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Messages on Exodous

The Israelites are enslaved in Egypt. Moses receives the Ten Commandments. The Israelites build a tabernacle.

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayakhel-Pekudei (Exodus 35-40) Doing it Your Way

We complete the book of Exodus this week. Although the mitzvah of building the Mishkan (portable sanctuary) was already given in a previous Parsha, this week’s Torah reading concerns itself with the carrying out of the instructions. Various types of metals, fabrics and other raw materials were generously donated; contributions were encouraged but not mandatory. The response was overwhelming; […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Teruma (Exodus 25:1-27:19) Intent

This week’s Torah portion deals with the commandment to build a Tabernacle in the wilderness. We encounter a textual difficulty in the first two verses: G-d spoke to Moses saying, “Take for Me a portion from everyone whose heart motivates him, you shall take my portion.” (25:1-2) A literal translation of the verse would read […]

Rabbi O’s weekly-Yitro (Exodus 18-20)

People Hearing Without Listening Jethro, minister of Midian, father in law of Moses, heard all that G-d had done for Moses and for Israel, His people-that G-d had taken Israel out of Egypt. The verse above is followed by others that inform us that Jethro went into the wilderness to meet Moses, whom he had […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16

Feel the Fear Looking for a great topic for discussion at your Passover Seder? Consider a story you either learned in Hebrew school or we heard at a Passover Seder growing up. The people were told to put blood from the Passover offering (Pascal Lamb) on their doorposts so that their homes would be passed […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Shemot (Exodous 1:1-6:1)

Trust or Narcissism? After being told by G-d to return to Egypt and command Pharaoh to release the Jews, Moses says: ‘Please G-d, I am not a man of words, also not since the day before yesterday, nor since You first spoke to Your servant; for I am heavy of mouth and heavy of speech.’ […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38

Flipping the Switch And they brought the Mishkan to Moses…(ibid. 39:33) When all of the various parts of the Mishkan (portable “Temple” in the desert) had been fashioned, they were brought to Moses, who actually stood the walls up and erected them. The commentary of Rashi explains that because of the massive weight of the […]

Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10) Diamond in the rough

You shall place both stones on the shoulder straps of the ephod, remembrance stones for the Children of Israel. (Exodus 28:12) Moses was commanded to make garments for the Cohen Gadol-‘high priest’. Included in these was a piece of clothing similar to an apron called the ephod. It had two shoulder straps and held precious […]

What Kind of Home Do You Live In?

This week is the portion that completes the book of Exodus and the discussion of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), portable sanctuary used when the Jews wandered in the desert. It’s worth noting that the Torah enumerates all of the precious metals that went into the building of the Mishkan and lists exactly how much gold, silver, […]

Jews Need Sensitive Barometers

And these are the ordinances that you will place before them.  (ibid. 21:1) A sizeable quantity of this week’s Torah portion deals with the laws of theft and damage. The question asked by many commentators is, what significance was there in giving specifically these laws immediately after the Ten Commandments and revelation at Sinai (last week’s […]