Re’eh 5776-2016

“Preserving the Sanctity of Sacred Objects and Sacred Ideas"

The land of Israel, is only one part of the “cult of sanctity” that is central to the Jewish faith. It is, therefore, quite logical to treat all of Judaism’s central features and traditions with utmost awe and sanctity.

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Shoftim 5774-2014

“Justice--the Source of Security of the Land of Israel”

The fact that the Torah links the proper practice of justice by the Jewish people to the security of the land of Israel is of extreme importance, especially in light of the perils faced by the State of Israel today.

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Haazinu-Rosh Hashana 5774-2013

"Jewish Normal, Is Not Very Normal"

We live in remarkable times, anomalous times, times that have no precedent in all of Jewish history. Our current experiences with relative peace and tranquility can hardly be called “Jewish normal.”

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Behar-Yom Ha’atzmaut 5771-2011

"A State is not Delivered on a Silver Platter"

One of the most moving stories to be told regarding the contemporary State of Israel, concerns a great European rabbi, Rabbi Yisroel Zeev Gustman and a famed professor of economics, Robert J. Aumann.

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Matot-Masei 5770-2010

"Do Not Pollute the Land...Do Not Defile the Land"

In the second of this week's parashiot, parashat Masei, the Al-mighty warns the people of Israel not to "pollute" or "defile" the land of Israel. Perhaps this warning should also be taken as an admonition that Jews neither excessively flatter Israel nor be overly critical of the land.

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Korach 5767-2007

"Agonizing Over Collective Punishment"

The essence of the argument that Moses and Aaron present to G-d to defend the people of Israel from total destruction because of Korach is their statement "Shall one man sin and You be angry with the entire community?" This argument is at the core of a very real dilemma that the Jewish people face today. What are the parameters, limits and morality of "collective punishment"?

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Bamidbar 5763-2003

"The Role of the Levites, and the Service of Yeshiva Students in the Israeli Army"

The Tribe of Levi was not counted along with the men of the other tribes, since the Levites did not serve in the army of Israel. The Levites, in fact, served in the army of G-d. The role of the ancient Levites seems to justify the exemption of yeshiva students from the Israeli army. Should this ancient exemption influence the laws that are applied today?

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Emor-Yom Ha’atzmaut 5763-2003

"The Counting of the Omer and the Celebration of Israel's Independence"

The counting of the Omer underscores the ultimate purpose of the Exodus from Egypt--the giving of the Torah! Therefore the period from the second day of Passover until the sixth day of Sivan when the festival of Shavuot is celebrated, is counted with great enthusiasm. Counting the Omer is always done in ascending numerical order rather than descending order, underscoring its positive, joyous and optimistic nature--celebrating the victory of light over darkness, morality over immorality and love over hate.

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Pinchas 5762-2002

"Loving the Land of Israel"

In parashat Pinchas we read about the five trail-blazing daughters of Tzelafchad who approach Moses claiming legal rights to their father's property in the land of Israel. The Al-mighty rewards the women's passionate commitment to Israel by declaring that the daughters shall inherit their father's land. How does Tzelafchad's daughters' great love of Zion compare with contemporary Jewry's, at best, casual commitment to the State of Israel?

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Balak 5761-2001

"Words of Eternal Truth from the Evil Prophet Bilaam"

Despite Bilaam's best efforts, his prophecies turn into blessings. While Balak, the king of Moab, is terribly disappointed with Bilaam's words, Bilaam's prophecies actually contain amazing and enduring insights into the nature of the Jewish People.

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