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Dvar Torah

And Now for the Rest of the Story

As we begin the annual cycle of reading the Torah, it is most important to understand that the written Torah, also know as the Five Books of Moshe or Chumash, actually came after the Oral Law (Torah She-Ba’al Peh). In fact, the Torah was not completed (according to Rashi) or even started (according to Maimonides) before the last month of Moshe’s life forty years after the Revelation at Mt Sinai. The great 19th century German rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch used the following analogy: the Torah is to the Oral Law as notes are to attending a full lecture. read more And Now for the Rest of the Story

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Alone With God

Alone With God

The Hebrew month of Tishrei is chock full of holidays, Yomim Tovim, each with their own unique and specifically mandated mitzvot. The goal of these special mitzvoth is to ingrain in us ideas that are necessary for human perfection. But the Torah has no unique mitzvah for us to perform on Shemini Atzeret,which we will celebrate on Monday. Why? read more Alone With God

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“Shanah Tovah” More Than Apples and Honey

Jewish people from around the world greet each other at various times of the year with special customary greetings. On Rosh Hashanah everyone knows that we say some version of “Shanah Tovah” (“May you have a good year”). However, this Rosh Hashanah greeting is different from all the rest. It is more than just the appropriate holiday or seasonal greeting; it has a special and unique halakhic significance. read more “Shanah Tovah” More Than Apples and Honey

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