Category: General

Emor – Crime and Punishment

The first of the Torah’s two cases of imprisonment – that of the mekalel, the blasphemer, is in the parshah (Vayikra, 24:12). The second is in parshas Shelach (Bamidbar 15:34), regarding the mekoshesh eitzim,...

Kedoshim – Skin in a Zero-Sum Gam

Although, in the end, all tattooing is forbidden by halachah, one opinion in the Mishna (Rabi Shimon ben Yehudah in Rabi Shimon’s name) sees the prohibition as referring specifically to tattooing the name of an...

Metzora – Not Just the Kitchen Sink

I once witnessed an amusing exchange between a mother and her four- or five-year-old daughter. The former, trying to do some cooking with the child underfoot, told the little person, “You need to leave...

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Putin, Explained

It couldn’t be simpler. Putin is a despotic tyrant without conscience, who seized upon perceived Western weakness to enlarge his empire. All true – but there is much more than that. As the saying...

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...

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