Kee Teitzei 5780-2020

“Polygamy and Jewish Tradition”
(Updated and revised from Kee Teitzei 5761-2001)
The Torah very clearly frowns on polygamous relationships. In every single instance in scripture where a man has more than one wife, the relationship is troubled. Why then does the Torah permit a man to have more than one wife, even though it’s discouraged?

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Chayei Sarah 5775-2014

“Are Marriages Made in Heaven?”

When Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, asks Laban and Bethuel, Rebecca's brother and father, whether they will allow Rebecca to return to Canaan to marry Abraham's son, they reply: "The matter stemmed from the L-rd! We can say to you, neither bad nor good." Are marriages made in heaven?

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0 Comments10 Minutes

Pinchas 5774-2014

“The Battle for Women’s Rights”

Especially among those who have limited familiarity with the original scriptural sources, it is often perceived that women are regarded by Jewish tradition as being submissive and subservient to men, eager to fulfill the men’s will. Rabbi Yaakov Philber shows that this is a thoroughly incorrect perception.

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0 Comments11 Minutes

Kee Teitzei 5773-2013

"The ‘Mitzvah’ of Divorce, Revisited"

While stability in family life is a much hoped-for ideal, Judaism was remarkably ahead of its time in understanding that an unhappy husband or wife can sometimes not be reconciled, and that marriages must, at times, be terminated.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Tazria 5771-2011

“Childbirth and Ritual Impurity”

In face of the great challenges that young mothers face, every birth brings trauma, fear, lack of confidence. Scripture states that when a woman bears a child, she shall be impure. But when that period ends, there is re-entry and welcoming, in the fullest sense.

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Bereshith 5771-2010

"The Help Meet"

After placing the human being in the Garden of Eden, G-d suddenly declares,”It is not good for the human being to be alone, I will make a help meet for him.” What is the meaning of this cryptic statement?

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Vayeira 5769-2008

"Shalom Bayit, Little White Lies"

In parashat Vayeira, when Sarah learns that she is going to have a child at age 90, she laughs skeptically and says, "After I have withered shall I be fertile again, and my husband is old!" When G-d asks Abraham why Sarah has laughed, He omits Sarah's disrespectful reference to Abraham, saying instead that Sarah referred to herself about being old. Why the change?

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Kee Teitzei 5768-2008

"The 'Mitzvah' of Divorce"

Parashat Kee Teitzei includes the "mitzvah" to divorce one's wife. Upon further elucidation we see that this applies only when the spouses find life with each other to be incompatible. Nevertheless, Judaism believes that in order to establish a sacred and holy society, marriages must thrive in a sacred and holy environment. If not, it is a mitzvah to divorce one's spouse.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Mishpatim 5767-2007

"The Hebrew Maidservant is Alive and Well"

The law of the Hebrew maidservant seems to be particularly antiquated and irrelevant in contemporary times. Nevertheless, there is not only much that we learn from it, but the law of the maidservant actually provides the basis for an important aspect of contemporary marital relations.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Naso 5763-2003

"The Hypocrite as Exemplar"

Why is the Torah portion concerning the person who fails to fulfill his religious obligation juxtaposed with the portion of the woman who is suspected of being unfaithful to her husband? From this unusual textual positioning we learn much about human nature. Providing a favorable example is far more impressive and effective than preaching.

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0 Comments5 Minutes

Kee Teitzei 5761-2001

"Polygamy and Jewish Tradition"

The Torah very clearly frowns on polygamist relationships. In every single instance in scripture where a man has more than one wife, the relationship is troubled. What then is the reason that the Torah permits a man to have more than one wife, even though it's discouraged?

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes