Vort from the Rav

Vort from the Rav: Ki Sisa

Ex. 32:19 וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ מִיָּדָו אֶת הַלֻּחֹת and he flung the tablets from his hands. There is a disagreement among Chazal regarding the circumstances surrounding the breaking of the tablets. Most opinions maintain that Moses intentionally broke the tablets since he did not want to present them to the idolatrous nation. To support this premise, there is a passage in Bava ...

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Vort from the Rav: Tetzaveh

Ex. 28:4 ואפד an ephod Rashi writes: “I have not heard nor have I found a baraisa which explains [the ephod’s] design. However, my heart tells me that it is belted around its back…” Rashi then continues with a description of how he believed the ephod was designed. How could Rashi provide such a detailed picture based simply on his ...

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Vort from the Rav: Terumah

Ex. 25:8 וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָֽׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָֽם And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst. According to Rav Chaim Volozhin, there is no truer Temple than the personality of the individual (Nefesh Hachaim 4:1). The Divine Presence resides within us. Conversely, sin involves the removal of God’s presence from within the individual. Because sin ...

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Vort from the Rav: Mishpatim

Ex. 21:35 וְכִֽי־יִגּף שׁוֹר־אִישׁ אֶת־שׁוֹר רֵעֵהוּ And if a man’s bull strikes his friend’s bull. Martin Heidegger, one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century, taught ethics and spirituality at the University of Berlin in the early part of the twentieth century. Yet, when Hitler rose to power, he and a large coterie of his peers were among ...

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Vort from the Rav: Yisro

Ex. 20:2 אָֽנֹכִי ה’ אֱלֹ-הֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר הֽוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִֽים I am the Lord, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Rashi, quoting Mechilta, comments: Taking you out of Egypt is sufficient reason for you to be subject to Me. Apparently, Rashi and Mechilta were bothered by the question ...

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Vort from the Rav: Beshalach

Ex. 13:18 וַיַסֵב אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָעָם  So God led the people around The Midrash (Shemos Rabbah) makes the following statement based on the word וַיַסֵב: “So God led the people around”: from this phrase our Rabbis teach that even a poor person in Israel must not eat (at the Pesach Seder) until he reclines (שׁיסב), for this is what the Holy ...

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Vort from the Rav: Bo

Ex. 12:2 הַחדֶש הַזֶה לָכֶם ראש חֳדָשִים This month shall be to you the head of the months. The first commandment they were given in Egypt which signaled the commencement of their liberation was to mark time. A slave is relieved of mitzvos asei she-ha-zeman geraman, of time-bound positive commandments. This is because the slave lacks time experience. To the ...

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Vort from the Rav: Va’era

Ex. 6:12 וְאֵיךְ יִשְׁמָעֵנִי פַרְעה וַֽאֲנִי עֲרַל שְׂפָתָֽיִם How then will Pharaoh hearken to me, seeing that I am of closed lips? Earlier, at the Burning Bush, Moses argued that he was heavy of tongue. Why did he seem to repeat the same argument here? This question is addressed by the Zohar: Moses was then in the grade of “Voice,” ...

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Vort from the Rav: Shemos

Ex. 3:10 לְכָה וְאֶֽשְׁלָֽחֲךָ אֶל־פַּרְעה So now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh. Ex.3:12 וַיּאמֶר כִּי־אֶֽהְיֶה עִמָּךְ  And He said, “For I will be with you.”   Reflect for a moment on the paradoxical implications of this nondescript phrase. The Creator of worlds, the Master of the Universe, the Infinite, appoints flesh and blood, temporal man, who is ...

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Freebie: Rav Soloveitchik on Parashas Shemos

by Dr. Arnold Lustiger Many friends have been asking me about the availability of the Chumash Mesoras Harav on Sefer Shemos. Here is an update. The Chumash left the bindery in Israel on Tuesday, and is presently available in Israel (Pomeranz on Be’eri in downtown Jerusalem) . Most of the Chumashim are arriving in the US by ship, and the ...

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