MTL

Vayikrah

Parshas Emor – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

What is the most difficult mitzvah in the Torah? Fasting on Yom Kippur? No Oreos for eight days on Passover? No texting for 25 hours on Shabbos? Surprisingly, some commentaries say that the most difficult is the one, found in this week’s Torah portion, commanding us to rejoice on the festivals. Because happiness is serious business, with …

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Parshas Vayikrah – Of Course Animal Sacrifice Seems Barbaric and Pagan, That’s Why We Pray for Its Return!

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz recently penned an open “letter to Hashem (G-d)”, asking why we pray for a third Temple that will include animal sacrifice. I will be bold enough to assume that he has not yet received what the Kabbalists refer to as a piska min shimaya – a miraculous letter from Heaven – in response. But that’s …

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Parshas Vayikra – The Little Aleph That Could

“What should a person do to live? He should kill himself! And what should a person do to die? He should enliven himself!” This enigmatic Talmudic passage begs for interpretation. Life is death and death is life? Were the Rabbis giving suicide advice or encouraging a morbid or nihilistic outlook on life, G-d forbid? Of …

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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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