Just a Number?

Just a Number?

“…Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel…” – Bamidbar 1:2 שְׂאוּ אֶת רֹאשׁ כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – במדבר א, ב According to Jewish law, if a mixture contains two components, and one is minute in comparison to the other, we regard the smaller component (under certain conditions) as negligible and insignificant. For example, if […]

May 15, 2018 at 2:41 AM

Are You Seeing Things?

Are You Seeing Things?

“…And all the people saw the sounds and the flames, the sound of the shofar, and the smoking mountain; and the people saw and trembled, and they stood from afar…” – Shemos 20:15 וְכָל הָעָם רֹאִים אֶת הַקּוֹלֹת וְאֶת הַלַּפִּידִם וְאֵת קוֹל הַשֹּׁפָר וְאֶת הָהָר עָשֵׁן וַיַּרְא הָעָם וַיָּנֻעוּ וַיַּעַמְדוּ מֵרָחֹק – שמות כ, טו From the Torah’s depiction of […]

May 14, 2018 at 10:43 PM

The Differences We Have in Common

The Differences We Have in Common

“…Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses…” – Bamidbar 1:2 שְׂאוּ אֶת רֹאשׁ כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם – במדבר א, ב The census taken in the beginning of the Book of Bamidbar seems paradoxical. On the one hand, a tally of the entire nation, in which […]

May 14, 2018 at 11:06 AM

Chores or Passions?

Chores or Passions?

“…I will turn towards you…” – Vayikra 26:9 וּפָנִיתִי אֲלֵיכֶם – ויקרא כו, ט After stating that if you follow G-d’s statutes and observe His commandments G-d will grant you prosperity, security, and peace, the Torah adds that G-d will also “turn towards you” and grant you additional blessings as well. Rashi comments on the words “I will turn towards you” […]

May 7, 2018 at 3:54 AM

Timing

Timing

“…I will give your rains in their time…” – Vayikra 26:4 וְנָתַתִּי גִשְׁמֵיכֶם בְּעִתָּם – ויקרא כו, ד In Parshas Bechukosai, G-d declares that if the Jewish people will observe His commandments and follow His statutes —meaning, they will “toil in the study of Torah” (Rashi) — they will be blessed with prosperity, peace and security, and they will multiply and flourish. […]

May 7, 2018 at 1:13 AM

Exchange Rate

Exchange Rate

“…And he shall not substitute for it. If he shall exchange it, then it will be and its exchange will be holy…” – Vayikra 27:33 וְלֹא יְמִירֶנּוּ וְאִם הָמֵר יְמִירֶנּוּ וְהָיָה הוּא וּתְמוּרָתוֹ יִהְיֶה קֹּדֶשׁ – ויקרא כז, לג According to the teachings of the Arizal, there are twelve configurations of the four letters of G-d’s name, Yud-Hey-Vov-Hey, each configuration […]

May 6, 2018 at 2:45 AM

When the Going Gets Tough

When the Going Gets Tough

“…If you go in My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them…” – Vayikra 26:3 אִם בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ וְאֶת מִצְוֹתַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם – ויקרא כו, ג Rashi wonders about the meaning of the phrase, “If you go in my statutes.” Considering that mitzvah observance is stipulated by the next phrase in the verse, “and observe My commandments,” what […]

May 5, 2018 at 2:19 AM

Slave Rights

Slave Rights

“…No non-kohen may eat holy things… But if a kohen acquires a person, as a monetary acquisition, he may eat of it…” – Vayikra 22:10-11 וְכָל זָר לֹא יֹאכַל קֹדֶשׁ . . וְכֹהֵן כִּי יִקְנֶה נֶפֶשׁ קִנְיַן כַּסְפּוֹ הוּא יֹאכַל בּוֹ – ויקרא כב, י-יא The Sages taught that one may not derive benefit from this world without first reciting […]

April 30, 2018 at 1:22 AM

Goal Oriented

Goal Oriented

“…When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Shabbos to G-d. For six years you may sow your field …but in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete rest…” – Vayikra 25:2-3 כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַה’: שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶך . . […]

April 29, 2018 at 4:26 AM

A Little Big

A Little Big

“…And G-d spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai, saying…” – Vayikra 25:1 וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל משֶׁה בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹר – ויקרא כה, א The Midrash relates that the great mountains of the world all vied to be chosen as the site where G-d would give the Torah to Bnei Yisrael. Yet G-d selected the smallest of all the mountains, Mount […]

April 29, 2018 at 3:02 AM

Out of Control

Out of Control

“…For the children of Israel are servants to me; they are my servants, whom i took out of the land of Egypt…” – Vayikra 25:55 כִּי לִי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדִים עֲבָדַי הֵם אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם – ויקרא כה, נה Why does the verse repeat itself, saying “B’nei Yisrael are servants to me; they are my servants whom I took […]

