Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Nasso (Numbers 4:21-7:89) 5783/2023

Getting Up When Life Knocks You Down The Mishkan (Tabernacle) was the portable place of worship for the Jews in the wilderness and the precursor to Solomon’s Temple, which was built hundreds of years later in Jerusalem. After its completion, there was a seven-day ceremony; at the end of each day, Moses dismantled the Mishkan and then reassembled it […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Bamidbar/Shavuos 5781-2021

You Count! When the cycle for the weekly Torah readings was established centuries ago, this week’s Parsha was designated specifically to precede the holiday of Shavuot, the festival commemorating the giving of the Torah. What is the connection between the two? It begins with G-d’s charge to Moses to conduct a census of the Jewish people. The […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Emor (Leviticus 21-24)

The Thoughtful Observer  A Jew who is Shomer Shabbos (Sabbath observant), adheres to the kosher laws, and keeps other mitzvot  in the Torah is referred to as an observant Jew. I’m not sure where exactly the term “observant” came from with reference to Jews, but a verse in this week’s Torah portion suggests an answer. You shall observe […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12-15)

CHIRP Why is so much of Diaspora Jewry ambivalent toward Israel? A peculiar phenomenon mentioned in this week’s Parsha sheds light. A unique spiritual illness having physical manifestations similar to leprosy existed in Biblical times; it resulted from speaking senseless gossip or derogatory speech. Part of the purification process was to bring two birds. Although […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Shmini (Leviticus 9-11) 

 Sometimes Silence is the Answer This past year I had the opportunity to be part of a group who visited Auschwitz. That evening, we stayed in a hotel across the street from one of the oldest and most renowned synagogues in Poland, the Rema’s shul in Cracow. Over 40 years earlier, in 1979, Professor Yaffa Eliach […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Tzav (Leviticus 6-8)  5783-2023

Roberto Clemente’s Lesson in Job Clarity Roberto Clemente, one of baseball’s most iconic figures, was playing outfield late into the 1968 season against the Houston Astros. The Pirates were no longer contenders, which meant that that game had no statistical meaning. A ball was hit deep into the outfield. As Clemente raced back, it seemed […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayikra (Leviticus 1-5)

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayikra (Leviticus 1-5) (Being as we are less than two weeks away from Passover, a short idea about one of Passover’s core messages will be presented at the end of this dvar Torah.) Set a Margin so Life doesn’t Just Barge In Margin/märjən/the edge or border of something. Although margins are important for […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly:Vayakel-Pekudei (Exodus 35-40) (Parchas HaChodash)

Clever and Practical WomanJewish Women: Logical and Levelheaded Here’s the first Jewish fundraising initiative in history.Moses said to the entire assembly of the Children of Israel saying: This is the word that G-d commanded saying: Take from yourselves a portion  for G-d…everyone who is generous of heart shall bring it… (Ex. 35:4-5)When they started bringing contributions, a seemingly […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)

The Power of Experience After being liberated from Egypt and participating the Sinai experience, the Jews build a Golden Calf. Volumes have been written on this subject but we will discuss one seemingly small part of the story.Now it came to pass when he (Moses) drew closer to the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, that […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Diamond in the RoughYou 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 gems […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Mishpatim (Exodus 21-24)

Close the Toothpaste! Imagine a couple standing under the chuppah googly-eyed and in love. The rabbi speaks about the beauty of marriage and the significance of the day. Then, all a sudden, the bride starts listing her set of rules for the marriage. “Make sure to close the toothpaste, keep the toilet seat down, take out the […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Yitro (Exodus 18-20)

Ultimate Unity      They journeyed from Rephidim and arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai and encamped in the Wilderness; and Israel encamped there, opposite the mountain. (Exodus 19:2) The old adage, two Jews- three opinions, is more than a clever observation regarding our tendency to disagree with one another, it’s also a subtle description of the difficulty […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16)

Interested in Reaching Your Potential? Take Responsibility  Although the splitting of the Sea is one of the most significant events in Jewish history, few talk about the events immediately preceding it.  The tribes were arguing about who should leap first into the Sea, each attempting to avoid taking the first step. Finally, Nachshon from te of […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Shemot (Exodus 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.’ (4:10) […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17) Learning to Recognize the Right People

[While Joseph is still in prison, Pharaoh dreams of cows and sheaves and demands that someone interprets his dreams. The wine steward remembered Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams, mentioned it to Pharaoh, and Joseph was freed and brought before Pharaoh, who acknowledges the truth of Joseph’s interpretation (about the impending famine) and raises Joseph to be […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayeshaiv (Genesis 37-40)The Ability to Confront

…Joseph at the age of seventeen years was a shepherd with his brothers…and Joseph brought back evil reports about them to their father (Jacob). (37:2)This week’s Parsha tells the story of one of the early events that led to the Jewish people’s bondage in Egypt. Joseph spoke lashon hara (slander; evil reports) to his father about his brothers. This led to a […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Toldos (Genesis 25:19-28:9) 5783-2022

Cold as Ice Isaac was Abraham’s successor but who would take over after Isaac? Two possibilities: Jacob or Esau? Their mother (Rebecca) knew that Jacob was the rightful heir and she masterminded a scheme. Esau didn’t take his loss well and jealously pursued his brother. But aside from that, Jacob’s life was wrought with misfortune, […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha:Lech-Lecha(Genesis 12-17

Whatever Happened to the Students of Abraham and Sara? In this week’s Parsha we are introduced to the first patriarch of the Jewish people, Abraham. G-d tells him to leave his father’s house, his relatives and his homeland. So Abram went as G-d had spoken to him and Lot went with him; Abram was 75 […]