Torah Columns
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Before its exposition of the holidays and their respective sacrificial offerings, the Torah gives us its only reversal of the most repeated verse in the Torah. Normally it says “And G-d spoke to Moshe saying.” Here it says “And Moshe spoke to G-d saying.” more
The festival of Sukkot was around the corner, and I realized I had no way to get a set of four species (arbah minim) in time for the festival. We were actually in Lebanon at the time, and as the only kippah-wearing soldier on the base, I knew I was on my own, and the thought of having no set of ‘arbah minim’ was really depressing. more
I remember it like it was yesterday. While millions of Americans celebrated their nation’s independence, we were all glued to our radios and television sets waiting for news of the fate of the Israeli hostages hijacked on an Air France jet and being held captive in Uganda. more
Bilaam desperately wants to go with King Balak’s men to fulfill what he believes is his destiny to curse the Jewish people. Knowing of his own relationship with G-d, however, he will not accept the job until he is given permission from G-d. He makes this quite clear to Balak’s first agents. more
In the battles that round out the end of Parshat Chukat, Moshe and the Israelites defeat Sichon and Og, and their respective nations. Before the battle with Og, Moshe is told by G-d not to fear for “I have given him into your hands.” (21:34) more
Cold; so cold it cuts through the rags that were once clothes, straight to the bone.Cold; so cold it cuts through the rags that were once clothes, straight to the bone. There was a time this cold so occupied your very being you could concentrate on nothing else. But that was long ago. Darkness; so dark it sometimes seems more than the mere absence of light; it seems almost tangible. You vaguely recall a time when you were obsessed with determining exactly where you were, pacing in the darkness to examine your environs. You figured out you were in some sort of a concrete cell, perhaps six feet square, but not much more than that. You used to wonder what color the walls were, never having been allowed to see them, but that curiosity has long ago been replaced with more basic needs. more
It is hard to understand how the people of Metropolis can not see that the only difference between Clark Kent and Superman is a pair of glasses. Then again, Superman is a comic book superhero. more
In times when Jews were the only people circumcising themselves (Islam did not yet exist, and ancient Egypt was a memory of the past) tyrannical governments and anti-Semitic regimes made themselves the police over Judaism’s oldest practice. The first commandment G-d gave to Abraham was to circumcise himself and all the males of his household. The climax of this commandment came when Yitzchak was born, and Abraham was able to circumcise his baby at the mandated hour, the eighth day of life. more
Every time we consider a conversation between G-d and Moshe, the absurdity of the concept of Moshe "teaching" G-d something, becomes apparent. more
The Levites are consecrated, once and for all, in the opening passages of our parsha. Mazal tov! Hold your horses. Did you read what they have to go through to experience this monumental achievement? more
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