Devarim 5780-2020

Eichah, The Annual Search for Meaning and Introspection”
(updated and revised from Parashat Devarim 5761-2001)

In order for the Fast of the 9th of Av to be meaningful, it is necessary to focus on the fast’s proper message. Eichah and Ah’yeka are two of the prominent themes of Tisha b’Av. G-d asks the Jews: “Where are you? What have you done with your lives? How could this tragedy have possibly happened?” We, of course, need to ask, how can we improve ourselves?

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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 5779-2019

“Jeremiah’s Prophecy: An Ancient Message for Contemporary Times”
(Revised and updated from Matot-Masei 5760-2000)

The message of prophet Jeremiah, which is read during the “Three Weeks,” is entirely appropriate for this period of sadness that we experience each year at this time. In addition, there are distinct and powerful parallels between the rebuke that Jeremiah gave to the ancient people, and our contemporary experiences.

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Pekudei 5776-2016

“The Mishkan--the Tabernacle, as Collateral”

The Mishkan, the Tabernacle, is not only the home of the Divine Presence. It also serves as critical collateral to ensure the survival of the Jewish people.

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