Hakhel: Bracing for Change

Hakhel: Bracing for Change

….Assemble the people: The men , the women and the children, and your strangers in your cities, in order that they hear, and in order that they learn and fear G-od, your G-od and they will observe to do all the words of this Torah…. (Devarim 31:12)   Hakhel is observed every seven years, in the year following Shemitah. Why […]

October 3, 2016 at 4:17 PM

The Perfectly Timed Yartzeit

The Perfectly Timed Yartzeit

“….This day I am one hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer go or come…..”(Devarim 31:2) The Talmud (Kiddushin 38a) explains: ‘This day’ need not be stated; why then is it stated? It teaches that G-d sits and completes the years of the righteous from day to day and month to month. The Tanya (Igeres Hakodesh 27) teaches […]

October 2, 2016 at 8:09 PM

Can Teshuvah Be an Obligation?

Can Teshuvah Be an Obligation?

“…And you will return to Hashem your G-d, and you will listen to His voice…” – Devarim 30:2 וְשַׁבְתָּ עַד ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ וְשָׁמַעְתָּ בְקֹלוֹ – דברים ל, ב The Sefer Mitzvos Katan (#53) interprets this verse as a command to do teshuvah; meaning, one has a positive obligation to repent, and has neglected a mitzvah if he does not. Others, however, […]

September 28, 2016 at 2:29 AM

Parashat Ki Tavo – Graduation….

Parashat Ki Tavo – Graduation….

Parashat Ki Tavo “…..Yet until this day, g-d did not give you a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear. i led you through the desert for forty years… you must safeguard the words that constitute this covenant….” (Devarim 29:3-8) …ולא נתן ה’ לכם לב לדעת ועינים לראות ואזנים לשמוע עד היום הזה; ואולך אתכם ארבעים שנה במדבר.. […]

September 23, 2016 at 2:52 AM

Raising Children: The Hardest Job of All….

Raising Children: The Hardest Job of All….

“…So we cried out to Hashem, G-d of our fathers, and G-d heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression…” –  (Devarim 26:7) וַנִּצְעַק אֶל ה’ אֱלֹקֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ וַיִּשְׁמַע ה’ אֶת קֹלֵנוּ וַיַּרְא אֶת עָנְיֵנוּ וְאֶת עֲמָלֵנוּ וְאֶת לַחֲצֵנוּ – דברים כו, ז Our toil – these are the sons, as it is written “Every son […]

September 22, 2016 at 2:59 AM

Don’t Make Yourself at Home….

Don’t Make Yourself at Home….

“….And he went down to Egypt and sojourned there with a small number of people ….” (Devarim 26:5) וַיֵּרֶד מִצְרַיְמָה וַיָּגָר שָׁם בִּמְתֵי מְעָט – דברים כו, ה And he went down to Egypt – forced by Divine decree. —Passover Hagaddah If Yaakov’s descent to Egypt was by Divine instruction, why did Yaakov feel forced? Could it be that Yaakov, […]

September 20, 2016 at 2:13 AM

Holy Matrimony – Parashat Ki Teitzei

Holy Matrimony – Parashat Ki Teitzei

“……..When a man takes a wife… “(Devarim 24:1) כי יקח איש אשה ובעלה והיה – דברים כד, א Once the Torah was given, the Jews were commanded that when a man desires to marry a woman, he must acquire her as a wife in the presence of witnesses and only after this does she become his wife. This is stated in […]

September 15, 2016 at 2:12 AM

Jews and Dues

Jews and Dues

“….You may offer interest to a gentile, but to your brother you shall not offer interest….” (Devarim 23:21) לנכרי תשיך ולאחיך לא תשיך – דברים כג, כא Offering – and taking – interest from “your brother” is prohibited; from people at large, by contrast, it is permitted. It is a positive mitzvah to lend money to a gentile at interest, […]

September 14, 2016 at 8:13 PM

The Seasons: A Cycle of Growth

The Seasons: A Cycle of Growth

“…Safeguard the month of spring, and offer a Pesach to G-d…” – Devarim 16:1 We are commanded to set up the calendar in a manner that ensures that the holiday of Pesach will always be in the spring. The season of spring and its symbolism teach us a most uplifting and inspirational lesson. Throughout the winter, the earth’s processes of […]

