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Kol Menachem

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Parshas Tetzaveh

Moshe’s name is omitted from the Parsha Ba’al Haturim writes that Moshe’s name is not mentioned in this entire Parsha so that his request to “erase me from Your book” was fulfilled in some respect. Therefore, the opening verse of our Parsha does not refer to him by name (Moshe), but simply as “you.” But how could any part of [...]

Parshas Terumah

The contributions to the Tabernacle The contributions made to the  Tabernacle  have  two dimensions: The act of donation — which  removes  the contribution from the owner’s private possession, the realm of the mundane. The act of collection — which  elevates  the contribution to become the property of the Tabernacle. This represents two modes of  Divine Service: Refraining [...]

Parshas Mishpatim

The Prohibition against mixing milk and meat Ramban writes that it is prohibited to eat meat cooked in milk, since it is an act of moral insensitivity. Rashi points out that, not only are we forbidden to eat milk and meat, but even cooking the mixture is forbidden. This renders the prohibition of milk and meat unique in that even [...]

Parshas Yisro

The Ten Commadments At first glance, the Ten Commandments consist of highly contrasting types of mitzvos. The first command­ments, “I am God, your God,” and the prohibition against idol worship address the most spiritual matters related to God’s unity. The other commandments, however, consist of such simple instructions as “You shall not murder,” and “You shall [...]

Parshas Bo

The First Mitzvah — Fixing the New month The Torah was given to bring sanctity to the world. Each time a mitzvah is observed this goal is brought one stage closer, as another place and another moment becomes holy. The mitzvah causes holiness to be felt in two dimensions: space and time, but most mitzvos are limited to a specific place [...]

Parshas Shemos

“They will not believe in me and they will not listen to my voice.” (4:1) If Moshe knew that the Jewish people had a tradition from their Patriarchs that a redeemer would arrive (as Maharsha writes) then why did he fear that “they will not believe in me”? However, Moshe’s fear was that after so many years of slavery [...]

Parshas Vayechi

The names of Yosef’s two sons.  Menasheh received his name because, “God has caused me to forget (NaSHaNi) all my hardships and all that was in my father’s house”(41:51). This expressed how Yosef was pained by the fact that he found himself in a place which made him forget his father’s house.  Efrayim was named, because “God has [...]

Parshas Vayigash

Yosef does not seek revenge against his brothers. We can learn from the example of Yosef towards his brothers that one should never seek revenge against a person who causes him any form of distress or damage. Rather, one should repay even a guilty offender with kindness (Tanya ch. 12). Why should we be kind to guilty offenders? [...]

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