Author: Avi Shafran

Parshas Balak – Invitation to Murder

Were a donkey to suddenly develop the power of speech and address me, I would, I’m quite sure, be flabbergasted. Faced with just such an asinine address, though, Bil’am isn’t struck silent and doesn’t...

Cowardice or Wisdom?

That any sane person could castigate Israel for her response last month to Hamas missiles is astounding. Hamas, after all, has sent booby-trapped party balloons across the border into Israeli towns in an effort...

Parshas Chukas – Snake Eyes

The bizarre image (Bamidbar 21:9) of our ancestors gazing at a graven image — a copper representation of a snake — to end a snake-plague born of their complaining about the mon, is contextualized...

Chagrined by AOC’s Reaction

I have defended Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on a number of occasions in several public venues.  But I was chagrined by her reaction to the recent Hamas/Israel war, and express why here.

Parshas Naso- An Opportunity, Not an Ordeal

I cringe when I read someone’s portrayal of the law of Sotah ritual as some sort of “trial by ordeal.” That phrase conjures images like the 17th century Salem witch trials, when Puritans invoked...

Happy Anniversary

In contrast to Pesach’s matzos and Sukkos’ sukkos and arba minim, Shavuos is unique among the Shalosh Regalim for its lack of any positive ritual-commandment. That may have to do with the holiday’s association...

Parshas Bamidbar – Desert and Direction

The sefer of Bamidbar (or, to be pedantic, B’midar) begins with the word Vayidaber; and the Talmud Yerushalmi, I’ve seen it cited, even calls the sefer by that latter word. Both words, as it...

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