Ki Savo – Schrödinger’s Moon

Seizing on the fact that the Hebrew word for a granary – osem – shares two letters with the word for “obscured” – samui – Chazal make an intriguing assertion: Blessing [i.e. increase in...

Parshas Ki Seitzei – A Puzzling Parallel

It is striking and strange that a phrase that is to be proclaimed by the yevama, the childless widow whose brother-in-law does not wish to marry her, is the precise phrase in Megillas Esther,...

Shoftim – Commanded

Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker once asked students if they would rather face the vicissitudes of their lives or be transformed into totally happy pigs. A young woman raised her hand and said, “I’d...

Re’ei – Survivors

Kol yimei chayecha – “All the days of your life” – is a phrase we first meet in the Torah when Hashem pronounces the fate of Adam after the sin of eating from the...

Eikev – Strangers in a Strange Land

Both remarkable and timely is a digression by the Sefer HaChinuch on a mitzvah in the parshah. The mitzvah, #431, is ahavas hager, the commandment to love a convert (Devarim 10:19). In addition to...

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The Embrace of Generations

by Reuven Ungar I The Remnant of the Sages- Pleitat Sofreihem In his monumental eulogy for Rav Chaim Heller, Rav Soloveitchik relates to the phrase “Pleitat Sofreihem” in the Shemoneh Esreh. Why doesn’t “Sofreihem” suffice;...

Devarim – The Rock’s Lost Lesson 

In Moshe Rabbeinu’s parting rebuke of Klal Yisrael for “not believing in Hashem” (Devarim 1:32), for all its complaining in the wake of the report of the meraglim and beyond, he refers to Hashem’s...

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Were We Wrong About Chabad?

For decades, Chabad’s want-to-wrap-tefillin legions made us feel uncomfortable. More bluntly, we mocked them. To be sure, that was only half of the picture. We openly admired Chabad’s mesiras nefesh, and their very real...

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