Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Parashat Masei, 5774/2014 edition

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Parashat Matot, 5774/2014 edition (slightly belated)

I've been very busy at the office and at home, and have had very little time to blog, but I feel I would be remiss if I didn't at least link you to Rav Shai Held's d'var Torah on Parashat Matot.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shover oivim u'machnia zedim

As the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz (Shiv'ah Asar b'Tammuz) winds down, I'd just like to post a note of caution.  We pray for HaShem to be Shover Oivim, the One Who Destroys Enemies, and that applies to the murderers of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil'ad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach.  But we also pray for HaShem to be Machnia Zedim, the One Who Humbles the Arrogant, and that applies to the murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir.  (Were they so arrogant as to think that murdering a Palestinian teenager in revenge for the murder of the Israeli teenagers would solve anything?)  It's important to maintain that balance, and to remember that playing the Destroyer and/or the Humbler is often not a good idea for normal mortals.

Unless there's no other choice.  May HaShem protect the Israel Defense Forces and the people of Israel during (and after) Operation Protective Edge.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Parashat Pinchas, 5774/2014 edition

Basics here.

My previous Pinchas posts:

~ Parshat Pinchas (Wednesday, July 13, 2011) Some interesting notes (and comments) regarding both the "briti shalom" of the Torah reading and the "still, small voice" of the haftarah.

~ Parshat Pinchas, 5772/2012 thoughts (Friday, July 13, 2012)  More noteworthy for its links (to posts by Larry Lennhoff and Conservadox) than for my post itself.

This year's thoughts:

Numbers Chapter 25 בְּמִדְבַּר

יא  פִּינְחָס בֶּן-אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן-אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן, הֵשִׁיב אֶת-חֲמָתִי מֵעַל בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּקַנְאוֹ אֶת-קִנְאָתִי, בְּתוֹכָם; וְלֹא-כִלִּיתִי אֶת-בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּקִנְאָתִי.11 'Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned My wrath away from the children of Israel, in that he was very jealous for My sake among them, so that I consumed not the children of Israel in My jealousy.
יב  לָכֵן, אֱמֹר:  הִנְנִי נֹתֵן לוֹ אֶת-בְּרִיתִי, שָׁלוֹם.12 Wherefore say: Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace;
יג  וְהָיְתָה לּוֹ וּלְזַרְעוֹ אַחֲרָיו, בְּרִית כְּהֻנַּת עוֹלָם--תַּחַת, אֲשֶׁר קִנֵּא לֵאלֹהָיו, וַיְכַפֵּר, עַל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.13 and it shall be unto him, and to his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.'

Nu, and what became of Aharon's other surviving son, Itamar?  Did the descendants of Itamar become "plain" Leviim, rather than kohanim/priests?

Numbers Chapter 29 בְּמִדְבַּר

Check out verses 12 through 34--apparently, I've slept through years of "sacrifice" readings, because I hadn't noticed until now that the sacrifices for Sukkot decrease in number as the holiday progresses.

~ Conservadox discusses gender bias in biblical inheritance law and provides a link to a rabbinic work-around.

~ Rav Shai Held points out that the ancient sages were uncomfortable with the zealotry of Pinchas.

~ Rav Shlomo Riskin reminds us that influence often lasts longer than power.

~ Rav Dov Linzer posits that it's tough for a zealot to be a true religious leader.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Parashat Balak, 5774/2014 edition

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


Out to the compactor room
goes the short glass
that held the yahrzeit candle
that we burned in memory of the three boys
Why does it get another chance?
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