Author: Avi Shafran

Shemini – Feel the Burn

Fire descending from heaven was something our ancestors in the desert experienced nightly for decades, as the daytime pillar of cloud was replaced by one of flame. It had surely become an expected, regular...

Tzav — Finding Fervor

“And for generations,” the Midrash, quoted by Rashi, adds to its assertion: “The word tzav [‘command’] implies ziruz [‘fervor’ or ‘zeal’] immediately…” The context of the Midrash’s statement are the laws of terumas hadeshen...

If You Want to Help Ukrainian Jews

If you want to help Jews in Ukraine but are (rightfully) wary of some of the “opportunities” to do so, please know that a trustworthy campaign taking no administrative costs has been set up...

Vayikra – Love and Coercion

The Rambam famously explains how, in a case where a Jewish court has determined that a couple must divorce, the court can force the husband to hand the get, or divorce document, to his...

Parshad Pekudei – Disoriented

The pair of verbs describing Moshe’s placing of the luchos, the second set of tablets he received at Sinai, in the aron, or ark, to be placed in the Mishkan, is unusual: Vayikach. Vayiten,...

The Vehemence Virus

You never know what sets some people off.  Back in 2015, when I dared to write that the U.S. remaining as a partner in the Iran Deal might be better than what might happen...

Vayakhel – The Muddle of Our Motives

A miscalculation made by the Nesi’im, or tribal leaders, during the collections made in the desert for the building of the Mishkan resulted in the word “Nesi’im” being written in a diminished form –...

Blinded to One’s Own Bias

Talk about tone-deaf. A teaser for an “investigative” article by “The Journal News,” which serves several New York counties and whose online moniker is “Lohud,” consisted of the image of a clenched puppetmaster’s hand...

Parshas Ki Sisa – 13+13=1

Beginning with Hashem’s name stated twice, the “thirteen middos” (“aspects” or “attributes”) of Hashem’s compassion and love are sourced in our parsha. The formula was taught to Moshe Rabbeinu by Hashem Himself after the...

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