Ha’azinu-Shabbat Shuva - Weekly Torah Portion

It is not the threats of a pandemic that have to be the focus of the discourse during the days between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. Rather, these days are supposed to be days of reflection, time for social interaction, and the fixing of that which is broken. Instead it seems that what we are experiencing are days of confusion and perplex, social distancing, and what seems to be as a continued barrage of distortions. Truth to be said, the coronavirus is new, not really known and not fully understood. It is therefore natural to expect certain uncertainty that will lead to wrong decision making, some severe, and not always avoidable. On the other hand, there is no justification whatsoever to th

Rosh HaShana 5781 - Weekly Torah Portion

On Rosh HaShana we read of two cases where Abraham is put to the test. The first happens almost immediately after his son is born to his wife Sarah. She demands, “‘Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.’ The matter distressed Abraham greatly because of his son. But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.’” Seemingly he can relax and calm down, he can back-off of his commitment to his other sons as there is someone else who

Nitsavim-VaYelech - Weekly Torah Portion

It is one week before Rosh HaShana and we have almost completed a full cycle of reading of the Torah. This week we read two portions, “Nitsavim” that reads, “You stand today, all of you, before the Lord your God: your chiefs, your tribes, your elders and your officers, even all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the alien who is within your camps, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water”. We also read from “VaYelech”, “So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them, ‘I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’’” For the Haftarah

Ki Tavo - Weekly Torah Portion

When the prophet Isiah exclaims, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, / And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” it is clear that something not that good happened before that. Though he does not refrain from reminding us what it is all about, “For in My wrath I struck you, / And in My favor I have had compassion on you.” There is an interesting contrast between the anger that has to do with all the bad deeds made by the Israelites, versus the compassion that comes at will, not as a result of doing what is right. It is simply for compassion. The price of bad behavior is dear, it has its retaliation and there is no real recourse to it that can change the route to mayhem. It is just a

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