Tazria-Metzora: A Plague Upon You!

One of my favorite Talmudic maxims is: “[G-d] created the Evil Inclination, and the Torah as its antidote.” (Kiddushin 30b).  I like it for two reasons.  First, it makes Torah, Judaism, and G-d relevant to every moment of our lives. ... Continue Reading »

Shemini: Storks Play Favorites!

Do storks play favorites when they deliver babies? The stork (Hebrew: חסידה Chasidah) is included in this week’s Torah portion, Shemini, among birds Jews are forbidden to eat.  (Leviticus 11:13, 19).  According to the Ramban (Nachmanides... Continue Reading »

Dvar Torah Shabbat Pesach: Does Yichus Matter?

Does he/she come from a good family? That’s a common question parents and grandparents ask about any perspective (grand)son- or (grand)daughter-in-law.  After all, as the adage goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  Moreov... Continue Reading »

Vayakhal-Pekudei: Don't Stop Me If You've Heard This One.

When we don’t need more of something, it’s natural to tell someone who brings more,  “Thanks, but I have enough.”  After all, wouldn’t it be wrong to mislead someone who thinks their gift is needed when it is not, and they could keep, retur... Continue Reading »

Ki Tissa: The Calm During The Storm

Which are the best ways to calm a very angry person who threatens to do something rash?  This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tissa (Exodus 30:11-34:35), provides practical advice through example.  When the Israelites built a golden calf and wor... Continue Reading »

Hukkat: What Have You Done for Me Lately?

What happened yesterday about which you still feel grateful today?   How about the day-before-yesterday?  Last week? Last month? Last year?  It’s hard, and maybe impossible, to feel grateful for benefits received that we no longer re... Continue Reading »

Shelach-Lecha: When to Be Underhanded

When the spies Moses sent to Canaan returned with their report, ten of the twelve advised the Israelites not to even try to advance against the Anakites.  “We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.”  (Num... Continue Reading »

Be-Ha'alotekha: Is that really what you're mad about?

Sibling jealousy is common in the Hebrew Bible.  Cain and Abel.  Jacob and Esau.  And, most famously, Joseph and his brothers.  Seldom mentioned, though, is that between Moses and his siblings, Aaron and Miriam.  Yet, arguabl... Continue Reading »

Naso: Guilty? Take the “Fifth” and Confess.

Many Jews consider confession to be a once-a-year religious obligation. On the “Day of Atonement,” they confess their sins to G-d, privately and/or by joining in the communal “Ashamru” (“We have sinned”) liturgy. Such an understanding of the role of... Continue Reading »

Be-Hukkotai: There's No Substitute for Rationalization

"If [a vow concerns] any animal that may be brought as an offering to the lord, any such that may be given to the lord shall be holy. one may not exchange or substitute another for it, either good for bad, or bad for good; if one does substitute one ... Continue Reading »
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A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb