Parshat Tzav and Pesach 5767: Bedikat Chameitz – Who are we Deluding?

by in Pesach, Tzav .

  Vayikra, 6:2 The Sale of Chameitz is not a sham, it is a very deep spiritual practice Selling your chameitz[1] (unleaven bread etc. forbidden to eat or possess on Pesach) when you know very well that after Pesach you will receive it all back untouched! Running around the house with a candle and feather looking for ten pieces of chameitz that you or your children have just hidden away! Who are we deluding? Every Mitzvah, every Halacha, is an artistic expression of mounds of wisdom and knowledge that we call “the Torah of that Mitzvah”. Thi..


Parshat Devarim and Tish’a Be’Av 5767: The Central Question: Eichah or Ayekah?

by in Tish'a Be'Av, Devarim .

Devarim 1:12 Three rhetorical questions “Where are you?” I asked myself as I emerged from a very deep slumber early this evening. I have done so much traveling these past couple of weeks, that for a few moments after a nap trying to recover from jetlag, I truly had no idea where I was! “Where are you?” Isn’t that the question Hashem asked Adam[1] after man’s first act of disobedience? And did that act not initiate sin and ultimately culminate in the destruction of the Batei Mikdash (Temples)? Was that act not the starting point of the journey on which we still find ..


Parshat Balak 5767: Making Inspired Choices

by in Balak .

  The prophetic donkey Not only can animals smell, hear and see things that humans cannot, at times they can even intuit spiritual forces of which humans seem to be oblivious. Both the Ramban and Rashi are intrigued by the capacity of Bilam’s donkey to “see an angel of Hashem” (Bamidbar 22:23). “Even humans do not see angels other than in visions or dreams,” [1] says the Ramban, “angels are spiritual forces that cannot be detected by the senses”. For this reason, he suggests initially, this particular animal simply intuited a danger that stopped its progress in its tr..


Parshat Pinchas 5767: The Passage to Courage

by in Pinchas .

What you are willing to sacrifice is what you gain The opening passage of the Parsha holds the key to understanding courage. Zimri desecrated G-d’s name by publicly flaunting his illicit relationship with the Midianite Princess, Kozbi bat Tzor. Pinchas reacts passionately and in accordance with the Halachah of that time, assassinates Zimri and kills Kozbi. Hashem responds by rewarding Pinchas with an everlasting Brit Shalom (Covenant of Peace) manifesting in the hereditary rights of Kehuna. From now on Pinchas and his male descendants would be Kohanim.  Rashi a..


Parshat Shlach Lecha 5767: You DO Care What Others Think of You … and so You Should!

by in Shlach Lecha .

  Parshat Shelach Lechah 5767 Parshat Meraglim: Hashem’s response to Moshe’s prayer Your image as your personal amplifier Concern about one’s “image” is not always a sign of ego and insecurity: it can also be a necessary strategy to amplify a person’s effectiveness. Often the most profound truths go unheeded because the waves that transmit them are too feeble to be detected. Despite, or in many cases as a result of a world of increasing communication, bombarded as we are with email, the ubiquity of printed materials, the internet and a dissemination of knowledge and opini..


Parshat Behar-Bechukotai, 5767: The Spiritual Dimension to Torah Study

by in Bechukotai, Behar .

  Vayikra, 26:3   We shall do and we shall hear! Mishpattim are generally known as those Mitzvot that have clear rational explanations. Chukim are considered mitzvot without clear rationale. Examples of Mishpattim are Mitzvot like the laws of damages, charity, business transaction etc. Chukim would include laws such as Sha’atneiz, Kashrut and Tum’ah. What about the Mitzvah to study the Torah: is that a Mishpat or is it aChok? Since there is rationale in studying the Torah, in order to know the Laws, it ..


Parshat Bamidbar 5767: Life in the Desert - We Can Only Gain When We No Longer Fear to Lose

by in Bamidbar .

Anyone unwilling to make himself into an ownerless desert, cannot master wisdom and Torah - Bamidbar Rabbah 1: Heroic Courage This week, while training leaders in one of the largest police agencies in the United States, I found myself in the presence of an impressive group of courageous medal-bearing men and women who had placed their lives at risk to protect the communities they serve many times in their careers. Courage was not a challenge to them; rather it was a precondition of their work. Yet time and again during our discussions, these men and women identified and verbalize..


Parshat Noach 5768: Noble Noach and Nobel Al

by in Noach .

Noble Noach and Nobel Al Bereishit 6:9 To change yourself, judge before you love. To change others, love before you judge!   Environmentalism and Morality He was concerned about the future of the planet. He foresaw ever-worsening climatic conditions that could result in an environmental catastrophe capable of eliminating all life on earth. He tirelessly warned people, he pleaded with people. His name was Noach. He was not heard, nor was he awarded a Nobel Prize. Noach and Al Gore are both communicators of inconvenient truths. Why was the one mocked while the other rece..


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