This is the Statute of the Torah

The Torah reading for this week begins with an intricate series of laws regarding purity, impurity and purification. This involved many details which appear to some to be, excessive, a complaint commonly heard about Jewish law in general. I would like to explain one idea behind all this detail: consistency. Consistency is much more difficult to achieve than one might expect. Imagine someone waking up one morning and making a firm ...

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Statutory Laws – Chukim

This week’s Torah portion, Chukat, deals with an example of a category of Jewish laws  known as chukim, Divine statutes that the human mind cannot completely comprehend.  The purpose of the chukim is to teach us that human understanding is not a prerequisite for doing that which is right, and the criteria for determining good and evil are not within the province of the human being. In Judaism, absolute good ...

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Tactical Mitzvot

A great rabbi once said that it is easier to memorize the entire 21 volumes of the Babylonian Talmud than to change one character trait.  Self-improvement is one of the greatest and most difficult challenges that a person faces.  How does one go about overcoming a negative trait? The answer was supplied by my karate teacher (in a slightly different context).  He said, “Always attack where the opponent is weakest.” The ...

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