Parashat Ki Tetze – September 14, 2019 – 14 Elul 5779

September 13th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Ki Tetze – September 14, 2019 – 14 Elul 5779

This week's Torah Reading repeats a law from the Book of Exodus. In Deuteronomy, we find that one must help one's "brother" when we encounter his donkey struggling under its burden. In Exodus, we were told to help with the burden of the donkey of one's "enemy." In both cases, we are told explicitly to work [...]

Parashat Shoftim – September 7, 2019 – 7 Elul 5779

September 5th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Shoftim – September 7, 2019 – 7 Elul 5779

“When you shall come into the Land... and say, ‘I will set a king over myself...’” (Deut. 17:14) We would expect the Torah to simply command either, “Thou shalt appoint a king” or “Thou shalt not appoint a king.” Why the ambivalent language?   The Bible and our rabbis share a suspicion of government and its [...]

Parashat Re’eh – August 31, 2019 – 30 Tammuz 5779

August 29th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Re’eh – August 31, 2019 – 30 Tammuz 5779

This week's Torah parasha informs us that, when "God broadens the boundary" of our land God will permit us to "eat meat." (Deut. 12:20) There's a debate over what this refers to.   One side suggests that in the Sinai wilderness, with everyone crowded around theTabernacle, our ancestors ate only sacrificial meat. In the Land of [...]

Parashat Eikev – August 24, 2019 – 23 Tammuz 5779

August 23rd, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Eikev – August 24, 2019 – 23 Tammuz 5779

This week's portion bears a challenging message. We are about to enter the Land of Israel, but we are not to take credit for it. The Torah instructs us not to imagine our success is due our virtue or good works. We spent 40 long, hard years in the dessert struggling to reach this moment. Yet [...]

Parashat D’varim – August 10, 2019 – 9 Tammuz 5779

August 8th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat D’varim – August 10, 2019 – 9 Tammuz 5779

Thoughts on Prayer and Tragedy   We are forced this weekend to face multiple tragedies. As Americans, we must cope yet again with the spectre of gun violence on a mass scale. As of writing, the massacre in Texas was reportedly carried out by an anti-immigrant terrorist. Much closer to home, in the nearby city of [...]

Parashat Matot-Masei – August 3, 2019 – 2 Tammuz 5779

August 1st, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Matot-Masei – August 3, 2019 – 2 Tammuz 5779

This week we learn that although each tribe will receive territory in the Land of Israel, the tribe of Levi will not. Instead, the tribe of Levi will be assigned 48 towns located amongst the various other tribes. Why? According to the rabbis, the tribe of Levi did not experience the full pain of Egyptian servitude [...]

Parashat Pinchas – July 27, 2019 – 24 Tammuz 5779

July 26th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Pinchas – July 27, 2019 – 24 Tammuz 5779

This week's Torah portion opens with the second census of the aptly named "Book of Numbers." God, it seems, enjoys counting us. Talmudic law, on the other hand, following the disastrous consequences of a census taken much later by King David, forbids counting any group of Jews. What's up with the issue of counting?   In [...]

Parashat Bechukotai – June 1, 2019 – 27 Iyar 5779

May 31st, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Bechukotai – June 1, 2019 – 27 Iyar 5779

We find the Hebrew roots for “Shabbat” and “desolation” each repeated in this week’s Torah Portion seven times in a single 6 verse passage. “Desolation” is repeatedly referred to as a Shabbat for the Land of Israel. Shabbat is meant to be a day of wonder and happiness. What aspect of Shabbat could be construed as [...]