Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Va’Eira: A Quantitative Approach to Free Will

This story is actually a brilliant depiction of the interplay between divine providence and free will. Without taking away our ability to “surprise Him,” God – when needed – doesn’t hesitate to steer us in the direction He wants.

IS HIS NAME YA’AKOV, YISRAEL OR BOTH?

People have 1 name because it supposedly reflects identity. What if a person has a double identity?

Redeeming Relevance: Serious Laughter

Ever wondered why the least funny Jew in the entire Torah should be named Yitchak, “He Laughed?”

The Clothing and Unclothing of Yosef

Yosef’s tale illustrates that "clothes don't make the man"

Redeeming Relevance: Moshe’s International Grave

It seems important for the Torah’s central prophet to have been someone with whom gentiles could identify. And being buried outside of Israel may well have been part of that

Redeeming Relevance: When the Torah’s Answer to Good, Bad or Indifferent is Yes, Yes...

In other words, it is not our strength at all that gives us the victory, but the workings of God.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Emor II: No Time to Think

The Torah is telling us something here: Though we may sometimes act too rashly, there are times when rash action is the only way to prevent a complete catastrophe.

Reading Between the Lines

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

Redeeming Relevance: All You Need is One Good Man 

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. 

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Behaalotecha: Just Trying to Improve Things

In this week's parsha, there is an unusually insightful process of how a little complaint can undermine a gigantic and noble enterprise:

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Nitzavim: A Nation of Yentas

Since we are taught that each person is like a universe, to casually dispense with one individual is like dispensing with an entire universe.

Redeeming Relevance: Vayikra Avoidance Syndrome and the Torah on One Foot

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.

The Book of Speech; Redeeming Relevance on Parshat Devarim

An obstacle to understanding Devarim is thinking of it as a book. Devarim literally means “[spoken] words” and should therefore be primarily considered in its 'orality'

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Matot: Menashe — The Odd Man Out

Why did Moshe include part of Menashe together with Gad and Reuven in the Transjordanian settlement?

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Yitro: The Good Midianite

Yitro may well be the prototype of the righteous gentile, maintaining a distinct non-Jewish identity

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Metzora: Flesh

That man is more than flesh is obvious to the Torah, but the Torah’s task is to make it obvious to man.

Redeeming Relevance: A People Chosen for Opposition

While there is plenty of room for cooperation and interaction with other larger cultures, it is important for the Jewish people to remember that a key role God wants it to play is to often stand on the other side and follow our own path.

Redeeming Relevance: Mishpatim

"Hamas" means "violent," via undue human pressure on a process not meant to be controlled by humans

Redeeming Relevance: When a Brother is Not

Understanding relationships leading to understanding the parsha

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Pinchas: Midian, Moab and Yisrael

The fact it was specifically Midianite and Moabite women involved with Jewish men {Moshe and men involved with Ba'al Peor) shows that an existential bond existed between these nations and Israel.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Bereshit: Why Can’t a Man be More Like a Woman?

Though a woman helps her partner and remains his equal, she nurtures and thereby becomes a man's superior. Paradoxically, therefore, woman may be just a bit closer to the image of God than man.

Redeeming Relevance: Vayetzeh: Why Ya’akov DIDN’T Pray

Ya’akov did not pray for Rachel to conceive because he did not believe in "forcing God’s hand." He asks, “Am I instead of God? God knows best whether to give children or not. All I can do is ask.”

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayikra: Torat Kohanim and the Torah on One Foot

Vayikra, the Torah’s middle book, gives the critical light to the Torah's other books around it.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Shoftim: Self-Knowledge is not Self-Understanding

One might think that there's nothing we understand better in the world than ourselves--after all, we spend every waking minute with ourselves. But is this self-understanding really the case?

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Pinchas: The Yehoshua Moshe Did Not Know

Moshe was not able to see that Yehoshua was fit for the job. On some level, this seems strange considering their long-standing relationship.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Toldot: The Uncertainty of Parenthood

On the one hand, we see that Rivkah was right about Ya’akov’s potential. On the other hand, we will never be sure who was right about Esav.

Redeeming Relevance in the Weekly Parsha: Vayishev

Yehudah, more suited to the role, became leader and not Yosef- the very public candidate for the job

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?

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Ve’etchanan: Why These Ten?

Understanding why these Ten Statements were chosen-as opposed to others omitted-could well lead us to a greater grasp of the essence of this venerable text.

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