Ki Tavo 5779 – Expressing Gratitude and Ki Tavo Fiddler Parody

Living in Israel will entail additional obligations, and in the beginning of this parashah Moses describes one of these additional obligations:  Bikkurim- the first-fruit ceremony.  The mitzvah of Bikkurim will be fulfilled long after Moses has died, after the conquest of the land and division of tribal portions, after homes are built, and after fields […]

Ki Teitzei 5779 – Amalek in Our Times

This Parsha contains 74 of the Torah’s 613 mitzvot.  These include a wide array of laws including how to deal with the beautiful captive, inheritance rights of the first-born, how to deal with the wayward and rebellious son, burial and dignity of the dead, returning of a lost object, and the obligation to send away […]

Shoftim 5779 – Who Are We to Judge

This week we read Shoftim which translated means judges. Fortunately, the first few verses was all I needed to formulate my d’var. The majority of the parsha was difficult to get through and stay awake. The Torah and more important the rabbis over the centuries continue to impress me with the amount of knowledge and […]

Vaetchanan 5779 – Oy Such a Wonderful Parasha

Va’eschanan means and I pled. Who pled and to whom? Pled for what? What was the result? Before I delve further into this, allow me to briefly discuss a matter of interest. It is stated in a Midrash that Moshe offered 515 prayers to Hashem to beg to be allowed to enter the Promised Land. […]

Devarim 5779 – Hearing and Listening are Two Very Different Things

We’re in the 5th and last book of the Torah. This book represents the speeches of Moses in the last month of his life. He addresses the next generation, those who will – as he will not – be destined to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land.

Parashat D’varim consists mostly of Moses’ historical review […]

Mator-Massei 5779 – Words

How did we arrive at todays parshat Matot-Massei from the Exodus?

Here is a quick and a very abbreviated summary of highlights:  130 to 400 years of  enslavement in Egypt; approximately 600,000 Israelites flee in Exodus from Egypt following plagues; witness miracles from G-d (like waters parting, thunderous clouds);  collude to build a golden calf; Moses […]

Pinchas 5779 – But on the Other Hand

In the 2004 Presidential campaign, Senator John Kerry said that he was for the Iraq war before he was against it. He was caricatured for the entire campaign, and may even have lost the election, in part, because he was thought to be a “flip-flopper.”

A few weeks ago, Joe Biden, currently running for President, was […]

Balak 5779 – Ma Tovu

This Parsha tells one of the more entertaining stories of the Torah.  Balak fears for his Kingdom as the Israelites approach.  He knows that it will take extraordinary measures to defeat the Israelites, so he calls on Balaam.  Balaam is the only non-Hebrew prophet who can communicate with Hashem.  Balak sends his men to recruit […]

Chukkat 5779 – A Well of Traditions

Chukat is about mortality. In this parshah, we read about the death of Aaron and Miriam – two of three of Israel’s great leaders in the wilderness; we also read about the death sentence for Moses – that he shall not enter the land of Israel. I also think that Chukat is about the importance […]

Korach 5779 – What a Big Mistake!

Rabbi Lord Johathan Sacks says that “the Korach rebellion was the single most dangerous challenge to Moses’ leadership during the forty years that he led the people through the wilderness. The precise outline of events is difficult to follow, probably because the events themselves were tumultuous and disorderly. The narrative makes it clear that the […]