Mass-Energy Equivalence – Parashat Pikudei

Mass-Energy Equivalence – Parashat Pikudei

“…These are the accounts of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of the Testimony, as they were overseen by Moshe…” – Shemos 38:21 אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת אֲשֶׁר פֻּקַּד עַל פִּי משֶׁה – שמות לח, כא The total weight of all the gold, silver, and copper that was donated for the Mishkan is recorded in Parshas Pikudei.  No mention is made, […]

March 8, 2018 at 1:57 AM

The Gifts of the Gifted

The Gifts of the Gifted

“…All the women whose hearts uplifted them with wisdom spun the goat hair…” – Shemot 35:26 וְכָל הַנָּשִׁים אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂא לִבָּן אֹתָנָה בְּחָכְמָה טָווּ אֶת הָעִזִּים – שמות לה, כו This is particularly remarkable considering that Bnei Yisrael had not been instructed to process the goat hair at all before donating it to the Mishkan. The manner in which the […]

March 6, 2018 at 1:50 AM

The Mishkan Again?

The Mishkan Again?

“…And Moshe spoke to the entire community of Bnei Israel, saying: this is the word that g-d has commanded…” –  Shemos 35:4 וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה’ – שמות לה, ד The Torah’s wording is concise, even cryptic at times; an extra word or even letter is already cause for discussion among the […]

March 5, 2018 at 1:25 AM

Preoccupied – Parashat Vayakhel

Preoccupied – Parashat Vayakhel

“…Moshe assembled the entire community… “these are the things that g-d commanded to be done” – Shemot 35:1 וַיַּקְהֵל משֶׁה אֶת כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. . אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה’ לַעֲשׂת אֹתָם – שמות לה, א After prevailing upon G-d to wholeheartedly forgive Bnei Yisrael for the sin of the Golden Calf, Moshe descended from Mount Sinai, bringing with him the […]

March 4, 2018 at 1:36 AM

When Broken Comes Before Whole

When Broken Comes Before Whole

“…And g-d said to Moshe: “hew for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones…” – Shemos 35:1 וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל משֶׁה פְּסָל לְךָ שְׁנֵי לֻחֹת אֲבָנִים כָּרִאשֹׁנִים – שמות לה, א The Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 46:1) relates that Moshe was distressed over having broken the Luchos, until G-d said to him, “Do not be pained over the first tablets, which […]

March 2, 2018 at 1:52 AM

A Model

A Model

“…And now, if you forgive their sin… but if not, erase me now from your book that you have written…” – Shemot 32:32 ‫וְעַתָּה אִם תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ – שמות לב, לב   When Bnei Yisrael rebelled against the Torah’s most basic principle and worshipped the Golden Calf, G-d threatened to wipe Bnei Yisrael out […]

February 28, 2018 at 4:11 AM

Learned from the Pro – Parashat Ki Tisa

Learned from the Pro – Parashat Ki Tisa

“…And now, if You forgive their sin… —But if not, erase me now from Your book, which You have written…’ – Shemot 32:32 וְעַתָּה אִם תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ – שמות לב, לב “The Shechinah (Divine Presence) spoke through Moshe’s throat,” say our Sages (see Zohar vol. 3, p. 232a). This means that Moshe’s identity […]

February 28, 2018 at 1:07 AM

Positively Fulfilling the Negative Prohibitions

Positively Fulfilling the Negative Prohibitions

“…When he had finished speaking with him on mount sinai, he gave Moshe the two tablets of the testimony…” – Shemos 31:18 וַיִּתֵּן אֶל משֶׁה כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ בְּהַר סִינַי שְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הָעֵדֻת – שמות לא, יח Rashi notes that the Torah here spells the word Luchos, tablets, as לֻחֹת—without the letter “ו” that emphasizes the plural, according to which the word […]

February 26, 2018 at 1:28 AM

Rinse Well Before Serving – Parashat Ki Tisa

Rinse Well Before Serving – Parashat Ki Tisa

“…Aharon and his sons shall wash their hands and feet from it…” – Shemot 30:19 וְרָחֲצוּ אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת יְדֵיהֶם וְאֶת רַגְלֵיהֶם – שמות ל, יט Before beginning their daily service, the kohanim serving in the Mishkan would wash their hands and feet. Emulating the kohanim, we, too, wash our hands every morning upon awakening to sanctify ourselves for […]

February 25, 2018 at 3:46 AM

The Altar of Anonymity – Parashat Tetzaveh

The Altar of Anonymity – Parashat Tetzaveh

“…You shall make an altar for burning incense…” – Shemot 30:1 וְעָשִׂיתָ מִזְבֵּחַ מִקְטַר קְטֹרֶת – שמות ל, א The Inner Mizbei’ach, the golden altar for incense which stood in the sanctuary of the Mishkan, is described at the conclusion of Parshas Tetzaveh. Its placement here is somewhat peculiar, considering that the construction of the Mishkan and the other utensils […]

February 22, 2018 at 1:14 AM

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