April 27, 2018 at 8:40 AM

Expectations

Expectations

“…And fire went forth from before G-d and consumed them, and they died before G-d…” – Vayikra 10:2 וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי ה’ וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם וַיָּמֻתוּ לִפְנֵי ה’ – ויקרא י, ב Why were Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, punished with sudden death? According to the opinion of R’ Yishmael cited in the Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 12:1), they died […]

March 27, 2018 at 2:35 AM

Act Now, Perfect Later

Act Now, Perfect Later

“…And the pig, because it has a cloven hoof that is completely split, but will not regurgitate its cud; it is unclean for you…” – Vayikra 11:7 וְאֶת הַחֲזִיר כִּי מַפְרִיס פַּרְסָה הוּא וְשֹׁסַע שֶׁסַע פַּרְסָה וְהוּא גֵּרָה לֹא יִגָּר טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם – ויקרא יא, ז The Ohr Hachaim interprets this verse as alluding to a future change in […]

March 26, 2018 at 1:55 AM

What does Joyful Judaism Mean?

What does Joyful Judaism Mean?

“…And the kohen shall cause the fat to [go up in] smoke on the altar, and the breast shall belong to Aharon and his sons…” – Vayikra 7:31 וְהִקְטִיר הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הַחֵלֶב הַמִּזְבֵּחָה וְהָיָה הֶחָזֶה לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו – ויקרא ז, לא After a sacrifice in the Temple is slaughtered and some of its blood sprinkled on the Altar, the kohanim […]

March 23, 2018 at 1:23 AM

Burning Fats, Fueling Flames – Parashat Tzav

Burning Fats, Fueling Flames – Parashat Tzav

“…A continuous fire shall burn upon the altar; it shall not be extinguished…” – Vayikra 6:6 אֵשׁ תָּמִיד תּוּקַד עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לֹא תִכְבֶּה – ויקרא ו, ו In addition to the obligation stated explicitly in this verse, namely, to maintain a constant fire on the Outer Mizbeiach, the Talmud sees in this verse an allusion to yet another “continuous fire” […]

March 22, 2018 at 1:11 AM

Cynical is Criminal – Parashat Tzav

Cynical is Criminal – Parashat Tzav

“…A constant fire shall burn upon the altar; it shall not be extinguished…” – Vayikra 6:6 אֵשׁ תָּמִיד תּוּקַד עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לֹא תִכְבֶּה – ויקרא ו, ו The Torah commands us to constantly burn a fire on the Outer Mizbei’ach, the altar that stood in the courtyard of the Temple, and to never extinguish it. Moreover, as taught in the […]

March 21, 2018 at 2:36 AM

Dare to Prepare – Parashat Tzav

Dare to Prepare – Parashat Tzav

“…He shall then take off his garments and put on other garments, and he shall remove the ashes to outside the camp…” – Vayikra 6:4 וּפָשַׁט אֶת בְּגָדָיו וְלָבַשׁ בְּגָדִים אֲחֵרִים וְהוֹצִיא אֶת הַדֶּשֶׁן אֶל מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה – ויקרא ו, ד The task of clearing the ashes from the Altar was not an actual part of the service in the […]

March 20, 2018 at 4:02 AM

Kohanim Without Borders – Parashat Tzav

Kohanim Without Borders – Parashat Tzav

“…He shall then take off his garments and put on other garments, and he shall remove the ashes to outside the camp…” – Vayikra 6:4 וּפָשַׁט אֶת בְּגָדָיו וְלָבַשׁ בְּגָדִים אֲחֵרִים וְהוֹצִיא אֶת הַדֶּשֶׁן אֶל מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה – ויקרא ו, ד One of the tasks in the Mishkan was to clear the ashes from atop the Altar and dispose of […]

March 19, 2018 at 2:52 AM

Limits and Permits

Limits and Permits

“…Limits and permits..” זֹאת תּוֹרַת הָעֹלָה הִוא הָעֹלָה עַל מוֹקְדָה עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ כָּל הַלַּיְלָה עַד הַבֹּקֶר – שמות ו, ב After a sacrifice in the Temple is slaughtered and some of its blood sprinkled on the Altar, the kohanim burn the choice fats of the animal (and in some instances, all its fats and limbs) on the Altar. Though all […]

March 18, 2018 at 1:01 AM

What Do You Crave? – Parashat Vayikra

What Do You Crave? – Parashat Vayikra

“…But he does not know, he is guilty and shall bear his transgression…” – Vayikra 5:17 וְלֹא יָדַע וְאָשֵׁם וְנָשָׂא עֲוֹנו – ויקרא ה, יז Why is it necessary to atone for transgressions that were committed unknowingly, especially if one is doubtful if he transgressed at all? Chassidus explains that although the actual transgression was not committed intentionally, yet its […]

March 16, 2018 at 1:05 AM