Weekly Torah Reading Resources

Lending to the Poor

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Mishpatim It’s been a long time since I first learned about Rambam’s eight levels of tzedakah, the highest form of which was making sure the poor person had a job, and/or lending a person money to start a business and be able to support him/herself. Only some time after, when I went through Rambam’s Sefer Ha-Mitzvot, did ...

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The Centrality of the Covenant

by R. Moshe Kurtz Lomdus on the Parsha: Yisro Based on the Acclaimed Sefer Chavatzeles HaSharon Q: Why did God compel the Jewish people to accept the Torah? Moshe led the people out of the camp toward God, and they took their places at the foot of the mountain. (Exodus 19:17) The Medresh Tanchuma (Noach, no. 3) notes that while the ...

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Three Views of How Zeh Gets Us Closer to God

by R. Gidon Rothstein Murder Reduces the Divine Presence in the World Mekhilta on Parshat Yitro assumes the five Dibberot on the left side of the Tablets paralleled those on the right, meaning murder parallels the declaration of Anokhi Hashem Elokekha, I am the Lord your God. Kli Yakar says a murderer reduces the Divine image and form in the world. To explain how that works, he ...

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Kibbud Av Va-Em Doesn’t Mean Honoring Parents

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Yitro Is Honor the Right Word? Everyone knows we are required to honor our parents, but as Mark Twain supposedly said, “it ain’t what we don’t know that gets us in trouble, it’s what we know that just ain’t so.” Rambam’s Obligation 210 of Sefer Ha-Mitzvot records the verse from the Aseret Ha-Dibberot (the Ten Pronouncements, I prefer to ...

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Do I Need to Stay in for Torah Reading?

by R. Moshe Kurtz Lomdus on the Parsha: Beshalach Based on the Acclaimed Sefer Chavatzeles HaSharon Q: Is one required to hear all of Torah reading? Then Moshe caused Israel to set out from the Sea of Reeds. They went on into the wilderness of Shur; they traveled three days in the wilderness and found no water. (Exodus 15:22) The Talmud ...

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Ways We Shape Our Experience of God’s World

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Evil Inclination Needs an Opening Yalkut Shimoni 261, on Parshat Be-Shalah, compares Amalek to a fly, a comparison Kli Yakar notes Hazal also applied to the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, in Berakhot 61a. The fly is too weak to make an incision, but takes advantage of open sores or wounds, expands the opening, colonizes the area, and infects the body (still true ...

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The Obligation of Tehumin

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat BeShalah, Year Two Part of my interest in this mitzvah is that it might not belong here at all, since rishonim debate whether there is any Biblical prohibition related to how far we travel on Shabbat. The Early Rambam In Sefer Ha-Mitzvot, Prohibition 321, Rambam writes that we have been warned not to travel outside our Shabbat limits, based on Shemot 16; 29, ...

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The Dual Sanctity of Israel

by R. Moshe Kurtz Lomdus on the Parsha: Bo Based on the Acclaimed Sefer Chavatzeles HaSharon Q: May we sanctify the new month outside the Land of Israel? God said to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Egypt: “This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year ...

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