Striving for excellence – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Bechukotai

At the start of our Parsha we read: אִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֖י תֵּלֵ֑כוּ וְאֶת־מִצְוֺתַ֣י תִּשְׁמְר֔וּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָֽם׃ וְנָתַתִּ֥י גִשְׁמֵיכֶ֖ם בְּעִתָּ֑ם וְנָתְנָ֤ה הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ יְבוּלָ֔הּ וְעֵ֥ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה יִתֵּ֥ן פִּרְיֽוֹ׃ If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the …

The importance of observing customs – Our Counting of the Omer

We have the custom of not listening to music during the days of Counting of the Omer. It always occurs to me that while this is an important custom, we might miss the main purpose of these days. We don't listen to music - because the students of Rabi Akiva sadly died during this period. But …

Simple but complete – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Emor

This week we read this Parsha about the Yomim Tovim, one of which is Sukoth. We all cherish a beautiful Etrog. The Chofetz Chaim once gave a beautiful parable. A simple villager went to the city to buy a beautiful etrog for his Talmid Chochom son-in-law. He was successful and bought a truly beautiful etrog. …

Between Holiness and Holiness – Shabbat Parshat Kedoshim

וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר ה' אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃ דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־כׇּל־עֲדַ֧ת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֥ אֲלֵהֶ֖ם קְדֹשִׁ֣ים תִּהְי֑וּ כִּ֣י קָד֔וֹשׁ אֲנִ֖י ה' אֱלֹקיכֶֽם Hashem spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, your God ה', am holy. Our parsha starts with the Pasuk "Kedoshim Tiheyu" - "You shall be holy“. This …

Shabbat Parshat Acharei Mot – From the world of influencers

We read in Parshat Achrei Mot Chapter 16 Pasuk 17:  וְכׇל־אָדָ֞ם לֹא־יִהְיֶ֣ה ׀ בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֗ד בְּבֹא֛וֹ לְכַפֵּ֥ר בַּקֹּ֖דֶשׁ עַד־צֵאת֑וֹ וְכִפֶּ֤ר בַּעֲדוֹ֙ וּבְעַ֣ד בֵּית֔וֹ וּבְעַ֖ד כׇּל־קְהַ֥ל יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ “When he (Aharon HaKohen, the High Priest) goes in the Shrine to make expiation, nobody else shall be in the Tent of Meeting until he comes out, when he has …

Shabbat Parshat Tazria – Not to feel awkward

And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר הֹ' אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃  וּבִמְלֹ֣את ׀ יְמֵ֣י טׇהֳרָ֗הּ לְבֵן֮ א֣וֹ לְבַת֒ תָּבִ֞יא כֶּ֤בֶשׂ בֶּן־שְׁנָתוֹ֙ לְעֹלָ֔ה וּבֶן־יוֹנָ֥ה אוֹ־תֹ֖ר לְחַטָּ֑את אֶל־פֶּ֥תַח אֹֽהֶל־מוֹעֵ֖ד אֶל־הַכֹּהֵֽן׃ "On the completion of her period of purification, for either son or daughter, she shall bring to the Cohen, the priest, at the entrance of the Mishkan, the Tent …

Shabbat Parshat  Shmini – The tragedy of Nadav and Avihu

Our sages זצ"ל suggest quite a few possible explanations to the shocking death of Nadav and Avihu while celebrating the dedication of the new  Mishkan. One interesting explanation suggests that Nadav and Avihu entered the Mishkan after drinking wine. This explanation has support from the fact that immediately after the Torah tells us what happened, …

Witness dilemma – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Vayikrá

We will read this week in Parshat Vayikra which mainly deals with Korbanot, the sacrificial offering ritual at the Jerusalem’s Temple: וְנֶ֣פֶשׁ כִּֽי־תֶחֱטָ֗א וְשָֽׁמְעָה֙ ק֣וֹל אָלָ֔ה וְה֣וּא עֵ֔ד א֥וֹ רָאָ֖ה א֣וֹ יָדָ֑ע אִם־ל֥וֹא יַגִּ֖יד וְנָשָׂ֥א עֲוֺנֽוֹ׃ "If a person sins, whereby he accepts an oath, and he is a witness [to some matter] or by …

The Shechina and us – Shabbat Parshat Pekudei

This week brings us to the end of the book Shemot.  The final chapter of building the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. The last verse in Shemot is : "The divine cloud was over the Mishkan by day, and fire by night, in front of Bnei Yisrael, through all of their travels" (Shemot 40.38). כִּי֩ עֲנַ֨ן יְהֹוָ֤ה …

Shabbat Vayakhel – Wise Hearted

Prof. Peter Salovey is the current President of Yale University and a famous social psychologist.  Much less known is his "Yichus", i.e. his lineage. Namely, the scholar is a descendant of the illustrious Soloweichik family. Together with two other colleagues, he has established the term EQ - or "Emotional intelligence" which is a relatively new …