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The Power of Speech
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life As we saw in Parshat Tazria, the Sages identify tzara’at – the condition that affects human skin, the fabric of garments, and the walls of a house – not as an illness but as a punishment, and not for any sin but for one specific sin, that […]
The Sacrifices of Childbirth
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life At the start of this parsha is a cluster of laws that challenged and puzzled the commentators. They concern a woman who has just given birth. If she gives birth to a son, she is “unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly […]
Between Hope and Humanity
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life It should have been the great day of celebration. The Tabernacle, Israel’s first collective house of worship, was complete. All preparations had been made. For seven days, Moses had performed the inauguration. Now, the eighth day, the first of Nissan, had arrived. The Priests, led by Aaron, […]
Destructive and Self-Destructive
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life This sedra, speaking about sacrifices, prohibits the eating of blood: Wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal. If anyone eats blood, that person must be cut off from his people. (Lev. 7:26–27) This is not just one prohibition among others. […]
The Pursuit of Meaning
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The American Declaration of Independence speaks of the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Recently, following the pioneering work of Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, there have been hundreds of books published on happiness. Yet there is something more fundamental still to […]
On Jewish Character
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life Pekudei has sometimes been called the accountant’s parsha, because that is how it begins, with the audited accounts of the money and materials donated to the Sanctuary. It is the Torah’s way of teaching us the need for financial transparency. But beneath the sometimes dry surface lie […]
The Beauty of Holiness or the Holiness of Beauty
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life In Ki Tissa and in Vayakhel we encounter the figure of Betzalel, a rare type in the Hebrew Bible – the artist, the craftsman, the shaper of beauty in the service of God, the man who, together with Oholiab, fashioned the articles associated with the Tabernacle. Judaism […]
A Stiff-Necked People
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life It is a moment of the very highest drama. The Israelites, a mere forty days after the greatest revelation in history, have made an idol: a Golden Calf. God threatens to destroy them. Moses, exemplifying to the fullest degree the character of Israel as one who “wrestles […]
Brothers: A Drama in Five Acts
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life It is interesting to note the absence of Moses from the parsha of Tetzaveh. For once Moses, the hero, the leader, the liberator, the lawgiver, is off-stage in the only instance where the name of Moses is not mentioned at all in any parsha since the first […]
A Portable Home
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The parsha of Terumah describes the construction of the Tabernacle, the first collective house of worship in the history of Israel. The first but not the last; it was eventually succeeded by the Temple in Jerusalem. I want to focus on one moment in Jewish history which […]