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Weekly Dvar Torah By Rabbi Yitzchak Gettinger 

12/03/2017 08:06:11 PM


Parsha Va'eschanan

08/15/2019 08:40:45 PM


Parshas Va’eschanan continues with Moshe’s last lecture, with Moshe reviewing key concepts of Jewish faith and also sprinkling in new laws and insights.  Being the first core mitzvos, the Ten Commandments are revisited in exact detail, and Moshe seems to perfectly replicate what was said at Har Siani.  There are a few variances in Moshe’s review of the Ten Commandments from the way they first appear in Parshas Yisro, each of...Read more...

Parsha Devarim

08/08/2019 04:32:16 PM


In beginning his “last lecture” with the nation, one of the first issues that Moshe discusses is his struggle with being a solitary leader and how the challenge of being unaided in carrying the vast burdens of the Jewish people caused him to appoint other men to direct, judge, and guide the nation under Moshe’s general jurisdiction.  The Midrash explains this to be a reference to the story in...Read more...

Parsha Matot-Masei

08/01/2019 08:16:24 PM


The first half of the Parsha discusses the battle between the Jews and Midyan, a fight initiated by the Jews to purge themselves of any spiritual contaminations they had absorbed from Midyan’s influence. In the aftermath of the war, Moshe discovers that the Jews failed to kill the female Midyanites and is incensed at this decision, and when the Jews offer some of the spoils as a Korban to God, Moshe even suspects them of offering this...Read more...

Parsha Pinchas

07/25/2019 09:27:17 PM


The events of Parshas Pinchas are the culmination of the experiences that the Jews had in their forty year journey through the desert together with their leader Moshe.  Pinchas’s zealous act of striking a Jewish leader together with a Midanite woman spurred a command from God that the Jews should act with hostility towards the Midaanites and kill them.  The Parshas also contains one last national census of the nation, as well as...Read more...

Parsha Balak

07/18/2019 07:02:16 PM


A central theme in the story of Bilam’s failed attempts at cursing the Jewish people is the power of speech and how its usage is tied to the will of God.  The lesson of the usually silent donkey defeating Billam in debate and the lesson of Billam’s inability to convey his true thoughts in ֹֹֹwords are really one in the same with an ironic twist, that since God grants the capacity to speak, the greatest of orators may encounter...Read more...

Parsha Chukas

07/11/2019 08:02:29 PM


Parshas Chukas is particularly unique in the sense that its content spans the entire duration of B’nei Yisrael’s 40 year stay in the desert.  The opening topic of the Parsha, the detailed laws of spiritual impurity, was actually presented to the Jews during their second year in the wilderness, on the day the Mishkan was erected, (Gittin 60a) even preceding the mistake of sending spies to Israel.  From there,...Read more...

Parsha Korach

07/04/2019 11:02:59 PM


In the aftermath of Korach’s rebellion and destruction, the latter half of the Parsha discusses the 24 Priestly gifts.  Explaining the Torah’s sequence, Rashi explains that the Priestly gifts were God’s way of affirming the Kohamim’s positions and rightful entitlement as leaders of the nation.  There is a somewhat alternative approach that is rooted in the laws of how the “Yisroel,” the regular Jew, is obligated to give...Read more...

Parsha Sh'lach

06/27/2019 08:26:43 PM


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 Beha'aloscha

06/20/2019 08:13:33 PM


The Torah is comprised of many "sections" or paragraphs that have an allotted blank space in the Torah scroll both before and after the portion.  The smallest section from the whole Torah is found in this week's Parsha- the section of "Vayihi binsoa ha'aron" that contains a mere 85 letters.  Parenthetically presented, this section describes that when the nation would travel the Aron...Read more...

Parsha Naso

06/13/2019 11:05:39 PM


Parshas Naso introduces the Pesukim of Birchas Kohanim- a most famous liturgy that the Kohanim transfer from God to the people and that has customarily become a blessing from parent to child.  Made up of three stanzas, Birchas Kohanim opens with the simple words of: “May God bless you and guard you.”  It is hard to understand the direct flow between “bless you” and “guard you,” and this choppy wording is the cause for...Read more...

Parsha Bamidbar

06/06/2019 08:30:06 PM


As the title of Sefer Bamidbar suggests, the Midbar setting of the Jews’ journey to Israel was significant and defining of their stay there.  In numerous places, Chazal note that the word Midbar references different morals that can be learned from the Midbar and applied to the study of Torah.  Firstly, a Midbar is “no man’s land,” where there are no boundaries, private properties, and restricted areas; it is all open for the...Read more...

Parsha Bechukotai

05/30/2019 05:23:07 PM


The Parsha opens with God’s assurance that our observance of mitzvos will be rewarded with many physical returns, the foremost of which being rain in the right time.  For the middle-eastern agricultural society, rain is the empirical idea that Man's efforts need help from God, and that we must believe and trust in His help.  The Midrash notes that the Pasuk’s wording of “your rains” implies a sense of entitlement for rain,...Read more...

Parsha Behar

05/23/2019 07:09:04 PM


The dominating topic of Parshas Behar is Shemita, the law that maRashi explains that even meager portions will disproportionately satiate a person, implying that there would be no need for extra grain.  The commentators are left puzzled as to whether there would be a miraculous supply of grain in the sixth year or there would be a miraculous blessing in the grain which would require smaller rations. 


The...

Parsha Emor

05/16/2019 10:01:29 PM


This week’s Parsha contains the mitzvah that currently engages us, the mitzvah of Sefiras Haomer.  The word Sefira is rooted in the Shoresh of Samech, Pheh, Reish, and while it is loosely translated as counting, its precise definition remains somewhat elusive.  What is the variance between the actions of counting and saying?  Moreover, we find contexts where counting connotes a mental exercise, such as the imperative of...Read more...

