Torah Columns
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The Talmud gives an ingenious reading to the line, “Moses commanded us a Torah, as a heritage of the congregation of Israel.” Noting that there are 613 commands, and that the … more
There was a time when the literary treasures of the Jewish people were accessible only to those with a reading knowledge of Hebrew. This is no longer the case. I must confess that when this … more
Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of Great Britain, has written dozens of books about religion and politics — but he also believes that mixing the two leads to “terrible politics and … more
I remember the first Mishnah I ever learned, and it wasn’t in a classroom. The synagogue we attended when I was five years old had a strict decorum, and I recall the challenges this … more
One of the better-known sections of our parasha, Ki Tavo, consists of the brachot v’k’lallot, the blessings for keeping the mitzvot of the Torah and the curses for failing to fulfill … more
It was the height of the intifada, and we were in the midst of a month’s reserve duty. Deep in the heart of Hebron an Israeli lookout was meant to spot trouble on the road below and protect … more
For many of us, the first pieces of wisdom we learned were from nursery rhymes and schoolyard jingles. Sometimes these childish lessons had value, but more often they were off the mark and had … more
Our parsha, Ki Teitse, contains more laws than any other. Some of them have generated much study and debate, especially two at the beginning, the law of the captive woman and that of the … more
There are two mitzvot in the Torah whose fulfillment promises arichut hayamim (long life). The first is the mitzvah of kibbud av v’eime (honoring one’s parents), found in the asseret … more
In Shoftim, Moses speaks about the great institutions of Judaism: courts, judges, officers, kings, priests, Levites and prophets. In the case of the prophet, Moses says in the name of G-d: I … more
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