Author: Avi Shafran

Parshas Ha’azinu – The Secret, Unveiled

Although I appreciate most humor, even jokes about Jews, I have always found comedian Alan King’s wry summary of Jewish holidays, “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” profoundly unfunny. Not that...

Vayeilech – No, No, No, It Ain’t Me

A time will come, the Torah warns, when Hashem, as a result of Klal Yisrael’s actions, will seem to “abandon them and hide My countenance from them” and “many evils and troubles will befall...

NItzavim – The Holy Land Has a Name

“Hashem… will return and gather you in from all the peoples to which [He] has scattered you… and He will bring you to the land that your forefathers possessed and you shall possess it…”...

Ki Savo – Discarding Despondence

The horrors of the tochacha, the parsha’s description of what Klal Yisrael will endure should it drift from heeding the Torah, left our ancestors dejected. As Rashi writes at the beginning of parshas Nitzavim...

Ki Seitzei – Principal Parenting Pitfall

A rather stark contradiction seems to lie in how Chazal describe the judgment meted out to a ben sorer u’moreh, the boy who, at the tender age of 13, demonstrates indulgences and worse, and...

Parshas Shoftim – Waste Not

The belief that Jews are cheap has merit, though “frugal” would be the more perceptive word. Valuing everything, no matter how small or seemingly trivial, is a fundamental Jewish ideal. My parents rinsed and...

Parshas Re’ei – Non-Prophet

“Can’t you jus’ see ‘im walkin’ on that water?” an elderly lady with a large hat, standing next to me on the foredeck of the Staten Island ferry and holding a bible, once asked...

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