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Weekly Dvar Torah By Rabbi Yitzchak Gettinger 

12/03/2017 08:06:11 PM

Dec3

Parsha Chukas

06/21/2018 09:39:05 PM

Jun21

The infamous sin of Moshe Rabeinu hitting the rock instead of speaking to it is perhaps the most esoteric story in the entire Torah, both in terms of the cryptic text used to describe it and the mysterious nature of the sin itself.  Ranging from the Rambam's ancient and elaborate explanation in his work "Shemone Perakim" to contemporary thinkers, every commentator is puzzled by demanding questions from even a cursory look at the...Read more...

Parsha Korach

06/15/2018 12:00:28 PM

Jun15

After destroying Korach and his followers, God called for a new test to remove any lingering doubts the nation had in accepting Aron as the right choice for Kohen Gadol.  Each tribe presented one staff, upon which was written the name of its leader, and miraculously, Aron's staff blossomed, sprouted a bud, and almonds ripened on it.  The staff became a demonstrable expression of God's choice in Aron, and it was left in the Aron...Read more...

Parsha Shelach

06/07/2018 09:31:59 PM

Jun7

The bookends of the Parsha are the infamous sin of the miraglim portraying Eretz Yisrael in a negative light and the mitzva of tziztis.  Besides the obvious connection in terms of juxtaposition, there is a unique verb that is used both in regard to the miraglim and the idea of tzitzis that further connects the two topics.  The point of tzitzis is "to remember all the mitzvos of God and to keep them, not straying...Read more...

Parsha B’haaloscha 

05/31/2018 08:56:34 PM

May31

At the very end of the Parsha, Miriam and Aron speak badly about Moshe’s marriage, and when Miriam is subsequently punished with Tzara’as, the Torah says that she was quarantined outside the camp for seven days while the people waited for her return before resuming their travels.  Citing examples for the idea that God rewards a person beyond the proportions of their actions, the Mishna in Sota (9b) explains that God was honoring...Read more...

Parsha Nasso

05/24/2018 08:51:28 PM

May24

The end of the Parsha discusses the inauguration of the new Mishkan, and specifically the special offerings brought by the leaders of the twelve tribes to begin the service.  Although each of the leaders brought exactly identical Korbanos, the Torah still enumerates each detail of the twelve Korbanos in a lengthy and repetitious manner.  Why does the Torah need to individualize each of the Korbanos and not just succinctly say that...Read more...

Parsha Bamidbar

05/18/2018 12:35:14 PM

May18

Besides the general national census that takes up most of the Parsha, there was an additional census taken of just the firstborn males, and the subsequent mitzvah given to redeem those firstborns by giving a Kohen five skekel coins per firstborn. Why was the redemption price set at five shekels?  Rashi explains that this was commensurate to the price...Read more...

Parshas Kedoshim

04/26/2018 07:55:00 PM

Apr26

Parshas Kedoshim introduces a wide assortment of mitzvos, and it is hard to discern any sort of meaning in the sequence of the ostensibly disorganized presentation of these new laws. However, Chazal understood that there must be meaning to the order of the Torah, and they expound various lessons and teachings based on the juxtaposition on the Pesukim.  Given...Read more...

Parsha Shemini

04/12/2018 07:04:08 PM

Apr12

After Nadav and Avihu’s deaths spoiled the Mishan’s festive inaugural festivities, the Torah describes Aron’s reaction to this tragedy in two words- וַיִּדֹּם אַהֲרֹן.  In his commentary to Torah, Onkelos translates the words to mean that Aharon was silent, an interpretation that most Rishonim use in their commentaries.  Simply understood, Aron did not question God or complain about his emotional...Read more...

Parsha Tzav

03/22/2018 08:42:23 PM

Mar22

Many of the Korbanos offered in the Temple were eaten by the Kohanim, and there seems to be conflicting impressions regarding which specific Kohen would eat the Korban.  On the one hand, the Torah writes about the Korban Asham:” Every male among the Kohanim shall eat it,” indicating that Korbanos are to be divided among the Kohanim.  On the other hand, the Torah writes about the Korban Chatas: “the Kohen who...Read more...

Parsha Vayakhel

03/08/2018 07:17:10 PM

Mar8

The dynamic duo who built the Mishkan, Betzalel and Ahaliav, come from two opposite extremes.  Betzalel descends from great lineage, from the tribe of Yehuda and specifically the grandson of Chur, while Ahaliav is from the tribe of Dan, who, in the words of Rashi 35:34, is the “lowest of the tribes.”  Citing the Midrash, Rashi explains that God composed a team from the highest of the high and the lowest of the low to fulfill...Read more...

Parsha Ki Sisa

02/27/2018 10:15:54 PM

Feb27

After Moshe descends from the mountain with the two Tablets in hand, he is met by his loyal student and attendant, Yehoshua.  Evidently, Yehoshua’s very “place” was by his teacher Moshe, and he remained at the foot of mountain for the duration of the time Moshe was away.  Yehoshua was therefore absent from the drama of the Golden Calf, and when the loud sounds of celebration around the Calf reached Yehoshua’s ears, he...Read more...

