Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Divrei Torah

Mixing the Metaphysical With the Physical: Toward an Accurate Summary of Ramban’s Views in Devarim

We have been studying Ramban on the book of Devarim since just after Pesach, two columns on each parsha. Going forward, I hope to start with Bereishit; since we’re now caught up with the weekly Torah reading, we’ll spend only one week on

Time for Thanksgiving

Sukkot 5778

At last, I get to really enjoy Yom Tov in Israel. I haven’t been in Israel for chag in over 16 years.  But that

Two Roads Diverged

Yom Kippur 5778

OK, gentle reader, you know that I’m stealing from Robert Frost. I could have plagiarized Yogi and began with, “If you

Ramban to V’Zot HaBracha, Week Two: Yosef, Gad and Moshe

The God of the Bush

While blessing the tribe of Yosef (at the end of the bracha, he mentions both Ephraim and Menashe), Moshe Rabbenu refers to

Open Heart Surgery

Nitzavim-Vayelach 5777

How scary is that title? But I guess appropriate, because many Jews find this

Blessings From and To Whom

From a Man of God

The first verse of the parsha gives Ramban much to discuss, and I’m not going to resist the urge to engage with it at

But I Don’t Wanna!

From Rabbi Walk, earlier this summer: “This spring, I bid a very fond farewell to Stamford, Connecticut. Rivka and I are moving to Jerusalem this August. On a few occasions I was called upon to say my

Building Blocks of Perfection, Straight and Alone

Unchanging Perfection

Ha’azinu starts—and is mostly taken up with—a song that Moshe Rabbeinu was told to teach the Jewish people, as a lasting witness of right and wrong ways to act. An early verse

As Good As His Word

Matot 5777

A few years ago, I had to give testimony in a court proceeding. The judge asked the clerk “to swear me in” on the Bible of

Building a Covenant With Hashem

Parshat Ki Tavo opens with different ways in which the Jewish people will in the future or are right then reaffirming their relationship with Hashem. Since “relationship” cannot apply to Hashem in the ordinary way (Hashem is so Other that the use of human language is always either incomplete or incorrect), aspects of these

Clear the Air

Korach 5777

The rebellion of Korach is always a disheartening story, in so many ways. How could anyone question the authority of Moshe? He ascended Mt. Sinai and brought down the Tablets from God; he spoke directly to the Almighty. We still revere him and consider him our mentor, rabbeinu. Well,

Some Expressions of Israel as the Jewish Home

Ramban to Shoftim, Week One

Life Is in Israel

Two comments of Ramban remind us of his view—which has halachic ramifications—that the Jewish people are meant to live in Israel, a life demonstrably richer there than elsewhere.

דברים טז:יח שֹׁפְטִ֣ים וְשֹֽׁטְרִ֗ים תִּֽתֶּן־לְךָ֙

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