Bishalach – La Différence

Our ancestors’ wondering “Is Hashem in our midst or not?” is followed immediately in the Torah by Amalek’s attack (Shemos 17: 7-8). The word expressing Klal Yisrael’s existential doubt – “or not?” – is...

Parshas Bo – Birth Blood

That Yaakov’s descendants are commanded by Hashem to place the blood of the korban Pesach on the doorposts and lintels of their homes’ doors (Shemos 12:7) is certainly intriguing. Considering that the Gemara on...

Vo’eira – When To Remind Can Be Unkind

It’s intriguing that when Moshe and Aharon are sent to present themselves to Par’oh and to demonstrate the miracle of a staff turning into a snake, Moshe is commanded by Hashem to tell Aharon...

Shemos – Working the Empathy Muscle

Each of us lives at the center of a series of concentric circles, the closest one encompassing our immediate family members; the next, friends and neighbors; beyond that, co-religionists or fellow citizens of one’s...

Vayechi – Missing Letter, Vital Message

All the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found in the bracha that Yehudah is given by his father Yaakov – with one exception: the zayin. That fact is pointed out by Rabbeinu Bachya,...

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,...

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