Sunday, April 20, 2014 Nisan 20, 5774
V'etchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
By:
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
Charles Dickens gave us a tale of two cities. Here's a tale of two oceans. Western civilization was born over two millennia ago in Greece and Rome, two cultures that emphasized the physical. The Greeks pioneered the sculpting of the human body. The Romans mastered the engineering skill necessary to construct roads and aqueducts in support of a massive empire...
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Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
By:
Rabbi Richard Hirsh
This Shabbat comes before the observance of Tisha B'Av, which commemorates the fall of the first and second Temples (586 BCE and 70 C.E.). It is called Shabbat Hazon after the first words of the Haftorah portion: "Hazon Yishayahu, the vision of Isaiah." Isaiah's prophecy is of the destruction of Jerusalem, replete with the castigation of sinners. It is an...
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MASEI, Numbers 33: 1-36:13
By:
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
The book of Numbers, and with it this week's Torah portion of Masei, concludes with a reiteration of the earlier ruling of Moses from God that the five daughters of Zelophehad would be able to inherit the land of their father -- since there were no male heirs -- but that they would have to marry within their tribe of...
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MATTOT, Numbers 30:2-32:42
By:
Rabbi Joyce Newmark
Mattot begins with a discussion of the laws of vows. And the Hatam Sofer (Rabbi Moses Schreiber, 1762-1839 of Hungary), famous as a halachic authority and for his vehement opposition to the Reform movement, makes on its opening verse a comment that sounds like it could have been written last week. The parshah begins: "Moses spoke to the heads of...
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Pinchas, Numbers 25:10 -30:1
By:
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
From a Torah perspective, which value is more important to the survival of society: peace or truth? The Midrash describes how a thunderous debate broke out in heaven just as God was about to create the first human being. Peace said yes, Truth said no -- the human being, subject to whims, inconsistencies, compulsions and the need to make compromises...
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