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Korach: Better They Learn from Me…
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Conflict resolution is one of the most important tasks in human relations at every level. Open up any newspaper, and you will read of schoolchildren bullying each other, of married couples who are in bitter conflict, of political parties enmeshed in verbal warfare, and of nations literally at war. What are some of the strategies […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Shelach
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“History Repeats Itself” History repeats itself. I don’t know the origin of that cliché, but I do know that our Sages held a similar point of view. “Ma’aseh avot siman labanim.” What happened with ancestors is often a pattern that their descendants are destined to follow. The repetitive nature of historical processes seems to be […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Beha’alotcha
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“A Second Chance” I was in a total fog during my first year in high school. I am convinced that my experience then was not unique. I entered a strange school, much larger than the one I had attended previously, and was not given the benefit of any orientation to the new environment. I did […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Bemidbar
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“Elite by Commitment” Scholars have had a lot to say about the role of aristocracy in the course of human history. Those of us who grew up in the United States of America were taught about the advantages of democracy and thus developed a prejudice against the very word “aristocracy.” We were convinced that aristocracy […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Bechukotai
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“The Walking Tour” I am the type of person who has always believed that the only way to learn about something important is to buy a book about it. For example, it has been my good fortune to have traveled widely in my life and to have visited many interesting cities. Invariably, I bought guidebooks […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Acharei Mot
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“No Exit” There is much that the Torah leaves to our imagination. Regular students of the weekly Torah portion soon become convinced that the narratives they read each week are deliberately abbreviated, as if to encourage us to fill in the missing links on our own. One outstanding example of such an incomplete narrative is […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Metzora and Shabbat HaGadol
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“Pinkus the Peddler” He was a character straight out of the novels of Charles Dickens. Scholars have long found Dickens’ attitude toward Jews problematic. The character Fagin in the novel Oliver Twist is certainly a negative stereotype, but many are unaware of the character named Riah in Dickens’ last completed novel, Our Mutual Friend. Riah […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Vayikra
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“Purim in Hell” The Jewish calendar is punctuated by many happy occasions. The Torah requires us to celebrate three major festivals—Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot—and to do so joyously. Our Sages instituted two additional festive holidays, Chanukah and Purim. Without question, it is this latter holiday that evokes the greatest exhibitions of joy and gaiety. Already […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Pekudei
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“A Special Spirituality” Classes that I lead on this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38), often evoke questions about the essential nature of religion and spirituality. My students generally agree that these two terms, “religion” and “spirituality,” beg for precise definitions. Seldom, however, does the class reach a consensus about the nature of those […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parasha Column, Ki Tisa
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  “The Hindu Princess and the Golden Calf” She was a Hindu princess. She was one of the brightest students in my graduate school class. We studied psychology, and she went on to return to her country and become a psychotherapist of world renown. For our purposes, I shall refer to her as Streena. We […]