Crimes of Neglect

Crimes of Neglect

“….For sin we committed before you with the Yetzer Hara….” (Yom Kippuer Prayers) ״…..על חטא שחטאנו לפניך ביצר הרע….״ – נוסח תפילת יום כיפור This phrase in the Al Chet, the itemized confession list read in the prayers of Yom Kippur, seems out of place and misleading. Aren’t all sins committed with the Yetzer Hara, our evil inclination and impulse? […]

September 21, 2015 at 1:41 AM 0 comments

Being Kind by Accident – Parashat Ki Teitzei

Being Kind by Accident – Parashat Ki Teitzei

“….When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a bundle in the field, you shall not go back to take it; it shall be for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, so that G-d, your G-d, will bless you in all that you do……” (Devarim 24:19) כִּי תִקְצֹר קְצִירְךָ בְשָׂדֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ עֹמֶר בַּשָּׂדֶה לֹא תָשׁוּב לְקַחְתּוֹ לַגֵּר […]

August 23, 2015 at 12:12 PM 0 comments

Local Judge, Distant Sentence

Local Judge, Distant Sentence

“…These shall be for you a statute of justice for all your generations, in all your dwelling places…” – Bamidbar 35:29 וְהָיוּ אֵלֶּה לָכֶם לְחֻקַּת מִשְׁפָּט לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם בְּכֹל מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם – במדבר לה, כט A person who accidentally caused someone’s death would be exiled by the court to one of the six Cities of Refuge where he would be safe from […]

July 17, 2015 at 10:15 PM 0 comments

Outside Influences

Outside Influences

“…You shall not have other gods…” – Shemos 20:3 לֹא יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹקִים אֲחֵרִים – שמות כ, ג The Talmud (Shabbos 88b) relates that the angels protested G-d giving the Torah to Bnei Yisrael, insisting that G-d’s wisdom must not be shared with mortals of flesh and blood. In response, Moshe demonstrated that only humans could fulfill the Torah’s commands, […]

May 21, 2015 at 6:36 PM 0 comments

Precious Possessions

Precious Possessions

“…The kohen shall order that they clear out the house before the kohen comes to look at the lesion, so that everything in the house should not become unclean…” – Vayikra 14:36 וְצִוָּה הַכֹּהֵן וּפִנּוּ אֶת הַבַּיִת בְּטֶרֶם יָבֹא הַכֹּהֵן לִרְאוֹת אֶת הַנֶּגַע וְלֹא יִטְמָא כָּל אֲשֶׁר בַּבָּיִת – ויקרא יד, לו A house plagued with tzora’as remains pure and […]

April 23, 2015 at 1:30 PM 0 comments

The Mitzvos of a Bad Jew

The Mitzvos of a Bad Jew

“…But on the day that live flesh is seen in it, he shall become unclean…” – Vayikra 13:14 וּבְיוֹם הֵרָאוֹת בּוֹ בָּשָׂר חַי יִטְמָא – ויקרא יג, יד A person afflicted with tzora’as must be examined by a kohen to determine if his lesions indeed bear the signs of impurity. The Talmud notes that only certain days are valid for […]

April 21, 2015 at 2:47 AM 0 comments

Ensuring our Freedom

Ensuring our Freedom

“…If the Holy One, blessed be He, had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children, and our children’s children would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt…” – The Haggadah וְאִלּוּ לֹא הוֹצִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם, הֲרֵי אָנוּ וּבָנֵינוּ וּבְנֵי בָנֵינוּ מְשֻׁעְבָּדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם – הגדה של פסח We acknowledge in the […]

March 30, 2015 at 3:01 AM 0 comments

The Mishkan Again? – Parashat Pekudei

The Mishkan Again? – Parashat Pekudei

“…And Moshe spoke to the entire community of Bnei Yisrael, saying: This is the word that G-d has commanded…” – Shemot 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, such that an extra word or even letter is a cause for […]

March 9, 2015 at 6:46 PM 0 comments

Do Yourself a Favor

Do Yourself a Favor

“…And Mordechai told him all that had befallen him…” Esther 4:7 וַיַּגֶּד לוֹ מָרְדֳּכַי אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר קָרָהוּ – אסתר ד, ז Mordechai occupied an important position in Achashveirosh’s government (see Esther 2:19, “and Mordechai sat at the king’s gate.”) In addition, his cousin (or niece, see Targum,) was Achashveirosh’s queen. Presumably, even if Haman’s decree did come to pass […]

