parshat hashavua

Vayechi: The Inconsistent Truth

"And they said, should they make our sister like a harlot?" (Breisheet 34:31). So ends round one of the debate between Yaakov on one side, and Shimon and Levi on the other, over the killing of the people of Shechem for the rape of Dinah. The Torah moves on to record Yaakov's return to Beit El as the family enters a new phase in their travels. It is on Yaakov's deathbed that we hear his response: "Shimon and Levi, the tools of violence are in their hands...in their anger they killed men" (Breisheet 49:5-6).

VaYera: The Man of Prayer

Our tradition teaches that the founder of the Jewish people, Abraham, is the one who introduced the notion of daily prayer to the world. “And Abraham awoke in the morning to the place, el hamakom, where he had stood, asher amad sham, before G-d” (Breisheet 19:27). Though prayer is not actually mentioned in the above verse, our sages interpreted the word amad, where he stood, as a reference to prayer, stating that “there is no standing other than prayer”.

Breisheet: Let Us Make Man

The belief in one G-d is perhaps the most fundamental teaching of Judaism. Thousands have died rather than negate this central tenet of Judaism. "In the beginning, G-d created the heaven and the earth" lays down the Biblical perspective right from the beginning. All that exists in this universe has only one source. While this may seem obvious to us, it is not necessarily inherently so. Could it not make more sense to argue that good and evil are a reflection of competing gods?  

Re'eh: Do You Love Me?

How can you tell if somebody loves you? We all understand that words alone are hollow, and that it is actions that count. Even so, it is not always easy to understand the actions of others. Misreading one's intentions in this sensitive area can have disastrous consequences. Imputing noble motives where none exist is no less dangerous than falsely accusing someone of nefarious intentions. While the latter is liable to lead to tensions, the former can lead to death. Testing someone's love trying to snare someone seems a little immature and can be dangerous.

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