Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

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 [...]

Parashiot Matot-Masei: High Priests and Accidental Murderers by Yaakov Bieler

July 17, 2012 by  
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Murder as an über-transgression. While murder is obviously the most extreme act of anti-sociability in which one can engage, and it is not surprising that the prohibition against murder is one of the seven Noachide commandments,[1] as well as one of three sins where Jewish tradition demands one should rather give up one’s life than [...]

Parashat Pinchos: So What Did He Really Do? by Yaakov Bieler

July 12, 2012 by  
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Bnot Tzelofchad justifying their claim to their father’s share of the land of Israel. During the course of their presentation to the Jewish leadership to have their father’s assigned portion in the land of Israel turned over to them, the daughters of Tzelofchad discuss their parent’s death and how the particular context in which he [...]

Parashat Balak: Divine Entrapment? by Yaakov Bieler

July 2, 2012 by  
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Divine Entrapment? R. Yaakov Bieler Parashat Balak Bila’am, curse-er for hire. It would appear from Bila’am’s readiness to allow himself to be hired by King Balak of Moav to curse the Jewish people (BaMidbar 22:5-6), that he was hardly a Tzaddik (righteous individual). While he might not have had a particular antipathy towards the Children [...]

Parashat Chukat: A Sibling Rivalry that Refuses to be Put to Rest by Yaakov Bieler

June 27, 2012 by  
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Revisiting a dispute of long ago. In Parashat Chukat, we encounter a curious exchange between Moshe and the King of Edom, which reverberates with enmities of long ago. BaMidbar 20:14-21. And Moshe sent messengers from Kadesh to the King of Edom (with the following message): So says your brother Israel—You know all of the difficulties [...]

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