Parashat Noach

Noah, the complete, righteous soul of his generation, gets himself good and drunk after the flood experience has passed. He has planted a vineyard, acted as his own vintner and sommelier, and become so inebriated — perhaps publicly in the open field, perhaps lying asleep in bed — that he is stark naked (Genesis 9:20-21).

Noah’s son, Cham, sees the remarkable sight and rushes to tell his brothers Shem and Yafet, both of whom modestly clothe their ...

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Parshat Lekh L’kha

Interesting, how people journey — almost aimlessly — yet en route encounter their kismet

“And G-d said to Abram: ‘Go forth, for your [best interest], from your land and from the place of your birth and from the house of your father to the land I will show you.’”

— Gen. 12:1

Our Torah reading this week begins with G-d bringing Abram to an unknown destination, leading him away from the security ...

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Parshat Vayera

The Kids Are Watching

This week’s Torah portion, Vayera, begins with our Patriarch Avraham sitting outdoors, in front of his tent, recovering from his recent circumcision. Hashem is visiting with him, thereby teaching and modeling for us the mitzvah of bikur cholim – visiting the sick.  In Tractate Sotah 14a, the Talmud teaches us that we are commanded to walk in Hashem’s ways. Thus, as Hashem clothed the naked Adam and Eve, so we should clothe the naked and care for the needy.  He comforted Yitzchak, when he mourned Avraham’s ...

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Parshat Chayeh Sarah

In Parshat Chayeh Sarah, Avraham Avinu is confronted with the responsibility to find his son a wife.  His formula is surprising.  Turning to his major domo, the Canaanite slave Eliezer, in whom he has entrusted supervision over all that he has, Avraham sends him on a journey into history with these words: “[Do] not take a wife for my son from the daughters of Canaan in whose midst I reside.  Rather, go to my land and to my birthplace, and take [from there] ...

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Parshat Toldot

In Parshat Toldot, we encounter the remarkable event described in Genesis 27, as Yitzhak prepares in blindness to confer an eternal blessing on one of his twin sons.  He wants to extend that blessing to the viscerally evil Esav, who nevertheless always has acted with the utmost respect for his father.  Esav has Yitzhak figured out, and Yitzhak really loves him.  By contrast, Rivkah is devoted uniquely to the simpler, gentler, less charismatic Yaakov.

Why the dichotomy?  We have met ...

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Parshat VaYeitzei

In this week’s parasha, Yaakov flees for his life, departing from Beersheva back to Charan — back to the beginning. How optimistic it had been when Avraham came to Israel two generations earlier, abandoning Charan presumably forever (Genesis 11:32-12:6). Avraham “went, took and passed.” He was journeying to a grand destiny on blessed land, where God promised he would become a great nation, blessed with wealth, with a name made great and famous.

Not so here. Vayetzei — not with a bang but with ...

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Parshat VaYishlach

Was it Mort Sahl who said, “Just because I’m a paranoid, doesn’t mean that they’re not out to get me”?

In this week’s parsha, the narrative begins with the drama of Yaakov and his tender flock — two wives, two quasi-wives, 11 sons, a daughter — preparing to meet with an oncoming army, imposingly headed by his anything-but-fraternal “twin” brother, Esav. Yaakov fears the worst, and even as he prays to Hashem for protection and sends gifts to appease Esav, he ...

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The Two-State Solution As Final Solution

The Two-State Solution is indeed the most immoral suggestion of them all. It is a lie built on a foundation of mendacity. It also is doomed to failure because it is irrelevant.  History has passed it by.  Facts on the ground have made it moot.

The Bigotry of Banning Jews from Living in a Region

Imagine how many American communities over the years could have resolved their vicious racial issues simply by agreeing that Blacks need ...

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Land Without a Name

The recent landslide vote of the Israeli Likud party, completely rejecting an Arab country west of the Jordan River, reflects the mindset of the largest political party in Israel today. And there is good reason for that position — the land of Judea and Samaria, birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, does not necessarily belong to the Arab Islamic world.

It is instructive that the Arab world does not even have a name for the land. Think about it. “Palestine” is a ...

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How the 2000 Los Angeles Jewish Federation Census Was Calculated to Undercount Torah-Observant Jews

The Jewish Federation’s census of Los Angeles Jewry
remains controversial. Even as the United States continues striving to count historically less visible demographic communities, the kinds of people whom Ralph Ellison might have called “Invisible People,” our local Jewish census-takers fail to acknowledge that Torah-observant Jews were
dramatically undercounted. The census alleges that Observant households have dwindled in the past two decades from 5.2 to 4.3 percent of Los Angeles Jewry.  I refuse to be an Invisible Man in ...

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