Articles on the weekly Torah readings, including inspiration and explanations.
Why is peace such a fundamental component of a Jew’s life? And what is the ideal peace for which we yearn?
There will always be people enchanted by the openness of the world, who neglect the necessity for order.
God’s speaking to Moses – more than reflecting holiness, reflects the intimacy of direct communication and connection with the creator.
The more we explore “if” the more lightning we find in the word.
In the agricultural context in which the Torah was received, land was the main source of income, and owning a lot of land was a source of wealth.
If you are not to hold a grudge, what ought one to do?
The commandment that envelops this parasha throughout is “You shall be holy!”
Coming off a pandemic, when so many have been isolated, we might be inclined to view all isolation as punitive.
From the stories in the Torah of people with leprosy, we can infer what the social impairment is that leads to this impurity: gossip, slandering the name of someone else.
Reading this week’s Torah portion reveals several different staircases connecting the Mishkan and Shabbat.
We notice a phrase that is repeated often while the Torah describes the execution of the directions: “As the Lord commanded Moses.” This phrase is repeated no fewer than 19 times.
Should we be like our clothes?
This story is yet another chapter in the battle between Amalek and the Jewish nation.
The building of the mishkan did not change God, but it changed Israel. God may be the same everywhere, but we are not.
How can one uphold both truth and peace, and then go so far as to claim that the world can only exist when both truth and peace exist?
Parashat Yitro and Parashat Mishpatim are seen as a continuum.
Moses shows true emotion upon seeing Jethro.
The parasha is called Yitro because it begins with the story of Jethro coming to the Israelites’ encampment.
All of us carry a great deal through life – memories, aspirations, relationships, burdens, natural gifts.
This Shabbat is termed Shabbat Shira for Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea, read in this parasha.
There are (at least) three different reasons for eating unleavened bread; and together with a fourth, symbolic reason, all of them tie together in one of those mystical weaves.
The Jewish nation left Egypt to fulfill its Divine purpose: to receive the Torah, establish in the Land of Israel a state that will operate on the basis of the laws and values of the Torah.
People often use power, and when it is employed, it is not easy to overcome it. The Midrash teaches us that when power is met with empathy, consideration and compassion, it collapses and retreats.
The news of liberation comes to the slaves of Israel – but they are unable to hear it.
Moses’s personal struggles enable him to summon the strength despite his initial unwillingness.
One of the skills a leader needs is the ability to make speeches and persuade the masses, and this was something Moses felt he could not do.
What does 'lech lecha' mean, and how can we understand it as a calling to search for God?
The drama of Israel – the selling of Joseph, the slavery and redemption – seems to hinge on an accidental encounter in the field with a stranger.
The name of Jacob was given to him at birth but to understand it we must go back to the months prior to his birth.
We are in the middle of the drama of Jacob’s life. Why does the Torah pause to note the death of a woman about whom almost nothing is known?
In telling us about Leah's ugliness, the Torah is helping us deduce why she merited marrying Jacob
Shabbat shalom and happy Thanksgiving!
This sense of deep loyalty and connection finds its way into an extremely erotic and startling narrative
Jacob has not learned to love
This week, we read the single parasha that describes the life of the Jewish nation’s second, middle, forefather – Isaac.
‘And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said: “Send me away unto my master”’(Chayei Sarah 24:54)
Abraham’s life was based on giving.
This week’s parasha, Lech Lecha, opens with God’s instructions to Abraham.
What caused Noah to merit being the only survivor from whom humanity would continue after the flood?
Was man created primarily good and virtuous or fundamentally evil and immoral?
The solution to loneliness is the relationship between man and woman, the “helpmate opposite him” that God creates.
One aspect of these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur can be defined as a “chance for appeal.”
We must admit that the unknown is far greater than the known.
Teshuva is primarily an emotional process that has practical implications.
Prohibitions that ‘merit’ being cursed are all acts that damage relationships between people.
