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Men Are From Mars

The Torah specifies that the washbasin in the Mishkan was made of copper taken from the mirrors that the women brought as donations. Rashi explains that by telling us where the copper came from the Torah is teaching a significant lesson.

Parshat Pinchas

When national tragedy struck on November 22, 1963 Vice President Lyndon Johnson was inadequately prepared to assume the presidency. The Kennedy people had done their best to sideline him throughout the first three years of JFK’s term. Thus, he was not in the know in regards to many of the important initiatives Kennedy had proposed, but that would now become his responsibility. Additionally, there was substantial personal ill will between LBJ and Kennedy’s people - especially JFK’s younger brother Bobby, the attorney general.

A Matter Of Perspective

The Mesilas Yesharim (Chapter 1) explains that our purpose in this world is to gain entry into the World to Come. The medium for that is Torah and mitzvos, for which one can only achieve reward in this world.

Introduction To Toras Kohanim

Besides the lack of appreciation and understanding on the part of knesset Yisrael, Sefer Vayikra has been derided and held in contempt by the nations of the world and other religions.

Whom Are You Fooling?

Even the greatest of people must be wary of the dangers of their own passions and pursuits.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayishlach: Who Buried Rivkah?

The actual tale of Rivkah and Esav is of a mother who continued to care and love a delinquent child who became a problematic adult, proving she will always be his mother and he will always be her son.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Balak: The Perspective of Prophecy

Bilaam not only doesn't appear to be great, he seems to be base as well as foolish (outsmarted by his own donkey!). So how can the midrash claim he was really at least as great a prophet as Moshe?

Shabbos Hagadol And The Israeli Defense Forces

Today we have more than six million halachic Jews living in the Holy Land.

The Lessons Of Sefirat Ha’Omer

The Omer period is the ultimate completion of the completion, the holiest of the holiest.

Parshat Mishpatim

The Torah presents us with a model of how to effect change in a sustainable way.

Redeeming Relevance: A Choshen Mishpat of our Very Own

The sages believed each of the Kohen Gadol's vestments brought atonement for a different type of sin

Parshat Vayeshev

Why did crime drop dramatically in New York City during the 1990's?

Pinchas: Zealous For Hashem

“Pinchas Ben Elazar Ben Aharon the kohen turned away my wrath from upon the sons of Israel by his zeal for my sake in their midst; and I did not bring destruction upon the sons of Israel because of my jealousy. Therefore, say, behold, I give to him my covenant of peace” (25:11-2). This is a special proclamation of acclaim. Though Moshe certainly approved of Pinchas, Hashem here teaches the necessity to render public recognition to the righteous.

Hashem Hates Thievery

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Teshuvah Is Easy; Change Is Difficult

Imagine a man who, after having a few too many drinks, gets into his car and begins driving. It takes a while before he is pulled over, but finally the police arrest him, and he stands trial for driving while intoxicated.

Parshas Shoftim: Shabbos Yerushalayim!

Does the title of this article sound familiar? Anyone over the age of 30 probably remembers a certain song by a certain boys choir with the “Shabbos Yerushalayim.” The song was released circa the late 1980’s, and you guessed it, it was sung by R’ Yerachmiel Begun’s Miami Boys Choir.

Who Were Yosef’s Eidei Kiddushin?

In this week’s parshah Yosef brings his two sons to his father Yaakov to receive blessings before his death. Rashi tells us that when Yaakov was about to bless Yosef’s sons the shechinah left him as a result of some of Yosef’s sons’ evil descendants.

Jacob’s Gift

Jacob lives. He lives in all who can drop the heavy burden carried by all since Adam and Eve, the belief that our imperfections will block us from tasting Paradise.

The Claim Of The Daughters Of Tzelaphchad

The Gemara in Baba Basra 119b relays the following conversation that took place in this week’s parshah: Moshe Rabbeinu was teaching the halachos of yibum when the daughters of Tzelaphchad approached him with the following question: Our father died in the midbar and did not have any sons. Why then is our mother not required to fulfill the obligation of yibum? And if the fact that he had daughters is the reason that she is not obligated to fulfill this requirement, why then can we (his daughters) not receive an inheritance – just like sons would?

How Did Yaakov Marry Sisters?

At the beginning of this week’s parshah Yaakov sent a message to Eisav. In the message were the words, “im Lavan garti – I lived with Lavan.” Rashi explains that Yaakov was informing Eisav that he had kept the entire Torah, as the word “garti” is the same numerical value as the amount of mitzvos in the Torah: 613. The following strong question concerning this statement has been discussed by the Rishonim and Acharonim: How could Yaakov say that he kept the entire Torah when he married two sisters, Rachel and Leah, which is biblically prohibited? Additionally, the Gemara in Yuma 28 says that Avraham Avinu kept the Torah; presumably the other avos did as well. How then did Yaakov marry two sisters?

Life: The School Of Growth

By gradually increasing the workload, the body is called upon to respond. The work should never be easy.

Jerusalem’s Unique Character and Holiness

Maimonides believes that even after the Roman conquest of Israel the land retained its holiness.

Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot

Each year, amid the ebullient joy manifest during the holiday of Sukkot, we read the megillah of Kohelet. With its realistic perspective on the world, Kohelet provides us with the means to not only properly calibrate our joy, but to accurately understand the role of joy and happiness in the world.

A Diamond With A Flaw

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

Redeeming Relevance in the Weekly Parsha: Balak

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

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