Sounds from a Distance – Parashat Tetzaveh

Sounds from a Distance – Parashat Tetzaveh

“….And its sound shall be heard when he enters the Holy before G-d and when he leaves, so that he will not die….” – Shemos 28:34-35   וְנִשְׁמַע קוֹלוֹ בְּבֹאוֹ אֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ לִפְנֵי ה’ וּבְצֵאתוֹ וְלֹא יָמוּת – שמות כח, לה The hem of the Kohen Gadol’s robe was adorned with bells, which chimed as he went about his service […]

February 19, 2018 at 12:24 AM

Nameless – Parashat Tetzaveh

Nameless – Parashat Tetzaveh

“…And you shall command Bnei Yisrael…” – Shemot 27:20 וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – שמות כז, כ From the account of Moshe’s birth in the beginning of the Book of Shemos until his monologue in the Book of Devarim, Moshe is mentioned by name in every weekly Torah portion with the exception of Parshas Tetzaveh. The notable absence of […]

February 18, 2018 at 3:19 AM

Baby Face – Parashat Terumah

Baby Face – Parashat Terumah

“…And you shall make two golden cherubim…” – Shemos 25:18 וְעָשִׂיתָ שְׁנַיִם כְּרֻבִים זָהָב – שמות כה, יח The Keruvim had facial features like those of a baby (see Rashi). This symbolized G-d’s affection for the Jewish people, which is comparable to the love one has for a small child. As the Baal Haturim on this verse cites from the […]

February 15, 2018 at 1:32 AM

Have Poles, Will Travel – Parashat Terumah

Have Poles, Will Travel – Parashat Terumah

“….The poles of the ark shall be in the rings; they shall not be removed from it….” – Shemot 25:15 בְּטַבְּעֹת הָאָרֹן יִהְיוּ הַבַּדִּים לֹא יָסֻרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ – שמות כה, טו The prohibition of removing the poles from the Aron, the Holy Ark, is explained in the Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzvah 96) as a means of ensuring that the Aron is always ready […]

February 14, 2018 at 2:45 AM

Plant a Tree from Israel – Parashat Terumah

Plant a Tree from Israel – Parashat Terumah

“…And this is the contribution that you shall take from them …and acacia wood…” – Shemot 25:3 וְזֹאת הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְחוּ מֵאִתָּם . . וַעֲצֵי שִׁטִּים – שמות כה, ג-ה How did Bnei Yisrael have acacia wood in the desert? Some commentaries suggest that acacia wood may have been available for purchase from gentile merchants they encountered in the desert, […]

February 13, 2018 at 2:45 AM

Man’s Highest Calling

Man’s Highest Calling

“…Speak to Bnei Yisrael and have a contribution taken for me…” – Shemos 25:2 דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה – שמות כה, ב According to one opinion in the Zohar (vol. 2 p. 224a), both the commandment to build the Mishkan, as well as Bnei Yisrael’s donation of materials for its construction, took place immediately after the Giving of […]

February 12, 2018 at 6:03 AM

The People’s Mishkan – Parashat Terumah

The People’s Mishkan – Parashat Terumah

“…And you shall place into the ark the testimony, which I will give you….” – Shemos 25:16 וְנָתַתָּ אֶל הָאָרֹן אֵת הָעֵדֻת אֲשֶׁר אֶתֵּן אֵלֶיךָ – שמות כה, טז The Talmud (Berachos 8b) teaches that contained in the Aron were the unbroken second Luchos, as well as the broken remnants of the first Luchos. These contents reflect three phases experienced […]

February 11, 2018 at 2:34 AM

It’s Not All about You – Parashat Mishpatim

It’s Not All about You – Parashat Mishpatim

“….And you shall worship Hashem, your G-d… There will be no bereaved or barren woman in your land; I will fill the number of your days…” – Shemot 23:25-26 וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֵת ה’ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם . . לֹא תִהְי’ מְשַׁכֵּלָה וַעֲקָרָה בְּאַרְצֶךָ אֶת מִסְפַּר יָמֶיךָ אֲמַלֵּא – כג, כה-כו These verses contain profound insight and guidance in the struggles that many people […]

February 9, 2018 at 2:58 AM

Are You All Ears? – Parashat Mishpatim

Are You All Ears? – Parashat Mishpatim

“….But if the bondsman says, “I am fond of my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go free”…His master shall pierce his ear with an awl and he shall then serve him forever….” – Shemot 21:5-6 וְאִם אָמֹר יֹאמַר הָעֶבֶד אָהַבְתִּי אֶת אֲדֹנִי אֶת אִשְׁתִּי וְאֶת בָּנָי לֹא אֵצֵא חָפְשִׁי . . וְרָצַע אֲדֹנָיו אֶת אָזְנוֹ בַּמַּרְצֵעַ […]

February 9, 2018 at 2:40 AM

Far Be It From Me – Parashat Mishpatim

Far Be It From Me – Parashat Mishpatim

“….And he who did not ambush but G-d caused it to happen to him, I shall provide you a place to which he shall flee….” – Shemot 21:13 וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא צָדָה וְהָאֱלֹהִים אִנָּה לְיָדוֹ וְשַׂמְתִּי לְךָ מָקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יָנוּס שָׁמָּה – כא, יג  The Arizal notes that the accidental murderer is at first referred to in the third person – […]

