Can God justifiably blame us for something we don’t know?
There is nothing wrong – and actually everything right – about loving God’s world. But to be significant, it must be a love grounded in enhanced awareness and appreciation of God.
Whether in its variation or in its norms, the world around us provides countless ways to see God. But that will only happen to someone who is looking for them. In other words if we really want to see God, we must also seek God.
Most of Devarim is Moshe’s series of parting lectures to the Jewish people. Two things about them are clearly felt – the first is that they are long, often abstract and sometimes even appear repetitive; and the second is that Moshe accordingly uses diverse tactics to keep the Jews listening.
The notion that all men are created equal is a modern myth. The truth is that all men are created differently
a different leader of the next generation steps up and takes action. That leader was Pinchas...True leaders like Pinchas don’t come out of leadership schools. When the time is ripe, they simply emerge.
Many of the commentators find a disturbingly strong rationale in the Jews’ complaint mentioned above. The complainers were essentially blaming Moshe for setting up a murderous trap for the two hundred and fifty men that contested the choice of Aharon and his sons as priests.
In this week's parsha, there is an unusually insightful process of how a little complaint can undermine a gigantic and noble enterprise:
Why may Kohanim not attend to the dead?
It might seem easier to pray alone to God, rather than with the various distractions of a communal setting. True, Jewish law actually recognizes this and tries to minimize these distractions by recommending a set seat, prohibiting holding objects, etc. Still, the many distractions are impossible to completely eliminate. Yet in spite of its drawbacks, we derive strength from doing things together with a group.
Perhaps in the midst of the great uncertainties created by the Coronavirus pandemic, it is all too easy to remember that we are not God. But the temptation to think otherwise still exists. And once the pandemic will be over and man will continue to build better and better tools to control his fate and his environment, that temptation will regain its strength
So who had it better, Moshe or Aharon?
The traditional understanding – that the Torah is referring to the monetary value of an eye – is not without its difficulties either
To what extent is a prophet of God allowed to improvise?
Though they share parents and ancestors, once the two lines diverge, the Torah tells us exclusively about Aharon’s descendants
Ya’akov’s mistake instructs us to understand that even if something appears to be good, that does not mean there isn’t a different way that might be even better
Is this the only question we should ask?
In one of the most mysterious verses in the Torah (Bereshit 35:8), we read about the death of Devorah the nursemaid, a character so minor that we have never really heard of her before
On the face of it, a conventional exchange between father and son, we see it nowhere else in Tanakh. Moreover both discussions take place at pivotal points in which the respective father-son relationships are tested to their limits.
Avraham, saw a world where people can acknowledge a huge and intractable gap between them, know it will not go away, and also build a strong and trusting friendship across tbe gap.
When Noach gets off the ark, there seems to be a whole new world order that surrounds him.
Irritation leading to growth...
“If God only commanded Moshe to present Haazinu, what was the need for Yehoshua to join in?”
Since we are taught that each person is like a universe, to casually dispense with one individual is like dispensing with an entire universe.
Many commentators wonder why not proffering bread and water is considered such a great crime. Because turning away goes from being a sign of neutrality to being an act of hostility.
How does contemporary Judaism deal with the great challenge of Torah laws no longer practiced?
One of the more fruitless political debates in the United States is whether strict restriction of gun permits would add to public safety. One of the reasons it is fruitless is that both sides muster flawed analogies to other societies.
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.