Author: Avi Shafran

Parshas Vayakheil – Tough Love

The kruvim, three-dimensional depictions of two winged childlike beings, a male and female, formed from the gold of the kappores, the cover of the aron, are described as “facing one another” (Shemos 37:9). The...

Parshas Ki Sisa – Reasonable but Wrong

Our ancestors’ devotion, so soon after the revelation at Har Sinai, to a physical object, the egel hazahav, the golden calf, is rightly and remarkably confounding. Obviously, like so many of the Torah’s narratives,...

Terumah – What’s in The Name

Although there are several explanations in various midrashim for the word li in the phrase viyikchu li (“And have them take for Me”), Rashi, famously, simply comments “lishmi” – “for My sake” [literally, “for...

Yisro – The Barrel’s Secret

Last year, I noted what Rav Avdimi bar Chama bar Chasa says about the Sinaitic revelation, that “Hashem overturned the mountain above the Jews like a barrel [gigis] and said to them: ‘If you...

Parshas Bo – Choosing a Channel

  Since free will is the fundamental element of the human being that places him in a realm apart from the rest of Creation, the question of how Hashem could “harden the heart” of...

Vo’eira – Nobody Will Get Stoned

  Slight divergences between the Torah’s words or phrases and Targum Onkelos’ rendering of them are often laden with meaning. One such seemingly minor change is in the Targum’s translation of Moshe’s words: “Were...

Shemos – Best-Laid Plans

  The account of Moshe’s being placed in the river, discovered by bas Par’oh and raised in royal surroundings would seem to be of no import regarding the main narrative of Shemos – Moshe’s...

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