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Divrei Torah

Genesis

Bereishit

Desire: Intimacy In Eden
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called Woman, for from Man was she taken. Hence a Man … clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh” [Gen. 2: 23-24]. These verses, packed with alliteration and symbolism, also introduce an additional literary concept: Myth. It is the first, and seemingly lasting, myth that humans have held onto about marriage: Each one of us was once one with someone, and, therefore, when we find the right one, we will be complete again. But is God really asking us to complete something broken, or to create something unique?
- Temima Goldberg Shulman

Parashat Bereishit: A Revolution in Thinking
"There are some revolutions that are so successful that later generations no longer see how revolutionary was the change."
- Rabbi David Willig

B’reisheet…B’tzelem Elokim
"What is meant by the image of God?"
- Rabbi Kenneth Greene

Parashat Breishit
"[I]s it also possible to understand the genealogies as something fundamentally more than history?"
- Avi Moshe Miller, Rabbinical Student

In the Beginning
"The first portion of the Torah, B'raisheet, is a story of beginnings... the beginning of the Universe... the beginning of society, the beginning of humankind."
- Rabbi Kenneth Greene

Noach

Parashat Noach 5771
"According to the Rabbis, the entire world of Noah’s generation engaged in stealing from one another. The corruption of humans even contaminated the animals and the earth itself. Some commentators take Noah to task for shutting himself in and for not trying to save the rest of society. It is possible, however, to see the narrative in a different light."
- Rabbi Irvin S. Beigel

Parashat Noach
"What are the things that we use as an excuse to limit our own achievement? Are we too busy? Too old? Too young? Not educated enough? Not rich enough? Certainly, we all have our limits. But we also have untold potential."
- Rabbi Noah Gradofsky

Slouching Towards Sodom: The Story of Lot
"[I]f we were only unified and at peace with each other, how much more we could accomplish with G-d's blessings."
- Rabbi Martin J. Berman

Lech Lecha

Parashat Lekh Lekha
"To die for one’s beliefs is easy. To live for them is more difficult, more taxing and even more painful."
- Rabbi Elliot Pearlson

Parashat Lech Lecha
"About to embark on a spiritual journey ... G-d doesn't even tell Abram where he is going. Why Not?"
- Rabbi Noah Gradofsky

Vayeira

Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Jewish Continuity
"Without Abraham's ongoing religious guidance, Lot was overwhelmed by his new environment."
- Rabbi Robert Pilavin

Chayei Sarah

Parashat Chayei Sarah: At Eventide
"Hashem is called the 'bochen levavot,' the seer of the depths of our hearts' deepest desires. When hearts are united, prayer becomes stronger."
- Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Parashat Chayei Sarah
"Perhaps kvurah (proper burial) is the hardest mitzvah to fulfill, but at the same time it is an amazing expression of love."
- Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport

Hayyei Sarah & Toldoth, “Navi vs. Halachah”
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Toldot

Parashat Toldot
"[N]either Isaac nor his son Jacob gave in to despair. They persisted until they were able to fulfill their holy mission in life. When we are faced with obstacle upon obstacle in life, we can call upon their strength to persevere, for we are the children of Isaac and Jacob."
- Rabbi Mark Hillel Kunis

Parashat Toledot
"The weak need strength, teaching, and guidance; the sick need healing; the wicked need to be punished. Wisdom is discerning the difference..."
- Rabbi Seth D. Gordon

Parashat Toldot
"One must wonder how many times Jacob must have pondered Isaac's words, Mi atta b'ni, Who are you, my son?"
- Rabbi Shlomo Segal

Parsha Toldot: “Quid Pro Quo?”
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Hayyei Sarah & Toldoth, “Navi vs. Halachah”
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Vayetze

Parashat Vayetzei
"Jacob never took what was not his, but made sure that his ethical standard would not be so high as to risk the survival of his children as a people."
- Rabbi Yaakov Siegel

Vayishlach

Parashat Vayishlach
"Who among us doesn’t have at least one real or perceived disability?"
- Dr. Phil Levine

Parashat Vayishlach
"Jacob would not succumb; we, his descendants, have the challenge of living through our fears in a way of which we will not be ashamed."
- Rabbi Richard Fagan

Vayeshev

Parashat Vayeshev
"Joseph's genius is that he held onto God in his darkest moments and in the darkest of places."
- Rabbi Pinchas Klein

