Vayigash 5775-2014

"Joseph Calms His Brothers"

With his terrified brothers standing before him expecting the worst, Joseph not only reveals himself but gently and generously calms them, attempting to relieve them of feelings of guilt and vengefulness.

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Mishpatim 5764-2004

"The Al-mighty's Concern for the Dignity of the Human Being"

The Torah teaches that a person who steals an ox or a sheep and then slaughters or sells the stolen animal, must pay the value of five oxen in place of the ox, and four sheep in place of the sheep. Why is there such a stiff penalty for stealing these particular animals, and why is there a greater penalty for the theft of an ox as opposed to a sheep?

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Vayeitzei 5763-2002

"The Transformation of Jacob"

At first glance, Jacob appears to be a congenital deceiver. He takes the birthright from his brother then steals Esau's blessing. Even Isaac describes the taking of the blessing by Jacob as an act of deception. Jacob however undergoes a transformation in which he realizes that evil cannot be deceived, but must be confronted directly. For this reason, Jacob is to be regarded as a particularly exalted figure, for teaching humankind how one is to deal with one's own shortcomings.

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