Chukat 5770-2010

"And from Mattanah to Nahaliel"

After a series of battles and confrontations with hostile nations, the Torah, in parashat Chukat, records a lyrical but esoteric poem concerning the well of Miriam. The Talmud sees this poem as far more than a record of the historical itinerary of the people's travels in the wilderness. It is, in fact, a vital lesson of ethics and educational philosophy.

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Vayikra 5767-2007

"Balancing Heart and Mind"

There is almost nothing more exacting in Jewish law and life than the procedures that are required when offering sacrifices. And yet, the Torah emphasizes the need to give of one's inner self, one's heart, in order to properly complement the precision that is so vital to proper fulfillment of the sacrificial process.

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5766-2006

"Isaiah's Message to Contemporary Jews"

The powerful message found in the first chapter of Isaiah is entirely appropriate for the Tisha B'Av period. The prophet exhorts the Jewish people to take the performance of their ritual mitzvot more seriously, to invest deeper meaning in their religious observance, and to enrich these spiritual practices with greater sincerity and passion.

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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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