Rabbi Oratz on the Parsha

Parshas Nitzavim/Vayelech – The Most Wonderful Time of Year

It’s that time of the year again. Shofars are blowing, apples are dipping, briskets are cooking, and honey is sticking. But, most importantly, G-d Himself is calling. With apologies to Andy Williams, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Now admittedly, many Jews view the “Days of Awe” as more awful than awesome, but that …

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Parshas Kedoshim – Pious Pleasures

A fancy house… A cool car… Carnal pleasures… An exciting vacation… Designer clothes… The best doctors and hospitals… Power…. Information… Being popular… Admit it – these are all things you desire. And if you don’t, you are in the minority.  Listen to the radio or social conversations. Look at any of a multitude of advertising campaigns –  these …

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Parshas Shemini – Pure Pork

There is nothing more “treif” (non-kosher) than a pig. Pig has always represented the prototype of impurity, the quintessential “treif” (non-kosher) item.  In Hebrew, the very word for pig has become a common epithet used to refer to all repulsive, unwanted items or behaviors – even those having nothing to do with food.  Something really disgusting is chazzer treif – …

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Parshas Terumah – The Character of a Man

How can you know who someone really is? In what way can we get real insight into the strength of one’s character? Using a pithy alliteration, the Talmud gives us some advice on how to see beyond a person’s façade (including our own) and discover what an individual truly is all about: “In three ways a person’s …

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