The Open Curtain Parshat Tzav; Leviticus 6:1-8:36

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb

One day we were to study page 55 in the tractate Zevachim. This tome deals with laws pertaining to the ritual sacrifices in the Holy Temple. The biblical basis of these laws is found in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36). There, we learn about a variety of voluntary sacrifices that individuals can… Read More

Reviving a Jewish Court

During the centuries of its existence, the Sanhedrin — the great Jewish court of the First and Second Commonwealths, comprised of 71 elders and sages — ruled on every aspect of life and brought unity to the land in decisions binding on the entire nation. Its members had to be recipients of the classic Jewish… Read More

Synagogue Equals Community Parshat Pekudei

This shabbat we read Parshat Pekudei, and the Haftarah is from the Book of Kings. The connection between the Torah and Haftarah portion is the building of the tabernacle and the first temple. The tabernacle was built in the desert by Bezalel, and the first Temple was built in Jerusalem by King Solomon. We may… Read More

Time to Plug Out Parshat Vayakhel

EFRAT, Israel — Why can’t I go on Facebook on Shabbat or text my friend? I understand that it is forbidden for me to get involved in a physical action such as bricklaying or even working an eight-hour day in the office, but what kind of work is involved in a simple text to a… Read More

The Lowly High Priest Parshat Tetzaveh

I’ve always been amazed at the complexity of the Hebrew language. One of the most profound examples is the word ga’avah, which can be translated as pride — something we all wish to possess, something we’re taught is an important sought-after trait; but ga’avah can just as easily be translated as arrogance, a repugnant trait,… Read More

My House, and His House Parshat Terumah

There is a well-known joke that is told about the Jews that I find particularly sad. The joke tells of a group of explorers who find a Jew who has been stranded on a desert island for years. As he takes them around the island and shows them how he survived, they find that he… Read More

On Gazelles and Pillars of Fire Parshat Beshalach

Traveling in Tanzania on safari, my husband pointed excitedly to a gazelle bending down in the tall grass. After a moment, I realized why he was so excited — the gazelle was standing over a wet, furry ball: a baby gazelle. Newborn gazelles are on their feet within a few days, but this calf was… Read More

Counting On Faith, Fortitude Parshat Bo

I have always been most fascinated — and confounded — by the ninth plague, the plague of darkness. How can darkness be ‘tangible,’ touchable? Yes, darkness can be oppressive, foreboding and forbidding. But darkness is not substantive; much the opposite, it is usually defined as the absence of light, a phenomenon more akin to nothingness… Read More

Living with a ‘Softened Heart’ D’var Torah - Parshat Vaera

The Torah portion Vaera describes a conflict between God and Pharaoh with Moses as God’s messenger. Moses asks Pharaoh to free the slaves. Pharaoh not only refuses, but increases the Israelites’ burden. God says to Moses that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and for this, Pharaoh and all of the Egyptians will be punished with… Read More