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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.

The Quest for Peace


"Ignorance is bliss." How facile -- and how true! Are you sick to your soul of all the ugliness and injustice in the world? Just close your eyes, and make believe it ain't so. And when reality barges in your door and comes crashing down on your head, close your eyes tighter, imagine harder. If you sing loud enough to drown out the sounds of carnage in the next street or continent, you can experience peace (or at least participate in a ceremony celebrating the same).

Read more: The Quest for Peace

The Smallness of Jacob

Samuel, a Jerusalem lawyer, was on his way to court for an important trial and, sadly, got a late start to his morning. By the time he got to the courthouse, all the parking spots were taken. He drove around for five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, and no luck. Twenty minutes passed, and he began to get desperate. After thirty minutes of circling the parking lot and the adjacent neighborhoods in utter futility, the time for his court appearance fast approaching, he turns his head heavenward and shouts, "Master of the universe! I swear I will give 10 percent of my earnings to charity each year, pray three times a day, start a Torah study group in my home, I'll wait six hours between meat and dairy foods. Only just this: I need a place to park right now!"

Read more: The Smallness of Jacob

Laban the Anti-Semite

"Go and learn what Laban the Aramean sought to do to our father Jacob. A Pharaoh made his decree only about the males whereas Laban sought to destroy everything." This passage from the Haggadah on Passover -- evidently based on this week's Torah portion -- is extraordinarily difficult to understand.

First, it is a commentary on the phrase in Deuteronomy, Arami oved avi. As the overwhelming majority of commentators point out, the meaning of this phrase is "my father was a wandering Aramean", a reference either to Jacob, who escaped to Aram [=Syria, a reference to Haran where Laban lived], or to Abraham, who left Aram in response to God's call to travel to the land of Canaan. It does not mean "an Aramean [=Laban] tried to destroy my father." Some commentators read it this way, but almost certainly they only do so because of this passage in the Haggadah.

Read more: Laban the Anti-Semite

In our thoughts


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Kiddush Club

Date: Feb 28 '15
Sponsor: Regina Novak
Remembering the yahrzeit of husband Morris Novak (AH)

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