Building the Tabernacle

menorah in Jerusalem Old City

Parashat Terumah 5772

From this parasha until the end of Sefer Shemot, the Chumash focuses on building and inaugurating the Mishkan (tabernacle).

The Mishkan is the portable temple that the Jews were commanded to build in the desert. It was disassembled every time they moved from one camp to another and then rebuilt.

The main part of the Mishkan was a tent that was divided into two sections – the Holy and the Holy of Holies.

Read more >>Building the Tabernacle

Sheker: Don’t Stand For It

sheker - don't stand for it

Parashat Mishpatim 5772

A group of philanthropists visited the Chafetz Chaim. One of them, who had donated to the yeshiva before, said, “Surely the rabbi remembers me.”

The Chafetz Chaim replied, “I’m sorry. My memory is not what it used to be.”

A family member tried to give the visitor the impression that indeed the Chafetz Chaim did remember.

Read more >>Sheker: Don’t Stand For It

Hearing and Understanding

Parashat Yitro 5772


Moshe’s first encounter with Yitro’s family was at a well. Yitro’s daughters took care of his flocks. Moshe intervened when other shepherds would not let them water their flock.

When Yitro heard what had happened, he invited Moshe to stay with them. This was good for Moshe since he was a fugitive from Paro. Moshe married Yitro’s daughter Tzipporah and they had two sons.

Read more >>Hearing and Understanding

Who Bowed to Who?

hearing with the ear

Parashat Yitro 5772

I am thinking of a man who I and many others consider to be a talmid chacham. I have learned from him and had the privilege for several years of having a private chevruta with him.

Yet, when I would walk over to him in the beit midrash, he would stand up to honor me!?!

Who should we honor? How should we show that honor?

Read more >>Who Bowed to Who?

The Balancing Act of Bitachon and Hishtadlut

balancing act of bitachon and hishtadlut

Parashat Beshalach 5772

It doesn’t matter where you look, there are contradictions.

For just one example, let’s look at an event recorded in Shmuel I Chapter 16.

Shaul is king, but he has not fulfilled his potential. God tells Shmuel to go to Bethlehem where he will anoint a new king.

We would expect Shmuel to say something like, “Great idea! I’m on it today.”

Read more >>The Balancing Act of Bitachon and Hishtadlut

Stand Still or Move?

waves at sunset

Parashat Beshalach 5772

There’s a saying: When in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

There is nothing worse than not knowing what to do. How do you decide what to do when every action seems to have negative consequences?

This week I want to explore how the Jewish People dealt with such a situation.

Read more >>Stand Still or Move?

Talk about Money – NOW?


Parashat Bo 5772

Often to understand the current parasha it is necessary to look back in the Torah.

Earlier this week I raised questions about the Jews borrowing objects from the Egyptians. The obvious problem was that the Jews were leaving Egypt and therefore could not possibly return the borrowed objects. Isn’t that a significant ethical lapse?

Read more >>Talk about Money – NOW?

May I Please Borrow a Cup of Sugar?

sugar cookies

It’s a sure fire way to meet your new neighbors. Walk next door with a measuring cup in your hand and say, “Hi. We just moved in. I want to bake cookies, but I can’t find the sugar. May I please borrow a cup of sugar?”

Of course, they’ll say yes and you are well on your way to forming a new friendship.

That’s great when you’re new in a community. Does the same thing work when you are leaving?

Read more >>May I Please Borrow a Cup of Sugar?