Was the biblical Miriam guilty of racial prejudice?
We feel uncomfortable with that idea somehow.
Rashi as he often does, tries to resolve the problem by adding things into the text or deleting things from the text, or re-reading the verse. He has no problem with changing a word’s meaning to solve a problem. For example in this week’s parasha when Miriam talks about Moshe’s Kushi wife, and Rashi does not understand who the Kushi wife is, since the only wife we know about is Tzipora, a Midianite, Rashi changes the meaning of the word. Continue reading
This week’s perasha contains more commandments than any other: a total of 74, that’s 12% of all those in the Torah! Several of the commandments relate to money, and are especially worth thinking about in the period immediately before Rosh Hashanah when we should be reviewing how we have behaved in the realm of our monetary affairs. Continue reading
The opening verses of this week’s perasha is generally translated: See, I give you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing, if…; he curse if… (Deut. 11:26-28)
The translation of the opening verse, however, looses a glaring grammatical error in the Hebrew, because the word “See” is singular, while “you” is plural! Continue reading
This week’s perasha contains the commandment to place a mezuzah on our doorpost. The purpose of the mezuzah, tzitzit, tefillin are all similar: We are instructed to place the word of God on our homes and on our bodies so that we constantly remember our mission in life. Too often in the hectic lives we live we lose focus of the goal. We forget why we are trying to make money, educate our children, build synagogues and institutions. The goal is to live a worthy life with the Torah as our guide. The mezuzah is here to remind us before we leave the house, and when we return home, that God should be central to our lives. Continue reading
The Hasidic master Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter of Ger (1847-1905), in his magnum opus Sefat Emet, made a perceptive observation about a phrase in this week’s Torah reading. When giving the second tablets of the law, God told Moses: “Carve for yourself a new set of tablets”. Continue reading