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Second Chances
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Korban Pesach is one of two positive commandments which failure to observe carry the punishment of Karet (perhaps not performing the korban Pesach cuts one off from membership in the Jewish people – Korban Pesach made us into a nation). The people who were unable to bring the Korban Pesach feel excluded from the nation […]
We Are Stardust
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Understanding Parashat Naso in light of Vayikra, Shemot and Bereishit Rosh Chodesh Nisan of the 2nd year in the desert is described in three different places in the Chumash – in three different books! Why is Meilah discussed in our Parsha and why is the same term used to describe the suspicion of the Sotah’s […]
A Holy Encampment
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The leaders of the tribes, the military formation, the historical basis, and the mystical identity – of the machane. Download the mekorot Delivered at the OU Israel Center, May 30th, 2019 (25 Iyyar 5779)
Finding the Voice
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In terms of the laws of tumah and tahara, טומאת צרעת is the most severe, not טומאת מת. Reish Lakish makes a linguistic connection between metzora and מוציא שם רע. God created the world through speech and gives man alone the ability to speak. Misspeach caused exile, both at the time of Churban Bayit Sheni […]
A Non-Sin Offering
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What does the word טומאה mean? What is the relationship between טומאה and holiness (why can’t someone who is טמא interact with that which is holy)? Why does the Torah compare נדה and the טומאה of childbirth – they are opposites! Why should she have to bring a sin offering or require atonement? The most […]
Nadav and Avihu: Sinners or Saints
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The Torah doesn’t directly tell us whether or not Nadav and Avihu sinned. What does the Chumash say and what do Chazal tell us they did? The parallel between the inauguration of the Mishkan and Akeidat Yitzchak. Why do Nadav and Avihu have a special status at Ma’amad Har Sinai in contrast to Elazar and […]
Misappropriation
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What does the word מעילה mean? The concept of מעילה is applied not only to sins against God (the prototype of מעילה) but in other contexts as well (e.g. misuse of speech, theft, and Sotah). What is the common denominator? Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch on the difference between מעילה and בגידה and the difference between […]
Testimony of Forgiveness
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Moshe, Itamar, Betzalel, and Oholiav are the four involved in building of the Mishkan. Moshe, Itamar, and Betzalel is the same leadership we saw in the war with Amalek (Itamar representing Aharon and Betzalel the grandson of Chur). Why Oholiav? Why is Yehoshua (the 4th one involved in the war with Amalek) “replaced” by Oholiav/Dan? […]
A Desire to Give
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What is the difference between נדבה לבו and נשאו לבו? What does the phrase ויבואו האנשים על הנשים mean? What does חכמת לב mean? Why does the Torah go back and forth between describing the men and women’s contributions and between similar-sounding terms (נשאו לבו, נדבה לבו, חכמת לב)? There is an element of spirit […]