Parshah Potpourri

Korach and the Parah Adumah

Vayikahalu al Moshe v’al Aharon vayomru aleihem rav lachem ki kol ha’eidah kulam kedoshim (Bamidbar 16:3) The Midrash Peliah teaches that Korach was motivated to rebel against Moshe when he…

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Compassion for Sinners

Vayanicheihu oso ba’mishmar ki lo porash mah yei’aseh lo (Bamidbar 15:34) Parashas Emor concludes with a tragic episode in which a man cursed and blasphemed Hashem. Initially, Moshe did not…

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Truly Tamei?

Vayehi anashim asher hayu temei’im l’nefesh adam (Bamidbar 9:6). When the time arrived to offer the korban Pesach in the wilderness, there was a group of people who were temei’im…

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Why Isn’t Simchas Torah on Shavuos?

Ad mi’macharas haShabbos hasheviis tisperu chamishim yom v’hikravtem minchah chadashah l’Hashem (Vayikra 23:16) Although the Torah does not explicitly link the Yom Tov of Shavuos and the giving of the…

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The Connection Between Behar and Bechukosai

Ki savo’u el ha’aretz asher ani nosein lachem v’shavsah ha’aretz Shabbos l’Hashem (Vayikra 25:2) Parashas Behar begins by introducing us to the mitzvah of Shemittah (the Sabbatical year), which requires…

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Rosh Hashanah, Shofar, and Akeidas Hadaas

Dabeir el Bnei Yisrael leimor, “Bachodesh hashevii b’echad lachodesh yihyeh lachem Shabbason zichron teruah mikra kodesh” (Vayikra 23:24) The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (29b) points out that Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar…

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The Critical Lesson of Orlah

V’ki savo’u el ha’aretz u’netatem kol eitz maachal v’araltem orlaso es piryo shalosh shanim yih’yeh lachem areilim lo yei’achel (Vayikra 19:23) The Torah forbids the consumption of orlah, the fruits…

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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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