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Metzorah: The Art of Speech
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We speak, therefore we exist. When a newly elected member of Parliament approached the esteemed British Prime Minister Disraeli for advice, Disraeli was only too happy to share some profound wisdom and insight. “For the first six months,” Disraeli counseled, “you should only listen and not become involved in debate.” The man was perplexed.  “But […]
Shemos: The Jew Returns Home
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Sooner or later, we all grow up. For some, that transitional moment may slip by while others find their epiphany may accompany a smile, a tear, or a knowing nod. When does it happen? One might say it is the moment that one realizes there is no turning back. Consider the chap who looks at […]
Vayechi: A Real Blessing
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Yaakov is going to die. The exile is to begin. Before he departs, he delivers parting blessings – at least that is what the text says [49:28]. All these are tribes of Israel, twelve [of them]; and this is what their father spoke to them and he blessed them. He blessed them each with his […]
Parshat VaYigash
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In a parsha of dramatic reunions, one that often falls beneath the radar, that of father and son, tantalizes with its ambiguity: Yosef harnessed his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen; and he appeared before him, he fell on his neck, and he wept on his neck עוד od . […]
Miketz: Ready or Not, Here I Come
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In a “big” parsha of dreams, ascent, drama, turmoil and tears, one “minor ” pasuk looms large: Then Paroh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his clothing and came in unto Paroh.(Bereishis, 41:14) In this verse, with a stunning Seforno insight embellished […]
Vayishlach: From Devorah to Devorah
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Dinah is violated and Shimon and Levi do something about it – they wipe out the male Shechemites[1]. In principle, it seems that Yaakov agrees, he is simply worried about the fallout [Bereishis, 34:30]: Thereupon, Yaakov said to Shimon and Levi, “You have troubled me, to discredit me among the inhabitants of the land, .. […]
Vayeshev: The Benefit of Doubt
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The brothers want to kill Yosef. Reuven must think quickly, wisely and courageously.[37:18-22] They saw him [Yosef] from a distance, and before he approached them they were plotting against him to kill him. .. Reuven heard and rescued him from their hands. He said, “Let us not kill him.” .. His purpose was to rescue […]
Vayetzei: The Power of Hidden Love
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It is perhaps the greatest act of selflessness in Biblical lore[1]. As Rachel stands ready to marry Yaakov, something they have been pining for seven long years, Lavan has a different plan: [29:22-25] Lavan gathered all the local people and he made a [wedding] feast. When it was evening, he took Leah, his daughter, and […]
Toldos: Mitzvah Power!
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Chapter 27. Yaakov wrests the brachos from Eisav. Different subplots merge into a poignant climax; a story whose drama melds irony, complexity, sarcasm, sadness and ultimate triumph, yet in the process leaves so many questions – Consider a few: Did Yitzchak understand Eisav’s character? Yaakov’s? Wasn’t Yitzchak aware of the prophecy that “the younger one […]