Parshat Vayeshev
"Joseph's rise and fall and rise create a pattern similar to that of the sun rising and setting each day. We can derive from this story that descent is necessary for ascent."
- Rabbi David S. Bauman

Mikeitz

Parashat Miketz
"Contemporary observance of Chanukkah vividly illustrates the tension between 'fitting in' and standing apart. Much of what Jews 'observe' revolves around customs - giving of gifts, latkes, doughnuts and dreidels - far removed from the core message of Chanukkah. Might they not owe their prominence more to our need (often subconscious) to make ourselves 'outwardly indistinguishable' from our non-Jewish neighbors in late December?"
- Rabbi Robert Pilavin

Parashat Miketz
"God’s vision of the future is one built on a partnership between His divine plan and our activism. It is only by taking an active role in the world that we can partner with God in His ongoing creation."
- Daniel M. Held

Parshat Miketz
"From the perspective of the Midrash, the cup-bearer had sinned in neglecting his promise to help Joseph out of his wrongful imprisonment. But he also sinned in remaining silent to the anguish of Pharaoh..."
- Rabbi Wayne Allen

Vayigash

Parashat Vayigash
"When Jacob wrestles with the ish, it is also perceived as an angelic visitation. The anashim who visit Lot are also angelic messengers. It might be surprising then that Joseph’s brothers are referred to as anashim repeatedly throughout last week’s parasha of Mikketz, until Joseph’s revelation to them in our parasha of Vayigash."
- Rabbi Ronald D. Price

Parashat Vayigash
"The standard modern ideal is that I can do as I please as long as no one gets hurt. But we do affect those around us."
- Rabbi Martin J. Berman

Parashat Vayigash
"At the moment of the reunion, Joseph fell on his father's neck and wept. The Torah is silent in regard to Jacob's response to this ecstatic moment of reunion with his long-lost son."
- Rabbi Pinchas Klein

Vayechi

Parashat Vayechi
"Jacob crosses his hands, placing his right hand on Ephraim's head. When Joseph protests, Jacob informs him that both will be great, but Ephraim will be greater."
- Rabbi Yaakov Siegel

Parashat Vayechi
"Like Samson, we are called to do God’s will, despite temptations to turn aside. Though our deeds are less heroic than his, we have no less responsibility to find that way of avodah that is uniquely ours – those mitzvot, those acts of kindness, those moments of salvation, of tikkun, that only we can achieve."
- Rabbi Richard Fagan

Parashat Vayechi
"Many times we, as Rabbis, are asked to sum up a person's life at a funeral.... One would think that when it comes to a person like Jacob... there would be a long flowery explanation of his life. Instead, the Torah sums it up with two words, 'Vayechi Yaakov' - Jacob lived."
- Rabbi Len Zucker

Exodus

Shemot

Parashat Shemot
"Why is the title "Exodus" appropriate, when the redemption of the Jewish people from Egyptian torture is merely the beginning of the story?"
- Rabbi Shlomo Siegel

Parashat Shemot
"Whether in politics or personal relationships, it behooves us to look as deeply as we can and to search as fully as our limits permit before condemning others. After all, many are they whose forebears were less than righteous."
- Rabbi Jeffrey H. Miller

Parashat Shemot
"Before everything else - but not in place of anything else - every person who is committed to God, Torah, and mitzvot must be a champion for justice wherever injustice is found."
- Rabbi Ephraim I. Zimand

Vaeira

Parashat Va’eira
"Just as each of the four cups of wine has an increasing effect on us, so too does God’s promise(s) of redemption build to a final crescendo. First, we will be freed from the burdens. Dayeinu. Next, we will be relieved from the back-breaking work. Dayeinu. Afterwards, God will remove us from Egypt (dayeinu) and finally, [...] God will ‘take us’ as a people. Dayeinu. But if the story ended there, we would still be living in Sukkot [...] That is why God presented Moshe and the Children of Israel with a fifth and final promise..."
- Rabbi Jeffrey H. Miller

Parashat Vaera
"Today we are in desperate need of leaders like Moses and Aaron. All too often we learn of leaders, both political and spiritual alike, who begin their leadership roles with tremendous devotion and idealism yet over a period of time they undergo a transformation..."
- Rabbi Shlomo Segal

