Category: <span>Parasha</span>

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Shelach Lecha
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Shelach Lecha

CATCH 22? When Joseph Heller published his novel, Catch 22, in 1961, he hadn’t realized how quickly his title would become a catch phrase. What started as an illogical rule in army bureaucracy, soon came to include any situation where a a person can’t escape because of contradictory limitations Moses is faced with a Catch...

Beha’alotcha
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Beha’alotcha

AI AND THE MENORAH The scenario is the Tabernacle or Temple. The Kohanim are getting their instructions on how to light the golden Menorah. They are told: Beha’alotcha, “when you cause to rise up.” When lighting the Menorah the Kohen needed to hold his taper to the wicks until the lamps could burn independently. What...

Naso
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Naso

RABBINIC PLATFORMING The late Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, (d. 2020) head of Yeshiva University (whose yahrzeit fell last week) used to remark that he knew of only one joke in the Mishna: the statement that “rabbinic scholars increase peace in the world!” Yet, the late Rav Kook (d. 1935) addressed this question. He said it...

Bemidbah
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Bemidbah

JUBILEE AND COMMUNITY This weekend is all about numbers! Of course, the number 70 is on everyone’s mind as we celebrate Her Majesty’s magnificent milestone. But this Shabbat we begin to read the Book of Numbers, which opens with the numbering of the Jewish people in the desert. This will not be the first time...

Bechukotai
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Bechukotai

COUNT DOWN OR COUNT UP? This Shabbat will be the 42nd day of the Omer. Six of the seven weeks from Pesach to Shavuot will have passed. The Sefer HaChinuch (Spain 13th cent.) poses an obvious question. If the Omer count represents the time that the Israelites, having left Egypt, anticipated receiving the Torah on...

Behar
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Behar

INVISIBLE BARRIERS When one of my teachers wanted to emphasise that he disapproved of something, he would pound the table with his fist and exclaim: lo mit an oleph! The English equivalent would be, “No, with a capital N!” The origin of this Yiddish phrase is that the Hebrew word, lo, can imply either ‘No’...

Emor
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Emor

A MEETING OF MOADIM Look carefully at the Sefer Torah when it is being lifted up in shul this Shabbat. You will see that the parchment is slightly more worn. Why? Because the scroll is being opened more frequently to this section. This week’s parasha contains the readings for the second day of Pesach and...

Kedoshim
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Kedoshim

SELF HELP Tzeddaka or Charity is a cornerstone of Judaism. But equally important, is how it is administered. In this week’s parasha we learn that when a farmer harvested his crop, he was obliged to leave a corner of the field (pe’ah) for the poor. When he came to reap the grain, if one or...

Acharei Mot
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Acharei Mot

WEARING TWO HATS The high point of the year for the High Priest was Yom Kippur. On that day, he would perform the entire Temple service. In fact, he would change, no less than five times, from his elaborate gold garments to simple white garments made from linen. Why? Rav Hisda in the Talmud (Rosh...

Thoughts on the Haggada
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Thoughts on the Haggada

THOUGHTS ON THE HAGGADA “And G-d will pass over the opening” (Exodus 12:23) We are told in the Haggadah that in every generation we should try and picture ourselves as if we are leaving Egypt. The Chassidic writers point out that this is not simply an exercise in imagination. We too, can benefit in some...