February 7, 2018 at 2:17 AM

Same Law, Different Court – Parashat Mishpatim

Same Law, Different Court – Parashat Mishpatim

“….And these are the ordinances that you shall place before them…” – Shemot 21:1 וְאֵלֶּה הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר תָּשִׂים לִפְנֵיהֶם – שמות כא, א The Talmud (Gittin 88b) learns from this verse that our civil disputes should be judged only “before them“—the Jewish courts, and not in the non-Jewish court system. This applies even in instances where the ruling of the […]

February 4, 2018 at 2:32 AM

The Correct Response – Parashat Yitro

The Correct Response – Parashat Yitro

“….G-d spoke all these words, to say….” – Shemot 20:1 וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹקִים אֵת כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה לֵאמֹר – שמות כ, א The Midrash (Mechilta) explains that the word לאמר, to say, in the verse that introduces the sounding of the Ten Commandments, is not an instruction to those being addressed to repeat what they are being told to others, as […]

February 1, 2018 at 2:18 AM

Ten for Ten – Parashat Yitro

Ten for Ten – Parashat Yitro

“….And G-d spoke all these words, to say….” – Shemot 20:1 וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹקִים אֵת כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה לֵאמֹר – שמות כ, א The phrase “וַיְדַבֵּר…לֵאמֹר “, “And He spoke… to say”, is typically used in the Torah when the person being spoken to is being instructed to repeat what he is being told to a third party. For example, when […]

January 31, 2018 at 1:45 AM

Who Wouldn’t Want the Torah?

Who Wouldn’t Want the Torah?

“….And they stood at the bottom of the mountain….” – Shemot 19:17 וַיִּתְיַצְּבוּ בְּתַחְתִּית הָהָר – שמות יט, יז According to the Talmud, the words “at the bottom of the mountain” mean that G-d raised Mt. Sinai over Bnei Yisrael and said to them, “If you accept the Torah, that’s great. But if not, you will be summarily buried beneath […]

January 30, 2018 at 1:25 AM

Shock and Awe – Parashat Yitro

Shock and Awe – Parashat Yitro

“…And it came to pass on the third day as morning dawned, there was thunder and lightning… and the entire nation that was in the camp shuddered…” – Shemot 19:16 וַיְהִי בַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בִּהְיֹת הַבֹּקֶר וַיְהִי קֹלֹת וּבְרָקִים . . וַיֶּחֱרַד כָּל הָעָם אֲשֶׁר בַּמַּחֲנֶה – שמות יט, טז If to instill fear alone, the thunder and lightning storm that […]

January 29, 2018 at 1:11 AM

A Time for War – Parashat Beshalach

A Time for War – Parashat Beshalach

“….And Moshe said to Yehoshua, “Choose men for us, and go out and fight against Amalek…” – Shemot 17:9 וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בְּחַר לָנוּ אֲנָשִׁים וְצֵא הִלָּחֵם בַּעֲמָלֵק – שמות יז, ט When Bnei Yisrael were under imminent threat of attack by Pharaoh and his army, Moshe told them not to fear the Egyptians nor to wage war against […]

January 25, 2018 at 2:21 AM

The Women’s Dance – Parashat Beshalach

The Women’s Dance – Parashat Beshalach

“…And Miriam, the prophetess, Aharon’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women came out after her with tambourines and with dancing….- Shemot 15:20 וַתִּקַּח מִרְיָם הַנְּבִיאָה אֲחוֹת אַהֲרֹן אֶת הַתֹּף בְּיָדָהּ וַתֵּצֶאןָ כָל הַנָּשִׁים אַחֲרֶיהָ בְּתֻפִּים וּבִמְחֹלֹת – שמות טו, כ The drowning of the Egyptians in the sea (after Bnei Yisrael had safely passed through) […]

January 24, 2018 at 1:41 AM

From Sea to See – Parashat Beshalach

From Sea to See – Parashat Beshalach

“….But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea…” – Shemot 14:29 וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָלְכוּ בַיַּבָּשָׁה בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם – שמות יד, כט Our Sages taught, “Everything that exists on land also exists in the sea” (Talmud, Chulin 127a). The difference between them is only the extent to which their inhabitants are visible to the […]

January 23, 2018 at 2:29 AM

Praying for a Living – Parashat Beshalach

Praying for a Living – Parashat Beshalach

“…And B’nei Yisrael cried out to G-d…” – Shemot 14:10 וַיִּצְעֲקוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל ה’ – יד, י Seeing Pharaoh and his army rapidly approaching them, the Jews became frightened and cried out to G-d. Rashi comments that the Jews’ reaction was not unusual; rather, “they seized the craft of their ancestors.” For Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, calling out to […]

January 21, 2018 at 1:37 AM

Egypt Syndrome – Parashat Bo

Egypt Syndrome – Parashat Bo

“….And the blood will be for you for a sign upon the houses where you will be, and I will see the blood and spare you, and there will be no destructive plague in you when I smite the land of Egypt….” – Shemot 12:13 וְהָיָה הַדָּם לָכֶם לְאֹת עַל הַבָּתִּים אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם שָׁם וְרָאִיתִי אֶת הַדָּם וּפָסַחְתִּי עֲלֵכֶם וְלֹא […]

January 17, 2018 at 2:00 AM