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Parshas Chukas

Chasidic thought explains that Amalek is a particularly dangerous enemy of the Jewish people, because the opposition to the Torah which Amalek represents is subtle and indirect, and thus does not appear to be contrary to Torah. Amalek’s second attack (21:1-3) - Why, in their second attack, did Amalek come disguised as Cana’anites, whereas in their [...]

Parshat Chukat

The Kohen shall take a piece of cedar wood, hyssop, and crimson thread, and cast them into the burning of the cow — Numbers 19:6 And Jephthah vowed … “If You will indeed deliver the children of Ammon into my hand, whatever comes forth from the doors of my house towards me … I will [...]

Parshas Korach

The gifts of the Levites (18:21-24) How are the “Gifts to the Levites” (v. 21-24) connected with the rebellion of Korach, the theme of our Parsha? At first glance, Korach’s rebellion appears to be hypocritical, for while he complained to Moshe and Aharon, “Why have you made your­ selves elite over God’s assembly” (16:3), Korach nevertheless sought to [...]

Parshat Korach

A young woman is going door to door collecting information for a census. As she reaches the front door of one particular house she hesitates before knocking. Emanating from the house are strange noises, shouts and screams and the sounds of smashing glass. Eventually she plucks up the courage and knocks on the door. The [...]

Parshas Shelach

How is it possible that a generation which witnessed countless open miracles from God—the exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the Reed Sea, manna in the desert, to name but a few—were deceived by the spies that are unable to go up against the people, for they are stronger than us” (v. 31)? How did [...]

Parshat Shelach

Calev alone went (to Hebron) to prostrate himself at the graves of the Patriarchs — Rashi, Num 13:22 The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it — Woodrow T. Wilson The Torah reading this week contains one of the most pivotal events in the Exodus narrative. The original itinerary of [...]

Parshas Behaalosecha

“Whenever the Ark set out, Moshe would say…” (10:35) According to Jewish custom, the above verse is recited by the congregation whenever the Torah scroll is removed from the Ark.   Chasidic thought explains that taking out the Torah scroll is not merely a ceremony, it is a moment when God actually instills His people with [...]

Parshat Behaalotecha

“And the man Moshe was very humble, more than any man on the face of the earth!” — Numbers 12:3 You may have heard about the rabbi who was so humble that his members presented him with a solid gold lapel pin that said “World’s most humble rabbi.” The next Shabbat he wore it to [...]

Parshas Bechukosai

Bechukosai - Leviticus 26:3–27:34  - G‑d promises that if the people of Israel will keep His commandments, they will enjoy material prosperity and dwell securely in their homeland. But He also delivers a harsh “rebuke,” warning of the exile, persecution and other evils that will befall them if they abandon their covenant with Him. Nevertheless, “Even when they are in the [...]


… But in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete rest – Leviticus25: 3-6  At the beginning of this week’s double Torah portion we read about the mitzvah of shemitta. Shemitta literally means to release or let go, and the mitzvah entails “letting go” of all fields and leaving them to lie fallow, uncultivated and open to the [...]

Acharei – Kedoshim

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few — George Bernard Shaw “Daddy,” a little girl asked her father, “do all fairy tales begin with Once upon a time?” “No, sweetheart,” he answered. “Some begin with If I am elected!”  Well it seems that most of the world is busy with elections, some more [...]


This shall be the law of the person afflicted with tzara’at, on the day of his cleansing, he shall be brought to the Kohen — Lev. 14:2 I don’t at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited — Oscar Wilde This week’s Torah reading (outside [...]

Parshat Shemini

Rabbi Goldberg has had a secret longing all his life to taste a forbidden food … pork. Finally, after many years of internal struggle, he can no longer control himself and decides to give in to his desires. He travels to Europe, far from his hometown and takes a seat in a Michelin starred restaurant. [...]

Parshas Shemini

The signs of a kosher animal In order to serve God properly, we need to train our natural animalistic drive—the animal soul—to stretch beyond its natural limitations. This involves two stages: a) Split hooves. The split hoof is effectively a double hoof. This teaches us that our actions in the service of God—represented by the foot, [...]

Parshas Ki Sisa

The Half Shekel “G-d showed Moshe a coin of fire weighing half a shekel, and He said, ‘They should give one like this’” (Rashi v. 13). Fire differs from all other elements on this earth, in that it strives upward, reaching ever higher, dancing, flickering, until finally it frees itself of its chains when the wick burns [...]

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