Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Shemini: The Price of Holiness

The Meshech Chochmah states that had Israel not sinned with the golden calf, God would not have punished Aharon’s sons so severely.

Redeeming Relevance in the Weekly Parsha: Chayei Sarah

Avraham was asked to nullify his identity, by fulfilling the opposite of what he believed right.

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 Reeh: The Taste for Blood and the Imperative of Relevance

Is the Torah to be read exactly as the Jews who received it would have, or, is it actually to be read in a contemporary way that can't possibly be the same as those who first received the Torah?

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Naso: The Place of the Displaced, the Replaced and the Misplaced

Three laws seemingly unconnected and out of place: theft from a convert; sotah; and nazir. Why are they here, in Parshat naso?

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 Vayikra: Ownership, Chametz and the Sacrificial Conundrum

There is likely some connection between the prohibition of chametz on the altar and the chametz which is more likely on our minds as we rid our homes of this most challenging foodstuff.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayikra: Happy Sins

Obviously, sin and happy are not words that go together well. But, says Rabbi Yochanan, when people admit to and atone for their sins, that is cause for happiness.

Redeeming Relevance in the Weekly Parsha: Miketz

Yehuda knew if the moment isn't right or men are unwilling to listen a skilled leader bides his time

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Shemot: To Help is Noble, to Give a Sign is Divine

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

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Bo: When the Lights GO OFF

How did the Jews find grace in the eyes of the Egyptians, receiving gifts from their Egyptian neighbors as they left, when they were perceived as the source of all the plagues and destruction?

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Achrei Mot: Nameless Heroes and the Holy Path

Parshat Achrei Mot represents a transition in the book of Vayikra from an emphasis on Aharon and his sons to the Jewish people as a whole

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayigash: Yosef‘s Invitation in to Exile

Yosef wanting to see his father Yakov again is understandable. Perhaps Yosef could not have left Egypt to do so. But did Yosef’s desire to see him justify making his father leave Israel for Egypt?

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Chayei Sarah: Avraham’s Canaanite Wife

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.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Shemot: Of Faith and Flexibility

While Moshe may have eventually become even greater than the avos, we must always strive for the faith of his predecessors and for the inner flexibility that such true faith brings with it.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Mishpatim: Can an Angel Be Wrong?

Towards the end of this week’s parsha, God speaks about a malach that he will send in front of the Jewish people but it is not clear what He is referring to. We will consider one understanding

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Behar: The Torah’s First Ending

Had the Jews not sinned with the spies, they would have gone into the land led by Moshe at the end of Parshat Shelach. Hence the end of Vayikra would have basically been the end of the Torah

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Kedoshim: We Need to Choose

In this week’s parsha, the Torah further develops the statement that opens Parshat Kedsohim, the need to be 'Kadosh.'

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayishlach: Who Buried Rivkah?

The actual tale of Rivkah and Esav is of a mother who continued to care and love a delinquent child who became a problematic adult, proving she will always be his mother and he will always be her son.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Shoftim: Of Witnesses, Keruvim and Clones

The Torah's standard for convicting a criminal is set much higher than many contemporary systems of law, that accept one witness. In practice, that means the Torah prefers to let criminals off, rather than punish the innocent

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Shelach

The Children of Israel chose a natural human existence, as opposed to living supernatural lives

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayishlach: The Torah’s Mother

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

Redeeming Relevance in the Weekly Parsha: Beha’alotcha

Despite unequal status, teamwork is the surest route to harmony and maximum self-expression.

Redeeming Relevance: The Mishkan’s Opportunity Cost

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!

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayelech

Moshe's message lives on forever: Life's potential is a very lofty goal that we must strive to reach

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Lech Lecha

If everything depends on the final test, the Sacrifice of Yitzchok, why give Avraham other trials?

Redeeming Relevance in the Weekly Parsha: Vayigash

What did Yehudah say that was so effective that it convinced Yosef to make himself known?

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 in Parshat Korach

Korach demonstrates how "charisma" can lead to a breakdown in the legitimate forms of leadership

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