Torah Commentary

Are you a "Mass-Spreader?"

Watch on YouTube Are You a “Mass-Spreader”?  Not of the Covid-19 virus, G-d forbid.  But of the on-going pandemic of lashon hara -- harmful speech?     This week’s combined Torah portions Tazria-Metzora... Continue Reading »

Shemini: What "Keeping Kosher" Really Means.

Watch on You Tube This week’s Torah portion, Shemini, the third in the book of Leviticus, contains many of the laws of kashrut – kosher eating.   Many Jews think of kashrut only in terms of rules regarding foods that c... Continue Reading »

Matzah Ethics

Watch on YouTube   We’ve eaten matzah during this Passover week because the Torah/G-d requires it and forbids chametz (leavened bread).  As my nine-year old grandson proudly told us during our family seder, the tr... Continue Reading »

Protecting Others' Dignity

Watch on You Tube   Shabbat Shalom.  Welcome to this week’s installment of “The Ethical Torah.”     By tradition, there are 613 mitzvot, or commandments, in the Torah.  None of them explicitly states that w... Continue Reading »

Judaism's "Picayune Rules"

Watch on You Tube This week, we begin reading the third book of Torah, Yayikra, or Leviticus.  One of the frequent criticisms of Judaism by non-Jews, and of Orthodox Judaism by non-Orthodox Jews, is that Judaism (or Orthodox Judaism, or “... Continue Reading »

Vayakhel-Pedudei: Anger Management

Watch on YouTube Our Torah reading for this Shabbat, the last of the Book of Exodus, is VaYakhel-Pekudei. It contains one of the basic rules in Jewish law concerning Shabbat observance: the prohibition on kindling a flame.   &nbs... Continue Reading »

Ki Tissa: A Passion for Compassion

Watch YouTube Video.     Are you a compassionate person?    If you’re like me, you would like to think of yourself as compassionate.  But are we really? And if not, why should we be?   This week’s Torah p... Continue Reading »

Titzaveh: Why Should We Observe Mitzvot?

Watch video.   Shabbat shalom, and if you are reading this the day I have posted it, Purim Sameach!     The name of this week’s Torah portion is תצוה “Tetzaveh,” which comes from the same Hebrew root as mitzvah&... Continue Reading »

Terumah: What’s in Your Heart (Not Your Wallet)?

Watch video.    Shabbat Shalom.    At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Terumah, G-d tells Moses to invite those Israelites who wish to do so to give Him Terumah, a word usually translated as “gifts.” ... Continue Reading »

Mishpatim: Do Not Oppress the Stranger. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat ...

Watch video.  I haven’t counted them to confirm this number, but evidently the Torah has 304,805 letters.      According to a principle of rabbinic exegesis -- that is, scriptural interpretation -- not even one of these 30... Continue Reading »
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If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
Jewish Proverb