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Parasha Insights

IT’S TIME TO SEND BLESSINGS

A couple had an argument. The wife called her mom and said, "He fought with me again, I am coming to live with you."

Her mom responded, "No darling, he must pay for his mistake. I am coming to live with you."

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin related the following personal story that happened on this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, in 1952.

I had never been to this particular synagogue, a renovated hospital turned shul two miles from where I grew up in Brooklyn. Nor had I ever prayed with Hassidim. But the Klausenberger Rebbe was known as a saintly Hassidic rebbe who had re-settled his Hassidim who had survived the Holocaust in and around the Beth Moses Hospital, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. And so, one… Read More »

DID AMALEK HAVE JEWISH GRANDCHILDREN?

A Russian army unit ran out of ammunition but was still under attack. “Take out your bayonets,” the corporal said, “and we will engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.”

“Please, sir,” said Private Finkelstein. “Show me, my man. Maybe he and I can reach some kind of agreement.”

This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tetze, relates a difficult law:

Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt… You shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget.

How can we make sense of the fact that G-d commanded the Jews to “erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens,” including each member of the Amalekite nation? How can we… Read More »

CAN YOU MOVE YOUR BOUNDARIES?

A Jewish American girl joined the UN and went to do humanitarian work in Africa. After a two-year stint, she returned home to Brooklyn.

When her mother opened the door, she was shocked to see her standing next to a boyfriend she had brought back from Africa... and not just any boyfriend! He was a big, burly Zulu warrior with a bald head, loincloth, beads around his neck, a spear and a shield. To top it off, he was carrying a bag of bones in his pouch.

Her mother stood there stunned and speechless.

Finally, she recovered somewhat and shouted at her daughter, " I told you to marry a rich doctor, not a witch doctor!"

This week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, deals with what is known in Torah law as "moving the boundary… Read More »

NOT IN THE MOOD

In a small town in Poland called Chelm, there lived some of the wisest fools this world has ever known. The people of Chelm adored the moon that shone down on them every night—well, almost every night. They often stood outside their doors, no matter how cold, no matter how much snow, to gaze at their moon. They stared, watching in wonder as their moon waxed and waned. Some nights the moon was merely a silvery sliver. Other nights it was fat and full, blazing down on them like heaven's spotlight.

But once a month there came a night when the moon disappeared altogether. On those nights, the people of Chelm stood outside searching the dark sky in vain.

One night, when the moon had vanished, a wise man named Shlomo finally lost his… Read More »

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the orangutan was reading two books - the Bible and Darwin's Origin of Species.

Surprised, he asked the ape, "Why are you reading both those books?"

"Well," said the orangutan, "I just wanted to know if I was my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother."

This week’s Torah portion, Eikev, has the Mitzvah popularly known today as the Grace After Meals, after eating a meal with bread. The Torah instructs: “And you will eat and be satisfied, and you shall bless the Lord, your G-d, for the good land He has given you.”

There are four major sections in the Grace After Meals: The opening blessing thanking G-d for food; the blessing for the Land; the blessing for… Read More »

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