Saturday, August 23, 2014 Av 27, 5774
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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Balak, Number 22:2-24:25
By:
Rabbi Joshua Waxman
This week's portion, Balak, tells the story of Balaam, the prophet, who is hired by the Moabite king Balak to curse the Israelites as they move through his territory. Balaam is clearly a figure whose powers are renowned in the region, as Balak says: "For I know that he whom you bless is blessed indeed, and he whom you curse...
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Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1
By:
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Is it more important to devote oneself to personal, spiritual development or to work for the good of the nation? I believe that a good argument can be made that commitment to the nation takes priority over commitment to one's own spiritual needs. And one such source is a Midrash, which links two kinds of animal slaughterings (not by blood,...
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