Derashos HaRan

Get Ready to Hear What Hashem Wants of Us

by R. Gidon Rothstein Drasha 10 Part 1 Ran opens the tenth Drasha with Devarim 10:12 (this Drasha seems to have been first delivered on Parashat Ekev, 1361). The verse wonders, loosely, “Now, Israel, what does Hashem ask of you other than to fear Hashem, follow all His ways, love Him, and to serve Hashem with all your heart and ...

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When Logical Is Still Wrong

by R. Gidon Rothstein Drasha 9 Part 3 Teshuvah is impossible without recognition of Hashem’s continuing interest in and involvement with the world. Ran assumes people in the time of the Torah doubted this, as do some or many of his listeners. Today, too, people insist the world almost always runs according to the laws of nature, without Hashem’s providence. ...

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The Key To Teshuvah: Accepting Reponsibility

by R. Gidon Rothstein Drasha 9 Part 2 Ran is encouraging his audience to believe in the possibility of healing repentance, as we saw last time. In this part of the drasha, he points to two components of that repentance, having to do with how we see ourselves and how we see Hashem. Aside from helping with teshuvah, repentance, they ...

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The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the One

by R. Gidon Rothstein Drasha 9 Part 1 The community matters, even more than its leader. The ninth of Ran’s Drashot focuses on passages in Parshat VaEtchanan. Hestarts with Devarim 3:23-26, where Moshe Rabbenu tells the Jewish people of Hashem’s refusal to allow him to enter the Land of Israel. At the same time, the drasha continues themes Ran has ...

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Overcoming Nature or Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

by R. Gidon Rothstein Drasha 8 Part 3 With Moshe there for the rebuke of Aharon and Miriam, people might think Moshe’s feelings had led to Miriam’s leprosy.  Hashem has the Torah speak of Moshe’s humility to make clear that’s not what happened, but the possibility leads Ran to a discussion of what’s inherent to us, such as the possibility ...

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Unity in Leadership, Prophecy, and Wisdom

by R. Gidon Rothstein Drasha 8 Part 2 How unified a leadership do we want? In democracies, we like checks and balances, diversity and multiplicity of opinion, to avoid getting trapped in one mode of thought. Ran assumes the opposite, that one leader is best. This shapes how he views the process of the elders joining Moshe Rabbenu’s leadership team. ...

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Moshe, Prophecy Catalyst

by R. Gidon Rothstein Drasha 8 Part 1 Does Hashem have to say please? In the eighth drasha, Ran is puzzled that Hashem begins with the word “please” his rebuke of Miriam and Aharon for their criticizing Moshe’s separation from his wife. Miriam and Aharon thought that since they maintained healthy married lives, why couldn’t Moshe do the same? Prior ...

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How to Get to the Times of Mashiach

by R. Gidon Rothstein Bringing Mashiach and Universal Recognition of Hashem into the Picture Ran’s final point in this Drasha changes everything. It is a startling worldview that redefines the purpose of Jewish law and gives us insight to the intellectual challenges his community was facing at the time, which remain remarkably relevant today. Prior essays in this series Having ...

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Why Would Ran Recycle a Whole Drasha?

by R. Gidon Rothstein In the seventh Drasha, Ran repeats much material; indeed, almost the whole Drasha has appeared before (mostly in the alternate version of the fifth Drasha, as discussed here). By paying careful attention to what is different, I think we can discover his true message in this Drasha. Is Touchiness a Flaw in Torah Scholars? Prior essays ...

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If You’re Only Going to Do One…

by R. Gidon Rothstein The juiciest nuggets often come in the digressions in a lecture. Having discussed the two substantive parts of the sixth drasha, let’s look at the fascinating way in which Ran opens the talk. It’s a complete digression, bearing no clear connection to the rest, except that it’s building off of another point made by the verses ...

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