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Daily Archives: November 25, 2019

Wrestling a Piece of Canaan

The Burial of Sara [23:1] Sara lived a hundred years, and twenty years, and seven years. The repetition of the word “years” was interpreted by the Midrash as alluding to special quality traits of Sara. However, the same formula is used regarding Avraham (25:7), and Ishmael (25:17). It would have…

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Rosh HaShana Quick Guide

Rosh HaShana “Seder” and symbolic actions On both nights of Rosh HaShana, it is customary to bring to the table special foods, known as Simanim or symbols. These foods include apple and honey, pomegranate, and dates, among others. There is no need to eat them, and they are rather meant…

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Be Unique – For I Am!

דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־כָּל־עֲדַ֧ת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֥ אֲלֵהֶ֖ם קְדֹשִׁ֣ים תִּהְי֑וּ כִּ֣י קָד֔וֹשׁ אֲנִ֖י יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them: You shall be holy; for I YHWH your God, am holy.   The word קדוש is traditionally translated as holy. The more meticulous commentators explain…

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Kippur Quick Guide

Kippur Eve and Teshuva The guiding rule in observing Kippur is maintaining a balance between respecting the sanctity of the day and one’s physical health. According to Shulhan Arukh, the practice of doing Kapparot with chickens should be eliminated. (see appendix) We must ask for forgiveness and reconcile with those…

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Survivor, Anonymous

When my daughter was in third or fourth grade in an ultra-orthodox school, she told me of an interesting exchange she had with her Humash teacher. The teacher spoke about the survivor who escaped the war in which Lot, Abraham’s nephew, was captured, and said that it was Og the…

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Loving Leah

By Rabbi Haim Ovadia We tend to classify many of the familial conflicts of Genesis under the rubric Sibling Rivalry. The term has become an idiom we feel comfortable with, a nice compact packet which describes a painful phenomenon. It conjures the image of a battle, not weapon-wielding, lethal one,…

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Matzah on Erev Pesah

It is common knowledge that one should not eat Matzah on Erev Pesah, but while many people assume it is a practice and not a prohibition, Maimonides writes: אָסְרוּ חֲכָמִים לֶאֱכֹל מַצָּה בְּעֶרֶב הַפֶּסַח כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הֶכֵּר לַאֲכִילָתָהּ בָּעֶרֶב. וּמִי שֶׁאָכַל מַצָּה בְּעֶרֶב הַפֶּסַח מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא…

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