Tag Archive for Torah

The 10 Commandments today

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Why we need them now more than ever. by Rabbi Benjamin Blech If God would have wanted to tweet the 10 Commandments on Twitter, He would’ve been restricted to 140 characters. As it is, He used 620 letters to write…

Sharing the gift of Torah

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Shavuot reminds me why I’m grateful for having the Torah in my life. by Sara Debbie Gutfreund “Just give them the wrong answers,” my lab partner whispered to me in the middle of a long, tedious experiment. It was my…

Shabbat Shalom-Weekly Parsha

Shabbat Shalom Eve of Shavuot B’mindbar (“In the wilderness”) Num. 1:1-4:20

Haftarah Hos. 2:1-22(3:24)

Shavuot Exo. 19:1-26 Num. 28:26-31

Hatarah Eze/1:1-28, 3:12

Candle Lighting Times

Read Entire Story in Battalion of Deborah

Unity at Sinai

by Rabbi Noah Weinberg

When the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai, the entire nation was unified. The lesson is clear for us today.

Throughout the Torah, the Jewish people are always referred to in the plural form. This is evident in Exodus 19:2, which says the Jews “journeyed (vayi’su)… arrived (vaya’vo’u)… encamped (vaya’chanu)” — all references are in the plural.

But then this verse ends with a surprise: Vayichan sham Yisrael neged ha’har — “and the Jews encamped (singular) opposite the mountain.”

In coming to Sinai, the Jewish people are referred to in the singular form. Rashi says this emphasizes how the entire nation encamped “with a single goal, and a singular desire.”

Unity was a prerequisite for Sinai. An event with such earthshaking consequences could only be possible with unity.

UNDER ATTACK

How were the Jews able to achieve such unity at Sinai?

In Exodus chapters 15-17, the Jews are having a hard time. There’s no water — and they complain. Then there’s no meat — and they complain. They’re so upset that Moses is afraid they’ll kill him! Then again no water. The Jews are fighting and bickering terribly.

Then Amalek came and battled Israel. An outside threat shook us. What happened next? The Jews encamped in unity at Sinai.

When Jews are threatened as a people, we get the message loud and clear. We know we are one. In the Six Day War, all Jews stood together. In the struggle for Soviet Jewry, all Jews rallied together. When we’re attacked, we become one.

The Commandment of Counting

by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Counting the Omer teaches us mindfulness, and opens our hearts to the power of stories.

The commandment to count the omer is one of the more curious prescriptions of the Torah. We are told to count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot even though, of course, the number of days never changes. Therefore, it is very much an effort in which the process is in and of itself a value.

The word for “number” in Hebrew is mispar. Its root is closely related to the word for “story” ― sipur. What is the relationship between the two?

A collection of events becomes a story ― as opposed to a random anthology of events ― when there is a beginning in which the characters are introduced, a middle in which conflict takes place, and an end in which there is resolution.

Our lives flow by so quickly that we frequently lose awareness of the awesome power of our own stories. The metamorphosis of today into tomorrow is subtle enough for us to lose consciousness of beginnings and ends.