Author: Avi Shafran

Happy’s Happy, But Not Human

Happy the elephant isn’t a person. That seeming truism was the official ruling of New York’s highest court last week, necessitated by a suit brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project aimed at freeing the...

Beha’aloscha – Woe Isn’t Us

The reflexive form of the word k’mis’onenim (“The people were mis’onenim [complaining] bitterly before Hashem” – Bamidbar 11:1) indicates that our ancestors were self-focused in their grumbling. They were mourning themselves, sorrowful (as per...

Naso – No Small Wonder

A bracha we make several times daily has an etymological connection to the nazir, the laws for whom are included in the parshah. It lies in a word in the second pasuk of that...

The Jewish Way to Celebrate Yom Yerushalayim

Residents of Israel and Gaza dodged a bullet on Sunday (May 29) — in fact a slew of bullets, and bombs and missiles. Sunday was “Jerusalem Day,” an annual celebration that commemorates Israel’s capture...

Bamidbar – The Child Makes the Parent

The reference in the parshah (Bamidbar, 3:4) to the fact of Nadav and Avihu’s childlessness can be read as a simple explanation for why further generations of their lines are absent from the Torah’s...

Bechukosai – To Know What We Don’t

It would be silly to claim a “favorite” Rashi, but one comment made in rare places, including in this week’s parshah, by the author of perfectly succinct yet brilliant glosses to not only Tanach...

Incident at Frankfurt

Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, ended up with sauerkraut on its corporate face recently, after more than 120 visibly Jewish men and women in Frankfurt’s airport on May 4 were banned from boarding their connecting...

Parshas Behar – Don’t Serve Servants

“They are My servants, whom I freed from the land of Egypt” (Vayikra 25:55). Although the Talmud’s comment on the phrase “They are My servants” – “but not the servants of servants” (Bava Kamma...

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