Category: Chumash

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Behar: Money and Human Dignity

Parashas Behar is a list of mitzvos. The first section is all about shemittah and yovel. A family’s ancestral land cannot be sold into perpetuity. Instead, if someone is forced to sell their holdings,...

Moshe at the Burning Bush 0

Compassionate Moshe

והיה רגיל להוכיח אותי על שראה שאינני משתתף בצערא דאחרינא. וכה היה דברו אלי תמיד שזה כל האדם. לא לעצמו נברא רק להועיל לאחריני ככל אשר ימצא בכחו לעשות. [My father, Rav Chaim Volozhiner,]...

To Name the Creator 0

To Name the Creator

This week’s parashah (Lekh Likha), Bereishis 16:13, describes Hagar’s prayer to Hashem … Before praying one has to think about how one is relating to Hashem in that moment. …

My Tzitzis 0

So you shall not veer…

The Medrash about Qorach rhetorically asking of Moshe why a tallis that is made of tekheiles would need one more tekheiles thread for tzitzis ties the mitzvah of tzitzis to the next story in the Chumash – Qorach. The words of the parashah about tzitzis tie it to a slightly earlier story – the meraglim. ,,,

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Parashas Tzav and the Book of Mrs. Job

Vayiqra is about the qorban as performed by the person bringing it. Tzav is the qorban as performed by the kohein. These are two totally different things. Each of us live in our own world.

We have a book of Iyov, which tells the story of the tragedies Iyov lived through. But Iyov’s wife? There is no book explaining her tragedy. Nor that of his children. Those would have been very different books with very different stories. Every person impacted by an event is a protagonist in and of themselves, and Hashem insures that their experiences and duties make sense for them within their own perspective.

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Dispelling the Dark

So, Adam saw the return of darkness, the same darkness the opening medrash identified with the spiritual decimation attempted by the Hellenists in the years before Chanukah. He mourned and fasted for 8 days. We have 8 days, but with an opposite theme — mourning and fasting are prohibited, and praise and gratitude dominate. And in both cases, the message was only seen in retrospect, the next year.

There is one major difference: Adam concluded that the darkness and the return of light was just “the natural cycle”. In Chanukah, we initiated the light manually, and Hashem responded with a miracle. Where Adam saw Hashem’s Light in nature, we see Him bestowing it in a covenantal union with us.

Adam was the start of this world. The Jewish People were given the Torah, handed a burning torch, to bring light to the world that follows.

Brunecker Turm Peak in the Morning, Val Gardena, Dolomite Mountains, Italys 0

What does Hashem ask of you?

Adding together the two pesuqim, then, we get a more complete description of the path Hashem expects us to walk:

1- To be aware of the enormity of the Divine,,,.
2- which should motivate us to emulate…
3- … we come to love Him
and aim everything at wholeheartedly following His Plan to be good to us.
4- Hashem gave us Jews the Torah and mitzvos …
5- To help us become good human beings, creatures who are fair, motivated by lovingkindness, humility, in our partnership with our Creator.

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Killing Amaleiq

As the wise king wrote, “For everything there is a time, and a season for every goal under heaven.” The “time for war” was when Canaan was simply a battleground for warring barbaric tribes,...

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Vayichal Moshe – Moshe Implored

While looking at Unqelus this week, I had a thought that is an application of the idea in Prayers and Requests. (See also Meshekh Chokhmah – Vayechi II – My Sword and My Bow.)...