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Deuteronomy (Devarim)

Vaetchanan 5777 – The Oneness of God

August 8, 2017
Unity of the Universe

שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל יְי אֱ-לֹהֵ֖ינוּ יְי אֶחָֽד׃ Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is One …Deuteronomy 6:4 The most famous Jewish prayer is in this week’s Torah reading. These are probably the most familiar Hebrew words in the entire language. Words we are commanded to say in the morning when we get...
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Ki Tavo 5776 – Religious Pluralism in Israel

September 26, 2016
Schechter Rabbinical Seminary

There’s a country where Jews have been arrested for putting on a tallis or tefillin. There’s a country that has confiscated sifrei Torah from Jews as contraband. There’s a country where Jews are not free to practice their religion according to their beliefs and customs. There’s a country where it’s against the law for...
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Ki Tetze 5776 – Divorce is a Mitzvah

September 18, 2016
Divorce

I assume pretty much everyone here this morning knows I was in Israel last week. Some of you, but not all of you, know why. I was in Israel last week to fulfill a mitzvah found in this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tetze: A man takes a wife and possesses her. She fails to...
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Ekev 5776 – “If you obey these commandments…”

August 31, 2016
heaven and hell

Ekev is a great name for this week’s parsha.  It means “will follow.” It’s the same as the word for heel, as in “on the heels of.”  And that surely is the theme of this week’s parsha. The opening verse tells us If you will obey these commandments, and keep them and do them,...
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Devarim 5776 – Tisha b’Av and Geopolitics

August 14, 2016
The Third Temple

On this day, 2,602 years ago, the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed for the first time. On this day, 1,946 years ago, the Temple was destroyed for the second time. On this day, 1,883 years ago, the Romans crushed the Bar Kochba revolt at Betar, outside Jerusalem. On this day, 524 years ago, King...
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Geese, ganders and administrative detention

August 30, 2015
Jail cell

First published on The Jerusalem Post on August 20, 2015. by Rabbi Barry Leff. There’s a saying in English: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Which explains my initial positive response to the news that three Jewish extremists suspected of being involved in terrorist activities were being held under administrative detention. According...
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