Vort from the Rav

Vort from the Rav: Pinchas

Bamidbar 27:23 וַיִּסְמֹךְ אֶת יָדָיו עָלָיו He laid his hands upon him. Although God commanded Moses to lay one hand upon Joshua, Moses laid both hands upon him. God commanded Moses not only to do semichah, but also to “bestow some of your majesty (hod) upon him”; this majesty was figuratively bestowed upon Joshua via Moses’ other hand. There were ...

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Vort from the Rav: Balak

Bamidbar 24:17 דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל   a star has gone forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel. It is interesting that when Maimonides (Hilchos Melachim \ 11:1) mentions the principle of faith in the King Messiah he quotes this verse as the proof- text. Why didn’t Maimonides cite the verse When you are distressed, ...

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Vort from the Rav: Chukas

Bamidbar 20:29: וַיִּרְאוּ כָּל הָעֵדָה כִּי גָוַע אַהֲרֹן The whole congregation saw that Aaron had expired. Rashi explains: When they saw Moses and Eleazar coming down, and Aaron did not come down, they said, “Where is Aaron?” He said to them, “He died.” They said,“ Is it possible that the one who stood up against the angel and stopped the ...

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Vort from the Rav: Korach

Bamidbar 18:15 אֵת בְכוֹר הָאָדָם … תִפְדֶה you shall redeem the firstborn of man. The ceremonial of redemption of the first born son re-enacts the drama of Abraham offering Isaac to the Lord, of the knight of faith (using Kierkegaard’s term) giving unreservedly away his son to God. Children are the greatest and most precious charge God has entrusted to ...

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Vort from the Rav: Shlach

Bamidbar 14:17 וְעַתָּה יִגְדַּל נָא כֹּחַ אֲדֹנָי Now, please, let the strength of the Lord be increased. What precisely does this phrase mean? How can the Omnipotent’s strength be magnified? When Israel sins, God is in a sense “helpless,” as Rashi said: “His strength is weakened as a woman (Rashi on Numbers 11:15). Similarly, on the phrase “the Rock of ...

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Vort from the Rav: Beha’alosekha

Bamidbar 10:35 וַיְהִי בִּנְסֹעַ הָאָרֹן – So it was, when the ark set out. We are suddenly confronted with the parashah bracketed by the inverted nuns. The letters are inverted because what follows is a story which inverted our historical process. Alas, the parashah is really one sad tale which changes Jewish history completely. The parashah of וַיְהִי בִנְסֹעַ הָאָרֹן ...

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Vort from the Rav: Naso

Numbers 7:86 מְלֵאֹת קְטֹרֶת  – filled with incense. The first passage in Parashas Behaalosecha discusses Aaron’s role in lighting the Menorah.  Rashi on Num. 8:2 asks why the section regarding the lighting of the Menorah follows the detail regarding the dedication gifts of the nesi’im. He answers that Aaron felt badly that neither he nor any of the Kohanim played ...

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Vort from the Rav: Bamidbar

וְלֹא יָבֹאוּ לִרְאוֹת כְּבַלַּע אֶת הַקֹּדֶשׁ – They shall not come in to see when the holy [vessels] are being wrapped up. Bamidbar 4:19 When the ark was removed, the Levites and the Israelites were not to be present, or they would die. When the ark was recovered from the Philistines (1 Sam 6:19), the people of Beis Shemesh died ...

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Vort from the Rav: Bechukosai

Vayikra 26:32 וַֽהֲשִׁמֹּתִי אֲנִי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ – And I will bring the land into desolation. Rashi, basing himself on the Sifra, comments on this verse: This is a good dispensation for the Israelites, for the enemies will not find any gratification in their land, since it will be desolate of its inhabitants. he Land of Israel cannot be built by just ...

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Vort from the Rav: Behar

Vayikra 25:36-37 אַל תִּקַּח מֵאִתּוֹ נֶשֶׁךְ וְתַרְבִּית … אֶת כַּסְפְּךָ לֹא תִתֵּן לוֹ בְּנֶשֶׁךְ  – You shall not take from him interest or increase…You shall not give him your money with interest. The Torah absolutely forbids charging any type or amount of interest payments on loans. This prohibition is so severe that the Torah devotes five separate injunctions against it: ...

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