Parsha Tetzavah

02/25/2018 05:03:55 PM

Feb25

One of the Kohen Gadol’s garments was the Tzitz, a golden forehead-plate that had the words “Holy to God” inscribed on its face.  In discussion of the Kohen Gadol’s outfit, the Gemara in Eruchin teaches that each one of the eight garments correlated to a specific flaw or sin that it represented and atoned for.  The Tzitz was associated with “Azus Meitzach”- literally brazen facedness- and the Kohen Gadol atoned for this...Read more...

Parsha Mishpatim

02/08/2018 07:44:12 PM

Feb8

There are different points in the Parsha that emphasize the value of listening, and specifically how listening can have intrinsic value that is not measured by its active outcome.  Although Matan Torah was in last week’s Parsha, it is the end of Parshas Mishpatim that relates the axiomatic phrase of Jewish commitment- “Na’ase V’nishma”- we shall do and we shall listen.  The order of the commitment, we shall do before we...Read more...

Parshas Yisro

02/02/2018 10:43:52 AM

Feb2

Besides being Moshe Rabbeinu’s father in law, Yisro is famous for being the first outsider to join the Jewish People.  There is a discussion in the Gemara regarding the timing of when Yisro joined the Jews, as the Tannaim disagree whether Yisro came before or after Matan Torah.  In analysis of this dispute, the Gemara says it depends on the interpretation of the opening words of the Parsha, “And Yisro heard,” as one opinion...Read more...

Parshas Beshalach

01/26/2018 10:03:57 AM

Jan26

The bookends of the Parsha depict battles with two enemies of the Jews, with Pharoh and Mitzrayim pursuing the Jews in the beginning of the Parsha and the insidious attack of Amalek at the end of the Parsha.  Although both sought to expunge the name of the Jews for eternity, we find a tremendous distinction in the way the Torah now mandates us to relate to Mitzrayim and Amalek.  We are taught to relate to Amalek with a no tolerance...Read more...

Parshas Bo

01/18/2018 10:02:54 PM

Jan18

 

In preparation for Redemption and leaving Egypt, the Jews are taught a series of new laws for the Holiday of Pesach, and this particular chapter opens with the mitzvah of Kiddush Hachodesh- the laws of establishing a lunar based Jewish calendar and declaring each new month upon the visibility of the new moon.  The opening Rashi in Chumash Bereishis says that the Torah really should have begun with this...Read more...

Parshas Va'eira

01/18/2018 08:16:57 PM

Jan18

After God appears to Moshe and instructs him to lead the Jews out of Egypt,
The Parsha opens with Moshe encouraging the Jewish nation in their state of slavery, as Moshe proclaims that God will eventually redeem the Jews and bring them into Israel.  Overwhelmed by the physical and emotional burdens of slavery, the Jews do not accept Moshe’s message.  Moshe is then instructed once more by God to approach Pharoh, and the Pasuk...Read more...

Parsha Shemos

01/04/2018 09:02:16 PM

Jan4

After God appears to Moshe and instructs him to lead the Jews out of Egypt, Moshe is reluctant to accept the position because of his speech impediment.  He tells God to “send the one you usually send”, a reference to his brother Aron.  God becomes angry with Moshe, tells him to lead and that Aron “the Levi” will speak on his behalf.  In the Gemara in Zevachim 102, R’ Yosi says there are always...Read more...

Parshas Vayechei

12/31/2017 03:15:06 PM

Dec31

Sefer Bereishis concludes with Yaakov leaving distinct and personalized messages for each of the 12 tribes.  Just as Yaakov had specific words for each tribe that spoke to its individual makeup, Moshe Rabbeinu also blessed each tribe with individual focus prior to his death.  Much study has been done in comparing and contrasting Moshe's and Yaakov’s blessings, and the most conspicuous...Read more...

Parashat Vayeshev

12/08/2017 02:48:43 PM

Dec8

Yosef's "garments" seem to play a crucial role in the narrative of Parshas Vayeishev. It was the special fine robe that Yaakov gave to Yosef that spurred the brother's resentment and jealousy towards Yosef.  In fact, when the brothers decide to act upon their antipathy and throw Yosef into a pit, their first move is to strip him of his special robe and source of their frustrations.  Ironically, Yosef's clothes are highlighted later...Read more...

Parashat Vayishlach

12/01/2017 12:00:43 PM

Dec1

The night preceding the climactic showdown between Yaakov and Eisav is mysterious and mystical.  It all begins with the Torah saying that Yaakov was "left alone," leaving the reader to wonder why he was not together with his family.  The Gemara in Chulin explains that Yaakov forgot some small jars on the other side of the river he had previously crossed, and when he went unaccompanied to retrieve them, he was met by Eisav's angel in...Read more...

Sun, June 24 2018 11 Tammuz 5778