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The Beauty of Yosef
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Parashat Vayigash begins as Yosef and Yehudah approach a showdown: Soon Yosef will reveal himself and send for his father. Throughout the generations, scholars have been perturbed by Yosef’s seeming callousness: Why did it take Yosef so long to orchestrate this reunion? One could argue that the primary victim of this delay was Yaakov, who […]
Yosef HaTzaddik
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The story of Yosef is well known: As the favorite son, Yosef becomes the object of the jealousy and derision of his brothers. He is sold into slavery, and, after many trials and tribulations, rises to the second most powerful position in Egypt. Many years later he confronts his brothers, and the visions for which […]
Parshat Vayeshev: The Light of Mashiach
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Parashat Vayeishev begins with an almost-cryptic statement: בראשית לז: א וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן: Yaakov settled in the land in which his fathers dwelled, in the land of Canaan. (Bereishit 37:1) Yaakov had come to the point in his life when he could finally settle down. The Hebrew term for “settled” is vayeishev, […]
The First Matriarch
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Parashat Chayei Sarah marks the transition of the matriarchy from Sarah to Rivkah. A great deal of the narrative is devoted to the death and burial of Sarah on the one hand, and the search for a wife for Yitzchak on the other. Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l once noted that with the death of […]
The Trial
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Parashat Vayeira recounts the tenth and last trial of Avraham: “The Binding of Yitzchak.” Avraham is commanded to sacrifice his beloved son, his long-awaited heir. Avraham does not complain, nor does he engage God in dialogue. He does not negotiate, as he had on other occasions. It seems that Avraham senses that this is something […]
Avraham’s Discovery
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בראשית פרק יב, א וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ה֙’ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ: God said to Avram, “Go, for yourself, from your country, from your birthplace, from your father’s home, to the land which I will show you….” (Bereishit 12:1)  Parashat Lech Lecha begins with God’s command to Avraham (Avram) to leave behind […]
In Hiding
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After the litany of curses articulated in Parashat Ki Tavo, it is hard to believe that any remain, yet one more is mentioned repeatedly in Parashat Vayelech: Then my anger shall be kindled against them on that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be […]
By Heaven
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In Ha’azinu, the penultimate parashah of the Torah, Moshe delivers his message in song. Although the parashah is replete with poetic allusions, the starting point for Moshe’s address is his call upon heaven to bear witness. Give ear, oh heavens and I will speak, and hear, oh earth, the words of my mouth. (D’varim 32:1) […]
Nowhere Man
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Shiur provided courtesy of Naaleh.com. In the final chapters of Devarim, Moshe warns the people of the implications of abandoning the word of God: The Land of Israel has a delicate constitution, and misconduct will lead to exile. It might seem a logical consequence of this sort of exile that the covenant between God and […]
Dirty Little Secrets
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What causes a society to unravel? What offenses bring about a polity’s destruction? What types of behavior cause a society to forfeit its right to exist? In a sense, this has been the major theme of the book of Devarim: Moshe’s parting words to the nation abound with warnings against the sins that will result […]