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Exodus (Shmot)

Bo 5771 — Moses, Pharaoh, and Wikileaks

January 7, 2011
Bo 5771 — Moses, Pharaoh, and Wikileaks

Moses is the premier example of a diplomat in the Torah.  As we see in not only this week’s Torah reading, but the last few weeks, Moses is serving as an Ambassador for God.  God is the “Chief Executive Officer” of the Jewish people; Moses represents the “government” in negotiations with the Egyptians. It’s...
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Vayakhel 5770: Skiing on Shabbat?

March 12, 2010
Vayakhel 5770: Skiing on Shabbat?

Two weeks ago I found myself in Breckenridge, Colorado for the weekend.  My brother's family rented a ski condo, so we had a "mini family reunion" on the ski slopes.  For the first time I was presented with skiing on Shabbat as a practical question, not just a theoretical question. After thinking about it,...
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Mishpatim 5770 — Take a Leap of Action

February 12, 2010

Is it foolish to accept instructions on blind faith? Among the many commandments in this week's Torah reading, Mishpatim, is the response of the Jewish people: "All the Lord has commanded, na'aseh v'nishmah, 'we will do and we will hear(understand).'"  The Talmud records that when the people responded this way, the angels cried out,...
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Yitro 5770 — The Commandment to Work

February 4, 2010

Is it a commandment to work? This week we read the Ten Commandments, including the commandment to observe Shabbat.  The commandment does not ONLY say to rest on the seventh day.  It says "Six days shall you toil and do all of your work…the seventh day shall be a "Shabbat" a day of rest,...
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Beshalach 5770 — Are we redeemed?

January 28, 2010

What if the redemption had come, and no one noticed? At the start of this week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, the Jewish people are fleeing for their lives – running away from Pharaoh, ready to cross the Red (or Reed) Sea, and leave Egypt behind.  We are at the climax of “Yetziat Mitzrayim,” the Exodus...
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Terumah 5769

February 24, 2009

What is the nature of sacred space? Is it intrinsically holy?  Or does it become holy because of the actions of people? This week's Torah portion, Terumah, is about sacred space.  The major spheres of holiness in Judaism are time — as in Shabbat and the holidays; deeds — doing various mitzvot (commandments); and...
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