Without belief in the covenant, there would be no State of Israel or any significant Jewish history after the Holocaust. Jews kept hope alive; Hope kept the Jewish people alive.
In Judaism, joy is the supreme religious emotion. Moses says again and again that joy is what we should feel in the land of Israel, the land given to us by God.
Greatness is humility. This idea – counter-intuitive, unexpected, life-changing – is one of the great contributions of the Torah to Western civilization and found in the words of Moses in this week's sedra
The only way to understand life is by living itL "Na’aseh venishma//We will do and we will obey.”
It is a scene that still has the power to shock and disturb. The people complain. There is no water. It is an old complaint and a predictable one. That’s what happens in a desert. Moses should have been able to handle it in his stride. He has been through far tougher challenges in his time. Yet suddenly he explodes into vituperative anger:
Having set out the broad principles of the covenant, Moses now turns to the details, which extend over many chapters and several parshiyot. The long review of the laws that will govern Israel in its land begin and end with Moses posing a momentous choice.
If having a king is a good thing, why does God say that it means that the people are rejecting Him? If it is a bad thing, why does God tell Samuel to give the people what they want even if it is not what God would wish them to want?
It was the Septuagint, the early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, that translated tzara’at, the condition whose identification and cleansing occupies much of Parshiyot Tazria and Metzora as lepra, giving rise to a long tradition identifying it with leprosy.
The deception has taken place. Joseph has been sold into slavery. His brothers have dipped his coat in blood. They bring it back to their father, saying: “Look what we have found. Do you recognize it? Is this your son’s robe or not?” Jacob recognized it and replied, “It is my son’s robe. A wild beast has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces.”
At the heart of Judaism is a twofold understanding of the nature of God and His relationship to the universe.
Wherever the term “and these” is used, it signals continuity. Just as the commands in Parshat Yitro were given at Sinai, so too were the commands in Parshat Mishpatim. Why are the civil laws in the beginning of Parshat Mishpatim placed in juxtaposition to the laws concerning the altar at the end of Parshat Yitro? To tell you to place the Sanhedrin near to the Temple.
Tamar realizes Judah has no intention of giving her his last son. Now trapped-an agunah-she acts
Near the end of Parshas Va’etchanan, so inconspicuously that we can sometimes miss it, is a statement with such far-reaching implications that it challenges the impression that has prevailed thus far in the Torah, giving an entirely new complexion to the biblical image of the people Israel:
Between the Flood and the call to Abraham, between the universal covenant with Noah and the particular covenant with one people comes the strange, suggestive story of Babel:
The Sanctuary as a human construct, mirrors the Divine creation of the universe. Each creation culminates in the Sabbath placing the sanctity of place in subordinate position to the holiness of time.
When Moses asks, “Who am I?” He feels himself unworthy and uninvolved. He may have been Jewish by birth, but he had not suffered the fate of his people. How, then, could he become their leader?
Shakespeare is expressing the medieval stereotype of Christian mercy (Portia) as against Jewish justice (Shylock).
We can be good at many things, but what gives a life direction and meaning is a sense of mission, of something we are called on to do. That is the significance of the opening word of today’s parsha, Vayikra.
Joseph reframed his entire past, now understanding himself charged with a life-saving mission by God
Learning to honor G-d by honoring those made in His image: Humankind.
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.
There is a fascinating feature of the geography of the land of Israel. It contains two seas: the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is full of life. The Dead Sea, as its name implies, is not. Yet they are fed by the same river, the Jordan. The difference is that the Sea of Galilee receives water and gives water. The Dead Sea receives but does not give. To receive but not to give is, in Jewish geography as well as Jewish psychology, simply not life.
First in Parshat Yitro there were the Asseret Hadibrot (the Ten Utterances, or general principles). Now in Parshat Mishpatim come the details.
There's no obligation TO wear tzitzit; opting to wear them symbolizes free acceptance of the mitzvot
Jacob, Leah, Tamar and Joseph discover that, though they may never win the affection they desire, G-d is with them and that, ultimately, is enough. A disguise hides one from others, but not from G-d