Author: Avi Shafran

Terumah – Space, Matter and Meaningfulness

The building of the Mishkan, according to a beraisa in Middos and the Sefer Habahir, mirrors the creation of the world. Both accounts in the Torah, in fact, evidence parallel wordings. Much noted by...

Mishpatim – Mundanity is a Myth

What an abrupt transition, from the miracles and wonders of the earlier parshios of Sefer Shemos to this week’s list of prosaic, painstaking laws. But, just as every letter in the Torah is necessary...

Yisro – Consecrated Coercion

Last week, I offered the idea, based on the three Hebrew words, shiluach, yetziah and geirush, used to describe both the exodus account and a marriage’s dissolution, of Yetzias Mitzrayim as Klal Yisrael’s “divorce”...

Help Preserve the Kotel’s Kedusha

The push to balkanize the Kotel Maaravi is, as its proponents readily admit, intended as a step toward legitimizing American-style “Jewish religious pluralism” in Israel. That would be a disaster, not only because of...

Bishalach – A Decisive Divorce

Shalach, the root of the word of the parshah’s title, is used elsewhere regarding the exodus from Mitzrayim (e.g. shalach es ami). So are the words yetziah (e.g. Shemos, 20:2) and geirush (e.g. ibid...

Parshas Bo – Enticing the Wicked Son

When the Torah (Shemos, 12:26) recounts the question the Haggadah attributes to the “wicked son,” it states that, when our ancestors heard it, they responded by bowing down in thanksgiving. What were they thankful...

Vo’eira – History’s Foundation

It is interesting that the concept of hakaras hatov, “recognition of the good” that one has experienced, appears not only in the parsha, at the beginning of the Sefer Shemos saga whose apogee is...

Shemos – Against Your Grain

My rebbe, Rav Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, often spoke of how each of the Jewish forefathers was challenged by Hashem to act in opposition to the very characteristic that defined him. Avraham, whose middah is...

Vayechi – A Singular Kindness

Chesed v’emes, “kindness and truth,” is the term Yaakov Avinu uses to describe what he is asking of Yosef when charging his son to not bury him in Mitzrayim (Beraishis 47:29). And Rashi famously...

Vayigash — Full Circle

The wagons (agalos) that Yosef sent back with his brothers to their father (Beraishis 45:27) were intended to convince Yaakov it was indeed Yosef who was the effective ruler of Mitzrayim. They were, as...

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