Author Archives: Yair Kahn

Moshe’s Interpretation of the Torah

by R. Yair Kahn Moshe’s Interpretation of the Torah I. Senior Moments? Sefer Devarim contains the parting speeches delivered by Moshe to Benei Yisrael. The first section, known as the historical speech, reviews various events that occurred during the forty years in the wilderness, with an eye on preparing Yisrael to enter the land of Canaan. However, when comparing Moshe’s ...

Read More »

Bridging Vision and Reality

by Rav Yair Kahn Sefer Bemidbar opens with the establishment of “machaneh Yisrael” (the Israelite camp) in the wilderness, in preparation for their epic journey towards Eretz Yisrael. The documentation is exhaustive, describing in minute detail the various aspects of the “machaneh:” the nation’s groups and subgroups, and its religious and political leadership. This account is followed by the various ...

Read More »

The Torah’s Response to Calamity

by R. Yair Kahn I. Reading the Tokhacha Slowly   Parashat Bechukotai begins with a section of berakhot and kelalot, blessings and curses. It details some of the benefits Yisrael will receive if they adhere to the terms of the covenant, but also describes the terrible calamities and tragedies that will befall Bnei Yisrael if, chalila, they ignore those terms. There is a custom that the section of the ...

Read More »

Let Us Sanctify His Name in the World

by R. Yair Kahn 1. One Parashaor Two The parasha of Vayakhel deals with the structure of the Mishkan and its vessels, while Pekudei focuses on the priestly garments. During a regular year, Parashat Vayakhel is read together with Parashat Pekudei. However, on a leap year, theseparsahiot are read separately. This leads us to a question regarding the relationship between ...

Read More »

A Continuous Beginning

The Korban Tamid – A Continuous Beginning by Yair Kahn 1.  And I will dwell among the children of Israel Parashat Tetzaveh continues where Parashat Teruma left off.  While the focus of Parashat Teruma was on the construction of the Mishkan and its various vessels, Parashat Tetzaveh describes how to make the priestly garments.  These two parashiyot combine to form a section known as “melekhet ha-Mishkan.” After describing the priestly garments, the section ends with detailed ...

Read More »

Clouds of Galut

by R. Yair Kahn I. Forgetting Yosef Our Sages said, “shivim panim la-Torah” – in other words, the Torah lends itself to multiple interpretations and should be understood at various levels in order to be properly appreciated. One must acknowledge the complexity of the Biblical narrative. Thus, while studying the story of Yosef, one should recognize that it is both a ...

Read More »

For Your Eyes Only?

by R. Yair Kahn I. Before Your Eyes Throughout Sefer Devarim, Moshe stresses the fact that the nation about to enter Canaan saw Hashem’s miracles with their own eyes. Already in the first chapter, Moshe tells the people not to fear the powerful Canaanites, for Hashem will go to battle on their behalf just like He did in Egypt “before your eyes” (1:30). When Moshe urges ...

Read More »

Not Just Numbers

by R. Yair Kahn I. A Strange Opening Even a superficial glance at Parashat Bamidbar reveals a basic difficulty. The counting and recounting of the people seems superfluous and trivial. The Torah, which at times is so exacting regarding the use of words, is quite expansive and generous with respect to the census of Israel. Not only do we note surprising detail, ...

Read More »

The Torah’s Response to Calamity

by R. Yair Kahn I. Reading the Tokhacha Slowly   Parashat Bechukotai begins with a section of berakhot and kelalot, blessings and curses. It details some of the benefits Yisrael will receive if they adhere to the terms of the covenant, but also describes the terrible calamities and tragedies that will befall Bnei Yisrael if, chalila, they ignore those terms. There is a custom that the section of the ...

Read More »

The Lesson of Tum’a

by Yair Kahn I.  The Transition from Shemini to Tazria The portions of Tazria and Metzora, which are read together during a normal year, form a unit, the main topic of which is tum’a (ritual impurity), and thetum’a of tzara’at in particular.  Tzara’at, often inaccurately translated as leprosy, is a certain discoloration that may affect people, garments, or buildings when it is declared impure by a kohen.  Tazria and Metzora describe the various discolorations, the process that of ...

Read More »