Why was the continuity of the story connecting the Jewish nation’s past and future broken so that the speech could review a succession of halachic directions on such a wide range of subjects?
The king is not a god and has no special rights.
We will focus on the third offense, the ir nidahat, or an entire city that shows disloyalty to God and is condemned to total annihilation.
The words ‘abomination’ and ‘hates’ appear only once in the entire Torah.
Let us imagine someone taking a Rembrandt painting and adding a few of his own lines or drops of paint.
THE INAUGURATION of the State of Israel on the fifth of Iyar is akin to the inauguration of the Tabernacle on the first of Nissan – the beginning of a new era of Judaism.
The role of a judge is so sensitive and significant, there is no room for mediocrity.
It is tempting to dismiss these opponents merely as self-hating Jews, thinking, “What type of proud Jew could possibly be opposed to the Jewish state?”
The entrance to the Land of Israel was replete with wars, and this week we read about the war fought against the five kings of Midian.
In this week’s portion, we read a long chapter that summarizes the census that took place in the Moab plains on the western side of the Jordan River.
At the beginning of next week’s Torah portion, God steps forward and validates Pinhas for turning back His wrath from the Israelites, and is granted a covenant of peace and the pact of priesthood.
Balaam understood that family values require effort and that marriage requires effort, restraint and loyalty.
The description sounds foreign to our modern ears, but this does not mean Western culture is better than ancient rituals.
How are we to know, in situations we encounter in our lives, how to make the right choices?
The commandment of tzitzit is one of the special commandments in the Torah whose purpose is clearly written in a manner that cannot be ignored.
Eldad and Medad, two anonymous people who are never mentioned again in the bible, teach us of the importance of humility and sensitivity as a condition for spiritual distinction.
Every day, we decide if we are receiving the Torah and adopting the worldview and lifestyle it proposes.
The commandment of tzitzit is for every Jew, and it teaches us that every Jew is part of a framework of identity and belonging, with a purpose and a role.
Every seventh year, farmers in the Land of Israel must let their fields lie fallow and surrender the harvest to society – Jews and non-Jews – and even to animals.
Man has the choice of being passive, enjoying the world as a guest, or being active and creative.
When we examine these Torah readings, we must start with a basic premise: These were not contagious illnesses, and the purification process did not include any acts that were hygienic or medical.
Clarity, lucidity of thought, and decisiveness are necessary to be able to distinguish between the sacred and the profane.
These are difficult times. We all send wishes for a speedy and complete recovery to all those who are sick, and condolences to the bereaved families. Our hearts are with you!
One of the directives pertains to the making of the incense, a blend of herbs and balms placed on coals inside the Mishkan, which spread a pleasant smell
We can’t help but wonder: Why do you we need to know all these details?
God spoke to everyone and wanted a partnership with everyone
When we work toward positive goals, when we try to add holiness to human reality, we merit being the “hand of God.”
The path to freedom and goals.
Judaism sees the proper and respectful treatment of a person’s dead body as an expression of human dignity.
The ‘highest level’ of charity per Maimonides is not to support the poor financially, but to prevent a person from becoming poor.
Although learning Torah is counted as one of the Torah’s commandments, it stands alone and unique above all the other commandments.
Everyone is welcome to climb up and whoever makes the effort will attain results.
This commandment expresses the farmer’s Jewish compassion that gives him the responsibility for others’ fate.
Judah, of course, did not intend to express gratitude to Tamar for what she had done. He meant to admit the truth.
Faith in God allows us to see beyond the horizon; to see the light at the end of the tunnel, even when that light is still hidden.
Herzl’s interpretation of Jacob’s conflict also is indicative of his own.
Every person in the community has the ability to attain this exalted status of holiness.
The air was full of excitement and curiosity in Tel Aviv last night as the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra took the stage with cast members of the West End's We Will Rock You musical.
Jacob’s and Joseph’s life stories are also amazingly similar. They both find themselves in a foreign country following an altercation with their brothers; they both work for a foreign master, etc.