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Emor: Impurity

Parsha Emor starts with the statement: Tell the Kohanim -sons of Aharon (priests) not to become Tuma-impure by death defilement (contact with dead.). Ishbitz has a unique understanding of tuma (impurity). He starts by saying “kohanim” refers to all people … Continue reading

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Parshat Kedoshim and Yevamos 62: Holiness

The parsha of Kedoshim has the famous line: “Love your neighbor as your self”. What is often forgotten is what comes immediately before: -Do not hold a grudge. Interestingly, Yevamos 62 which is the next day after reading of Kedoshim … Continue reading

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Passover Thought

The Bostoner Rebbbetzin was quoted as saying: “May the Simcha of your Purim not get in the way of your Kashrus of your Purim; and the Kashrus of Your Pesach not get in the way of the Simcha of your … Continue reading

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Parsha Shimini: Nadav and Avihu: Original Hippies

In parsha Shemini at the height of the inauguration of the Miskan (Tabernacle), two sons of Aharon the hight priest bring a “strange fire” into the Tent. They are immediately consumed. It kills the joy of the time. The commentaries … Continue reading

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Chagiga 27: Modern Day Altar

The last pages of Chagiga argue about the status of the altar and table in the Temple. The discussion is whether these items are in essence “wood” or does the gold plaiting makes them different and subject to Tumah. Frankly … Continue reading

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Chaggia 18:Wash Your Hands

The Mishna on page 18 states that to eat “chullin” or regular non-holy bread and Maaser Sheni food (a portion of your produce taken to Jerusalem to eat) requires that hands be washed with a vessel. The Talmud presents a … Continue reading

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Chagiga 4: Midlife Crisis Daf Part 1

Chagiga 4 is one of the most powerfully thought provoking in shas. It can be seen as pessimistic and arbitrary. One the last part of 4b, there is a bizarre story. The Angel of Death sends a messenger to take … Continue reading

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Taanis 21B: Acts of Kindness: Its Not a Miracle.

Taanis 21 B has two stories about regular people being credited with saving a community rather than the presence of rabbi. The first story is about a neighborhood in a town that is saved from pestilence despite other areas being … Continue reading

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Primacy of Conduct

It must first be clear that, important as subjective feelings are Judaism does not stand or fall by how deeply we think we experience religious stirrings. Neither theology nor emotions will in the run, determine the quality of our lives, … Continue reading

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Life Lesson from Koheles 6:1-2

Yesterday we read Koheles. Chapter 6 sentence 1: There is an evil under the sun. Gd gives man riches, property and honor, but Gd gives him no power to use it. The strange part of this verse is that it … Continue reading

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