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Parshas Bechukosai
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השבתי חיה רעה מן הארץ כו:וו From this pasuk, the Raavad contests the Rambam’s statement that the world will continue to function according to natural law even once Mashiach comes, and the nevuos that describe miraculous things like wolves living with lambs, etc. is metaphorical expression (Hilchos Melachim 12:1).  The Rambam explains that the idea […]
Family Feeling
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I argued in Covenant and Conversation Kedoshim that Judaism is more than an ethnicity. It is a call to holiness. In one sense, however, there is an important ethnic dimension to Judaism. It is best captured in the 1980s joke about an advertising campaign in New York. Throughout the city there were giant posters with the slogan, […]
The Numbers Don’t Lie: Balance and Symmetry
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There is perhaps no greater cultural image of Jewish life than the “fiddler on the roof”.  In him, we see ourselves seeking to find the balance between the beauty and grace of our tradition with the challenges and seductions of the world around us. The truth is, we all seek balance in our lives.  As […]
Todo el mundo lo está haciendo
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“Usted deberá sonar una ráfaga rota en el shofar, en el mes séptimo, a los diez del mes; en el día de la expiación tocaréis el Shofar en toda tu tierra “- Vaikrá 25: 9. La mitzvá de soplar el shofar en Yovel Cuando estamos en nuestra propia tierra, se nos manda a guardar cada […]
Irreplaceable Theology
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As the book of Vayikra moves towards its finale, several outstanding issues are clarified. A retrospective overview shows us that although it began as a book focused on Temple and ritual, it gradually turned to a discussion of other, more general types of holiness, emphasizing kosher food, “kosher” sexual relationships and, finally, other types of […]
Parshas Behar
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ולא תונו איש את עמיתו   כה:יז, כאן הזהיר על אונאת דברים     רש”י שם The Rambam does not bring the issur of onaas devarim in Hilchos Deios (perakim 6 and 7) together with the rest of the issurim pertaining to speech.  Where he brings it is together with the issur of onaas mamon (overcharging or underpaying, Hilchos Mechira 14:12).   What the Rambam meant to imply by organizing it in this way needs […]