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Five Rashis, Tetzaveh: It All Comes Together

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A project in memory of Baruch Leib HaKohen b. Mordechai Yidel ve-Dobba Chaya

Three times in this parsha, the Torah uses the word tamid which means always but, as Rashi points out, has various connotations. In 27;20, the Torah speaks of using pure oil for a Ner Tamid a permanent light, but Rashi says that means lighting it...

Rabbi’s Musings and Amusings

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Music of the Soul

Background music; it’s practically everywhere. You can hardly go shopping anywhere without music playing overhead as you browse through the merchandise in a store. In fact, you can probably learn a lot about a store, like what kind of clientele it hopes to attract, from the type of music it plays.

Most people would probably say that they hardly hear the music, and surely not the lyrics, being played overhead as they shop. But I can’t help hearing what my ears are being subjected to, even in the background. At times I wish I could tune it out, but I have a hard time doing so.

It is no great revelation to say that I have noticed one basic theme that seems to...

Five Rashis, Mishpatim: The Wheels of Justice Grind Slowly, But They Grind Very Fine

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My father, a”h, was fond of the quote I made my title this week, and it’s apropos of what I found in the five Rashis for this week.

What Comes Our Way

21;13 speaks of unintentional killing, and refers to ve ha Elokim ana le yado, that Hashem brought it his way. In the second comment on those words, Rashi sees this as the source verse for David haMelech’s claim, I Shmuel 24;13, that the mashal hakadmoni which Rashi reads as the proverbs of the Ancient One—had said “from evildoers will proceed evil.”

In the example Rashi then gives, Hashem says that if two people got away with murder, one deliberate and one not, Hashem would maneuver them both to the same inn where the...

Holocaust Scholar Coaches YUHS Seniors on “Names Not Numbers” Project

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Acclaimed Holocaust scholar and award-winning film producer Dr. Michael Berenbaum returned to the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys to instruct the seniors on technique and the gravity and privilege of interviewing and filming Holocaust survivors as part of the “Names Not Numbers” program. “We are at a transitional moment,” said Berenbaum. “You are of the last generation to be in the presence of survivors. Cherish it and do something important with it.”

The program was developed in 2003 by Tova Rosenberg, director of Hebrew language studies at the Yeshiva University High Schools. Students learn skills to produce videos of oral histories...

Mezuzah: A Response to Anti-Semitism

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A few weeks ago, I was part of a small group of rabbis and students went to stand in solidarity with the Jews of Paris. The attack on the Super Casher is just one of a string of anti-semitic attacks on world Jewry. I noted that the Jews in Paris vacillated between displaying their Judaism proudly and hiding their Jewish markers out of fear. One family was considering removing their mezuzah so that their home would not be clearly identified as Jewish.

Indeed, the mitzvah of the mezuzah provides two seemingly opposing symbolic messages: a symbol of protection and a symbol of freedom.

A few weeks ago we were introduced to the mitzvah of mezuzah in Parshat Bo (Shemoth 12:7) when God...

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