Chumash Musings

Five Quick Divrei Torah on Pinchas 5781

by R. Gil Student Link to the audio In less than ten minutes: 1) Beis HaLevi on the Torah’s seemingly wrong explanation for Pinchas’ reward, 2) Chafetz Chaim on why Moshe did not answer Benos Tzelofchad’s question, 3) Ketzos HaChoshen on why the Zekeinim were embarrassed, 4) Rav Zalman Sorotzkin on the proper motivation for leading, 5) Rav Menachem Genack ...

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Five Quick Divrei Torah on Balak 5781

by R. Gil Student Link to the audio In less than ten minutes: 1) Divrei Shaul on the limits of Bilam’s powers, 2) Maharal on whether Hashem fooled Bilam, 3) Rav Avraham Grodzinski on why Bilam’s donkey was killed, 4) Kesav Sofer on the importance of Yom Tov over Shabbos, 5) Rav Shmaryahu Shulman on the importance of a strong ...

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Five Quick Divrei Torah on Parashas Chukas

by R. Gil Student Link to the audio 1) Chasam Sofer on the answer to the challenge of Parah Adumah, 2) Rav Yechezkel Abramski on Moshe’s sin, 3) Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein on why Moshe did not give a stirring speech, 4) Divrei Shaul on why death in a plague is better than of thirst, 5) Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank ...

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Five Quick Divrei Torah on Parashas Korach

by R. Gil Student Link to the audio 1) Maharam Schick on Korach taking truth, 2) Maharit Algazi on Moshe’s 3 commands, 3) Rav Moshe Feinstein on Moshe’s influence, not power, 4) Mabit on Korach’s offering, 5) Meshech Chochmah on the number 14,700 Subscribe to Five Quick Divrei Torah on the Parashah on your preferred podcast player

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Short Reviews of New Books on the Weekly Torah Portion

by R. Gil Student Reviews of a few recent books on the Torah portion, each of which I found rewarding in different ways. Genesis: A Parsha Companion by R. David Fohrman Rabbi David Fohrman is at the forefront of creative Torah teaching. Not only his interpretation are original but also his method of teaching, his use of technology and animation ...

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Yosef, Slavery and Morality

by R. Gil Student Sometimes we struggle to understand specific laws or passages that do not seem to fit into the Torah’s overall picture of harmony, community and connection with God. One such issue is that of slavery, which the Torah permits and legislates. The moral approach that seems most true to me, most consistent with Torah and history, is ...

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The Mount Sinai Narrative: A Literary Analysis

by R. Gil Student Seven weeks after the Exodus, the Jewish people gathered around the foot of Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. This historic experience is described primarily in five chapters: Exodus 19-24. [1]Although see also Deut. 4 In a 2015 book, Prof. Benjamin Sommer of JTS dissects this passage into multiple sources in which he finds different accounts ...

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Texts: The Akedah’s Message

In his article on LGBT and Halachah, Prof. Aaron Koller says that he doubts Akedas Yitzchak, the binding of Isaac (Gen. 22), is about sacrificing one’s family (literally or figuratively) for God’s plan. After all, he points out, in the end Avraham did not sacrifice Yitzchak. Prof Koller direct readers to his forthcoming book on the subject, which I have ...

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Everyone Needs A Yisro

My comments at my son‘s bar mitzvah party (a few weeks before his actual birthday in the summer): In an easily overlooked passage in Parashas Beha’alosecha, we find a message about the fundamental attitude toward a full Jewish life. In just four verses (Num. 10:29-32), we see Moshe trying to convince his father-in-law, Yisro, to stay with the Jews rather ...

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