Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
The Test of Leadership
Moses is instructed by G‑d to demand that Pharaoh release the Israelites from bondage. Moses is reluctant to assume the responsibility of being Israel's leader, and in humility asks, "Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to take Israel out of Egypt?" G‑d assures him, "I will be with you, and this is the sign that I sent you -- when you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve G‑d on this mountain" (Exodus 3:12).
In the cacophony of strident voices claiming to express the Divine will, each insisting it is the real standard-bearer of Judaism, and it alone embodies the essence of our faith, the ordinary Jew may understandably be confused. How can we differentiate religious leadership from misrepresentation of Judaism?
The Power of Feminine Beauty - And How to Protect It
G‑d created Adam and Eve unclothed, and they walked around the Garden of Eden . . . naked. If public nudity was fine with G‑d, why does the Torah tell us to be modest, to cover up, to subdue our natural allure? What changed?
It all started after Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Before, they were not aware of their nakedness; they even “engaged in intercourse before everyone’s eyes”! But once they ate from that tree, their perspective shifted. The whole universe shifted.
The Defining Haircut
The Talmud tells us that before Jacob agreed to travel to Egypt, he sent ahead his son Judah to establish a yeshivah, a Torah academy, in Goshen, the Egyptian territory where Jacob and his sons would settle. Knowing that his descendants would face challenging times in Egypt, Jacob realized that only a proper Jewish education would give them a strong Jewish identity, enable them to withstand all difficulties and persecutions, and insulate them against the threat of assimilation.
From the Jewish standpoint, education is not so much the imparting of data and information as much as instilling within our youth integrity, kindness, and Jewish values. Information alone -- even the holy teachings of the Torah -- would not have preserved the Jews throughout the difficult years of Egyptian slavery. It was the code of conduct and ethics that were taught in the yeshivah that truly distinguished them from their immoral and cruel taskmasters.