Author: Avi Shafran

Vayigash — Bad is Good

The books considered holy by other religions present their heroes as flawless. One of the indications that the Torah, by contrast, is divine in nature is its recording of flaws of action or attitude...

Mikeitz – Some Bad in our Bloodline

Many years ago, a wise rebbe of mine, addressing instances of financial finagling by some members of the tribe, explained that  the forefathers of us Jews whom we revere are Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov,...

Vayeishev – What’s Wrong?

  When we read the account of Yosef’s unfair imprisonment – and his eventual release after the Egyptian ruler is informed by the sar hamashkim, the butler, of Yosef’s G-d-given ability to interpret dreams...

Vayishlach – Much Vs. All

One might not expect the key to happiness to be hidden in the meeting of Yaakov and Esav recounted in the parsha. But it’s there. When Yaakov explains the lavish gifts he had sent...

Vayeitzei – Stairway to Peoplehood

Sometimes an idea can only be possible after a certain point in history. One example might have to do with the imagery of Yaakov’s dream at the start of the parsha. The message delivered...

Toldos – Knowing That One Doesn’t

As the tale goes, a learned non-Jewish cleric challenges the town’s Jewish populace to have its greatest scholar meet him on a bridge over a raging river, each a heavy weight tied to his...

Chayei Sara – Death and Marriage

That a man’s gifting of something of worth to a woman can effect a marriage if both parties agree is derived through exegesis from, of all places, Avraham’s purchase of a burial site for...

Vayeira – More Intimate Than Prophecy

Avraham experiences a communication from Hashem at the start of the parsha (Beraishis 18:1, 18:13). And it culminates with Hashem’s informing our forebear of the impending destruction of S’dom (18:20-21). Then, the Torah tells...

Lech Lecha – Jewish Influence

Stars aren’t visible during the day. Yosef Chaim Cara, a 17th century Polish rabbi, points out in his sefer Kol Omer Kra that after Hashem tells Avram, concerning his future progeny, to “Look heavenward...

Noach — Symbols Gone Astray

It’s intriguing that two separate images from parshas Noach have been turned by contemporary society into widely used symbols – and each one is decidedly off the mark. A dove holding an olive branch...

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