<i>Ki Tavo</I>: Realism is the Torah WayPeople are justifiably proud of their accomplishments. After all, one's efforts and talents, time and struggle, are of no minor consequence in one's life. Many times, we feel that this is perhaps all we have to show for our years on earth. Therefore, there is a human tendency to view one's achievements in a somewhat exaggerated fashion, without being able to place the true accomplishment in realis
<i>Ki Tetze</I>: The Enemy WithinWinston Churchill, in a speech to the House of Commons, once quoted the altered, semi-facetious aphorism, "We have met the enemy and they are us," in describing the policy shortcomings of the then-ruling government in England. In this week's Torah reading we find this idea described in detail.
<i>Shoftim</I>: CompetitionThis week's Torah reading introduces the prohibition against the concept of <i>hasagat gvul</i> - unfair and immoral competition. The Hebrew words <i>hasagat gvul</i> literally mean overstepping or illegally encroaching on one's neighbor's border. Just as it is obviously wrong to move one's border fence to gobble up a piece of ground of the neighboring lot, so too is it wrong to engage in unfair c
<i>Re?eh</I>: False ProphetsWe should be steadfast in avoiding being swayed by their currently, but only temporarily, politically correct, siren song. Anything that does not conform to God's natural law of nature and humans, as clearly expressed in the Torah, is a dangerous delusion and a false and destructive type of prophecy.
The Basic TenetThe basic tenet of all of Jewish life, history, culture and civilization appears is: "Hear O Israel the Lord is our God, the Lord is uniquely one." Jews have lived by this credo, died with these words on their lips and in their souls and sustained themselves through all times of adversity by the knowledge and faith of God's existence and relationship to Israel, represented by the simple words of t
<i>D?varim</I>: A Good EyeOne of the most essential traits for leadership of any kind and most certainly for leadership in Jewish life is cultivating a "good eye." Our rabbis, in <i>Pirkei Avot</i>, emphasize that having a "good eye" is a major goal and accomplishment in life. A "good eye" allows one to be optimistic and hopeful, even though the realities of life are often discouraging and negative.
<i>Pinchas</I>: SacrificeThe rabbis of Israel have always warned their flock that there are no easy victories in life. This is certainly true in all realms of daily physical life, but it is even more appropriate and definitive in matters of the spirit and the soul. One of the cruelest hoaxes that the modern, progressive, socially-correct but spiritually-empty forms of Judaism have perpetrated on their hapless and ignorant
<i>Vayikra</I>: <i>Torat Kohanim</i>The third book of the <i>Chumash</i>, <i>Vayikra</i>, is called <i>"Torat Kohanim"</i> - the law of the priests - in rabbinic literature. This is undoubtedly because most of the book is occupied with the laws of the specific sacrifices and the duties of the <i>Kohanim</i> in the Temple. However, there is another, broader and more universal aspect to the name of the book of <i>Vayikra/Torat Kohanim
<i>Pekudei</I>: AccountabilityAt the conclusion of the reading of this <i>parsha</i>, the congregation rises and proclaims <i>chazak, chazak v'nischazek.</i> - "Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us strengthen others as well." Part of being strong is the realization of the necessity of being responsible for one's deeds, behavior and words. All of the great miracles and events that preceded this <i>parsha</i> in the boo
<i>Vayakhel</i>: A Sense of PurposeHere in Israel, we are busily engaged in trying to form a coalition government to govern us in times of problems and distress. In democratic societies, there has to be some sort of national consensus in order to govern properly. That national consensus of the Jewish people has always been found within the staves of the Holy Ark. Removing sections of Jewry from that space only brings divisiveness,