Parshat Chukat

(Numbers: 19:1- 22:2)       (Shoftim 11:1-33)     (Pirkay Avot 5) [20:1] “And Miriam died there…” In relation to Miriam’s death, the Talmud tells us that “the death of the righteous brings purification from sin.” How can we understand this in a natural, … Continue reading

Parshat Korach

(Numbers: 16:1-18:32) (Haftara: Shmuel I, 11:14-12:22) (Pirkay Avot Chapter 4) [16:3] “All the people in the community are holy…”  Rashi explains that “all the people” is referring to the whole nation, and this is the most common understanding of the … Continue reading

Parshat Shlach-Lecha

(Numbers: 13:1-15:41) (Haftara: Yehoshua 2, 1-24) (Pirkay Avot 3) [13:27, 28] Our tradition looks upon the spies as the ultimate traitors. What was so bad about the spies’ message to the Israelites? [13:30] “And Caleb stilled the people”. Rashi says … Continue reading

Parshat Beha’alotcha

(Numbers: 8:1-12:16) (Haftara: Zecharia 2:14-4:7) (Pirkay Avot, chapter 2) [9:7] “And those men [who were impure and couldn’t do the first Pesach] said to him, “We are impure…’ “. Whoever is ritually impure or too far away and can’t eat … Continue reading

Parshat Naso

(Numbers: 4:21-7:89) (Haftara: Judges 13:2-25) (Pirkay Avot:Chapter 6) (Sfirat Haomer) [5:14] “…and a spirit of jealousy comes on him…” When a husband suspects his wife of being unfaithful, she drinks something which tests her faithfulness.  One would think that there … Continue reading

Parshat Bamidbar

(Numbers 1:1-4:20) (Haftara: Hosea 2, 1-22) (Pirkay Avot Chapter 6) (Sfirat Ha’omer) (Rosh Chodesh) [1:2]  “Count the community of the children of Israel…”  The Hebrew phrase used here for counting people or taking a census means “lifting up the head”.  … Continue reading

Parshot Behar-Bechukotai

(Leviticus: 25:1-27:34) (Haftara: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14) (Pirkay Avot: Chapter 5) (Sfirat Ha’omer) 1. [26:3] “If you walk in My chukim (statutes)…” Chukim are commandments whose reasons are either not comprehensible, or very hard to understand. For example, the laws of kashrut … Continue reading

Parshat Emor

(Leviticus: 21:1-24:23) (Haftara:  Yechezkel 44:15-31) (Pirkay Avot: Chapter 4) (Sfirat Haomer) [21:1-2] “…he should not make himself impure for the dead…except for a relative who is close to him…”   The Kohen can go to the funeral of a close relative.  … Continue reading

Parshot Acharay–Kedoshim

(Leviticus: 16:1-20:27) (Haftara: Amos 9:7-15)      (Pirkay Avot: Chapter 3) (Sfirat Ha’omer) [19:2] “…be holy, because I, God, your Lord, am holy.” How can God ask us to be like Him? Isn’t this impossible? [19:11] “…don’t lie to each other.” Our … Continue reading

Parshot Tazria-Metzorah

(Leviticus 12:1-15:33) (Haftara: Kings II, 7:3-20)  (Pirkay Avot: Chapter 2) [13:1] Our tradition tells us that tzara’at (a condition similar to leprosy) is a punishment for the sin of speaking badly about someone (motzi shem ra) with no constructive purpose. … Continue reading