Parshat Pinhas: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein I enjoy when conversations come full circle; it creates closure (I am often tempted to end a conversation as soon as we come full circle, regardless of whether it is over). The first and last examples of nonliteral Onkelos for Pinhas give us some of that, as we will see. Our Gatherings, For Good and Ill In the ...

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The Long Magen Avraham of Siman 156

by R. Gidon Rothstein We’re looking at the long Magen Avraham, which I suspect more of us know by reputation than content (certainly true of me; my writing about it is an elaborate excuse to force myself to read all the way through it). I note he does not relate this comment to a specific part of the text of the Shulhan Arukh, he ...

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Parashiyyot Hukkat-Balak: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos: Parshat Hukkat Putting Away Carefully Parshat Hukkat opens with the ceremony for making Parah Adumah water. The Torah tells us after burning the red heifer, the man who collects the ashes will leave them outside the camp in a makom tahor, a ritually pure place. The verse, 19;9, says ve-hiniah, shall place.  ArtScroll notes Onkelos usually ...

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Bringing Wisdom to Life

by R. Gidon Rothstein Orah Hayyim Siman 156: Bringing Wisdom to Life After prayers and Torah study, siman 156 requires a Jew to go take care of his affairs, based on Avot 2;2, any Torah unaccompanied by work will eventually be unsustainable and lead to sin (as the person flails for a way to support him/herself). Shulhan Arukh cautions us to remember R. Yehudah b. Ilai’s note ...

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Parshat Korah: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Korah has a sustained attack on the leadership of the Jewish people, starting with Korah and his group, the challenge to Aharon as Kohen Gadol, with Jews suffering the consequences of their actions along the way. The nonliteral comments of Onkelos this week, more than most in my memory, turn the story in directions we might ...

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When Shul Is Over in the Morning

by R. Gidon Rothstein This past week, I saw a news report about Florida having 3000 new cases of Covid-19, and I thought to myself, ok, but if they had 3000 cases a day for a year, that would still be “only” a million people (and there are 20 million in Florida). The next day, there were over 4000 cases.  ...

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Parshat Shelah: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein My ArtScroll Onkelos arrived! While I had already chosen the examples, I can react to their commentary, where relevant. Let’s see if I do better than I have been. Open Areas, Open Cities In 13;19, Moshe asks the spies to see if the inhabitants of Israel live ha-be-mahanim im be-mivtzarim, ha-be-fatzhin im be-kerakhin, ArtScroll bolds the first word, ha-be-fatzhin, because it means ...

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Selling, Burying and Other Disposal

by R. Gidon Rothstein Siman 154: Selling, Burying and Other Disposal The deathbed scene of R. Eliezer b. Hurkanos (Sanhedrin 68a) has much to teach us. I thought of it this past Shabbat because it makes clear R. Eliezer remained in nidui from the time of the story of the oven of Akhnai (Baba Metzi’a 59b) until he passed from this world. His colleagues ...

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Parshat Be-Ha’alotekha: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein ArtScroll might be shipping Onkelos on Bamidbar soon, so you won’t have to rely only on what I’m able to see. For Beha’alotekha, though, here’s what I found, in five comments of Onkelos’:   Selection as Closeness Early in Parshat Be-Ha’alotekha, Hashem tells Moshe to “take” the Levi’im, ritually purify them and prepare them for their special role in the Mishkan. The verse says kakh, take, ...

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Needs and Rights in Selling a Shul

by R. Gidon Rothstein Finishing Siman 153: Needs and Rights in Selling a Shul As matters have begun to open in New York, state and city, I have had the renewed privilege of attending minyan again, and it has been more moving than I had thought it would be (especially hearing birkhat kohanim for the first time, albeit not from actual kohanim.) A downside has been ...

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