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The Decalogue: Direct From Hashem or Via Moshe?
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Introduction Unidentified Audience The verse introducing the Decalogue in Shemot 20 is the only case in the entire Torah in which Hashem speaks and His addressee is not identified: וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֵת כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה לֵאמֹר. To whom did Hashem communicate the Decalogue? Did He speak directly to the nation, or did He deliver it only […]
Rodef Shalom: Peace, Peace You Shall Pursue
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We live in a world of turmoil – political, geopolitical, spiritual. Too often it seems that turmoil and strife are fundamental to our natures, but they are not. We want peace; we seek peace; we pray for peace – not because it is a hopeless dream, but because it is the gift God promises us. […]
Law as Love
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One of the most amusing scenes in Anglo-Jewish history occurred on 14 October 1663. A mere seven years had passed since Oliver Cromwell had found no legal bar to Jews living in England (hence the so-called “return” of 1656). A small synagogue was opened in Creechurch Lane in the City of London, forerunner of Bevis […]
The Theory of Conservation of Holiness
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As the Book of B’midbar begins, the Israelites have been encamped at the foot of Sinai for over a year, and we begin to sense a stirring that will soon become forward movement: First, instructions are given for conducting a census, followed by demarcation of marching formations and tribal flags. The mass of people who […]