaning of the blessing of Yafet, and how is it meant to impact on Shem's descendants--the Jewish people?

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Vayishlach 5763-2002

"We Can Forgive the Arabs for Killing Our Children..."

As we delve into the study of Torah, we often find that seemingly insignificant verses in the Torah contain revolutionary insights about life. In 1972, Golda Meir made a widely acclaimed statement: We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children, but we can not forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. Who would ever imagine that our commentaries find a similar message in parashat Vayishlach?

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Vayeira 5762-2001

"The Akeida"

The binding of Isaac, known as the "Akeida," is one of the most noted and influential portions of the Bible, and one of the most enigmatic. The Akeida proclaimed a new and vital message to the world, boldly rejecting the abominable practice of child sacrifice that was rife among the ancient people--and usually performed in the name of the pagan deity.

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Shoftim 5761-2001

"Security for Citizens and Caring for Guests"

In parashat Shoftim, we encounter the ritual of eglah arufah, the ceremony of the heifer that is put to death. We learn from the ritual of eglah arufah, in which both city officials and hosts, in general, have a responsibility of escorting visitors and making certain that they can travel safely from one city to another. Those who fail to provide security, are held morally responsible. It applies for those who welcome visitors into their homes today as well.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Eikev 5761-2001

"The Intermarriage Conundrum"

In chapter 7 of Deuteronomy, we are told not to give our daughters to the sons of the Canaanites or take their daughters for our sons. There really is no entirely compelling argument against intermarriage. It can only be appreciated by those who wish to play a role in the sacred mission of the Jewish people, to teach the world the idea of the sanctity of human life, and to work toward the perfection of the world under the rule of the Al-mighty.

Read More


0 Comments15 Minutes

Pinchas 5761-2001

"The Pain of Giving Reproof"

The haftarah for parashat Pinchas, selected from the book of Jeremiah, opens with Jeremiah's first two prophecies concerning an almond-wood staff that is shown to him by G-d, and the boiling cauldron that is bubbling over from its northern side. The meaning of the cauldron is that the evil will come from the north--the Babylonian hoards, led by Nebuchadnetzer who will destroy the temple. But what is the symbol of the almond-wood staff? Could it be that G-d is trying to show the prophet that there should be no enthusiasm in the prophet's reproof, no matter how deserving the people of Israel are of reproof? Conveying tragic messages should always be a painful experience for the prophet.

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0 Comments8 Minutes