Parashat & Current Events

Yom Kippur and Succot 5779

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Yom Kippur and Succot 5779

From my forthcoming book “Reflections from Jerusalem”
On Yom Kippur we read the heartbreaking saga of the “ten martyred rabbis”.
The Torah teaches that Joseph found his brothers in the Valley of Dotan not far from Shechem. After removing his many-colored cloak, the ten brothers involved in the betrayal lowered Joseph into a pit of snakes and scorpions, before selling him to the Ishmaelites and Midianites as it says, “Yosef followed his brothers and found them at Dotan” (Genesis 37:17).

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Rosh HaShana 5779

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Rosh HaShana 5779

To the Exalted One, Creator of All Things, Rebono Shel Olam;

I will skip the formalities of asking how You are, because You are total perfection.

The following is my yearly e-mail (Elokim Mail) to report to You on the state of Your people as perceived from this virtual world, which of course is quite different from what is perceived from Your world of absolute truth.

There are two points I humbly wish to raise. But since You know my thoughts even before I, You know that they are in fact one.

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Ki Tavo 5778

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Ki Tavo 5778

Our parsha begins with the mitzvah of “bikurim”. A landowner who grew any one of the seven species of flora which are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael: wheat, barley, grape, fig, pomegranate, olive or date, must bring a sampling of the first growth to the Bet HaMikdash starting after the holiday of Shavuot.

The landowner declares his recognition and thanks to HaShem for the bountiful blessings he received as an owner of land in Eretz Yisrael and presents the fruit to a kohen who places it near the altar.

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Shoftim 5778

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Shoftim 5778

Countries the world over have armies but in Israel it is the army that has a country, where every important decision takes into account security implications.

We love our soldiers. The young people begin their private physical training while still in high school in preparation for army service. And how great the disappointment when a youngster does not make it into a highly dangerous special unit of Tzahal. And the adults willingly report for reserve duty with great loyalty.

However, things could be better…

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Re’ah  5778

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Re’ah  5778

It is apparent from these verses that there are three possible situations in the Creator-Yisrael relationship:

Verse 27) “…if you obey…” – life will be a blessing

Verse 28) “…if you do not obey…” – then life will be a curse

Verse 26) “Perceive! I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse” – when life is a blessing imbedded and disguised as a curse, as is transpiring today in front of our eyes.

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Va’etchanan-Eikev-Re’eh 5778

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Va’etchanan-Eikev-Re’eh 5778

Questions:
1. Why is the first paragraph of kri’at shema (the standardized recitation of Shema Yisrael) worded in the singular, while the second is in the plural?

2. Why did HaShem not give the Torah to the Patriarchs — Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov?

3. Why must a Gentile convert in order to be obligated to keep the Torah?

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