Four Darshanim

The Courage of Three of the Tribes

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Ve-Zot Ha-Beracha The Needs of a Judge Moshe Rabbenu addresses the tribes in our parsha, sometimes with a beracha, sometimes with more of a  description. For Dan, 33;22, it seems the latter, calling Dan a gur aryeh, a lion cub, that leaps out of the Bashan. Kli Yakar reads the verse in the context of Ya’akov’s blessing, in Bereshit 29;16, Dan ...

Read More »

Three Views of Yehoshu’a on Moshe’s Last Day

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Ha’Azinu After the Torah records the song of Ha’azinu, 32;44 tells us Moshe came and relayed it to the people, he and Hoshe’a bin nun. Since we know him as Yehoshu’a, ever since 38 years ago, when Moshe changed his name, commentators wonder why the Torah uses his original name. Their answers offer three perspectives of ...

Read More »

Earning Our Intuition: It’s Not In Heaven, But…

by R. Gidon Rothstein In looking at the rich phrase in last week’s parsha, lo bashamayim hi, it is not in heaven, I came across two comments I have not reviewed here, that seem to me particularly relevant to the Yamim Noraim and our experience of teshuvah, repentance. (Fortunately for me, many commentators think of the verse as actually about teshuvah, although the ideas here come from ...

Read More »

Torah Finds a Way

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Nitzavim Just before the end of the parsha, Moshe Rabbenu calls to witness heaven and earth that he has placed before them the paths of life and death, blessing and curse, and urges them to choose life, that they may live, and their descendants. Yalkut Shim’oni to Ha’azinu wondered why he called heaven and earth to witness in particular. The ...

Read More »

What’s Inside Matters, Too

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Ki Tavo We live after almost two hundred years of important rabbis and poskim finding ways to accommodate those who have left observance, let alone are not observing for the exact right motives. R. Yehudah’s quote of Rav, Pesachim 50b, that a Jew should observe the Torah without perfect motive, because it will build to better motives, has ...

Read More »

Hurting Ourselves When We Think We’re Helping

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Ki Tetzei Honest Measures Can Also Be a Problem The Torah warns us not to have two kinds of weights, big and small, 25;14. Were they both, the big and small, off from the truth, the verse could/should have just said do not have false weights or measures. Kli Yakar therefore argues one of these was actually ...

Read More »

Murder, War, and a King to Lead It All

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Shofetim The end of Parshat Shofetim describes the eglah arufah ceremony, where someone is found murdered between cities (as portrayed in Murderer in the Mikdash, for those who have not yet read it). To atone for the insufficiently safe roads, the nearest city enacts breaks a heifer’s neck in a riverbed, what the Torah prescribed. Among the many questions one ...

Read More »

Connect with the Poor, Connect with God, Connect God to Israel

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Re’eh A Muddled Presentation of the Obligation of Charity Chapter fifteen of Devarim speaks of the poor twice in just a few verses, verse four promising there will be no poor among us in the land Hashem gives us, verse eleven saying there will never stop being poor. Sifrei Re’eh 132 explained the basic contradiction, verse four was addressing ...

Read More »

Getting to Israel, Getting to Judaism, Getting Away from Overconfidence

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Ekev The Extraterritoriality of Shuls and Batei Medrash Devarim 11;21, the end verse to what we call the second paragraph of Shema, says keeping mitzvot will give us long life on the Land Hashem promised. Kli Yakar opens his comment with a story from Berakhot 8a, where R. Yochanan was surprised to hear there were elderly Jews in Bavel, because our verse limits Hashem granting ...

Read More »

Three Readings of What Makes Jews Wise in the Eyes of the Nations

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat VaEtchanan Normally, I spread the comments of our three commentators throughout the parsha. Va-Etchanan has a verse my teacher, Prof. Yitzchak Twersky, zt”l, focused on often, so I am taking the opportunity to collect three more perspectives of is meaning. The Torah says its laws are chokhmatchem u-vinatchem be-einei ha-amim, your wisdom and understanding in the eyes ...

Read More »

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter


The latest weekly digest is also available by clicking here.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

Archives

Categories