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Insights Into Torah and Contemporary Life
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HOW WILLING ARE WE TO HELP OTHERS? (Parshat Shemot 5782)
How do we respond to injustice? Does news of injustice affect us? Are we silent to the plight of agunot or to child abuse? Moshe only becomes our leader after showing his ability to feel the pain of others.
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SACRIFICE COMES BEFORE SUCCESS (Parshat Va'era 5782)
The Four Redemptions (והוצאתי, והצלתי, וגאלתי ולקחתי) are a Talmudic basis for the Arba Kosot at the Seder. Why is there an obligation to borrow or spend our last penny to fulfill this Mitzvah d'Rabbanan? Thoughts on Parshat Va'era and how there is no redemption without sacrifice.
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PESACH IN S'DOM? RESPONDING TO ABUSE (Parashat Bo 5782)
Chazal suggest that the first Passover Seder took place with Lot and the angels in Sodom, and not in Egypt! What is the common thread in these seemingly unrelated narratives? Thoughts on the parsha and the vital need to speak out against the injustice of abuse.
Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander33 ViewsApril 11, 2022Parshat Bo,Abuse,Bo
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A PEEK INTO GOD'S "PRIVATE STUDY" (Parshat Beshalach 5782)
God commands that the Manna, an important testament to His relationship with us, be placed in the Holy of Holies. Why would it be there and not in a public area of the Temple, where people can view it? Thoughts on Parshat Beshalach and the role of the Manna.
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GOD, HOLINESS AND THE NEED FOR HUMAN INITIATIVE (Parshat Yitro 5782)
The Divine revelation on Sinai was an unprecedented experience, yet the holiness of that site was only momentary, as opposed to the Temple Mount, where holiness is eternal. Thoughts on Parshat Yitro and the role of human initiative in creating holiness.
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THE BIG PICTURE AND THE FINE PRINT (Parshat Mishpatim 5782)
A vision needs a plan; without it, it's just a fading dream. We must be inspired by a vision and committed to its implementation strategy. Thoughts from a wintery Jerusalem on Parshat Mishpatim and why actualizing big-picture ideals requires a focus on the details.
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WHY DO WE NEED SYNAGOGUES? (Parshat Terumah 5782)
During COVID, the synagogue has been under attack, with attendance down nearly everywhere. Is that the metric for success? What can be done to improve the situation? Thoughts on P' Terumah & the Mishkan as a paradigmatic center for all aspects of Jewish life.
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WILL WE ACCEPT GOD’S ‘FRIEND REQUEST’? (Parshat Tetzaveh 5782)
Why does the Torah require the Kohen to wear special vestments for the service in the Mishkan and Temple? Does God also have a "wardrobe"? Thoughts on Parshat Tetzaveh and God's search for a relationship with us. Will we make the most of this opportunity?
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WHATEVER STEPS NECESSARY: ON MIRRORS, PREPARATION AND REDEMPTION (Parshat Ki Tisa 5782)
Jewish women's commitment to the future enabled the exodus from Egypt: the mirrors they used to make themselves attractive to their husbands were used to create the Kiyor (Laver) in the Mishkan. What is the connection between these mirrors & the Tabernacle’s ritual washing basin?
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REDEMPTION BEGINS WITH CHESED (Parshat Vayakhel / Shabbat Mevarchim Adar II 5782) ​​​​
Fulfilling a mitzvah at the first opportunity is a core Jewish value. So why wait until Adar II to observe Purim? Thoughts on the connection between Purim and Pesach, how they represent two forms of redemption, and how their celebrations begin with caring for the other.
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WHEN WE PUT SERVICE TO GOD OVER CONCERN FOR OTHERS (Parshat Pekudei 5782)
Can there be Avodat Hashem when we forget to treat the other with dignity? Stories from the Temple service that reflect upon such experiences and their consequences. Thoughts on Parshat Pekudei and how the first step in the performance of mitzvot must be derech eretz.
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