Wishing you a Tzom kal (an easy fast)
six heroines, six courageous women without whom there would not have been a Moses.
The account of the construction of the Tabernacle in Vayakhel-Pekudei is built around the number seven.
We must never forget that when Aaron was left to lead, the people made a golden calf. But never forget that Moses needed an Aaron to hold the people together. In short, leadership is the capacity to hold together different temperaments, conflicting voices and clashing values.
The heart of Sukkot is to know that life is full of risk and yet to affirm it, to sense the full insecurity of the human situation and yet to rejoice in it. Chag Sameach!
By wisdom, we come to understand G-d via creation; By Torah we understand G-d through His revelation
One of the more unusual aspects of being a chief rabbi is that one comes to know people one otherwise might not.
Moshe wasn't the last of the prophets. How would Israel discern his true successors from the false?
The first recorded instance of civil disobedience is the story of Shifra and Puah, defying Pharaoh
Joseph may have known ancient Egyptian traditions about seven-year famines.
In parshat Tetzaveh, for once Moses, the hero, the leader, the liberator, the lawgiver, is offstage. Instead our focus is on his elder brother Aaron who, elsewhere, is often in the background.
Jacob and Esau are about to meet again after a separation of 22 years. It is a fraught encounter. Once, Esau had sworn to kill Jacob as revenge for what he saw as the theft of his blessing. Will he do so now, or has time healed the wound? Jacob sends messengers to let his brother know he is coming. They return, saying that Esau is coming to meet Jacob with a force of 400 men. We then read: “Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed” (Genesis 32:8).
Rebecca, hitherto infertile, became pregnant. Suffering acute pain, she went to inquire of the Lord – “vateilech lidrosh et Hashem” (Bereishit 25:22). The explanation she received was that she was carrying twins who were contending in her womb. They were destined to do so long into the future.
On the face of it, the connections between the sedrah and haftarah of Bamidbar are slender. The first has to do with demography. Bamidbar begins with a census of the people. The haftarah begins with Hosea’s vision of a time when “the number of the children of Israel will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or numbered.” There was a time when the Israelites could be counted; the day will come when they will be countless. That is one contrast between the future and the past.
Only later did I discover the real significance of Elijah’s cup, and found, as so often, that the truth is no less moving than the stories we learned as children.
Never be in too much of a rush to stop and come to the aid of someone in need of help. Rarely, if ever, will you better invest your time. It may take a moment but its effect may last a lifetime
Shakespeare is expressing the medieval stereotype of Christian mercy (Portia) as against Jewish justice (Shylock).
God was saying, “From My perspective, seeing the future, it would have been better to send women, because they love and cherish the land and would never come to speak negatively about it. However, since you are convinced that these men are worthy and do indeed value the land, I give you permission to go ahead and send them.”
Despite the Divine anger, the people were not condemned to permanent exile. They simply had to face the fact that their children would achieve what they themselves were not ready for.
Judaism is “gratitude with attitude.” And this, according to recent scientific research, really is a life-enhancing idea and the source of the command to give thanks is to be found in this week’s parsha
What do porcupines do in winter? asked Schopenhauer. If they come too close to one another, they injure each other. If they stay too far apart, they freeze. Life, for porcupines, is a delicate balance between closeness and distance. It is hard to get it right and dangerous to get it wrong. And so it is for us.
So, as Moses faced his own life’s end, what was there left to do? The book of Devarim contains and constitutes the answer.
Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!
We sense the pressure Moses is under.
Sadly, we're no longer an edah; We've fissured and fractured: Orthodox & Reform; religious & secular