Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Matot-Masei (Numbers 30-36)What do You Protect?

You shall designate cities for yourselves, cities of refuge shall they be for you, and a murderer shall flee there—one who takes a life unintentionally. (Numbers 35:11)  Involuntary manslaughter is something we take seriously. If an axe head becomes dislodged and kills an innocent bystander, the chopper/killer must quickly escape to one of the three cities of refuge […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Balak (Numbers 22:2-25-9)

Does Education Make You a Moral Person? The past century, the bloodiest in all of human history, should have lain to rest two of the most cherished theories about humanity postulated by the Enlightenment and Secular Humanism. One was the idea that all moral questions, all issues of right and wrong, good and evil, were […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Chukas (Numbers 19:1-22:1)

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Chukas (Numbers 19:1-22:1) How to Become a Peacemaker in 2 Easy Steps                   And the entire congregation saw that Aaron had died and they wept for Aaron 30 days–all the house of Israel. (20:29) “ALL the house of Israel” refers to both men and woman. When Moses dies the verse doesn’t mention “all the house of Israel,” […]

This week’s Torah Portion was written by Rabbi O. in advance of his entering the week of mourning. Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Shelach (Numbers 13-15) A Student, a Prostitute, and a Sage

We are introduced to the mitzvah of tzitzis (strings attached to a four cornered garment) at the end of this week’s Parsha. The following remarkable incident occurred in the 3rd century and is recorded in the Talmud (Menachot 44a).Once a man, who was very scrupulous about the mitzva of tzitzis, heard about a prostitute who charged four hundred gold dinars for her […]

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

When the cycle for the weekly Torah readings was established centuries ago, this week’s Parsha was designated specifically to be read this Shabbos. I.e. the reading is from the first few chapters of the Torah’s fourth book, Numbers, and always precedes the holiday of Shavuot. What connection is there between this week’s Parsha and Shavuot, the festival commemorating the […]

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

A great deal of this week’s Parsha deals with matters pertaining to Kohanim, the decedents of Aaron. “Priests” is usually the English translation but there’s no appropriate terminology to describe this unique group of people whose task it is to perform the service in Jerusalem’s ancient Temple as well as being teachers for the Jewish people. […]

Space Tourists, the Splitting of the Sea, and Yizkor

 [From tonight until after Shabbat we observe the final two days of Passover, a time commemorating the Splitting of the Sea.] Recently, a crew of four private citizens traveled to the International Space Station. Three of them, including one Israeli, each paid $55 million to go on this trip. The fourth, Former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Metzora(Leviticus 14-15) Creating Possibilities

Creating PossibilitiesThis week’s Parsha continues discussing the harmful effects of lashon hara, senseless negative speech. Many people don’t take speech seriously, speaking about others without regard for their feelings or the potential damage it can cause. King Solomon wrote, Life and death are in the hands of the tongue. One explanation is that negative talk has the ability to […]

Rabbi O ‘s Weekly Parsha: Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:3) Lessons from Dunkin Donuts

Lessons from Dunkin DonutsAnd they brought the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to Moses…When all the parts of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) had been made, they were brought to Moses, who actually stood the walls up and erected the Mishkan. Rashi quoting the Midrash explains that due to the massive weight of the materials, none of the people were able to raise it up, so they brought […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayakel (Numbers 1:1-4:20)The Need for Millennials and Gen Z Jewish Leaders

This year’s Winter Olympics were about many things besides athletic competition. Many people weren’t enthusiastic because they didn’t want to legitimize a host country committing human rights atrocities. For those who did tune in, questions of national allegiances, drug use and yes, COVID, dominated the headlines. And, of course, there was the question of youth, […]

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

A Great Winter Experience for Wealthy People After being liberated from Egypt and witnessing 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 […]

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

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha : 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 […]