Parshah Potpourri

The Connection Between Yehudah and Binyamin

Ki avdecha arev es ha’naar (Bereishis 44:32) The Gemara in Sanhedrin (111b) quotes a disagreement between Rabi Yochanan and Reish Lakish regarding the rules of dividing Eretz Yisrael among the…

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Chanukah: What Are We Celebrating?

The Mishnah (Machshirin 6:4) teaches that there are seven liquids that render an object susceptible to becoming spiritually impure: dew, water, wine, oil, blood, milk and bee honey. Harav Yisroel…

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What’s Wrong With Relaxing?

Vayeishev Yaakov b’eretz megurei aviv b’eretz Canaan (Bereishis 37:1) After emerging triumphant from his struggles against Lavan and Esav, Yaakov returned to live in Canaan, his homeland. Rashi notes that…

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Avraham, Yaakov and the Eruv

Vayavo Yaakov shaleim ir Shechem asher b’eretz Canaan b’vo’o miPadan Aram vayichan es p’nei ha’ir (Bereishis 33:18) After Yaakov successfully placated his irate brother Esav, he traveled first to Sukkos…

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How Could Lavan Be Right?

Vayomer Lavan lo yei’aseh chen bimkomeinu lases hatze’irah lifnei habechirah (Bereishis 29:26) When Yaakov discovered that his swindling father-in-law Lavan had tricked him by substituting Leah for Rochel under the…

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Does a Guest Own His Food?

Vayomer Yaakov michrah kayom es bechorascha li (Bereishis 25:31) In his sefer of legal responsa called Shu”t Maharit (1:150), Harav Yosef Trani (1538-1639) discusses an incident in which a male…

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A Modern-Day Rivkah

Vateired ha’aynah vatemalei chadah vata’al vayaratz ha’eved likrasah vayomer hagmi’ini na me’at mayim mikadeich (Bereishis 24:16-17) While Eliezer was still praying to Hashem to help him find an appropriate wife…

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A Jew Is Never Stuck!

Vayar v’hinei ayal achar ne’echaz basvach b’karnav (Bereishis 22:13) At the end of Parashas Vayeira, Hashem commands Avraham to bring up his beloved son Yitzchak as an offering to Him.…

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True Beauty

Vayehi ka’asher hikriv lavo Mitzraymah, vayomer el Sarai ishto, “Hinei na yadati ki ishah yefas mareh at” (Bereishis 12:11). Due to a famine in the land of Canaan, Avraham and…

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Geulah Takes Time!

U’vachodesh hasheinu b’shiv’ah v’esrim yom la’chodesh yavsha ha’aretz (Bereishis 8:14) At the conclusion of the 40 days of rain, on 27 Kislev, the Torah records (7:20) that the level of…

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Haman and the Eitz Hadaas

Hamin ha’eitz asher tzivisicha l’vilti achol mimenu achalta (Bereishis 3:11) The Gemara (Chullin 139b) teaches that the verse in which Hashem asks Adam, “Hamin ha’eitz” — From the tree (that…

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Life and Death

V’atah kisvu lachem es hashirah hazos v’lamdah es bnei Yisrael, simah b’fihem l’maan tihyeh Li hashirah hazos l’ed. (Devarim 31:19) Parashas Vayeilech contains the last of the 613 commandments, the…

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Life and Death

Re’eh nasati l’fanecha hayom es ha’chaim v’es hatov v’es ha’maves v’es hara (Devarim 30:15). At the end of Parashas Nitzavim, Moshe Rabbeinu informs the Jewish people that he has placed…

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Bikurim and Rosh Hashanah

V’lakachta mi’reishis kol pri ha’adamah (Devarim 26:2) Parashas Ki Savo begins with the mitzvah of bikurim (26:1-11), which requires a farmer to bring the first ripened fruits of the seven…

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How Did 40 Lashes Become 39?

V’haya im bin hakos harasha v’hipilo hashofet v’hikahu l’fanav kedei rishaso b’mispar arba’im yakenu (Devarim 25:2-3) Towards the end of Parashas Ki Seitzei, the Torah introduces us to the form…

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Why Are Bribes So Powerful?

V’lo tikach shochad ki hashochad ye’aver einei chachamim viy’saleif divrei tzaddikim (Shoftim 16:19) In Parashas Shoftim, the Torah admonishes judges against accepting bribes, warning that bribes blind the eyes of…

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Tu B’Av and Shidduchim

The 15th day of the month of Av is commonly referred to as Tu B’Av, and it traditionally falls close to Shabbos Parashas Va’eschanan. Our Sages teach (Taanis 4:8) that…

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Why Can’t We Be Friendly on Tishah B’Av?

Ein she’eilas shalom b’Tishah B’Av (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 584:20) Parashas Devarim is normally read on the Shabbos before Tishah B’Av, which commemorates the tragic destruction of both Batei Mikdash.…

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Why Was Moshe Buried in Gad’s Portion?

U’mikneh rav haya livnei Reuven v’livnei Gad atzum me’od vayir’u es Eretz Ya’azer v’es Eretz Gilad v’hinei hamakom makom mikneh (Bamidbar 32:1) Just prior to Moshe’s death, he blessed each…

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The Key to Jewish Leadership

Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon Hakohen heishiv es chamasi me’al Bnei Yisrael (Bamidbar 25:11) At the end of Parashas Balak, the Jewish people were enticed to sin, which resulted in…

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