Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Parashat Ha’azinu: Ha’azinu’s Non-Sequitor by Yaakov Bieler

September 28, 2012 by  
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The poem’s structure. According to MaLBIM, the poem in Ha’azinu (Devarim 32:1-43)[1] can be divided into six sections: 1) (32:1-6) Charging heavens and earth to serve as witnesses for the account of Jewish history and prophetic predictions regarding the future of the Jews; 2) (Ibid. 7-12) The Divine Kindnesses that had been Extended to the [...]

Parashat VaYeilech: A Confluence of Emotions by Yaakov Bieler

September 21, 2012 by  
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The final two Mitzvot of the Tora. Although Parashat VaYelech is the shortest of all Parashiot,[1] according to Sefer HaChinuch, it  contains the last two Mitzvot Given by God via Moshe to the Jews. Both of these Mitzvot focus on contrasting ways by which the Tora will serve as a source of information and inspiration [...]

Decoding a Tora Cipher – Parashat Nitzavim – by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler

September 14, 2012 by  
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Scruitinizing variations in the appearance of portions of the Tora. In addition to subjecting the verses of the Tora to close reading in order to notice the many subtle nuances of language upon which are based numerous literary, legal and theological inferences and derivations, variations in the appearance of the words and letters of the [...]

Parashat Ki Tavo: Blessings & Curses by Yaakov Bieler

September 6, 2012 by  
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The earliest reference to the blessings and curses that were pronounced prior to the Jewish people’s entering Israel. In Parashat Re’eh, a first reference is made to a portentous ritual that marks the beginning of the Jewish people’s relationship with the Promised Land. Devarim 11:29-30 And it will be when the Lord your God Brings [...]

Parashat Ki Tetze: Taking into Account Animals’ Feelings by Yaakov Bieler

August 28, 2012 by  
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Certain workers’ rights. In Parashat Ki Tetze, we encounter three verses that ostensibly deal with the same issue, i.e., rules that govern what “workers”, (human and animal) are entitled to while carrying out tasks which they either accepted upon themselves or were assigned. Devarim 23:25-6 “Ki Tavo” (When you come)[1] into the vineyard of your [...]

Parashat Shoftim: Egla Arufa – Forcing an Entire City to Engage in Introspection by Yaakov Bieler

August 20, 2012 by  
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Egla Arufa as a Chok. At the end of Parashat Shoftim (Devarim 21:1-9), we encounter the curious and mysterious ritual of “Egla Arufa” (lit. broken-necked calf). The procedure is required when the body of a murder victim is discovered in an unpopulated area within the land of Israel. The closest Jewish city is notified and [...]

Parashat Re’eh: The Holiness of Blood by Yaakov Bieler

August 14, 2012 by  
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The evolution of the consumption of animals by human beings. With respect to the halachically acceptable consumption of animal protein by human beings, the Bible suggests that meat becomes a permitted food only after a prolonged period of time during which man was expected to be exclusively herbivorous.[1] Although man is told in Beraishit 1:28, [...]

Parashat Eikev: The Interplay between Singularity and Plurality in the Term “HaMitzva” (The Commandment) by Yaakov Bieler

August 6, 2012 by  
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Why is the corpus of Commandments referred to in the Tora as a single Commandment? Based upon Makkot 23b, it is commonly assumed that the Tora contains 613 Commandments. But, as RaMBaM points out in the introduction to his Sefer HaMitzvot, there are in fact thousands of Commandments when one includes Rabbinic legislation, customs, the [...]

Parashat VaEtchanan: The Roots of Repentance by Yaakov Bieler

August 1, 2012 by  
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VaEtchanan and the theme of repentance The essay on Parashat Devarim, 5765,[1] discussed the rule of Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 428:4, i.e.,”…Tisha B’Av always precedes Parashat VaEtchanan…”, with respect to the association between the day of commemorating the destructions of the Temples and VaEtchanan. Among the hypotheses considered was the perspective of R. Joseph Dov [...]

Parashat Devarim: Tisha B’Av’s Parshiot by Yaakov Bieler

July 25, 2012 by  
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Jewish tradition associates certain Parashiot with certain times of year. R. Yosef Karo, in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 428:4, lists the various Parashiot of the Tora that are read in association with some of the holidays and commemorations of the Jewish year: Parashat Tzav is always read prior to Pesach during a normal year, and [...]

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