March 5, 2015 at 4:41 AM Comments are Disabled

Humanity’s Most Important Goal – Parashat Terumah

Humanity’s Most Important Goal – Parashat Terumah

“….Speak to Bnei Yisrael and have a contribution taken for Me….” – Shemot 25:2 דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה – שמות כה, ב According to one opinion in the Zohar (vol. 2 p. 224a), G-d’s command that the Mishkan be built, as well as the collection of materials for its construction, took place immediately after the Giving of […]

February 16, 2015 at 1:25 AM 0 comments

The Egyptian Me – Parashat Yitro

The Egyptian Me – Parashat Yitro

“….I am Hashem, your G-d, Who took you out of the land of Egypt…” – Shemot 20:2 אָנֹכִי ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם  – שמות כ, ב Our Sages teach that the Ten Commandments that the Jewish nation heard at Mt. Sinai represent the sum total of the entire Torah; all 613 mitzvos are incorporated within these ten. Taking […]

February 6, 2015 at 4:26 PM 0 comments

The Miracle of Freedom – Parashat Bo

The Miracle of Freedom – Parashat Bo

You shall tell your son on that day, saying, “It is for this sake that G-d acted on my behalf when I went out of Egypt.” – Shemot 13:8 וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יְהֹוָה לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם – שמות יג, ח The Torah tells us that in all generations one must relate to his children “that […]

January 23, 2015 at 4:00 PM 0 comments

Why is Life so Challenging?

Why is Life so Challenging?

“….And behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field….” – Bereishit 37:7 ״…והנה אנחנו מאלמים אלומים בתוך השדה…״ – בראשית לז, ז Yosef and Pharaoh both had dreams involving grain, but the contexts in which they each saw the grain could not be more dissimilar. In Yosef’s dream, he saw himself and his brothers binding sheaves of […]

December 9, 2014 at 6:36 PM 0 comments

You See What You Need to See – Parashat Noach

You See What You Need to See – Parashat Noach

“….And Shem and Yefes took the garment, and placed it on both of their shoulders. They walked backwards, and they covered their father’s nakedness. their faces were turned backwards and they did not see their father’s nakedness…..” (Bereishit 9:23)  ״…ויקח שם ויפת את השמלה וישימו על שכם שניהם וילכו אחורנית ויכסו את ערות אביהם ופניהם אחורנית ןערות אביהם לא ראו….״ […]

October 20, 2014 at 12:02 AM 0 comments

The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

“….He shall wear a holy linen shirt and linen pants shall be upon his flesh, and he shall grid himself with a linen sash and wear a linen cap…..” (Yom Kippur Torah reading, Vayikra 16:4) ״….כתנת בד קדש ילבש ומכנסי בד יהיו על בשרו ובאבנט בד יחגור ובמצנפת בד יצנוף…..״ – קריאת התורה ליום הכיפורים, ויקרא טז,ד On all but […]

September 30, 2014 at 12:20 AM 1 comment

Are You Searching or Calling?

Are You Searching or Calling?

“….Seek G-od when he is found, Call him when he is near……” (Yeshayahu 55:6) ״….דרשו ה׳ בהמצאו קראהו בהיותו קרוב….״ – ישעיהו נה׳, ו׳ This verse refers to the ten days from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur. —Talmud, Rosh Hashana 18a The two phrases in this verse represent two areas and modes of teshuva that are evoked by the nearness […]

September 28, 2014 at 8:38 PM 0 comments

Not Just a Stopover

Not Just a Stopover

“…Whether it was for two days, a month or a year, that the cloud lingered to hover over the Mishkan, the children of Israel would encamp and not travel, and when it departed, they traveled…” – Bamidbar 9:22 אוֹ יֹמַיִם אוֹ חֹדֶשׁ אוֹ יָמִים בְּהַאֲרִיךְ הֶעָנָן עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן לִשְׁכֹּן עָלָיו יַחֲנוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא יִסָּעוּ וּבְהֵעָלֹתוֹ יִסָּעוּ – במדבר ט, […]

June 8, 0201 at 4:43 AM 0 comments