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Devarim: A Time and a Place
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“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” We have all heard this phrase, and many of us have used it. It is especially apt when it is used to describe a person with many virtues and talents who just can’t use them because of the social or physical circumstances in which he […]
The Unbearable Heaviness of Being Moshe
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New books should represent new opportunities, new beginnings. The book of Devarim, however, is not a case in point. It begins with a retrospective, telling the sad tale of how we had arrived at that particular place and time. It recounts forfeited opportunities, and tells the story of how defeat eclipsed victory. The march to […]
The Complexity of Human Rights
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The book of Bamidbar comes to a close that is very strange indeed. Earlier in the parsha of Pinchas we read of how the five daughters of Tzelophehad came to Moses with a claim based on justice and human rights.1 Their father had died without sons. Inheritance – in this case, of a share in the […]
Matot-Masei: Breaking Promises
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It was a typical park bench conversation. I hadn’t seen my friend for quite some time, and we both were delighted when we ran into each other by chance that afternoon. We shook hands, and withdrew to a bench in the shade to spend a few minutes together catching up with each other. As is […]