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This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the 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 website.

Phases Of Freedom PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tali Loewenthal   
Monday, 21 July 2014 00:00

Are we searching for freedom? Then the Torah will help us in our search. The Torah focuses on the pursuit of freedom, as we see in the story of the Jews in Egypt: how they suffered as slaves, and how they attained liberation. Then came their slow journey through the desert, eventually reaching the Promised Land.

All this did not take place in one single step. Freedom has many stages, and the journey through the desert was itself part of the process. When they left Egypt they were not yet ready for the highest levels of freedom. Forty years later they were.

Your brothers go into battle and you will sit here? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Zalman Posner   
Monday, 14 July 2014 00:00
Before Israel crossed the Jordan into Canaan, several tribes approached Moses for permission to remain in trans-Jordan. They were shepherds and that land had excellent pasture. Moses retorted sharply to them, "Your brothers go into battle and you will sit here?" (Numbers 32:6). Here a familiar integral theme of Torah recurs.

Anyone living in comfort and security finds it difficult to realize the situation of those in want and peril. We may read of famines in India and sympathetically nod, but undismayed we will turn to the next item in the newspapers and with little appreciable loss of appetite will sit at the dinner table. Only a person of responsibility to mankind, one with rare compassion will be moved enough to share his good with the deprived, even more, to share the troubles of the unfortunate.

With Israel especially, one Jew's peril is every Jew's concern. No Jew anywhere in the world can hide behind a golden curtain, depending on wealth or status to insulate him from the problems plaguing other Jews. We may have great flocks and have found rich pasturage, but while our brothers are in peril we cannot enjoy peace obliviously.
To Know is To Do PDF Print E-mail
Written by Yitschak Meir Kagan   
Monday, 07 July 2014 00:00

Moses, Aaron and the Elders stood, weeping with despair, not knowing what to do, as Zimri, a prince of the tribe of Shimon openly defied G-d's laws of morality. With them stood Pinchas, a grandson of Aaron (from his son Elazar). Pinchas saw that the leaders were silent, yet he did not hesitate. Courageously, he reminded Moses of the law which the latter seemed to have forgotten -- that under those circumstances, one who is "jealous" of G-d's honor may execute the offender. Moses replied "Let the reader of the letter be the one to deliver it," meaning, "You are the one who has remembered and reminded us of the law. You be the one to carry out the verdict." Pinchas did, and earned a great spiritual reward for averting G-d's anger against His people.

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