Torah Commentary

B’haalotkha: "One Law for All" Doesn't and Shouldn't Mean That.

B’haalotkha: "One Law for All" Doesn't and Shouldn't Mean That.
Whenever I read in the Torah, as we do this week, “There shall be one law for you, whether stranger or citizen of the country,” (Numbers 9:14), I think of the U.S. Constitution.  The Fourteenth Amendment declares: “nor shall an... Continue Reading »

Naso: Your Next Vacation: Sderot

Naso: Your Next Vacation: Sderot
When I tell well-meaning acquaintances that I am about to return to Israel – yet again -- they usually remark, “Have a good time!” “I hope you enjoy yourself!” and/or “You must really like it there!” &nb... Continue Reading »

Shavuot: Learn, Baby, Learn!

Shavuot: Learn, Baby, Learn!
Poor Shavuot!  It is surely the “Rodney Dangerfield” of major Jewish holidays. Yes, of major Jewish holidays. The Torah commands us to celebrate three pilgrimage festivals; Pesach, Sukkot, and Shavuot.  But Shavuot gets short... Continue Reading »

Be-Hukkotai: A helpful reminder.

Be-Hukkotai: A helpful reminder.
A few blessings, but many curses.  That’s the count in this week’s Torah portion, Be-Hukkotai (combined with Behar outside Israel). And that’s how our lives sometimes – perhaps often – seem.  Especially... Continue Reading »

Responsibility -- A True Story

Responsibility -- A True Story
“All Jews are Responsible For One Another” (Talmud, Shevuot 39a)  “Adoni, atah yachol l’azor li?”  (Sir, can you help me?”) There was no one else around, so he must be talking to me.   I tur... Continue Reading »

Behar/Emor: Consistently Inconsistent

Behar/Emor: Consistently Inconsistent
I’ve returned to Israel, where this week’s Torah reading is B’har. Back in America, though – and everywhere in the Diaspora, – this week’s Torah portion is Emor, which was read last week here.   The diverge... Continue Reading »

Kedoshim: Love to disagree? Disagree to love!

Kedoshim: Love to disagree? Disagree to love!
“What can I learn from (you/him/her/them)?”  This is not normally the question we ask ourselves when deciding whether to meet with someone.  But if it was, we would be acting to fulfill what no less an authority than Rabbi Ak... Continue Reading »
May 01

No Jewish Future Without Israel?

This week, speaking at Israeli Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron) ceremonies, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “… we find comfort in the fact that these sons and daughters died for the noblest of causes: to ensure the survival of this nation.... Continue Reading »

Vayikra: Guilt is good.

Vayikra: Guilt is good.
“Guilty pleasure” usually refers to enjoying a trivial action that is nominally harmful -- like eating a rich chocolate bon-bon (but only one!) rather than a piece of fruit.  But although this is indeed a trivial example, the princip... Continue Reading »

Understanding Israel: Election Part 6: My Vote

Understanding Israel: Election Part 6: My Vote
“I can’t accept Arabs as 30% of the ruling coalition.  Fortunately, I don’t have to.  I’ll vote for Buji [Herzog] and Tzipi [Livni]… they’ll win … but they don’t have a coalition, so Bibi wi... Continue Reading »
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If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
Jewish Proverb