Parshah Potpourri

Bris Milah as Creation

Uvayom hashemini yimol besar orlaso (Vayikra 12:3) In Parashas Vayishlach, Shechem abducted and defiled Yaakov’s daughter Dina (Bereishis 34:2). Dina’s brothers Shimon and Levi were appalled by this immoral behavior,…

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True Leadership Qualifications

Vayomer Moshe el Aharon krav el hamizbei’ach (Vayikra 9:7) In the beginning of Parashas Shemini, Moshe instructs Aharon to go to the Altar and bring offerings to effect atonement for…

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Appreciating Pain and Suffering

Parashas Tzav contains the laws governing the korban Todah. In expounding upon this section, the Midrash quotes a verse in Tehillim (50:23): “Zovei’ach todah y’chabdan’ni — A person who brings…

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Rav Meir Simchah’s Brilliant Insight

V’im lo sagi’ah yado dei seh (5:7) The Mekor Boruch, Rav Nochum Boruch Ginsburg, recounts that he once entered the home of the Ohr Sameach and found him beaming with…

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Translating Plans Into Reality

V’asah Betzalel v’Ohaliav v’chol ish chacham lev asher nassan Hashem chochmah u’sevunah ba’heimah ladaas laasos es kol meleches avodas hakodesh l’chol asher tzivahu Hashem (Shemos 36:1) At first glance, Parashas…

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Aharon’s Just Reward

Vayikahel ha’am al Aharon vayomru eilav kum aseh lanu elohim (Shemos 32:1) This week is Parashas Parah, in which we read about the mitzvah of parah adumah. Rashi writes (Bamidbar…

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Aharon’s Just Reward

Parashas Tetzaveh introduces us to the special vestments worn by the Kohanim when serving in the Mishkan. Among the eight unique garments worn by the Kohen Gadol was a breastplate…

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The Mishkan and Marriage

Chazal teach that the relationship between Hashem and Klal Yisrael is a marriage, with Hashem as the groom and the Jewish people as the bride. However, in order for a…

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Parashas Mishpatim vs. Cultural Mores

Ve’eleh hamishpatim asher tasim lifneihem (21:1) Parashas Mishpatim begins by stating, “And these are the statutes that you shall place before them.” Rashi explains that the purpose of the seemingly…

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Real Leadership

Vayishma Yisro (Shemos 18:1) Parashas Yisro begins by relating that Yisro heard about all of the miracles that Hashem performed for the Jewish people. This motivated him to come join…

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The Difference Between Krias Yam Suf and the Makkos

Vayomer Hashem el Moshe, “Lo yishma aleichem Pharaoh l’maan revos mofsai b’Eretz Mitzrayim” (Shemos 11:9) Parashas Bo contains the final three makkos, which ultimately applied enough pressure on Pharaoh to…

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What Makes Time Jewish?

Hachodesh hazeh lachem Rosh Chodashim (Shemos 12:2) Parashas Bo contains the mitzvah of sanctifying the new moon. However, this is not just another one of the 613 mitzvos in the…

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Why Wine?

V’hotzeisi… v’hitzalti… v’gaalti… v’lakachti (Shemos 6:6–7) The Pesach Seder begins with Kiddush, which is the first of the four cups of wine that we are required to drink. Rashi writes…

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True Greatness

Vayehi ba’yamim ha’heim vayigdal Moshe (Shemos 2:11) Many people claim that their goal in life is to achieve greatness, to become an adam gadol (great person). However, questioning them as…

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Can Wealth and Torah Go Together?

Vayeit shichmo lisbol vayehi l’mas oved (Bereishis 49:15) In the 1980s, one of the most esteemed talmidim in the Mir Yeshivah in Yerushalayim got engaged to the daughter of a…

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Don’t Blame Others!

V’lo yachol Yosef l’hisapek l’chol ha’nitzavim alav vayikra hotzi’u kol ish me’alai v’lo amad ish ito b’hisvada Yosef el echav (Bereishis 45:1) Parashas Mikeitz ends dramatically, with Yosef’s servant (his…

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Look Past the Greek Glitter

Biy’mei Mattisyahu ben Yochanan Kohen Gadol Chashmona’i u’vanav k’she’amdah Malchus Yavan ha’resha’ah al am’cha Yisrael l’hashkicham Torasecha ul’ha’aviram me’chukei retzonecha (Al Hanissim) On Chanukah we add a paragraph known as…

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The Best Kind of Mitzvah

Vayeishev Yaakov b’eretz megurei aviv (Bereishis 37:1) After emerging triumphant from his struggles against his wicked father-in-law, Lavan, and his brother, Esav, Yaakov returned to Canaan to settle in his…

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A Fascinating Historical Incident

Al kein lo yochlu Bnei Yisrael es gid hanasheh al kaf hayerech ad hayom hazeh (Bereishis 32:33) In his commentary on Yoreh De’ah known as Kreisi U’Pleisi (65:16), Harav Yonasan…

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The Unexpected Reward for a Mitzvah

Vayizkor Elokim es Rochel vayishma eilehah Elokim vayiftach es rachmah (Bereishis 30:22) The Torah tells us that “Elokim” remembered the barren Rochel, heard her prayers. Harav Avrohom Yaakov Pam questions…

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