Noah 5781-2020

“Noah: The Man Who Brings Comfort to the World”
(updated and revised from Noah 5761–2000)

Abram was very close to his orphaned nephew, Lot, and did his best to educate him in the ways of morality and ethics. But, Abram and Lot soon grow apart because of Lot's obsession with comfort and wealth. At first, Lot showed great promise. In fact, he possibly could have become the material and spiritual heir of Abram, but instead he chose the luscious plain--he chose Sodom.

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Yitro 5780-2019

“Can the Torah Forbid Feelings that are Part of Normal Human Emotions?”
(Updated and revised from Yitro 5761-2001)

3,300 years ago, when xenophobia reigned supreme throughout the ancient world, the Torah admonished Jews not to reject sage advice simply because it emanates from a non-Jewish source. In fact, Jews are encouraged to look for good and healthy ideas anywhere in the world, Jewish and secular, and embrace those ideas with open arms.

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B’shalach 5780-2020

“Where is Nachshon the Son of Aminadov When We Need Him?”
(Updated and revised from B’shalach 5761-2001)

Nachson the son of Aminadav, the Prince of the tribe of Judah, was the first Israelite to enter the water and walk until the water reached his neck. It was only at that point that the sea split. If we are to change the “course of nature,” for the benefit of humankind, we need to find, and exercise, the profound faith of Nachshon.

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Noah 5780-2019

“The Vital Importance of Truthful Judgment”
(Updated and Revised from Noah 5760-1999)

In the narrative of the Tower of Babel, the Bible depicts a would-be omniscient G-d as having to come down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. If G-d is truly omniscient, why should He have to come down; surely He knows of the wickedness of the people? The Torah is faced with a daunting challenge: Are moral lessons more important than theological truths?

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Yitro 5779-2019

“An Encounter with Jethro and the Non-Jewish World”
(Revised and updated from Yitro 5760-2000)

3,300 years ago, when xenophobia reigned supreme throughout the ancient world, the Torah admonished Jews not to reject sage advice simply because it emanates from a non-Jewish source. In fact, Jews are encouraged to look for good, healthy and valid ideas anywhere in the world, Jewish and secular, and embrace those ideas with open arms.

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Bo 5773-2013

"Interfacing with the Non-Jewish World"

Moses boldly tells Pharaoh that not only will the Israelites not leave their flocks behind in Egypt when they depart, but that Pharaoh himself will donate flocks that will be used by the Israelites in their worship in the wilderness. This declaration raises many thorny issues about the use of non-Jewish resources in Jewish life.

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Bereshith 5769-2008

"The Development of Civilization as Recorded in Genesis"

The Torah is primarily a record of the theological developments and accomplishments of humankind. Only in an indirect manner does the Torah teach about cultural developments and the evolving skills of society. While it is related almost coincidently, the knowledge found in the Torah regarding ancient civilization is invaluable

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Matot-Masei 5767-2007

"Vindicated Before G-d and Before People"

In parashat Matot, when the tribes of Reuben and Gad (and later half of Menashe) decided to stay on the eastern side of the Jordan, Moses suspected rebellion on the part of the people and feared that it may lead to tragedy. When Moses is convinced that the tribes intend to do their share in the battle against the Canaanites, he agrees to let them stay on the eastern side of the Jordan. Moses tells the tribes that if they do their share in the battle, "they will be vindicated before G-d and before Israel." What does this notion of vindication mean?

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Metzorah 5765-2005

"And you think that Tzara'at is Weird?"

The ancient Biblical claims that a person could contract a dermatological disease by speaking lashon hara strains our rational credibility. And yet, every day scientific knowledge uncovers new and incredible discoveries that seem to be as absurd as the Biblical disease Tzara'at. Yet, many of these scientific discoveries are valid, in fact, we could not conduct our lives without utilizing these new scientific powers and discoveries. So, let's not be so quick to dismiss the Biblical disease, Tzara'at. In light of what we've already discovered scientifically, Tzara'at may not at all be in the realm of impossibility.

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Eikev 5764-2004

"Battling the Contemporary Abominations"

Referring to idolatry, the Torah in Deuteronomy 7:26 states: "You shall not bring an abomination into your home. You shall surely loathe it and you shall surely abominate it, for it is something bad." It is fallacious to think that there is no idolatry today. While the debate rages concerning the impact of television on children and home life, internet and violent video games have been added to the mix. There is no question whether these "idolatries" are impacting on our homes and schools. The only question is: How much? Society today is facing a battle for its survival and the survival of our children's souls. We must aggressively do battle with these abundant evils that are rapidly chipping away at our morality and our humanity.

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Noah 5764-2003

"Using Technology in the Service of the A-lmighty"

The Tower of Babel, an ill-conceived enterprise, is an example of the harm that results when human creative forces run amuck. The use of modern-day advances and technology is positive only when the motive behind such practice is grounded in the Divine architectural plan.

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B’shalach 5761-2001

"Where is Nachshon, the Son of Aminadav, When We Need Him?"

Nachson, the son of Aminadav, the prince of the tribe of Judah, was the first of the Israelites to enter the water and proceed to walk until the water reached his neck. It was only at that point that the sea split. If we are to change the "course of nature," we need to have the profound faith of Nachshon.

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Noah 5761-2000

"Noah: The Man Who Brings Comfort to the World"

In the persona of Noah, our commentaries uncover a person of abundant talent. He is the first person whom the Torah refers to as "ben" (son), derived from the Hebrew word to build. Noah indeed is a primary builder of the world, a role that is continued by many of his descendants. Noah also brings comfort to the world, which is what the name "Noah" literally means. It is Noah who teaches humankind that technology has the power to reduce pain and travail, and that children can be a consolation for their parents' inability to complete their tasks. It is Noah who has the ability to bring comfort and uncover goodness, even in times of adversity.

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Yitro 5760-2000

"An Encounter with Jethro and the Non-Jewish World"

3,300 years ago, when xenophobia reigned supreme throughout the ancient world, the Torah admonished Jews not to reject sage advice simply because it emanates from a non-Jewish source. In fact, Jews are encouraged to look for good and healthy ideas anywhere in the world, Jewish and secular, and embrace those ideas with open arms.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Noah 5760-1999

"Does the Torah Ever Distort the Truth?"

In the story of the Tower of Babel, the Bible depicts a would-be Omniscient G-d as having to come down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. If G-d is truly Omniscient, why should He have to come down; surely He knows of the wickedness of the people? The Torah is faced with a formidable challenge: are moral lessons more important than theological truths?

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0 Comments11 Minutes