Vort from the Rav

Vort from the Rav: Re’eh

לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ מַעְשַׂר דְּגָנְךָ You must not eat within your cities the tithe of your grain In Hebrew there is an idiosyncrasy. In all languages there is a distinction between not being able to do and not being allowed to do. “I cannot” and “I must not” are two different things. Hebrew is the only language that equates ...

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Vort from the Rav: Va’eschanan

Deuteronomy 4:9-10: וְהוֹדַעְתָם לְבָנֶיךָ וְלִבְנֵי בָנֶיךָ…יוֹם אֲשֶר עָמַדְתָ לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְחֹרֵב and you shall make them known to your children and to your children’s children…the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb. Torah study involves awe and fear, as described in the Gemara (Berachos 22a): [It is written] “You shall make them known to your children ...

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Vort from the Rav: Devarim

Deuteronomy 1:13 הָבוּ לָכֶם אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וִידֻעִים לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם וַאֲשִׂימֵם בְּרָאשֵׁיכֶם Prepare for yourselves wise and understanding men, known among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you. The first chapter of the book of Deuteronomy details the march towards the conquering of the Land of Israel. In this verse, the theme abruptly changes to a conversation that ...

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Vort from the Rav: Matos

Numbers 30:3 אִישׁ כִּי יִדֹּר נֶדֶר להֹ’ אוֹ הִשָּׁבַע שְׁבֻעָה If a man makes a vow to the Lord or makes an oath On the verse and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life (Gen. 2:7), Nachmanides comments, This verse alludes to the greatness of the soul…This corresponds to the saying of the Rabbis in the Sifri: “Vows ...

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Vort from the Rav: Pinchas

Numbers 28:15 וּשְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד לְחַטָּאת לַיהֹוָה And one young male goat for a sin offering to the Lord. The Talmud (Chullin 60b, quoted by Rashi on this verse) indicates that at the dawn of creation the sun and moon were of equal size, until the moon approached God and complained that two kings cannot wear one crown. In response, ...

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Vort from the Rav: Balak

Bamidbar 23:9 הֶן עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations. Unity in Israel is a basic principle in Judaism. We have formulated this principle in one sentence: You are one, Your name is one, and who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on ...

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Vort from the Rav: Chukas

Bamidbar 19:1: זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה This is the statute of the Torah. The chukim were classified by our rabbis as unintelligible, enigmatic, mysterious. Though it is forbidden to ask for the reasoning pertaining to certain divine categorical imperatives, we may inquire into the interpretation of the law. There is a difference between explanation and interpretation. Take physics, for example. Physics ...

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Vort from the Rav: Korach

Bamidbar 18:19: כֹּל תְּרוּמֹת הַקֳּדָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר יָרִימוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַיהֹוָה נָתַתִּי לְךָ All the gifts of the holy [offerings] which are set aside by the children of Israel for the Lord I have given to There were 24 mishmaros, “guards,” of kohanim who rotated to perform the priestly duties in the Beis Hamikdash on a weekly basis. Each mishmar would serve ...

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Vort from the Rav: Shelach

Bamidbar 13:30 עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה וְיָרַשְׁנוּ אֹתָהּ כִּי יָכוֹל נוּכַל לָהּ We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it. Chazal say that three grants have been bestowed upon Israel: Torah, the Land of Israel and the world to come; but the Jew had to acquire them through effort, through suffering (Berachos 5a).  God ...

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Vort from the Rav: Beha’alosecha

Bamidbar 10:2 עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שְׁתֵּי חֲצוֹצְרֹת כֶּסֶף…וְהָיוּ לְךָ לְמִקְרָא הָעֵדָה וּלְמַסַּע אֶת הַמַּחֲנוֹת Make yourself two silver trumpets…they shall be used by you to summon the congregation and to announce the departure of the camps. There are two ways in which people become bound as a group—as a community, a society, or a nation. The first is when they face ...

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