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The Price of Apathy
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Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son Aharon, the kohen, turned away my anger from Bnai Yisrael through being zealous on My behalf.  And I did not destroy Bnai Yisrael in my zealousness.  (Sefer BaMidbar 25:11) I. The sin of Bnai Yisrael and Pinchas’ action Parshat Pinchas continues the narrative that began at the end of […]
What’s so Great about Bilaam?
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There did not arise in Israel another like Moshe, whom Hashem knew face to face. (Sefer Devarim 34:10) I. The Sages compare Bilaam to Moshe Parshat Balak introduces the prophet Bilaam.  In the above passage, the Torah describes Moshe as the greatest of our prophets.  The Sages note that he is described as unequaled among […]
The Torah and Egalitarianism
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And they gathered against Moshe and against Aharon and they said to them: It is much for you! For all the congregation, in its entirety, is sacred.  And Hashem is among them.  Why do you elevate yourselves above the assembly of Hashem?  (Sefer BaMidbar 16:3) I. Korach’s attack against the priesthood Parshat Korach describes the […]
Wealth and its Uses
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And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and they shall affix a thread of sky blue [wool] on the fringe of each corner.  (Sefer BaMidbar 15:37-38) I. The Commandment of […]
An Unfortunate Misunderstanding
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And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:  Speak to Aharon and say to him, “When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the Menorah.”  (Sefer BeMidbar 8:1-2) I. The conclusion of the laws of the laws of the Tabernacle In the opening passages of Parshat Beha’alotecha Hashem directs […]
Inconvenient Truths
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I. The significance of the narrative portions of the Torah Shavuot celebrates Matan Torah – receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.  Rambam – Maimonides – explains that, “Hashem selected Israel to be His portion.  He crowned them with the commandments and He made known to them the manner of His service…”[1]  At Sinai, we received […]
The Meaning of It All
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You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest, and you shall not pick the grapes you had set aside [for yourself], [for] it shall be a year of rest for the land. And [the produce of] the Sabbath of the land shall be yours to eat for you, for your male and female slaves, […]
Foundations of Faith
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Like the behaviors of the Land of Egypt you should not do.  And like the behaviors of the Land of Cana’an that I bring you there you should not do.  And do not go in the way of their practices.  (Sefer VaYikra 18:3) Your children you should not give to be passed to Molech.  You […]
Because Moshe Said So!
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And on the eighth day the skin of his foreskin should be circumcised.  (Sefer VaYikra 12:3) This is My covenant that you should observe – between Me and you and between your descendants who follow you – circumcise for yourselves every male.  (Sefer Beresheit 17:10) I. Reiteration of the circumcision commandment Tazria and Metzora deal […]
Addressing Negativity
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Addressing Negativity I have often discussed with students and friends the challenge of dealing with one’s own negativity.  What is negativity?  It is a tendency to become distracted by the negative aspects of a situation or opportunity.  In every situation there are negative and positive elements.  Every life is in some way imperfect or disappointing.  […]