Bo

Parashat Bo – Let There Be Dark
God deprived the Egyptians of more than light. In making the Egyptians feel so utterly alone, He deprived them of what it meant to be alive.
- Rabbi Jeffrey Miller

Parashat Bo
"Even Moshe had his doubts, even when Hashem spoke to him directly, so why not a people raised and trained as slaves for hundreds of years? Shouldn’t they have doubts as well? Isn’t skepticism normal?"
- Rabbi Shlomo Marks

Parashat Bo
"Man is subject to the laws of physics, but perhaps human thought works on a quantum level. There may be numerous “probability waves” for our thoughts, but our cognitive mind brings one idea into reality."
- Dr. Ron Kastner

Beshalach

Parashat B’shalach
"When Israel left Egypt, they took Yosef's essence and consciousness with them."
- Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hacohen Melman

Parashat B’shalach
"Our tradition recognized the powerful psychological forces that motivate human behaviour and Rashi brings that understanding to our attention with a striking economy of words. But the message is undeniable. Some people are so absorbed with the hatred of Israel that they will never let etiquette, protocol, or diplomacy stand in their way."
- Rabbi Wayne Allen

Yitro

Parashat Yitro – “Talking to Your Son-In-Law”
The advice demonstrated that Yitro was a good bureaucrat, and Moshe implemented the plan with some subtle but significant fine-tuning. However, more important than the lesson in leadership, Yitro also threw in, at no extra charge, some unsolicited, well-needed, personal, family advice. And he did so in the best way any father-in-law can when meddling into the private family dynamics of his adult children: without saying anything directly
- Rabbi Jeffrey Miller

Na’aseh VeNishmah: How to Have Best of Both Worlds
"For ages, interfaith dialogue meant: they talked, we listened. For centuries, there was much give and take: If we didn't give our souls, they'd take our bodies. From time immemorial, we were given a choice: the cross or the sword."
- Rabbi Ira Grussgott

Parashat Yitro
"The question may be asked: what does the court system have to do with Aseret Hadibrot? The answer is that Aseret Hadibrot are the way to act bein adam l'adam – between man and man."
- Rabbi Leonard C. Zucker

Parashat Yitro
"These days, the expression "Barukh Hashem" is considered the colloquial property of the frum community. But that wasn't always so. In fact, the Torah identifies its provenance outside the Jewish community altogether."
- Rabbi Bruce Ginsburg

Mishpatim

Parashat Mishpatim
"How is Mishpatim a continuation of Yitro? Mishpatim begins by enacting ordinances protecting the Hebrew slave. The slave has rights! Indeed, Mishpatim is a continuation of Yitro as Rashi explains: the ordinances in Mishpatim are also from Sinai and are of equal importance."
- Rabbi Steven Saks

Parashat Mishpatim
"From time to time... a commentator, celebrity, or student will decry "an eye for an eye" policy or teaching... i.e., petty revenge. This thinking is at best uninformed and at worst anti-Semitic, a product of years of distortion, whether willful or innocent."
- Rabbi Seth D. Gordon

Terumah

Terumah: “Defying Gravity”
It seems odd, then, that in the Talmud, Rabbi Abbahu described the cherubim that were carved on the Ark as having child-like faces. (See, T.B. Sukkah 5b.) It is even more fascinating that despite the fact that Rabbi Abbahu is challenged by the explicit description of cherubim in Ezekiel, the view of the cherub as a winged child becomes the dominant image in Chazal (i.e., Rashi, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra) as well as Western art and literature. Just google (image) “cherub” if you don’t believe me.
- Rabbi Jeffrey Miller

Parashat Terumah
"We remember the smell of oils and spices for anointing; we are looking at the bright colors of the yarn: blue, purple, and crimson. We see the shine of silver and gold. We can feel the wool, linen, and leather. It's not the memory of an individual – it's the memory of a nation."
- Rabbi Eugene Shafir

Parashat Terumah
"There was to be a tax, the famous half shekel, which was to be used for upkeep and purchase of communal sacrifices, but funding the initial building was strictly voluntary. It is only by voluntary contributions that people can be bound up in a cause."
- Rabbi David Willig

Parashat Terumah
"The Midrash tells us that God wanted Israel to build a Tabernacle (Mishkan) so that His presence might be among us."
- Rabbi Shlomo Marks

Parashat Teruma
"It is impossible to ascribe human emotions to God, but in some sense, God must have been very excited when He presented the Jews with the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Torah at Mt. Sinai."
- Rabbi Mark Hillel Kunis

