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Becoming a Nation
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Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt. The Exodus, however, was not exclusively a transformation in the realm of workers’ rights and workplace conditions. Something else monumental happened as a result of their freedom: A new nation came into being. The Jewish People was born. The arrival the sons of Yaakov in Egypt […]
Matzah and Chametz
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The concepts of leavened and unleavened bread are familiar to us from the holiday of Passover, but we tend to focus on the physical or technical aspects that differentiate them from one another. However, Jewish tradition goes far beyond the physics of the dough itself, and seeks out the deeper symbolism of hametz and matzah. […]
Regrets
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“Regrets, I’ve had a few But then again, too few to mention I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway And more, much more than this, I did it my way.” (Written by Paul Anka for Frank Sinatra) Modern […]
An Accounting
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As the Book of Shmot draws to a conclusion, so, too, does the building of the Mishkan. The detailed instructions for the Mishkan and the account of its actual construction dominate the last third of the Book of Shmot, and both the book and the building project end in these twinned parshiot. As the supreme […]
Knowing Tomorrow
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At the foot of Mount Sinai – the very same spot where the most awesome events had unfolded a mere forty days earlier – the people were anxious. Moshe, their leader, had not come down, and fear for his survival spread throughout the camp. What happens next seems inconceivable on so many levels: How could […]
Purim and the Masks We Wear
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Have you ever been in a situation in which you were afraid to reveal who you really are? Have you ever felt as if you were wearing a mask and dressed up like someone else? This can happen to individuals, but it can also happen to a nation. One of the results of living in […]
Holy Clothing
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The chapters immediately preceding this week’s Torah reading contained very precise instructions for building the Mishkan. Now, our attention is turned to those who will serve as the custodians of this holy sanctuary: The kohanim. Parashat Tetzaveh records, in minute detail, God’s instructions for the creation of the special clothing to be worn by the […]
The View From Above
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As Parashat Terumah begins, we are somewhat taken aback: Out of nowhere (or so it seems), instructions for a major construction project are handed down.Coming on the heels of the very practical list of torts that makes up much of Parashat Mishpatim – laws that serve as the framework for a just and elevated society […]
Even From the Altar
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In the chapters that immediately precede this week’s Torah portion, the Ten Commandments rang out from Mount Sinai in a symphony of sound and vision, thunder and lighting – and the world was forever changed. Although the Parashah we read this week lacks the pyrotechnic accompaniment, its message is a clear continuation of those ten […]
Unity, Not Uniformity
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When the Jews arrived at Mount Sinai they were, in a very real sense, a brand new People. They had come down to Egypt as a family, perhaps even a tribe; now they were an emancipated nation. In a very short period of time they experienced a staggering series of national crises: The threat of […]