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Respect for the Departed is Respect for Life
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And Hashem said to Moshe: Speak unto the priests the sons of Aharon, and say to them: None shall defile himself for the dead among his people; (Sefer VaYikra 21:1) The kohen’s unique status A kohen is distinguished from other Jews. He has exclusive rights and privileges. These include the privilege to serve in the […]
Torah and Contemporary Attitudes toward Sexuality
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The nakedness of your father, and the nakedness of your mother, you shall not uncover. She is your mother. You shall not uncover her nakedness. (Sefer VaYikra 18:7) And the man who lies with his father’s wife – he has uncovered his father’s nakedness. Both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood […]
A Thought-Provoking Diet
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And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be impure seven days; as in the days of the impurity of her menstruation she shall be impure. (Sefer VaYikra 12:1-2) Impurity in human beings and other creatures This week […]
Natural Science Confronts Torah
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These may you eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever has fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them may you eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that swarm in the waters, and of all […]
Integrity in Public Life
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There is a verse so familiar that we don’t often stop to reflect on what it means. It is the line from the first paragraph of the Shema: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your me’od.” That last word is usually translated as […]
The Spirit of Community
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What do you do when your people has just made a golden calf, run riot and lost its sense of ethical and spiritual direction? How do you restore moral order – not just then in the days of Moses, but even now? The answer lies in the first word of today’s parsha: Vayakhel. But to […]
An Accounting
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As the Book of Shmot draws to a conclusion, so, too, does the building of the Mishkan. The detailed instructions for the Mishkan and the account of its actual construction dominate the last third of the Book of Shmot, and both the book and the building project end in these twinned parshiot. As the supreme […]