Ki Tissa

Parashat Ki Teesah
"We have always been told that Hashem is everywhere. The problem is that most people want a God Who is somewhere."
- Rabbi Jeffrey A. Shron

Parashat Ki Tisa
"...although God’s will is immutable, our actions can change how God's will operates. We can change God's mind. All we need to do is to work to become more worthy of God’s graces."
- Rabbi Noah Gradofsky

Parashat Ki Tissa
"The sadness of it all is that Hashem told the people to take the gold and silver from the Egyptians as a mitzvah to build the Mishkan (tabernacle). They then, through their lack of Torah knowledge, their spiritual frailty and the fear of abandonment, turn a mitzvah into a vehicle for an enormous sin."
- Rabbi Shlomo Marks

Vayakhel

Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei
"When people do holy things, they, too, earn the title 'holy'."
- Rabbi Wayne Allen

Parashat Vayakhel-Pikudei: Promises to Keep
"Do we have any idea how awesome it is to be alive to witness the ingathering of the exiles and the rebirth of Israel after untold generations of waiting? Two millennia of remembering both the Promise and the Promised Land. We remembered the promise. And so did God."
- Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Pekudei

Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei
"When people do holy things, they, too, earn the title 'holy'."
- Rabbi Wayne Allen

Parashat Vayakhel-Pikudei: Promises to Keep
"Do we have any idea how awesome it is to be alive to witness the ingathering of the exiles and the rebirth of Israel after untold generations of waiting? Two millennia of remembering both the Promise and the Promised Land. We remembered the promise. And so did God."
- Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Leviticus

Vayikra

Parashat Vayikra
"The dog immediately focused on Rabbi Eliezerov and sat near him, licking his shoes and rubbing his head against his legs, crying at the same time. The Rabbi took careful note of the dog and finished the Siyum. He then summoned each member of the group to rise."
- Rabbi Moshe P. Weisblum, Ph.D.

Shemini

Parashat Shemini
"Parents can love their children and that love can be indispensable to developing self-esteem and good character. But when parents fail to correct and reprimand their children because they love them too much to punish them, then their love will ultimately prove harmful."
- Rabbi Wayne Allen

Tazria

Parashat Tazria-Metzora
"God's presence is manifest in how He rewards and equally manifest in how He punishes. The key is to recognize God's power in all its manifestations."
- Rabbi Rallis Wiesenthal

Metzora

Parashat Tazria-Metzora
"God's presence is manifest in how He rewards and equally manifest in how He punishes. The key is to recognize God's power in all its manifestations."
- Rabbi Rallis Wiesenthal

Acharey Mot

Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim
"There are moments in the life of any spiritually sensitive soul when s/he longs to scale the heights and loose the bonds to achieve union with God."
- Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

Kedoshim

Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim
"There are moments in the life of any spiritually sensitive soul when s/he longs to scale the heights and loose the bonds to achieve union with God."
- Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

Emor

Parsha: Emor, “Is Sefirat ha’Omer One Mitzva or Two?”
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Parashat Emor
"One need not be a priest, a kohen, to be concerned about the details of living a life of sanctity; for that matter, one need not even be Jewish."
- Rabbi Kenneth Greene

Parashat Emor
"True piety, true religiosity, requires action. What good is it to know all about the meaning of tzedakah if one never provides assistance to the poor?"
- Rabbi Martin J. Berman

Behar

Parashat B’har-B’chukotai
"God never said that this life would be a Gan Eden, a Garden of Eden. Yet, we also know that Hashem never told us that this life must be a Gehinom, a Hell."
- Rabbi Mitchell Kornspan

Parashat Behar-Bechukotai
"Only God could be the Author Who gave the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Only God could promise a triple crop in the sixth year."
- Rabbi Mark Hillel Kunis

Bechukotai

Parashat B’har-B’chukotai
"God never said that this life would be a Gan Eden, a Garden of Eden. Yet, we also know that Hashem never told us that this life must be a Gehinom, a Hell."
- Rabbi Mitchell Kornspan

Parashat Behar-Bechukotai
"Only God could be the Author Who gave the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Only God could promise a triple crop in the sixth year."
- Rabbi Mark Hillel Kunis

Numbers

Bemidbar

Parashat Bamidbar
"Most names have a history behind them. Our tradition tells us that one’s Jewish name contains a clue to one’s destiny, no matter how it was conferred."
- Rabbi Mark Kunis

