Dvar Torah Pinchas

Pinchas is an extremely problematic figure. The Jewish tradition developed several radically different approaches in teaching about this Torah portion. To bring you up to date. At the end of last week’s Torah portion Pinchas acts as judge, jury, and executioner. In his righteous indignation he kills a prince of the Jewish people, Zimri and […]

Continue reading

This week’s Torah portion Chukat (Numbers 19:1 to 21:1) is a rich trove of paradoxical challenges. Understanding this Torah portion led our sages into new depths of textual and conceptual ingenuity. At the center of this Torah portion is the arational ritual of the parah adamah, “red heifer.” The red heifer ceremony addresses the search […]

Continue reading

Dvar Torah Bamidbar

The day you were born was the day God decided the universe could no longer exist without you. – Rebbe Nachman of Bretzlav This week as the weather warms and we make our way into summer, we also begin a new book of the Torah, Bamidbar, the Book of Numbers.  Far from the family stories Genesis, […]

Continue reading

Dvar Torah Behukotai

This week’s Torah portion begins with a familiar reminder of the Biblical understanding of faith and practice, “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will give your rains in their time, the land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit.” (Lev. 26:3-4)  Do […]

Continue reading

Dvar Torah Behar

Warsaw has had some illustrious rabbis in its rich Jewish history. This evening, I would like to introduce you to an extraordinary rabbi who lived in the Warsaw Jewish community during its darkest hour, Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira. He was the last Chassidic rebbe alive in the Warsaw ghetto and was murdered in Treblinka in […]

Continue reading

Dvar Torah Emor

Sometimes, the most significant concepts in Judaism are hidden in seemingly insignificant passages in the Torah. In this week’s Torah portion, Emor, at the end of a section dealing with the characteristics of which animals are acceptable for sacrifices, we learn of two very important mitzvot, chillul hashem (desecration of God’s name) and Kiddush haShem […]

Continue reading

Dvar Torah Kedoshim

On the surface, wool and linen don’t seem like that dangerous of a mixture, yet in the midst of this week’s parsha, we are commanded to never blend them: “You shall not let your cattle mate with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; and you shall not […]

Continue reading