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What Year Are We In?
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The Bechor Shor presents an understanding of Parshat Chukat that is so innovative and non traditional that it is very hard to accept, though he was not the only one to do so. The vast majority of commentaries completely reject his idea. While the evidence seems to be stacked against him, no study of the […]
250 Chieftains and the Plot of Korach
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In the beginning of Parshat Korah, the Torah tells us that Korach did not act alone in his rebellion against Moshe and Aaron. Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, betook himself, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben— to rise up against […]
The Absence of Yehoshua
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In Parshat Shelach we read about the sin of the ten spies who were sent to the Land of Israel and the disastrous effects that it had on the Jewish people. Two spies however did not participate in the sin, Yehoshua and Calev. In fact, they both publicly protested the report of the ten spies: […]
Lessons in Repetition
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There’s a lot of repetition in the fifth, sixth and seventh aliyot of Parshat Naso. On every subsequent day of the inauguration of the Mishkan, each tribal leader offers a set of sacrifices on behalf of his tribe: The one who presented his offering on the first day was Nahshon son of Amminadab of the […]
Parshat Bechukotai
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Parshat Bechukotai begins with great promise for those who observe God’s commandments: If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit. (Vayikra 26:3-4) In an agricultural society, rain is the […]
Owning Land in Eretz Yisrael
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There is great debate among halachik authorities as to the modern day obligation to live in the Land of Israel, and much ink has been spilled on the topic. But what about just buying land in Israel, not for the purposes of settling the land, is that a mitzvah?  The Talmud in Avodah Zarah 20a […]
Sefirat Haomer: A Parable of the Bechor Shor
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In Parshat Emor the Bechor Shor provides a beautiful explanation that he learned from his father on the topic of sefirat haomer, the counting of the days between Passover and Shavuot. And from the day on which you bring the sheaf of elevation offering—the day after the sabbath—you shall count off seven weeks. They must […]
Playing God
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In Parshat Kedoshim the Torah prohibits three different forms of kilayim, crossbreeding: You shall observe My laws. You shall not let your cattle mate with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; you shall not put on cloth from a mixture of two kinds of material. (Yayikra 19:19) […]
Chukat Akum – What Nations are Intended?
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A common question, and sometimes dilemma, of the Jew in the Diaspora is the extent to which we can and should acculturate into our host nation. Those who are halachically observant know to draw the line at celebrating Christmas and Halloween, despite the secularization of these days. But what about more innocuous things like New […]
Seeking Out Estrangement
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One of the greatest challenges for the Jew in the modern world is avoiding sin in a world wherein every pleasure and temptation is readily accessible and even glorified by Western culture. The aggressive marketing campaigns of non-kosher restaurants can be captivating, and the aroma of a treif barbecue eatery that permeates the air can […]