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

Refrigeration and Kosher Food: Rite or Right This week’s Parsha talks about kosher food and discusses the signs and details that render an animal, bird, or fish kosher. Being as so many people think that these laws stem from a lack of refrigeration and other considerations due to the limitations of the ancient world, we […]

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 […]

Are You a Freed Slave or A Free Person

Enjoy Rabbi Oppenheim’s insights into Passover aspects Weekly Torah Reading: Metzora (Leviticus 14-15) (Being as Passover is a bit more than ten days away, we will discuss different aspects of Passover for the next two weeks) Are You a Freed Slave or A Free Person Anyone who has attended even one Passover Seder knows how […]

Want to be Effective? Change Your Perspective.

…the Kohen shall look, and behold! – the affliction has covered his entire flesh, then he shall declare the affliction to be pure… (Leviticus 13:13) The portion of Tazria includes a detailed discussion of an affliction known as Tzara’at, one of the most misunderstood concepts in the Torah. Because Tzara’at afflicts the skin, it is […]

Are You Chosen or Frozen People?

Someone once gave the following summary of Jewish holidays: they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat. This certainly seems to have been the case in the Purim story. A plan (between King Achashverosh and his advisor Haman) was made to annihilate the Jews, the plan was thwarted, and Jews since then have made […]

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 […]

How Strong Is Your Ark?

Reams have been written about the first verse in this week’s Torah portion: These are the offspring of Noah; Noah as a righteous man, perfect in his generation… Question One: The verse begins with “these are the offspring of Noah,” but never tells us who these offspring were. Rather, it merely tells us that Noah […]

The Vital Importance of Prayer

All the plants of the field were not yet upon the earth and all the herbal vegetation of the field had not yet sprouted, for God had not brought rain upon the soil. (Genesis.Breishis 2:5) The verse quoted above (All the plants of the field were not yet upon the earth…) refers to the world […]

In Wake of the Mistake that the Snake Did Make

Although most people aren’t Bible experts in the Bible, unless you grew up secluded from the world, you surely know the story of Adam and Eve and the snake. The commentators are divided in understanding the snake. Do we understand it as a literal creature, a reptile similar to today’s snakes, or do we understand […]

How does one make a soul?

In this week’s Parsha we are introduced to the first patriarch of the Jewish people, Abraham. God tells him to leave his father’s house, his relatives and his homeland. So Abram went as God had spoken to him and Lot went with him; Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. Abram took his […]

Is Murder Intrinsically Wrong?

After the flood God makes a covenant with Noah and his family. Although God will eventually make a covenant with the Jewish people at Sinai, He enumerates seven laws not only for Noah and family but also for all non Jews. They are the basis of morality and the foundation of a principled society. One […]