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The Story We Tell
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It remains one of the most counterintuitive passages in all of religious literature. Moses is addressing the Israelites just days before their release. They have been exiles for 210 years. After an initial period of affluence and ease, they have been oppressed, enslaved, and their male children killed in an act of slow genocide. Now, […]
Vaera: Learning to Appreciate
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All over the world, children are taught to say thank you. “Say thank you to Grandma for the present she brought you.” “Your friend gave you a candy? What do you say?” Gratitude is universally accepted as proper manners. It’s an important element of a healthy, functioning society. But when our Torah discusses hakaras hatov […]
Shemot: Reaching Redemption
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The Ramban describes[1] the book of Shemos as the story of the first exile and the first redemption. And, as in other Torah narratives, it is not confined to the past: the Jewish bondage in Egypt and subsequent liberation are prototypes from which we can learn how to live our lives today. We spend our […]
The Steps of Freedom
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Leaving Egypt was not a quick fix; it was a slow process, made up of many stages. While each plague made Pharaoh more defiant, more stubborn, the Jews, who looked on in awe at the humbling of Egypt, were strengthened in their belief in the God of their fathers and mothers. God’s sudden involvement in […]