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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.

Spiritual Birth PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tali Loewenthal   
Monday, 24 March 2014 00:00

Every detail in our human world has a parallel on a spiritual plane. The key relationship among human beings is the joining of man and woman in marriage. With Divine help, marriage leads to the birth of children, boys and girls.

In various sections of the Bible the image of marriage is used to describe the relationship of the Jewish people with G-d. Most famous among these is King Solomon's Song of Songs. The beautiful woman in the Song of Songs is the Jewish people, who has a complex relationship with G-d: sometimes far away from Him, sometimes drawing close. The Prophet Isaiah also uses similar imagery.

Our parshah opens with a passage about a woman giving birth to a child: "When a woman gives seed and bears a son." This passage is usually explained in straightforward literal terms. If it is a boy, the child must be circumcised, and whether a boy or a girl, the mother brings an offering to the Temple, usually two doves. She brings the offering after forty days if the child is a boy, and after eighty days if it is a baby girl. These doves were the most popular offerings brought to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Torah Student's Fins and Scales PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky   
Monday, 17 March 2014 00:00

"This you may eat from everything that is in the water, everything that has fins and scales... those you may eat" (Leviticus 11:9).

The Talmud (Niddah 51b) says that a fish that has scales also has fins and there is no need to examine for them. However, there are fish that only have fins and they are unclean.

What is the lesson we can derive from the signs of the kosher and non-kosher fish?

The Poor Man's Offering PDF Print E-mail
Written by Zalman Posner   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 20:45

The various types of offerings brought on the altar in the Sanctuary and in Jerusalem were classified as Major Sanctity and Lesser Sanctity. The Mincha (meal) offering of the poor is called Kodesh Kodoshim (Major Sanctity) "like the sin-offering" of the repentant.

Abarbanel, the great Spanish commentator, observes that while other offerings may be of relatively minor sacredness, those of the poor, who give with sacrifice and self-denial, are of major holiness. Similarly, the expression of contrition by the erstwhile sinner, his remorse for evildoing, is cherished by his merciful Creator.

The significance of the offering lies less in its quantitative measure than in the degree that the donor is involved, how much of himself he offers. The wealthy with their more lavish philanthropies need not patronize their less grandly endowed brothers. At the same time, the measure for G-d being the heart, it ill becomes the modest contributor to charity to deprecate the wealthy or to boast of his own relative generosity ("if I can give five dollars he can give ten thousand..."). While the negotiable value of the large gifts of the wealthy is not diminished by pride, small charities given arrogantly have little material or spiritual significance.

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