Shabbat HaChodesh - Vayikra

Posted on March 12th, 2018

Leviticus 1:1−5:26 

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier for
VaYikrah – With a Small Aleph (VaYikrah – Con un Aleph Pequeño)

“And HASHEM called to Moshe, and HASHEM spoke to him from the Ohel Moed, saying. . .” — VaYikrah 1:1

Sefer VaYikrah opens with the expression:

ויקרא אל משה “And HASHEM called to Moshe.” The word ויקרא is written with a small aleph.

The Baal HaTurim explains that this was because of Moshe Rabbeinu’s extreme humility. HASHEM told him to write the word ויקרא with an aleph. That implies that HASHEM called Moshe to come forward for an audience. Moshe felt that was too much honor. He wanted it to appear as if it were more of a random occurrence. When HASHEM spoke to Bilaam, the Torah used the expression “ויקר” to mean that is wasn’t a formal audience, just a chance happening. So Moshe requested to write the word here without the aleph. HASHEM told him not to do that, but to write the word out fully. Out of his extreme humility, Moshe said he would only write it with a small aleph to somehow keep the connotation that it wasn’t a formal invitation.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei / Shabbat Parah

Posted on March 5th, 2018

Exodus 35:1–40:38 

Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun, Ph.D for 
The Textual Source for the 39 Melachot of Shabbat 

Rabbinic literature takes it as a given that there are 39 forms of melacha (work) prohibited on Shabbat. The number 39—forty minus one in the Mishna’s parlance—appears set in stone. This is clear from even a cursory glance at all of the Rabbinic passages dealing with the forms of melacha forbidden on Shabbat, whether in the Mishna, the midrashei halacha, and the two Talmudim.[2] In many cases, the Rabbis force any accepted form of melacha into the rubric of 39 melachot. To keep the list to the proper number, they include some and exclude others, they cover more than one type of work under a single name[3] or in one overarching category,[4] or they separate similar forms into different categories.[5] In the end, the sum always ends up equaling the preexisting correct number, 39.

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Ki Tisa

Posted on February 26th, 2018

EXODUS 30:11−34:35 

Rabbi Herzl Hefter for 
The Smashing of the Luchot as a Paradigm Shift 

I believe that current biblical scholarship which undermines the traditional belief in the textual integrity of the Torah and its’ accurate historicity provides a precious opportunity to engender a spiritual revitalization of traditional Judaism. Through the following reading of the smashing of the luchot and by analogy, I wish to explain why I believe this.

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Posted on February 19th, 2018

Exodus 27:20 - 30:10; Maftir:  Deuteronomy 25:17-19 

Rabbi Moshe Becker for 
Let Everyone Shine
Allowing each individual's particular talents to find expression strengthens the entire unit.

We all have talents and abilities, as do our siblings and friends. At times we have difficulty recognizing a sister’s talents; at other times we may be jealous of a sibling’s unique capabilities. We must develop the confidence in our own roles to the point that we can let our brothers and sisters shine.



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Posted on February 12th, 2018

Exodus 25:1 - 27:19 

Rabbi Moti Bar-Or for 
Is the Mishkan (Tabernacle) God’s Home?

Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering; of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. (Exodus 25:1)

Among the 613 mitzvot (commandments), that of donating precious possessions for the building of the Tabernacle in Parashat Terumah stands out for its element of volunteerism, which places it outside of the usually clear-cut nature of halacha(Jewish law). A donation for building the mishkan (tabernacle) not only isn’t compulsory, but it becomes a donation worthy of God’s approval only when it’s spurred by a spirit of freedom and generosity of heart: “every man that giveth it willingly.”

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