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Dvar Torah

The Holocaust and Today’s Antisemitism

This past week, Jewish communities throughout the world, as well as many non-Jewish communities, marked April 8th, Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, with meaningful commemorations. Our great Torah scholar, Maimonides, lists “remember what Amalek did” and “do not forget what Amalek did” as two separate but closely related Torah mitzvot, incumbent on every Jew. Neither command has any designated time or place to be fulfilled. In fact, they can be accomplished every day, at any time.

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What is Great About the Great Shabbat?

Why was the Shabbat before the first Pesach and every Shabbat that precedes Pesach thereafter known as “Shabbat Hagadol,” the Great Shabbat? What was significant about that Shabbat that we commemorate it every year? Click to find out.

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“A Man Has to Know His Limitations”

There have been many memorable movie one-liners over the years. One comes from Clint Eastwood in one of his Dirty Harry movies. At the end of one particular movie, when the villain is finally disposed of, Inspector Callahan coolly reminds us, “A man has to know his limitations.” In this week’s Torah reading, פרשת כי תשא, God makes a similar comment to Moshe.

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Cherubs Atop the Ark

“They shall make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them.” This verse from Parshat Terumah presents us with a question. What does it mean to create a sanctuary for God?

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Under the Apple Tree

Many if not most of the readers of this weekly Dvar Torah may be too young to remember the song, “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.” It is a World War II song about a woman and her soldier boyfriend soon to be sent overseas. Where did the notion of a girl sitting with a boy under an apple tree come from? Where did the lyricists Les Brown and Charles Tobias get that refrain?

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