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Dvar Torah

The Link Between Shabbat & Civil Law

The Link Between Shabbat & Civil Law

This week’s parasha, Tzav, the second in Sefer Vayikra completes the Torah’s description of the various sacrifices to be offered in the Mishkan and later in the Holy Temples in Jerusalem. Yet the sacrificial service was not an end in itself or even the primary object of these commandments. Instead, the many rules and restrictions created the means by which mankind could harness powerful instinctual emotions of sacrifice without falling into idol worship. The ultimate goal of the sacrificial service is thus most closely related to prayer, supplication, and activities that lead to true knowledge and recognition of God.

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What is the Miracle of Purim?

What is the Miracle of Purim?

Next Wednesday night and Thursday, Jews around the world will gather to read and hear Megilat Esther, the Scroll of Esther. This book of the Tanakh relates events in Jewish history that took place over an 11-year period. Are we to see the events depicted in the Megillah as natural occurrences or as miracles?

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Beauty is in the Details

The Jewish religion is often misunderstood and disparaged. Why do we have a system of 613 individual commands, each with its own intricate structure of law? Why are we so focused on the details.

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Two Sanctuaries

Two Sanctuaries

There are four places in the Torah that juxtapose Shabbat and the Mishkan, the portable Temple used from the Jews’ wandering in the desert until King Solomon built the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Why?

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Census Versus Metaphysical Existence

Census Versus Metaphysical Existence

This week’s Torah reading, Parshat Ki Tisa, begins with a very strange admonishment by God: “When you take a census of the B’nei Yisrael, each man shall give Hashem an atonement for his soul so there will not be a plague among them when counting them.” Why do they need to make atonement or be punished with a plague?

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