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 […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayeilech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30) They Tried to Bury Us but Didn’t Know We Were Seeds

 Shortly before Moses died, he wrote a text of the Torah and gave the scroll to his (Levi) tribe (Deut. 31:9). Although Torah scrolls have been preserved over the generations, they have also been disgraced by our enemies. Here is one example. For many years during the Roman occupation of Israel, it was forbidden to publicly […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

The tragic recent death of a community member dear to us all has been a source of pain for our community. We mourn with Marty’s family and due to a number of people asking for the notes of the Rabbi’s eulogy, we have included it after the weekly dvar Torah. Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) […]

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. […]