MTL

Rabbi Oratz on the Parsha

Parshas Vayigash – Fate and Future

The Irish-American writer John O’Hara opens his novel Appointment in Samarra with the following passage from British novelist Somerset Maugham:  DEATH SPEAKS: There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was …

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Parshas Lech Lecha – Stardust

There is something special about the stars. Lightyears away, we gaze at them in wonder, and they captivate our imagination. In our colloquial speech, as well, a star denotes something or someone unique or special. Five-star, superstar, starstruck, starry-eyed, lucky star, wish upon a star, shining star – few words in our dictionary have such …

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Parshas Lech Lecha – Great Vision, Minor Details

In the course of the next few weeks’ Torah portions we learn much about the life and times of our amazing patriarch, Avraham. An iconoclastic yet humble man, loved by G-d but incredibly challenged by Him, a man fiercely loyal to his family, a teacher of Godliness who had the audacity to debate with G-d, …

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Parshas Noach – The Failed Great Man

Noah was a very great man. Righteous and complete, he was head and shoulders above the rest of his generation. He also was an epic failure. As the Medrash notes, at the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Noah is called “a righteous man,” but the parsha ends off describing Noah lying on the ground, drunk and dissolute. This …

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Parshas Nasso – Sensitivity for the Suffering Sinner

Lep’er n. One suffering from leprosy; outcast. (Webster’s Dictionary) Webster has it right. Indeed, as our Torah portion tells us (Numbers 4:2), a leper is both one who is suffering from leprosy and an outcast. Unique among other forms of impurity, leprosy causes a person to be sent completely outside the camp[i], all alone and seemingly deserted[ii]. But he is …

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