Torah Insights

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, z/l: Terumah Building Builders

Rabbi Sacks questions why the Creation narrative is told in only 34 verses, whereas the narrative of the construction of the Tabernacle is 1/3 of the book of Shemot. In Bereishit, the emphasis is on the beginning of a family; in Shemot, the family becomes a nation. Throughout Shemot, God performs wonders, the people are awed, then they complain, and complain some more….

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Rick Rupert: Detailed Instructions

Rabbi Rabinowitz writes of his concern that sacred sites today become the property of only a few people or less, because of the tendency to rely on the generosity of a few wealthy donors. In contrast, Terumah describes contributions from everyone in the community—many small contributions instead of a few large ones. Thus the whole community had ownership in the Tabernacle.

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Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson: The Menorah: Let Your Light Shine Commentary on Parashat Terumah

Rabbi Artson comments that the Menorah was the visible symbol of Judaism since antiquity; the Magen David was introduced during the Middle Ages. The parashah contains detailed instruction regarding the Menorah for the Tabernacle. Moses was undoubtedly confused. Interesting, Betzalel, who did not contribute any scholarship to Judaism, used his artistic genius to fashion the implements for the Tabernacle. Rabbi Artson writes that everyone has unique gifts.

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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, z’l: Mishpatim

God’s Nudge: In Mishpatim, we read the details for the general principles of the Assert Hadibrot / “Ten Utterances”. Rabbi Sacks comments that the first full law code in the Torah begins with the law concerning treatment of a Hebrew servant, and asks, “why this law”? The Israelites have just escaped from centuries of slavery in Egypt; God knew it was going to happen,

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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Yitro Deed and Creed

Rabbi Sacks writes that the covenant in Yitro is not the first Divine covenant; there was the covenant with Noah and another one with Abraham. However, these were not reciprocal. At Sinai, God wanted the covenant to be mutual; God wants the liberated people—formerly enslaved—to worship freely. This is a powerful concept.

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Rabbi Rachel Barenblat: Bo The Habit of Extending a Hand

Last week, Rabbi Barenblat wrote about habits and grooves. Pharaoh had hardened his heart so many times that it “just stayed that way”. Exodus teaches us to examine our habits closely, like shoes—the shoes that God told Moses to remove “because of holy ground”. Habits—the right ones—need to be cultivated, such as little acts of kindness. Please follow the link to her blog below to read this article:

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Rabbi Rachel Barenblat: Vaera 5784

Rabbi Barenblat addresses the text which indicates that the Israelites were impatient and crushed by despair. She quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that to make justice a reality for all requires hard work; we cannot sit back and wait for it to happen. The world will not magically go back to pre-pandemic normal; we have to work.

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Rick Lupert: Exodus 12:34 Grab the Dough, We Gotta Go

Rabbi Barenblat addresses the text which indicates that the Israelites were impatient and crushed by despair. She quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that to make justice a reality for all requires hard work; we cannot sit back and wait for it to happen. The world will not magically go back to pre-pandemic normal; we have to work.

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Rabbi Sharon Brous: Parashat Miketz

In this passage, God indicates to Moses that He did not make Himself fully known to Abrahan, Isaac and Jacob; clearly a new and different Divine revelation is about to happen. Although God was known as the Creator of heaven and earth, they did not see nature as the work of one God, but of many – the sun, the rain, the sea, etc

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