Torah Commentary

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 »

Behar: Don't live in the "Shark Tank"

Who said, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”?   Although Ben Franklin is often credited, it was actually Shakespeare, who put these words into the mouth of his character Lord Polonius (Hamlet Act I, Scene III).   How ironic, the... Continue Reading »

Emor: Profane Sanctimony in the Synagogue?

“You shall not profane My holy name, that I may be sanctified in the midst of the Israelite people, I the Lord, who sanctify you.”  -- Leviticus 22-32.  “You shall not profane My holy name” is highly reminiscent of the third of the “Ten Co... Continue Reading »

Aharei Mot: Offering our Offspring to Molech

“Do not allow any of your offspring to be offered up to Molech.”  Leviticus 18:21 The many biblical references to child sacrifice to "gods" indicate that this was once a common practice.  Perhaps it still occurs in some cultures, but, than... Continue Reading »

Pesach's Socialist Message

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  What might this phrase, a slogan usually associated with Karl Marx, albeit with much older antecedents[1], have to due to Pesach? Socialism/communism’s fundamental goal was t... Continue Reading »

Ethics: "Outing" an adulterer. Part Two.

In response to my post last week, "Outing" the Adulterer (Part One) Dale D. asked how to avoid Lashon Hara (“evil tongue/evil speech”) when fulfilling this mitzvah. Here are three questions we should ask ourselves before “Outing” someone: ... Continue Reading »

Ethics: "Outing" an adulterer. Part One.

“Heartbroken” discovered that not only was her “divorced” lover married, he was simultaneously cheating on her with another-other woman.   When Heartbroken broke off the relationship, he said terrible things about her.  She felt guilt... Continue Reading »

Yitro: The Paradox of Self(ish)-Reliance

Judaism disagrees with the maxim, “It’s better to give than to receive.” (The source of this maxim is “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” a quote ironically attributed by one Jew – Saul of Tarsus, better known as Paul the Apostle -- to anot... Continue Reading »
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He who guards his mouth preserves his life
Proverbs 13:3