Numbers, Numbers, and more Numbers: Do They All Add Up?
"Every society that tries to dehumanize people takes away their names. A culture that recognizes the importance of the individual, recognizes each person by name."
- Rabbi David Willig

Naso

Parashat Naso
"Is being a Nazir good or bad? It can be good, it can be bad, and it's almost always ugly!"
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Parashat Naso
"Peace can never be private property; peace always has to be shared."
- Rabbi Pinchas Klein

Parashat Naso
"...if we want to understand and emulate the act of becoming a Nazir... We should separate our thoughts from the indecent and profane."
- Rabbi Martin J. Berman

Beha'alotecha

Parashat Beha’alotekha: The Whispering Campaign
"Whispering Campaign: (idiomatic) A method of persuasion in which damaging rumors are deliberately spread concerning a person, while the source of the rumors tries to avoid detection."
- Rabbi Chaim Solomon

Parashat Beha’alotekha: As Long as the Candle is Burning
"This week's Torah portion of Beha'alotekha begins with a passage ... describing the lighting of the menorah.... Lighting candles is on my mind. This past Shabbat (Sivan 14), I lit a memorial candle at home in commemoration of my mother's first yahrzeit."
- Rabbi Robert Pilavin

Shelach

Parashat Sh’lach
"We stand at the borders of the loss of our pettiness, the beginning of greatness. The choice isn't easy. But it is magnificent!"
- Rabbi Yaakov Siegel

Sh’lach Lekha
"There is a good reason that the Torah commands us "not to add nor to subtract" from it. By staying focused, we do not make it too difficult to observe that which God wants from us."
- Rabbi Len Zucker

Korach

Parashat Korach: The Opportunity to Serve
"So, in fact, Moses is not saying to Korach that he has the great honor of being in a position high class and dignity. Instead, Moses, who later in the chapter declares that he had taken no personal gain from his position (Numbers 16:15), is reminding Korach that the true fortune of God’s appointment is not the opportunity for glory, but the opportunity to serve."
- Rabbi Noah Gradofsky

Parashat Korach
"One wonders why the world chooses to believe the empty charges of the enemies of Israel rather than look at the plain truth. This parasha can perhaps give us some insight. This week we read about the rebellion of Korach and his followers against the authority of Moses and Aaron."
- Rabbi Gerald Sussman

Parashat Korach
"Jews are taught to question everything, to examine every side of an issue. Children do this naturally, and we should encourage them in finding answers to their questions. But can asking questions go too far?"
- Rabbi Dr. Moshe P. Weisblum

Chukat

Parashat Hukat
"Moses missed an opportunity to strengthen people's faith in God. This is an allegory for what happens to all of us, all too frequently. People we care about are sometimes hurt by our words or actions and we don't know exactly what we did to cause such offense."
- Rabbi Steve Suson

Parashat Chukat/Balak
"Time and again, we see the Jewish contribution to American society--to its very existence. We should feel proud to be connected to these great Americans and patriots."
- Rabbi Dr. Moshe P. Weisblum

Balak

Parashat Hukat
"Moses missed an opportunity to strengthen people's faith in God. This is an allegory for what happens to all of us, all too frequently. People we care about are sometimes hurt by our words or actions and we don't know exactly what we did to cause such offense."
- Rabbi Steve Suson

Parashat Chukat/Balak
"Time and again, we see the Jewish contribution to American society--to its very existence. We should feel proud to be connected to these great Americans and patriots."
- Rabbi Dr. Moshe P. Weisblum

Pinchas

Sending A Boy To Do A Man’s Job
- Rabbi Jeffrey H. Miller

Parashat Pinchas
"Our Parsha teaches us that although peace may be the last word it is not the first word."
- Rabbi Dr Pinchas Klein

Parashat Pinchas
"The monthly renewal of the Moon is a symbol for the renewal of our People, as well as our own individual quest for coming out of darkness into the fullness of light, with the hope of a future, infinitely brighter light."
- Rabbi Yaakov Siegel

Mattot

Parashat Mattot/Masei – Building a Jewish home?
"Moses tells them that if they fulfill their bargain, they will be “neki’im” from G-d and from the Israel. The word “neki’im” means clean. At best, this means that Reuben and Gad will not be in trouble. But there are other implications."
- Rabbi Kalman Winnick

