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Brothers: A Drama in Five Acts
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life It is interesting to note the absence of Moses from the parsha of Tetzaveh. For once Moses, the hero, the leader, the liberator, the lawgiver, is off-stage in the only instance where the name of Moses is not mentioned at all in any parsha since the first […]
A Portable Home
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The parsha of Terumah describes the construction of the Tabernacle, the first collective house of worship in the history of Israel. The first but not the last; it was eventually succeeded by the Temple in Jerusalem. I want to focus on one moment in Jewish history which […]
Loving the Stranger
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life There are commands that leap off the page by their sheer moral power. So it is in the case of the social legislation in Mishpatim. Amid the complex laws relating to the treatment of slaves, personal injury and property, one command in particular stands out, by virtue […]
Mount Sinai and the Birth of Freedom
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The revelation at Mount Sinai – the central episode not only of the parsha of Yitro, but of Judaism as a whole – was unique in the religious history of mankind. Other faiths (Christianity and Islam) call themselves religions of revelation, but in both cases the revelation […]
The Divided Sea: Natural or Supernatural?
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The splitting of the Reed Sea is engraved in Jewish memory. We recite it daily during the morning service, at the transition from the Verses of Praise to the beginning of communal prayer. We speak of it again after the Shema, just before the Amidah. It was […]
Against Their Gods
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The ninth plague – darkness – comes shrouded in a darkness of its own. What is this plague doing here? It seems out of sequence. Thus far there have been eight plagues, and they have become steadily, inexorably, more serious. The first two, the Nile turning blood-red […]
The God Who Acts in History
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The Israelites were at their lowest ebb. They had been enslaved. A decree had been issued that every male child was to be killed. Moses had been sent to liberate them, but the first effect of his intervention was to make matters worse, not better. Their quota […]
The Light at the Heart of Darkness
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life She is one of the most unexpected heroes of the Hebrew Bible. Without her, Moses might not have lived. The whole story of the exodus would have been different. Yet she was not an Israelite. She had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by her courage. […]
The Future of the Past
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The scene that brings the book of Genesis to a close is intensely significant. Joseph’s brothers were terrified that, after the death of their father Jacob, Joseph would take revenge against them for selling him into slavery. Years before, he had told them that he forgave them: […]
Does My Father Love Me?
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life It is one of the great questions we naturally ask each time we read the story of Joseph. Why did he not, at some time during their twenty-two year separation, send word to his father that he was alive? For part of that time – when he […]