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“Haziv Lach” – The Radiance is Yours

The Torah portion of Ha’azinu is the only one that has an ancient tradition about how it should be divided into short segments among the people who read it in public. The division is indicated by the phrase “Haziv Lach” – The radiance is Yours – which is an acronym – the first letter of the first word of each ... Read More »

Torah from the Earth

At Mount Sinai, the Torah was given from heaven and not from the earth. A tremendous and powerful voice of G-d burst forth from the mountain peak, and the nation was not allowed to climb up or even to touch the edge of the mountain, under a threat of death. When the Torah is given in this way, it creates ... Read More »

Why Two Torah Scrolls?

The King is commanded to write a second Torah scroll for his own use, in addition to the one that every man in Israel is required to write (at least according to the Rambam and the Beit Yosef). “And it will be, when he sits on his throne, let him write this second Torah on a scroll, before the Priests, ... Read More »

Is it our Right or Not?

The possession of the land does not depend on the merits of the conquerors. That is what we are explicitly told in this week’s Torah portion: “You do not come to conquer their lands by virtue of your righteousness and your upright character” [Deuteronomy 9:5]. However, if this is so, we might have thought that the evil acts of the ... Read More »

A New Order

The story of the scouts is repeated in the Torah portion, revealing a unique trait of Moses. The people decided that they would not be able to conquer the land because of the existence of the giants, and they said: “Because of G-d’s hatred for us, He took us out of Egypt to deliver us to the hands of the ... Read More »

The Daily Olah Sacrifice

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The list in this week’s Torah portion of sacrifices during the different times in the year is precise to the very last detail. We might well wonder why this is so. Two sheep are sacrificed every day in the Temple, one in the early morning and one in the evening. This teaches us about the eternal link between the Children ... Read More »

The Red Heifer and Logic

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The Red Heifer is the instrument through which a person is purified. The impurity of contact with death is the result of an encounter between a living person and death. A stone cannot cause ritual impurity, since it never had any life. Death is the opposite of life, and the shock of contact with it upsets life. The severity of ... Read More »

Good Intentions

The action of the scouts is one of the greatest tragedies that happened to our nation. Five terrible events happened to our ancestors on the ninth of Av, and one of them was that it was decreed that they would not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel. How can it be that ten of the most prominent men ... Read More »

Near and Far

The book of Numbers teaches us how to behave in the desert, when the regular order of things has been disturbed. This week’s Torah portion begins with the problems of an individual who sets aside his normal life. Even though usually the Torah first treats the general situation and then goes to particular cases, in times of crisis it is ... Read More »

At a TIme of Anger, Remember Mercy

(The title is a quote from Habakkuk 3:2.) In both the Torah portions of Behar and Bechukotai we see that history is organized in cycles that are related to the number seven. Every seventh day is Shabbat, every seventh year is Shemitta, and after seven cycles of Shemitta the Yovel (Jubilee) comes. We can also add that redemption will come ... Read More »