Tetzaveh Feb 23, 2024

  The central theme of Sefer Shemot is the formation of the Jewish people as a nation. The group of 70 individuals who descended to Egypt quickly…

Terumah Feb 23, 2024

Symbols play an important part in helping to define who we are. Our clothing, for example, is often symbolic of the social milieu with which we…

Mishpatim Feb 16, 2024

"Rabban Yocḥanan ben Zakkai’s students asked him: ‘For what reason was the Torah stricter with a ganav, thief than with a gazlan, robber?’” (Bava…

Yitro Feb 2, 2024

What kind of book is the Torah and who is it meant for? Rashi begins his commentary to the Torah with the supposition that the Torah is primarily a…

Beshalach Jan 26, 2024

Throughout the Exodus story, the Jewish people are silent. We do not know what they were thinking or doing during the plagues. We hear them rejoicing…

Vaera Jan 14, 2024

That man sins is part and parcel of being human. It is the basis of the most special day of the year, that of Yom Kippur. Proper preparation for, and…

Shemot Jan 5, 2024

“And Moshe was frightened and he said, behold the incident is known. And Pharaoh heard about the affair and he sought to kill Moshe…

Vayechi Jan 1, 2024

  The opening 11 chapters of Sefer Breisheet can be read as explaining why there was a need for a Jewish people. G-d created man in His image and…

Vayigash Dec 22, 2023

It is clear already from the sale of Yosef, that Yehuda had leadership potential. It was he who convinced the brothers not to murder Yosef, something…

Mikeitz Dec 15, 2023

Yosef was a most charismatic person. He was young, attractive and as the Torah tells us on three occasions, he was an ish mazleach, a successful man…

Vayeshev Dec 8, 2023

The annual Torah reading cycle has us reading the story of Yosef during Chanukah[1]. While in most years it is Parshat Mikketz we read on Shabbat…

Vayishlach Dec 1, 2023

“And Jacob was very frightened and distressed” (Breisheet 32:8). After some 22 years Yaakov Avinu is returning home. Afraid that Eisav – who years…

Vayetze Nov 24, 2023

“Go out and learn what Lavan the Aramean sought to do to Yaakov, our father; Pharaoh only decreed [death] on the males but Lavan sought to uproot…

Toldot Nov 17, 2023

Our Sages were no respecters of persons. When they felt a wrong was committed, they called it out – be that person Noach, Avraham, Moshe or anyone…

Chayei Sarah Nov 10, 2023

Yitzchak brought [Rivka] into mother Sarah's tent and he married Rivka. She became his wife, and he loved her. Yitzchak was consoled for the loss of…

VaYera Nov 3, 2023

Rabbinic tradition maintains that the Torah existed even before the creation of the world, in essence serving as the architectural blueprint of…

Lech Lecha Oct 27, 2023

The Torah provides very little biographical information. Rather, it highlights significant events in their lives from which we can deduce and debate…

Noach Oct 20, 2023

“And the entire land were of one language, and the same things” (Breisheet 11:1). What a beautiful description of a world at peace! A world in which…

Breisheet Oct 13, 2023

A history book, a law book[1], a book of theology, editorial comments, a book of philosophy, a description of G-d, a code of ethics, a lesson on…

V'zot HaBracha Oct 6, 2023

If one wants to get a quick overview of a book one tends to read the introduction or perhaps the opening pages. That is where a typical author sets…

Sukkot Sep 29, 2023

“And you shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of the hadar tree, date palm fronds, a branch of a braided tree, and willows of the…

Brachot Sep 28, 2023

Rosh Hashanah marked 100 years of Daf Yomi. I have seen surprisingly little written about this important milestone. The thoughts below on this…

Yom Kippur Sep 24, 2023

“For the sin we sinned before You, b’ones u’beratzon, under duress and willingly. So begins the litany of al chets, the double acrostic listing of…

Haazinu Sep 22, 2023

“Haazinu Hashamayim vadebera, vatishma haaretz imrei pi, Give ear, O heavens, let me speak; Let the earth hear the words I utter” (Devarim 32:1). In…

