Bamidbar: Natural Life

Sefer Bamidbar can be viewed as a book of missed opportunities. A small group of Jewish slaves—the midrash claims no more than one in five—showed great faith and resolve as they marched through a barren desert to hear the word of G-d. Under the leadership of Moshe, Miriam and Aharon, they were preparing to enter the land of Israel and thus Sefer Bamidbar opens with the counting of the soldiers who would triumphantly conquer the land.  However,...
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Bechukotai: Living Together

The Jewish people have never been a large nation. Our strength lies in quality, not quantity. Nonetheless, precisely because we are so few in number, every Jew counts. Our vulnerability makes it incumbent upon us to work together as we strive to meet our mandate of being a holy nation that is a light unto the rest of the world.  Sina'at chinam, indifference towards others, is something that is much more deadly to us than most...
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Emor: The Right Balance

Judaism measures greatness by spiritual achievements. It should come as no surprise that many of our founding fathers suffered from physical ailments. Yitzchak was blind, Yaakov partially crippled, and Moshe had a speech impediment. Their eminence was such that whatever "handicaps" they might have had were simply irrelevant. Physical limitations are no impediment to greatness. Nonetheless, physical and material attributes are...
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Bava Batra 91: Avraham Avinu and Mother's Day

May 11, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Here is a great trivia question to try on a friend. Who was Noach’s wife? What was Abraham’s mother’s name? Don’t feel bad if you don’t know. While the Torah tells us whom Eisav married, the Torah is silent regarding the wife of Noach. While we know who the mother of Amalek is, we are left to guess whom the mother of Abraham might be.  The Torah is not a history book, nor a biography of our founding fathers (...
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Kedoshim: Holiness and Happiness

Knowledge is much more than the accumulation of facts. It is the analysis and application of those facts that is crucial. Underlying factual knowledge is a philosophical outlook on life. Science is not a series of formulas and raw data but a way of looking at the world with each scientific discipline taking a slightly different approach to understanding nature. It is most interesting that until recent times, mathematics and philosophy...
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