The Omer Sacrifice and the GulagThe <I>Gemara</I>, <I>Menachos</I> 65a, mentions two arguments that the rabbis had with the Sadducees. The arguments seemingly have nothing to do with one another. But Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook (in <I>Mishpat Kohen</I>, and quoted in the <I>Harav Kook Haggada</I>, page 297) says there is a connection between the two.
The Rasha on the TerritoriesThe <I>Haggadah</I> says the <I>rasha</I> is one who <I>"kafar ba'ikar"</I>, he denies the role of God in history. So, he makes up nonsensical rationalizations for his Disengagement, such as equating Israel with Pharaoh.
Shakespeare and the Pesach HaggadahRabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook explains that by having farmers bring their produce to Jerusalem, our largest and capital city, and by mandating that the city-dwellers go out and extend a lavish greeting to the country bumpkins, the Almighty was ensuring mutual appreciation and unity among the people.
<I>Shemini</I>, Purim and the Jewish Temperance LeagueLast week, we were told to celebrate, with revelry that includes drinking alcohol <I>"ad d'lo yada"</I>, until we lose our powers of reason. Yet, in this week's Torah reading , Aharon is warned, "You and your sons are not to drink wine and other intoxicating beverages when you come into the <I>Ohel Moed</I>."
<I>Vayak'hel</I>: SacrificeIt appears that our happiness and very presence in the Land of Israel is integrally related to the issue of sacrifices.
<I>Mishpatim</I>: Law and Order, and WoodstockWe are all familiar with the words in the <I>Shacharit</I> (morning ) prayer, in which we, like the angels, are <I>"notenim reshus zeh la'zeh,"</I> giving the other guy respect, breathing-space, the benefit of the doubt, etc. So, tomorrow morning, when you are <I>davening</I>, think of this....
<I>Yitro</I>: Camping, Israeli Style[As] long as each Jew was able to see and appreciate the particular <I>chein</I> possessed by every other individual Jew, and each Jew furthered the interests of his fellow, the <I>machaneh</I> was truly a living organism of such beauty, harmony and <I>chein</I> that Israel merited a tete-a-tete with the Divine Presence.