Messages on Deuteronomy

A recapitulation of the laws with some additions. Moses addresses the children of Israel and presents them with some warnings.

Rabbi O’s Weekly: Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) Compassion Leads to Long Life 

 Compassion Leads to Long Life It’s clinically proven and also common sense that being a kind, compassionate, and generous person contributes to good health and longevity. According to a recent study, people who are compassionate have less stress, and a reduced the chance of heart failure, which leads to longevity. Compassion might not always be the cause for […]

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

Deliberate Self-Harm You are children of the Almighty, your G-d. You shall neither cut yourselves nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For you are a holy people to the Almighty, your G-d. (Deut. 14:1, 2) There is a Torah prohibition against cutting oneself or tearing out one’s hair when grieving over the […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Doing Ritual Without Being Habitual This Parsha is a long speech given by Moses reiterating the basic deal the Almighty offers us: if we observe the mitzvot—even the “small” mitzvot—He will keep the promises made to our ancestors. A public speaking evaluator might analyze it in one of two ways: Moses’ speech was meticulously prepared with conscious […]

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—Vzot Habracha (Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12)Become the Person You Chose to Emulate.

 And the sons of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab…. (34:8)The men mourned when Moses died but when his older brother, Aaron, died sometime before that, the entire house of Israel cried over his loss, then, everyone, both men and women, mourned his loss. This Parsha occupies itself with the praise of Moses, and […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) How to Read Your Life’s Book Behold, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil…(Deut. 30:15)

Doing good is a choice, but it is not limited to acts of beneficence, it also means that you see the good in your life, health, family, friendships, sustenance and so many other blessings that many people overlook. We choose whether we will feel entitled or blessed. An extreme example of how we choose to […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly: V’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11) Planting Your Family Tree

 The Talmud relates that one day Choni HaMagel (1st century BCE) was traveling on the road when he encountered a man planting a carob tree.                  How long does it take for this tree to bear fruit?                 Seventy years.                 Are you certain that you will live another seventy years?                 I found ready grown carob trees in the world; as my forefathers                              planted […]