Rosh Hashanah Sep 15, 2023

“Ubechen, Please G-d instill pachdecha, terror upon all Your works and eimatecha, Your dread upon all that You have created”. So begins the Amidah on…

Nitzavim Sep 8, 2023

"You are standing this day all of you before the Lord your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel: your…

Ki Tavo Sep 1, 2023

Why does misfortune befall the Jewish people? While there is no simple answer – or perhaps no answer at all - to this complex problem of theodicy,…

Ki Teitzei Aug 25, 2023

One of the beautiful aspects of our Torah is the fact that it deals with real-life issues, and with real and thus imperfect people. Nezikin, damages…

Aug 25, 2023

The thoughts below are dedicated in celebration of the birth of our granddaughter, Tikva Razel. May our children Atara & Noah raise Tikva Razel …

Shoftim Aug 18, 2023

Long before Lord Acton, the Torah well understood that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is for this reason that the King –…

Re'eh Aug 11, 2023

  Each of the five books of the chumash has a unique theme – otherwise there would be no need for five books. Breisheet discusses why there is a need…

Eikev Aug 4, 2023

One of the primary goals of the Torah is the inducement of fear of heaven. “Now what does Hashem, your G-d ask of you? Only to fear Hashem your G-d,…

Tu B'Av Aug 3, 2023

Our holidays form natural units, as none truly stand alone. The 49 days of the omer link Pesach to Shavuot. We begin the holiday cycle by celebrating…

VaEtchanan Jul 28, 2023

“Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the laws and rules that I proclaim to you this day! Study them and observe them…

Tisha B'Av Jul 25, 2023

“Rav Yochanan said: Jerusalem was destroyed only because they followed the laws of the Torah” (Bava Metzia 30b). The Talmud is incredulous at such an…

Devarim Jul 21, 2023

“Moshe said to the Lord, "I beseech You, O Lord. Lo ish devarim anochi, I am not a man of words, neither from yesterday nor from the day before…

Mattot Jul 14, 2023

“And a lot of livestock did the children of the Reuven and Gad have and they saw the Ya’azer, and Gilead areas that were good for livestock” (…

Pinchas Jul 7, 2023

While it is undoubtedly true that people get the leaders they deserve, it is also true that great leaders are often—though not always—able to inspire…

Chukat Jun 30, 2023

This week's devar Torah is dedicated in honour of the bat mitzvah of Temira Koenig. Mazal tov to her parents, Tali and Jason, and to the entire…

Korach Jun 27, 2023

“Im Bryiah Yivrah, But if the Lord creates a creation, and the earth opens its mouth, patzta et piha, and swallows them and all that is theirs, and…

Shelach Lecha Jun 16, 2023

One of the most fascinating features of the Torah is the mixing of law and narrative. Nowhere is this more evident than in sefer Bamidbar. Sefer…

Jun 14, 2023

Mid-June on the North American calendar is graduation season. In the Jewish community, hundreds, nay thousands, of graduations will take place,…

Beha'alotcha Jun 9, 2023

One can reasonably argue that the primary theme of sefer Bamidbar is that of leadership. How much responsibility must a leader take for the failings…

Naso Jun 2, 2023

It is amazing how two people can look at the exact same thing and yet see things very differently. This is likely the reason that the Torah often…

Shavuot May 26, 2023

It is the omer, a measure of barley, that unites the Biblical holidays of Pesach and Sukkot. With no calenderic date Shavuot occurs on the day after…

Bamidbar May 19, 2023

One of the hallmarks of a strong society is its ability to smoothly effect change. New leaders and policies, crises and confrontations are all dealt…

May 12, 2023

Many a great and historic event took place on a mountain. Noach’s ark rested on Mount Arrarat allowing for the continuation of humanity. Avraham took…

May 5, 2023

Pomp and ceremony are very Jewish ideas. While this may come as a surprise to many, the Torah understood that pageantry has a great impact on people…

Emor May 5, 2023

The major theme of sefer Vayikra is, arguably, that of tumah and taharah, purity and impurity. When one reads the Torah, one senses what seems almost…

Kedoshim Apr 28, 2023

“The majority of the essence of the Torah is dependant upon it”. So asserts Rashi as he begins his commentary to parshat kedoshim. It is because of…