The Land of Israel – 5781

The counting of the Omer is intimately connected to the Land of Israel, declaring the first crops of the land as belonging to God, and acknowledging His gift to our people of the land of Israel. The first commandment God gave to the first Jew was to go to the Land of Israel God spoke to Abraham, and said, ““Go for yourself, from your land, from your relatives and from ...

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Chosen People – Chosen Food

The second half of this week's parsha, Shmini, deals with the laws of kashrut, the dietary laws. The Torah itself does not explicitly give a reason for these laws and much literature exists offering rationale and reasons for kashrut. One of the those is sociological and involves maintaining Jewish identity through Jewish eating. Kashrut has contributed very significantly to our survival as a distinct nation.  Jews all over the world have ...

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A Really Brief Guide to Pesach

The Seder – Seminar in a Meal The Seder is structured around the fulfillment of a number of Biblical and Rabbinic commandments – The Paschal lamb -- During the times of the Temple, the Jewish people were commanded to roast a whole lamb on a spit and eat it on the first evening of Pesach.  The lamb was a symbol of Egyptian idolatry, specifically representing the ram god, Khnum who, according ...

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Four Cups, Four LeChaims

The Meshech Chochmah on the Four Cups (Parshas VaEirah) Our Sages instituted 4 cups of wine at the seder and the Talmud Yerushalmi says that each one of the cups of wine symbolizes a different expression of redemption. In Shmos 6:6 there are four expressions of redemption.  They are: Vehhotzeisi—I will take them out Vehitzalty—I will save them Vego’alty—I will redeem them Velakachty—I will take them to me as a people. Each expression ...

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