August 30, 2016 at 2:01 AM

The Tefillin Line of Attack

The Tefillin Line of Attack

“…And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes…” – Devarim 6:8 וּקְשַׁרְתָּם לְאוֹת עַל יָדֶךָ וְהָיוּ לְטֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ – דברים ו,ח Our Sages taught that the mitzvah of Tefillin scares away the enemies of the Jewish people. The Talmud (Berachos 6a) declares, “It is written: ‘And […]

August 17, 2016 at 2:09 AM

The Greatest Praise of All

The Greatest Praise of All

“…And all the mighty hand, and all the great awe, which Moshe performed before the eyes of all Israel…” – Devarim 32:10 The final verses of the Torah describe the remarkable person of Moshe, his unparalleled level of prophecy and his unmatched accomplishments. Rashi adds that the words, “which Moshe performed before the eyes of all of Israel,” refer to […]

October 2, 2015 at 4:02 PM

Angels at Risk – Parashat Ha’azinu

Angels at Risk – Parashat Ha’azinu

“…..As an eagle awakens its nest, hovering over it’s fledglings, it spreads it’s wings when taking them and carrying them on it’s wings…” – Devorim 32:11 ״…. כנשר יעיר קנו על גוזליו ירחף יפרש כנפיו יקחהו ישאהו על אברתו…״ – דברים לב, יא Angels are spiritual beings, invulnerable to physical harm by arrows and stones. How then can an angel […]

September 24, 2015 at 2:24 PM

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

Beis HaBechirah: Categorically Perfect

Beis HaBechirah: Categorically Perfect

“…A stone that is chipped to the extent that it can be sensed by a fingernail… is disqualified for use in the altar or the ramp, as [Devarim 27:6] states: “You shall build the Altar of G-d with whole stones”… If a stone was damaged or touched by iron after it was built into the Altar or the ramp, that […]

July 24, 2015 at 2:04 AM

War? What For?

War? What For?

“…Come and possess the land that G-d swore to your forefathers, to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Yaacov, to give them and their descendants after them…” – Devarim 1:8 בֹּאוּ וּרְשׁוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה’ לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם וּלְזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם – דברים א, ח Moshe recounted to Bnei Yisrael that, if not for the episode of […]

July 23, 2015 at 11:42 PM

Jewish Nationality

Jewish Nationality

“…Hashem, our G-d, spoke to us in Chorev, saying, “Your stay at this mountain has been plenty for you”… Devarim 1:6 ה’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ דִּבֶּר אֵלֵינוּ בְּחֹרֵב לֵאמֹר רַב לָכֶם שֶׁבֶת בָּהָר הַזֶּה – דברים א, ו Moshe recounted to Bnei Yisrael that, if not for the episode of the Spies, G-d would have brought them into the Land of Israel […]

July 21, 2015 at 1:44 AM

Monarch Psychology… – Parashat Ki Tavo

Monarch Psychology… – Parashat Ki Tavo

Parashat Ki Tavo “…..G-D HAS SET YOU APART THIS DAY TO BE HIS TREASURED PEOPLE, JUST AS HE SPOKE CONCERNING YOU…..” (DEVARIM 26:18) In Shemos 19:5, Rashi explains the significance of being G-d’s “treasure”:   A beloved treasure, like “and the treasures (וּסְגֻלַּת) of the kings” (Koheles 2:8) – costly vessels and precious stones, which the kings store away. Likewise, […]

September 10, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Love What You Learn – Parashat Shoftim

Love What You Learn – Parashat Shoftim

You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Is the man a tree of the field? (Devarim 20:19) “The man a tree of the field” …If a Torah scholar is upright, you should benefit from him (alone – Tosfos) and not cut off from him. —Talmud, Taanis 7a The Talmud interprets this verse as reference to […]

August 27, 2014 at 3:40 PM

How to Avoid the Long Arm of the Law

How to Avoid the Long Arm of the Law

“….You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities….” (Devarim 16:18) Effective governance relies on judges to establish the law, and law enforcement officials to ensure that the law is being upheld by all the citizens. Yet, of the future era of Moshiach, the prophet Yeshayahu (1:26) prophesied, “And I will restore your judges […]

August 25, 2014 at 4:01 PM