Parsha Kedoshim

05/09/2019 08:42:05 PM



One of the mitzvos mentioned in Parshas Kedoshim is the laws of Orlah and Neta Reva’ai- that fruits produced from the first three years of a tree’s life are forbidden in benefit, and that the subsequent crop of the fourth year is to be eaten in Jerusalem before God.  After these mitzvos have been observed, the produce of the fifth year is now permitted to be used in any way.  Many commentators struggle with...Read more...

Parsha Acharei Mot

05/02/2019 08:30:40 PM


Jewish thought suggests that there are two factors that govern holiness- time and place- with each of these variables having their own ability to create and affect holiness.  Although both time and place control holiness, the relationship between time and holiness differs greatly from the relationship of place and holiness.  Time and holiness stem from Creation itself, when upon completing...Read more...

Parsha Metzorah

04/11/2019 08:01:38 PM


The Parsha discusses the procedure of the purification/atonement for the metzorah afflicted with tzar’as, and as the Peskukim describe, the process involves taking two birds, one to send away and one to slaughter and mix with water.  In the sugya in Eruchin 16 regarding Lashon Hara, the Gemara explains the reason that birds relate to the Metzorah is because the gossip spoken by the metzorah resembles the incessant chatter...Read more...

Parsha Tazriya

04/04/2019 08:30:23 PM


The main topic of the Parsha is the punishment of Tzar’as for speaking Lashon Harah and other similar problems.  Both the Chisudhei Harim and Sefas Emes, leaders of the Gur dynasty, point out that the words Negah, an affliction (used in the context of Tzaras), and Oneg, the Hebrew word for delight, are actually anagrams.  The key difference in the words Oneg and Nega is where the...Read more...

Parsha Shemini

03/28/2019 09:15:03 PM


At the height of the inauguration celebrations for the new Mishkan, Nadav and Avihu sinned by “bringing a strange fire before God” and tragically died on the spot, thereby marring the festivities and sending Aron and his sons into a state of mourning.  Given that the text itself is vague about the exact nature of Nadav and Avihu’ s sin, the Gemara suggests varying opinions for what their mistake was.  One of the opinions...Read more...

Parsha Tzav

03/22/2019 01:35:08 PM


Parshas Tzav discusses the specifics of many Korabos, including the Shelamim and Toda.  Korban Shelamim is a general category of voluntary Korbanos that have parts offered on the Altar, parts given to the Kohanim, and parts eaten by the owner of the Korban.  As a subcategory of Korban Shelamim, the Torah introduces the Korban Toda, which differs from a Shelamim in several ways.  Firstly, the Korban Toda is accompanied by 40...Read more...

Parsha Vayikra

03/14/2019 09:27:00 PM


From all the Korbanos mentioned in Parshas Vayikra, the Torah introduces the laws of the flour MIncha offering in a different way than the rest.  In contrast to other Korbanos where the Torah says, “if a person shall bring…,” here the Torah prefaces with a different description: “If a soul shall bring a Mincha offering.”  Explaining the usage of the...Read more...

Parsha Pekudei

03/07/2019 09:20:21 PM


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 Vayakhel

02/28/2019 08:40:45 PM


Continuing the topic of building a Mishkan, the Parsha relates the commandment to contribute to the cause by donating all sorts of raw materials necessary for constructing the Mishkan.  The Torah writes: “And you shall take for me a contribution, from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity.”  What does it mean to “take” a...Read more...

Parsha Ki Sisa

02/21/2019 09:28:39 PM


The concluding verses in the Torah depict Moshe Rabbeinu’s unparalleled greatness as both a prophet and leader for the Jewish people, and this description ends with the words: “with all the strength of hand and great awe, which Moshe performed in front of all of Israel.”  In elaboration of the words, “in front of all of Israel,” Rashi explains that this references the spontaneous decision Moshe made in destroying the Luchos...Read more...

Parsha Tetzaveh

02/14/2019 09:13:39 PM


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 Terumah

02/07/2019 08:46:53 PM


Introducing the topic of building a Mishkan, the Parsha opens with the commandment to contribute to the cause by donating all sorts of raw materials necessary for constructing the Mishkan.  The Torah writes: “And you shall take for me a contribution, from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity.”  What does it mean to “take” a contribution?  If the intended idea is for each person to give some money to the...Read more...

Parsha Mishpatim

01/31/2019 08:58:59 PM


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...Read more...

Parsha Yitro

01/24/2019 07:59:53 PM


The Ten Commandments were divided into two tablets, and the Ramban famously categorizes the first five commandments as being between Man and God, and the latter half as being between Man and his fellow man.  Although the fifth commandment, to honor one’s parents, is not directly between Man and God, the Ramban explains that since parents “partner” with God, so to speak, in creating a child, honoring parents is a derivative of...Read more...

Parsha Beshalach

01/17/2019 09:25:51 PM


Sandwiched between an unapproachable Yam Suf and an incensed Egyptian Army, the Jewish people’s reaction to this terrifying predicament seems to be quite paradoxical.  On the one hand, they respond in prayer by crying out to God, but as the very next Pasuk indicates, they also lash out at Moshe by condemning him for their problems and wishing they had never left Egypt.  While the Ramban says that it is inconceivable that one group...Read more...

Parsha Bo

01/10/2019 08:25:48 PM


The first Pesach was celebrated in Egypt, the night before the Jews were finally freed of their bonds of slavery, and is referred to in the Mishna as “Pesach Mitzrayim.”  Although “pesach mitzrayim” shared many laws with the regular laws of Pesach, or the “pesach doros” in the Mishna’s words, it is still Halachically unique in certain...Read more...

Wed, August 21 2019 20 Av 5779