Parashat Mattot-Mas’ei
"Moab was certainly as guilty as Midian for waging war on the Israelites. Why then didn't the Moabites deserve God's wrath...?"
- Rabbi Jeffrey Miller

Massei

Parashat Mattot/Masei – Building a Jewish home?
"Moses tells them that if they fulfill their bargain, they will be “neki’im” from G-d and from the Israel. The word “neki’im” means clean. At best, this means that Reuben and Gad will not be in trouble. But there are other implications."
- Rabbi Kalman Winnick

Parashat Mattot-Mas’ei
"Moab was certainly as guilty as Midian for waging war on the Israelites. Why then didn't the Moabites deserve God's wrath...?"
- Rabbi Jeffrey Miller

Deuteronomy

Devarim

Parashat Devarim
"I look back now, after twenty-five years in the rabbinate, to the various human events that have added texture to the texts and messages I have endeavored to share with those I am blessed to lead and teach."
- Rabbi Lawrence S. Zierler

Ekev

Parashat Ekev
"Our Talmud tells us that our ancient rabbis debated how best to balance our desire to serve God with our needs in this world. Like all good debates, the matter is not resolved."
- Rabbi Noah Gradofsky

Re'eh

Parashat Re’eh
"God and His ways are far beyond human capacity to understand or imagine. Yet we try to understand the ways God commands us to follow and our relationship with God by projecting images from our human experience."
- Rabbi Leonard Levy

Shoftim

Parashat Shoftim
"For me, halakhah is the crystallization of the ideal harmony between an abstract ideal and human nature, what is good and right and what can be done."
- Rabbi Robert Pilavin

Parashat Shoftim
"To live a life of justice is to realize that within each of us is a little spark of the Divine and to remember always that each of us is created in the image of the Divine."
- Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport

Ki Tetzei

Parashat Ki Teitzei
"In some circles, it is fashionable to focus almost exclusively on the ritual commandments in Judaism. As important as they are, one should never forget the ethical, moral and interpersonal mitzvot, as well. Indeed, one without the other is not only "out of balance", but contradicts precisely what the Torah requires of us — as this week's reading demonstrates in such detail."
- Rabbi Jonathan Porath

Parashat Ki Tetze
"With all the disagreements, there are still matters on which most Jews and most Jewish organizations agree. When we work together with other Jews, we are able to fight against our common enemies."
- Rabbi Irvin S. Beigel

Ki Tavo

Parashat Ki Tavo
"Each of us [has] a missive, addressed personally and lovingly to us, from the Master of the World, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the real Commander-in-Chief. This message calls each of us, individually, to the most crucial and cosmic assignment we could possible imagine: to make ourselves and all of Creation holy. It must be done now – today."
- Rabbi Rallis Wiesenthal

Parashat Ki Tavo
"Moses, as understood by Rashi, reminds us: Treat every day as a new day filled with God's commandments, and with the closeness of the Jews' relationship with God."
- Rabbi Noah Gradofsky

Nitzavim

Parashat Nitzavim-Vayelekh
"You must at least make a choice, even when you cannot be certain it is the right or best choice. However before deciding which path to follow, you have to stop and evaluate, as best you can, in which direction to go. It is a "Nitzavim- Vayelekh moment.""
- Rabbi Ephriam I. Zimand

Vayelech

Parashat Nitzavim-Vayelekh
"You must at least make a choice, even when you cannot be certain it is the right or best choice. However before deciding which path to follow, you have to stop and evaluate, as best you can, in which direction to go. It is a "Nitzavim- Vayelekh moment.""
- Rabbi Ephriam I. Zimand

Vaetchanan

Va’etchanan
"They tell you not to bow down to any idols because they will pollute your mind and stop you from achieving God’s purpose. You will be filled with superstition and hate and false notions, which will destroy the unity of the universe, and thus not allow you to discover nature’s laws and benefits. Not only is idolatry immoral, but it impedes man’s conquest of the universe. It will make him a perpetual prisoner of the Stone Age."
- Rabbi Sherman Kirshner

Parashat Va’etchanan
"The question [...] remains, why, if the Ten Commandments were so important did the rabbis remove it from the service?"
- Rabbi Kenneth A. Greene

Special Days

Pesach

Kadesh u’R’chatz – 14 Steps or 15 Steps?
"It is clear to me that the number 15 is magical this night - and indeed in general - as a significant number of steps in ascending."
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Purim

