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Author page: Ovadia Haim

Give Earth a Break

גאולה תתנו לארץ The term Tree Hugger is not usually associated with observant Jews, which is truly hurtful and unfair, because we hug a tree at least four times a week. We do it, religiously, on Mondays and Thursdays, Shabbat mornings and afternoons. We gather around our tree, touch it,…

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Miriam’s Song

Women’s Hidden Voice When the Israelites left Egypt, and God split the sea for them, the angels wanted to praise Him. He told them, let Moshe and Israelites sing first. And so it was, the Israelite men sang first, the angels sang last, and in between them, the women were…

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Understanding Rashi – BeShalah

1. Shemot 13:17 – Why does Rashi refrain from citing the Midrash? יג:יז: ויהי בשלח פרעה את העם ולא נחם אלהים דרך ארץ פלשתים כי קרוב הוא – ונוח לשוב באותו הדרך למצרים, ומדרשי אגדה יש הרבה Ex. 13:17: When Pharaoh let the people go, Elohim did not lead them…

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Evil – Only You Can Fix It!

By Rabbi Haim Ovadia The practice of completing the Torah reading every year has evolved in post-Talmudic times, and gained prominence at around the 7th century. Besides the beginning and the ending points of the reading cycle, the sages who refined the system created several anchors which tied the Torah…

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Dvar Torah for Phinehas

Who was Phineas, after whom our Parasha is named? He was the grandson of Aaron the High Priest, who took action when everyone else was paralyzed with disbelief and confusion. At the end of the previous Parasha we read of Zimri, the Israelite man who brought a Midianite woman with…

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Restoring Leadership

The Derekh. It is very important to be on it. If, God forbid, someone is off it, his parents will be the talk of town. Not, God forbid, publicly. Behind closed doors, by the (kosher) water cooler, in hushed conversations during the Torah reading in shul: “have you heard? So…

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Isaiah’s Viduy

The English name of the Book of Devarim, Deuteronomy, is derived from the Greek translation of the rabbinic name for the book – משנה תורה – the repetition, or recap, of the Torah. It seems appropriate to have this recap as the month of Elul is approaching, followed by Rosh…

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The Torah’s Disability Act

אִ֣ישׁ… אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִהְיֶ֥ה בוֹ֙ מ֔וּם, לֹ֣א יִקְרַ֔ב לְהַקְרִ֖יב לֶ֥חֶם אֱלֹהָֽיו – This statement of the Torah, that a man who is not physically wholesome is not allowed to serve at the temple and offer sacrifices, has always been for me a pet peeve, and the attempts of the commentators to…

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Fast Forward

On the Status of Minor Fasts In the Talmudic discussion of the minor fast days (3rd of Tishre, 10th of Teveth, 17th of Tammuz), fourth century rabbis conclude that their observance depends on the status of the Jewish People: בזמן שיש שלום – יהיו לששון ולשמחה, יש שמד – צום,…

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