Parsha Behar – Give it up for Heaven

“You shall perfom my decrees and observe my ordinances and perform them; then you shall dwell securely on the land.” Vaykira 25:18                                       Jews go into exile for failing to observe Shmita.[1] This is not simply on the national level. On a personal level as well, the Talmud[2] tells us

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Parshas Behar #2

Topics covered in this class: Behar as a continuum. A “classical” mitzvah. The meaning of Shmittah. Behar as a continuum. Holiness is found in three realms: people, time and place. In Kedoshim we spoke of sanctifying oneself with that which the Torah permits. In Emor we spoke

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Parshas Behar

Topics in this class: The Oral Torah and the Written Torah. The Mitzvah of Shmitta. The Written and Oral Torahs Behar: Rashi – “all was given over to Sinai”. Question: Why was Shmitta chosen to demonstrate this principle? Some informal points concerning the Oral Torah:* The joke,

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Parshas Behar

This week’s Torah portion Behar is about the Land of Israel and the strange connection that the Jewish People have to it. The very first directive by G-d to the Jewish People underscores this odd yet special relationship: “G-d spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak

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Parshas Behar

Based on Rav Noah Weinberg What is the most profound way you could help another human being? And, with so many to be helped, how is one to decide which need is greater? In this week’s Torah portion, we are commanded to reach out and help our

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Parshas Emor Striving For Perfection

Striving For Perfection Sforno explains that even though there are blemishes that actually increase the strength and value of an animal, they nevertheless render the animal unfit for sacrifice. Throughout the Torah we find completion and wholeness taking precedence over quantity. Thus in the recitation of the haMotziblessing,

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Parshas Emor #2

Topics covered in this class: Biblical commandment of Counting the Omer. The Rabbinical mourning period. Lag b’Omer. Sefiras HaOmer. Mentioned in the week’s sedra. The Minchas HaOmer: first barley crop of the year, which allowed the new crops to be used. It was like a “blessing” that

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Parshas Emor

Topics discussed in this class: Holiness and how Cohanim hold on to it. The holy times of the year. An eye for an eye. “Not everyone is the same”. Cohanim have more mitzvos. Different mitzvos for different roles/functions. Equal doesn’t mean being the same. Give examples. Cohanim

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Parshas Emor

Based on Rav Noah Weinberg What would you be willing to die for? A country? A friend? A cause? In this week’s Torah portion, there is one particular commandment that deals with this very subject: Do not desecrate my holy name. I must be sanctified among the

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The Individual and the Group

The Talmud (Sotah 14a) instructs us in the Mitzvah of imitating God in all His ways. Just as God clothes the naked, visits the sick, comforts mourners and buries the dead, so should you emulate His example. Maimonides (Mourning 14:1) mentions all the above Mitzvot, but gives

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