Friday, June 3, 2016

Bechukosai - Finding the Balancw

Which was created first - the Heavens or the Earth? How can we really talk about 'first' if it was before there was time? Who was greater - Moses or Aaron? Why does the verse reverse the order of the patriarchs, speaking of the covenant with Jacob, Isaac and Abraham? Why is this verse surrounded on both sides by the curses that can befall those who do not maintain their relationship with Hashem? What is greater - honoring one's mother or one's father?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:58

Friday, May 27, 2016

Behar - Sharing the Wealth

What is the Torah's approach to charity and 'spreading the wealth?' Why does the midrash place the idea of spiritual wealth beside the concept of material wealth? What are the mechanics of the spiritual principle behind the fact that when I share what I have - both in wisdom and in material matters - I get more myself? How does one deal with the automatic feelings of constriction when approached by a poor person? What does it mean that 'the words of the poor of the land of Israel are spiritual teachings?'

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 25:00

Friday, May 20, 2016

Emor - When the Righteous Err

What is the connection between those who seek the advice of soothsayers and the Kohanim of our parsha? Why was King Saul referred to as a righteous individual despite his many mistakes? Why did Hashem seem to go along with Saul's desire to speak to Samuel (who had already died) if he did it in a way which was against the Torah? Why did King Saul go out to battle with his sons by his side if he knew it was to be his final battle, and both he and his sons would die?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 29:56

Friday, May 13, 2016

Kedoshim - Tzion, Yosef and Kedusha

What is the concept of Kedusha-holiness? Are we to separate ourselves completely from this world? Why does the verse seem to say that we are to be holy because Hashem is holy? Why is the concept of kedusha connected to Tzion, which is Jerusalem and the Temple? Why do the blessings of redemption come from Tzion and Kedusha? How does all of this connect to Yosef and the power he received from Pharaoh?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:46

Friday, May 6, 2016

Acharei Mos - Biding the Time

Why is the concept of the Avodah-service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur sandwiched between the death of Nadav and Avihu and the forbidden relationships? What does the midrash mean when it says Nadav and Avihu wanted the 'old guys' to move on so they could take over? What is the concept of 'sustaining the eyes' by viewing a spiritual experience in the wrong time? Why does the midrash use a similar language in talking about what is lost by looking at things forbidden? Why is it that the result of not 'sustaining the eyes' inappropriately is that one receives a revelation of the Divine presence?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.
Running time: 20:43

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