Vayikra. The Power of Preparation

Please discuss: What is more authentic - a spontaneous feeling, or a moment that you have prepared for? Do prophets prepare to talk to God or does it just happen? Is a vacation better if you plan for it? How about a business meeting? A date? “And He called to Moses, and the Lord spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying” (Vayikra 1:1) Many commentators have dealt with the dual calling, the repeated verb, in the opening line of Vayikra. Frequently, a new section of the Torah begins with the phrase: “And the Lord spoke to Moses saying.” Here, God “CALLED to Moses, and the Lord SPOKE to him.” Why the double communication? Rashi addresses this element of repetition: For every communication [

Vayakhel-Pikudei - Connecting with God

How can a person feel the presence of an invisible God? This is possibly the reason that Israel needed a Tabernacle. God wanted Israel to feel His proximity. “Make me a sanctuary” He said “and I will live amongst them.”(Ex 25:8) The word Mishkan comes from the root שכ"ן like neighbour. With the Mishkan, God becomes our neighbour. God moves into the neighbourhood. And the Tanakh has a remarkable way of expressing God’s residence in the epicentre of the camp of Israel. The closing lines of the Book of Shemot depict the completion of the Tabernacle, and the ensuing moment of divine revelation. God’s cloud fills the sanctuary, restricting Moses’ entry until he is called inside by God. This power

Ki-Tissa. Why Did Moses Smash the Tablets?

As soon as Moses came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, he became enraged; and he hurled the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain. (32:19) Why did Moses smash the tablets? If he was “enraged” as the verse above suggests, then could this have been a mistake, a moment of lost control? APPROACH 1: SHOCK AND INDIGNATION “Moses did not hesitate to break them because his anger was roused at the sight of their evil conduct. He could not control himself…” (Ramban Ex. 32:16); “When I saw you dancing in front of the calf I could not control myself and I broke the tablets…” (Ramban, Deut 9:17).” Ramban (Nachmanides) takes what seems to be the straightforwa

Tetzave. Who is Hiding Under Your Mask?

Do the Clothes Make the Man? Our Parsha talks about clothing, the garments of the High Priest. And it seems so appropriate to be reading about the elaborate and ornate vestments of the Kohein Gadol at Purim time. After all, the Purim story is narrated, amongst other literary devices, by means of clothing: 4:1 “Mordecai rent his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and he went out into the midst of the city and cried [with] a loud and bitter cry.” 5:1 “On the third day, Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace” 6:7-8 “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn… and a royal crown placed on his head” 8:15

Teruma. A Torah for All Places

If you had one thing to take with you to a desert island, what would it be? Our parsha describes the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary that Israel built for God. Each item is infused with symbolism and meaning. In its inner sanctum sits the Ark of the Covenant, a golden chest, so named because it holds the Tablets of the Law, symbol of the covenant between God and Israel. One of the features of the Ark are its carrying poles. The Torah instructs to “insert poles into the rings on the sides of the Ark with which to carry the Ark,” but then it adds, “The poles shall remain in the rings of the Ark, they shall not be removed.”(25:14-15) Several other furnishings of the Mishkan also have carrying r

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