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The Prison Cell Of Laziness

18 Heshvan 5773 – November 2, 2012
Hashem appeared to Avraham and told him that the people of Sodom were wicked and would be destroyed. The only ones who would be saved were Lot and his family, because of the merit of Avraham. Hashem then sent two malachim, Gavriel and Michoel, to accomplish this task.

Gedolim Are Human

9 Heshvan 5773 – October 24, 2012
And Hashem said to Avram, “Go for yourself from your land, from your birth place, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” – Bereishis 12:1 With these words begins one of the ten great tests of Avraham. The Ramban explains that these were trials by fire, designed to bring Avraham’s greatness to the surface, taking it from the potential to the actual. They helped form him into the singular tzaddik he became.

Noach: Hashem Hates Thievery

2 Heshvan 5773 – October 17, 2012
In this pasuk, Hashem appears to Noach, telling him the world has turned to evil and He will now destroy all of life. Noach, his family, and the animals that remained pure will be the core of a new world. The reason for this destruction is stealing – “since the land is filled with robbery.”

Bereishis: Appreciating The Good

27 Tishri 5773 – October 12, 2012
Adom HaRishon was given one mitzvah: not to eat from the Eitz HaDas. When he transgressed it, Hashem gave him the opportunity to do teshuvah. Not only did Adom not repent, he played the blame game – “It was that woman that You gave to me. You gave her to me as a helpmate and she turned out to be my ruination.”

Everybody’s Doing It

25 Iyyar 5772 – May 16, 2012
When we are on our own land we are commanded to keep every seventh year as the shemittah year, and at the completion of seven shemittahs to add an additional shemittah year – the yovel. During this year, all land lays fallow. Homesteads return to their original owners, and all Jewish slaves are freed.

Sefiras Ha’Omer – Why We Count, What We Count

18 Iyyar 5772 – May 10, 2012
Sefer HaChinuch: The Torah commands us to count the Omer so we can relive the Exodus from Mitzrayim. Just as the Jews back then anxiously anticipated the great day when they were to receive the Torah, so too we count the days till Shavuos, the Yom Tov that commemorates the giving of the Torah. To the Jews then, accepting the Torah on Har Sinai was even greater than their redemption from slavery. So we count each day to bring ourselves to that sense of great enthusiasm, as if to say, “When will that day come?”

Rebuke: The Malpractice Of A Mitzvah

11 Iyyar 5772 – May 2, 2012
According to the Targum, it appears that if Reuven ate a ham sandwich and I didn’t rebuke him, I would be punished for his sin. This seems difficult to understand. Why should I be punished for his sin? At most, you might argue that if I was capable of rebuking him and didn’t, I would be responsible for the sin of not rebuking him. But how do I become responsible for the sin he perpetrated? He transgressed it; I didn’t.

The Merit Of Living In Israel

4 Iyyar 5772 – April 25, 2012
Yaakov Avinu received word that his brother Eisav was coming to greet him. He understood fully well that this was not to be a warm family reunion. Eisav came accompanied by a band of four hundred armed men, bent on revenge. The Torah says Yaakov was “very frightened,” so he prepared for war.

Food For The Soul

27 Nisan 5772 – April 18, 2012
“Tell Bnei Yisrael, “These are the creatures you should eat.” – Vayikrah 11:2 Chovos Halevovos (Sha’ar Avodas Elokim 3) explains that Hashem created man out...

Pesach – Season Of Emunah

24 Nisan 5772 – April 15, 2012
Historically, one of man’s greatest shortcomings has been taking credit for Hashem’s work. Only too often does a man find success and, in his arrogance, feel his power and his might created his empire. The Torah warns us, Remember: it was Hashem who brought all this to be.

Ours Is To Question Why…

6 Nisan 5772 – March 29, 2012
After a long and detailed description of the avodah (service) to be done in the Mishkan, the parshah ends with statement that “Aaron and his sons did as they were told.”

Things I Do And Things I Don’t

29 Adar 5772 – March 22, 2012
The Dos Zakainim explains that the reason every korban must be brought with salt is to remind us that just as salt is a preservative that allows food to last longer, so too the sacrifices are permanently ours to cleanse us from our sins.

Where Are The Gedolim Today?

21 Adar 5772 – March 14, 2012
Parshas Pikudei begins with a detailed accounting of all of the gold and silver that was collected for the Mishkan. A cursory reading would lead us to assume that while of course a man as great as Moshe was above question, he must have asked for this calculation because public leaders must remove any suspicion no matter how farfetched.

The Mercy Of Hashem

30 Shevat 5772 – February 22, 2012
The entire Jewish nation – every man, woman, and child – experienced the revelation of Hashem on Har Sinai. They saw Hashem as clearly as humans can, and they attained a level of prophecy. Now they were being offered one of the greatest gifts imaginable: Hashem Himself was going to dwell among them.

Our Creator’s Infinite Love

23 Shevat 5772 – February 15, 2012
In Parshas Mishpatim, the Torah delineates various prohibitions and punishments. With regard to stealing, we see something unusual. If a man steals a cow, he must pay back five times the amount he stole; however, if he stole a sheep, he must pay back four times the amount. Rashi is troubled by the difference in punishments. He explains that the difference lies not in the crime but in the mental state of the thief.

Learning To Enjoy This World

16 Shevat 5772 – February 8, 2012
“And He does kindness to thousands of generations, to those who He loves and those who guard His mitzvos.” – Shemos 20:6 In the Aseres...

The Merit Of Trusting Hashem

10 Shevat 5772 – February 2, 2012
After months of witnessing the hand of Hashem, the entire Jewish nation – three million strong – marched out from slavery to freedom with flourish and fanfare.

I’m Never Wrong

3 Shevat 5772 – January 26, 2012
After a “natural” disaster, people speak with reverence. Even arrogant individuals, after living through a hurricane, tidal wave, or earthquake, have a sense of humility. Their reality has been changed, and they view life differently. Yet, when Pharaoh and Mitzraim experienced the makkos, that wasn’t their reaction.

The Measure Of The Man

26 Tevet 5772 – January 20, 2012
After Hashem commanded Moshe and Aharon to be the emissaries to free the Jewish people, the Torah lays out their lineage. At the conclusion, the Torah repeats the names of Aharon and Moshe, this time in reverse order, with Aaron mentioned before Moshe.

One Nation, Indivisible

17 Tevet 5772 – January 11, 2012
When Moshe came of age, he went out to visit his brothers, to share in their suffering. What he saw caused him great anguish. The oppression, subjugation, and cruelty were present wherever he looked.

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