In Judaism, since sin is not a foregone conclusion, we hold ourselves fully accountable for it. Likewise do we hold others accountable – if not to us, then certainly to God. And so the daughters of Tzelophad put this out about their father – and about everyone else.
In contrast to the previous generation – and as we will soon see more clearly – this generation was really saying, “Let’s get to our land already.”
We assume we know as well as our leaders less because they have failed to prove themselves or have shown deficiencies than because of our attachment to seeing ourselves a certain way. And, as was true of Korach and his group, we do so to our detriment.
There are two more positive lessons that can be learned. The first is to always second-guess ourselves. The second lesson is that no matter how devastating events may be, we must muster the courage and strength to keep going.
The priestly blessing in this week’s parsha begins with the famous request that God bless and keep/guard (shomer) the Jews. While the meaning of blessing is reasonably straightforward, the meaning of keeping or guarding is less clear.
Long before the Danites’ penchant for connection with gentiles would reach its climax in the days of Shimshon, the Torah warns them of its great dangers
Wishing you a Happy Passover and a Good Shabbos...
The ethics of each new birth represents a microcosm of that debate. We have good reason to hope that the education and upbringing we provide our children will ensure that they bring more good to the world than evil. But there is not a single one of us who can bring up even the best of our children to never do evil. And given that this is the case, giving birth is also an act of responsibility for the evil that one thereby adds to the world.
Events that took place after the sin of Nadav and Avihu elucidate the real issue behind whatever sin or sins they actually committed: They challenged the traditional hierarchy of children following their parents and juniors following their seniors. It is presumably this issue more than any individual sin that the Torah wants to bring to our attention.
For an interpretation to qualify as a good drash, it must present an insightful idea that is somehow enhanced by the original text.
Because sefer Vayikra is more difficult, we tend to look at it less. But because we look at it less, we also understand it less, which – in turn – keeps it difficult and less appealing. In a nutshell, that is what I call Vayikra Avoidance Syndrome.
So what is melakhah, and how is it different than avodah? And why is that only Moshe sees it that way. Finally, why is blessing something that seems to flow directly out of it?
Paradoxically, putting on the veil would help Moshe connect with spirituality but when he was actually speaking with God, Moshe would nevertheless remove it.
For most of us, sacred spaces help us to focus, whereas we would otherwise not focus at all. Hence they are worth the opportunity cost they create. But we are well advised to keep that cost in mind. The fact that we are able to focus on God in the synagogue does not mean we should forget God outside!
Without the excuse of not being completely sure about the truth of God and His commandments, there is still a doubt whether people will do what they know to be right and to their advantage.
It seems very likely that when the Jews put the blood on the doorposts, it was meant as a strong statement of protest against Egypt and about the holiness of life. In other words, whereas the Egyptians made even human life a commodity, the Jews were bidden to sanctify the essence of life even in animals.
We are sorely lacking signs from God today. They are lacking, since our courage and resourcefulness often end when we have no indication of what God wants from us. This is the tragic situation of God’s hiding Himself
Earlier commentators may well have still shuddered in awe when they thought of Ya’akov’s daughters – how could it be that they would exist and that we would not know about them?
Given Reuven's less-than-altruistic motivations, the Torah could have given us a much more negative spin on what occurred. But it doesn’t. That is because the bottom line is that Reuven did the right thing. And that is what the Torah cares about the most.
Understanding relationships leading to understanding the parsha
Avraham showed himself to be a mentor for all peoples that God created. If he had previously kept his distance, he would now go to the other extreme of marrying a Canaanite woman, and fathering and raising her children.
Listening to your biblical partner's voice
Why is the status or identity of this seemingly central tree not mentioned before Adam sinned. Was it permitted at that time or forbidden?
No matter how hard we work on ourselves, we can never be totally prepared for the challenges ahead. And that is actually a good thing. Not only would life be less interesting, but a great deal of its meaning would otherwise be taken away. As Rebbe Nachman said, “If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for a tomorrow?”
Since not saying lashon hara is easier said than done, here is something to help you: Just remember what happened to Miriam!”
In view of the seeming sanctity that the Torah imparts to blood, why would it tell us to spill animal blood indiscriminately?
The delicate balance of the Jews place in the world: The impact of interacting with other cultures
The Torah knows that we are likely to understand the journey in the desert as essentially one long trip. And so it tries to make us stop and realize that there were actually two journeys and not just one. The first ended with the death of Aharon; the second began with resistance from the Canaanite king
History repeats itself: Israel extends the hand of peace to a neighbor and is rebuffed
The paradoxical truth of a very, very good land--Israel.