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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Kee Tisah 5771-2011

"The Thirteen Attributes of G-d’s Mercy"

After the sin of the Golden Calf, G-d forgives the people and pronounces what are known as the “13 Attributes of G-d’s Mercy.” These “13 Attributes” are considered the most exalted prayer that a Jew may utter when beseeching G-d for mercy. It is important to know the intended meanings of these fateful words.

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Eikev 5770-2010

"The Great, Mighty and Awesome G-d"

The "Anshei K'nesset Hagdolah," Men of the Great Assembly were given that exalted honorific title, because they restored the crown of Divine attributes to its ancient completeness, by returning the original wording of Moses, in his praise of G-d.

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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 5769-2009

"A Controversy with an Ignoble Purpose"

In Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, we learn what the rabbis regarded as legitimate disputes and illegitimate disputes. The lesson that rabbis in Avot teach not only clarifies the issue of disputes, but also clarifies much of what took place at the rebellion of Korach.

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Korach 5766-2006

"The Lesson of the Fire-pans"

How strange is it that the fire-pans that were used by Korach and his evil associates to test G-d were eventually fashioned into a cover for the holy altar? Shouldn't they have been banished or destroyed? What do the fire-pans come to teach?

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Vayishlach 5765-2004

"The Encounter"

The encounter between Jacob and Esau is often seen as a metaphor of the battle between Judaism and Rome (pagan or secular values). The battle may also be within the Jews themselves--to maintain the correct and valid interpretations of Torah and tradition.

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Vayechi 5764-2004

"Can It Be a Mitzvah to Lie?"

When Joseph's brothers come to seek forgiveness from him, a battle of "truth" versus "peace" takes place. The meaning of these two values goes from absolute to relative, leaving the ethical fabric of the world to appear tattered and threadbare, without the proper perspective.

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Korach 5762-2002

"The Origin of the Big Lie"

According to the Midrash, Korach was a brilliant provocateur who was able to convince the hordes to believe that he was rebelling for the sake of the common folk, instead of for his own personal benefit. By drawing a distorted caricature of the mitzvot of the Torah, Korach was able to convince the people that Moses and Aaron were personally benefitting from the mitzvot and observances that they were advocating.

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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