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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Sweet, Sweet Torah!

Moshe mobilized the Israelites away from the Sea of Reeds. They came out to the desert of Shur, and they walked three days in the dessert, without finding water. They came to [the lake of] Marah, but they could not drink the water of Marah, for they were bitter, therefore…

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Learn Well, Seek Justice!

At some obscure turning-point in the history of Jewish observance, three religious practices were chosen to become the yardstick by which one’s religiosity is measured. Beside the external appearance and Shul attendance, you can bet that when someone is defined as “very religious”, “somewhat religious”, or “not religious at all”…

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Exposing Hypocrisy

For Parashat Ki Tavo אָר֣וּר הָאִ֡ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יַעֲשֶׂה֩ פֶ֨סֶל וּמַסֵּכָ֜ה תּוֹעֲבַ֣ת יְיָ מַעֲשֵׂ֛ה יְדֵ֥י חָרָ֖שׁ וְשָׂ֣ם בַּסָּ֑תֶר… מַקְלֶ֥ה אָבִ֖יו וְאִמּ֑וֹ … מַסִּ֖יג גְּב֣וּל רֵעֵ֑הוּ… מַשְׁגֶּ֥ה עִוֵּ֖ר בַּדָּ֑רֶךְ… מַטֶּ֛ה מִשְׁפַּ֥ט גֵּר־יָת֖וֹם וְאַלְמָנָ֑ה… שֹׁכֵב֙… מַכֵּ֥ה רֵעֵ֖הוּ בַּסָּ֑תֶר… לֹקֵ֣חַ שֹׁ֔חַד לְהַכּ֥וֹת נֶ֖פֶשׁ דָּ֣ם נָקִ֑י… אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹא־יָקִ֛ים אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַתּוֹרָֽה־הַזֹּ֖את לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת אוֹתָ֑ם וְאָמַ֥ר כָּל־הָעָ֖ם אָמֵֽן: …

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Finding Humanity in Captivity

For Parashat Ki Tetze The opening paragraph of Parashat Ki Tetze (Deut. 21: 10-14) is shocking. In it, the Torah instructs Israelite soldiers how to capture and then violate the women of the enemy: (י) כִּֽי־תֵצֵ֥א לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה עַל־אֹיְבֶ֑יךָ וּנְתָנ֞וֹ יְיָ אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ בְּיָדֶ֖ךָ וְשָׁבִ֥יתָ שִׁבְיֽוֹ (יא) וְרָאִיתָ֙ בַּשִּׁבְיָ֔ה אֵ֖שֶׁת יְפַת־תֹּ֑אַר וְחָשַׁקְתָּ֣…

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Midrash and Commentary

ויתן אל משה ככלותו לדבר אתו – He gave Moshe [the Tablets] when He concluded speaking with him. These words describe the transmission of knowledge from master to disciple, and it is only natural that they sparked a lively discussion in the Midrash. Here is one paragraph of the Midrash…

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