Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pesach 2 - Rewards of Challenge

Why do the Jewish people experience an awesome revelation in such a dangerous place - in the Sea of Reeds? Why is this the climax of the Exodus? Why does Israel's angel - Michael - step aside in the face of the challenge of Egypt's angel (uza)? What is the significance of Hashem Himself responding on Israel's behalf? How do we know that Hashem's promise to stand up for the people of Israel still exists in our time? How do we know that all challenges result in spiritual reward - even those of seemingly lesser significance?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:22

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pesach - Ecstatic vs Measured Spirituality

What is the connection between Pesach and Succos? Why do they both occur in the middle of the month? What is the difference between the respective mitzvos of each holiday? Why does Succos involve a lot of movement, while Pesach seems to be more static? Why does Shmini Atzeres come immediately after Succos, while Shavuos is 50 days after Pesach? What is the character of each of these months - Nissan and Tishrei? Why do we have a seder on Pesach, but not on Succos?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 18:50

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Metzora - Pride and Humility

What are the seven sins that result in tzara'as - spiritual leprosy? What was the sin of the daughters of Zion? Why did they originally focus on the Jewish young men, and ultimately end up with the 'generals of the enemy?' Why did R' Yanai need the spiritual teaching of the 'peddler' if he was already spiritually advanced? What is the contrast between R' Yanai and the daughters of Zion?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:46

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tazria - Levels of Appreciation

Why does the verse mention the conception of the child, why doesn't it skip straight to the birth, if that is the subject of the verses? What is the idea of the verse in Job which speaks of 'raising the intellect to afar to appreciate the righteousness of our Creator?' When do we 'sing' Hashem's praises, and when do we 'speak of' His praises? What are the two levels of appreciation of Hashem's kindnesses?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:08

Friday, April 1, 2016

Shemini - Spiritual Elders

Why are the elders of Israel invited to inaugurate the Tabernacle if they don't seem to play any role there? Why are the elders compared to the wings of a bird? What is the concept of 'elder?' Why does Hashem 'honor the elders?' What does it mean that they 'belong to Hashem?' Why does Hashem sit with them and form them into a semi-circle around Him, as it were? Why does He ultimately create a dance and lead them in this dance, at it were?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:49

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tzav - Expansion Within Constriction

Why are all of the Jewish people gathered at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and how do they all fit in such a small space? What is the significance of the fact that the first example of 'a great amount fitting in a small space' is during Creation when the primordial waters are gathered? What is the significance of each of the other examples the midrash brings - gathering to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai, water from the rock, between the staves of the Ark, and in the future when all the nations gather to serve God in Jerusalem?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 23:14

Friday, March 18, 2016

Vayikra - Special Nation

What is the reason for the Jewish people's 'special nation' status? Why does the midrash stress this so much right here at the beginning of Vayikra with the founding of the Tabernacle? Why was it so important for the nations of the world that the Tabernacle be protected? Why were the nations unable to receive the Torah at any level at that time? What will change in the future when 'the honor of Hashem will be revealed to all flesh?'

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running Time: 26:27

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pekudei - Counting Toward Unity

Why does the Torah speak of the 'counting' of the Tabernacle, and then speak of the Tabernacle as the 'tent of testimony?' How do the concepts of counting and testimony relate? What is the significance of the word 'these' in this context? Why did the Jewish people receive 'crowns' when they accepted the Torah upon themselves? Why is the root of the word 'crowns' in this context the same as the word for 'witnesses?' Why do the bold letters in the sentence of Shema - 'hear O Israel' -spell the word 'witness?' What is the connection between hearing and testimony? Why is the word 'these' also used in the context of ingathering of the exiles?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:45

Friday, March 4, 2016

Vayakhel - Names of Godliness

What is the significance of the lineage of Betzalel - that he is the son of Uri, the son of Chur, and that he comes from the tribe of Judah? Why does the midrash state that the merit for the creation of world and its continued existence is in the merit of the Jewish people - it would seem that the world exists purely out of God's love? What does it mean that all of the hosts of the heavens have a single name, even as they all have individual names? What does it mean that this is also true in regards to human beings?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:20

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ki Sisa - Receiving the 7th in the 6th

Why is the concept of Shabbos the introduction to the story of the Golden Calf? Why does Moshe study the Torah for forty days diligently, only to forget it and then receive it as a gift in the end? Why do the Jewish people use the Manna in their idolatrous worship of the Golden Calf? Why do they create the calf at the very moment Hashem is preparing the tablets of the law? What is the concept of extending the Sabbath - the 7th day - into Friday - the 6th? What is the concept of the number forty as it relates to six and seven weeks?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 28:15