Behind the Mask of Purim
Indeed, why bother remembering Amalek, an evil force bent on Jewish annihilation? Why not focus on the positive and move forward? However, G-d commands us "not to forget Amalek" for our own good. Parshat Zachor reminds us that Amalek still exists in the world even today, and we should stay alert. Jewish survival depends on remembering our past. Surely in this way we can preserve our future.
- Rabbi Moshe P. Weisblum

Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach

Parashat Hol Hamoed
"Judaism teaches that every Jewish soul is precious. Every Jew is a child of God regardless of whether they are wise, wayward, simple or a mute."
- Rabbi Shlomo Segal

Is Pesach ‘Passover’ or Something Else?
"The word Pesach... might not mean Passover after all. I wish to bring you two witnesses who testify to a completely different meaning of the word."
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Shabbat HaGadol

Of God and Man
"God gave Yom Tov to Man; for to know when Yom Tov falls, we go to the Beit Din and they decide - the dates of the Holidays are completely in Man's hands. That dichotomy falls away when it comes to Pesach. It belongs neither to Man alone, nor to God."
- Rabbi Ronald D. Price

Shabbat Zachor

Behind the Mask of Purim
Indeed, why bother remembering Amalek, an evil force bent on Jewish annihilation? Why not focus on the positive and move forward? However, G-d commands us "not to forget Amalek" for our own good. Parshat Zachor reminds us that Amalek still exists in the world even today, and we should stay alert. Jewish survival depends on remembering our past. Surely in this way we can preserve our future.
- Rabbi Moshe P. Weisblum

The Truly Forgotten
"The Jewish nation has had many enemies. Why, then, single out Amalek's act as particularly contemptible? What was it about Amalek that was especially despicable?"
- Rabbi Ira Grussgott

Shavuot

Shavuot
"[On Shavuot] we don’t read the story of Yitro. Why? Did not Yitro also embrace God above all other gods?"
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Visiting the Sick and Comforting the Mourner
"In moral mathematics, we prefer a kindness that keeps faith with both the dead and the living."
- Rabbi Robert Pilavin

Perfect Misunderstandings: Akdamut and Yetziv Pitgam
"It is amazing how people can misperceive old constructs by viewing them with modern eyes. For example, some are uncomfortable with the fact that Jacob had four wives."
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

If the Torah is our Constitution, Then What is its Preamble?
"Our charge is to obey God, to guard/observe the compact, to become a priestly government and a holy nation. This compact is not with individuals. It is with the Nation of Israel at large."
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Freedom From, Freedom To
"Only for the briefest moment were we escaping from. For the next 48 days, our escape was toward Torah..."
- Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Choosing to be Chosen
"Being chosen does not confer any sort of genetic superiority; rather, being chosen means that we choose to develop our relationship with God."
- Rabbi Steven Saks

Commitment
"All those who make the effort, like Ruth, are considered worthy. How much you know is not as important as making the effort to grow."
- Rabbi Wayne Allen

Yom Kipur

Yom Kippur – “To Be a Kid Again”
I’d like to suggest one area where an opportunity generally afforded to youth could be capitalized on as we age, perhaps even more fruitfully than when we were young.  In this regard, I’d like to introduce to you Rabbi Gradofsky’s corollary to the adage that youth is wasted on the young.  My theory is as follows: Jewish education is wasted on the young.             Now, before someone tries to run me off of the pulpit . . .
- Rabbi Noah Gradofsky

Yom Kippur – Committing to Torah
Hakham Uziel explained that even if a person converts and then does not fulfill all the mitzvot, the conversion is still a benefit for the person, “זכות היא לו לזכות באותן המצות שיקיים אותן It is a benefit for him to be rewarded for all the mitzvot he fulfills.” The same is true for us. While we may not have the fortune of fulfilling every mitzvah, each of us can share in the many blessings that come with fulfilling the mitzvot that we do observe. Torah and mitzvot guide us on a path toward holiness and righteousness. Each time we do a mitzvah we affirm our connection to God and to the Jewish people. When we do a mitzvah out of a sense that God has commanded us to do so, we affirm that we have control over our lives, that we can overcome our instincts in order to fulfill the benevolent dictates of our creator and we can choose between good and evil, between right and wrong.
- Rabbi Noah Gradofsky