Friday, December 19, 2014 Kislev 27, 5775
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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KORACH, Numbers 16:1-18:32
By:
Rabbi David Gutterman
Social psychologists list several distinctions between a debate and a dialogue. A debate assumes you have the right answer, while a dialogue assumes that many people can help craft an answer. A debate is about winning; a dialogue is about exploring. A debate is more about defending one's view; a dialogue admits that the thinking of others can improve one's...
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SH'LACH, Leviticus 13:1-15-41
By:
Rabbi David Gutterman, Jewish Exponent Feature
In this week's Torah portion -- in stunning fashion -- the classical meets the contemporary. Our biblical tradition not only informed, but helped to create a necessary "marketing tool" of modern statecraft, even as it created a symbol that still causes a welling-up of Jewish pride. God grants Moses license to Sh'lach l'cha anashim: "Send forth men, if you please,...
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Beha'alotcha, Numbers 8:1-12:16
By:
Rabbi Alan Iser
Sometimes, our rabbis derived worlds of meaning from simple phrases. Such is the case with the third verse of this week's portion. After God instructs Moses to tell Aaron how to light the menorah in the sanctuary, the Torah notes, "Aaron did so. He mounted the lamps at the front of the menorah as God had commanded Moses." Rashi, quoting...
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