Vayikra - weekly Torah portion

Many sins are described in the portion of the Torah that we read this week from the Book of Leviticus. We also learn the ways to cleanse from such sins, typically by sacrificing an animal which deals with the sins made against God. However, there are also sins that occur between human beings and these too require ways to cleanse from. In these cases it is not enough to offer a sacrifice, it is necessary to reimburse the person who was affected by the sin and add to it. That is, not only the value of the damage but also an additional compensation. We read, “When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the Lord, and deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to h

Vayak'heil-P'kudei - weekly Torah portion

On this Shabbat we read two portions of the Torah and with that conclude the reading of the book of Exodus. From our reading we learn, among others, about the preparations for the building of the Mishkan. Moses requests, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded ‘Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the Lord’s contribution’” and continues with the specifics of that which is to be brought in so that the work can commence. After some detail, it is said, “Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses’ presence. Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s

Ki Tisa- weekly Torah portion (in memory of Yitzhak Eliezer Marko z”l

This past Tuesday my father, Yitschak Marko, has passed away after a brief fight against a violent case of cancer. The last two months of his life were not easy for him and required ever increasing doses of pain killers. We, his family, honored his wish he has expressed for many years not to fight for his life in the case of a terminal illness. During the past few weeks we deliberated among ourselves, as we could not include him any more in these discussions, and decided that it would be only right to abide by his express wishes. So, he died peacefully in his own bed. Yitzhak Eliezer Marko z”l This week we read about the golden calf. “ow when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down fr

Tetzaveh- weekly Torah portion

There is no better time for us to read from this week’s portion of the Torah the words “You shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp, forever. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the Lord; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout their generations for the sons of Israel.” Every night, when evening falls, a candle must be lit to shy away the darkness of the night and it must remain lit until the morning. It must ne done always, forever, as when darkness covers the earth it is required to have a light to expel at lea

“Have Them Make a Tabernacle for Me and I will Dwell among Them” – Thoughts for Parashat Terumah and

The Book of Exodus comprises three sections: nation building, receiving the Torah, and building the tabernacle. The portion we will discuss here begins the third and final section – the commandment to Moses and the people to build a tabernacle. In the middle of the detailed instructions regarding the dimensions of the tabernacle and the material from which it is to be built, a single verse has become the subject of volumes of commentary: “Have them make a tabernacle for me and I will dwell among them.” In the original Hebrew, in particular, this verse sounds a bit strange. Surely we would expect it to read “Have them make a tabernacle for me and I will dwell in it.” The Admor of Siget, the n

Terumah - weekly Torah portion

Moses is on Mount Sinai, and he will be there for a total of forty days and forty nights before he returns to the Israelites. He receives an order, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution.” There are specific commandments as to what is to be taken as a donation and how these donations are to be used. The purpose is clearly defined in one sentence, “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” There is also a detailed description of what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. For example, “…construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wi

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