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Showing posts from July, 2017

On Discernment and Doormats – a summer dvar Torah for Parshas Matos-Masei

Every year we’re in Toronto, and for years before we made aliyah, my mother hosts a shalosh seudos for the ladies of our shul.  For some reason, my mother’s shalosh seudos always manages to fall out on a different parsha, so I can’t repeat what I’ve said in previous years. If you’re curious, here are some of these masterpieces from previous years… Parshas Chukas (2009) Parshas Re’eh (2010) Parshas Chukas (2011 – I guess it has sometimes repeated) Parshas Devarim/Chazon (2013) Parshas Pinchas (2015) The point being - I had to start from scratch looking at this week’s combined parsha – Matos-Masei. There is a very shocking section near the beginning of this week’s parsha. It’s connected with what we read two weeks ago in parshas Balak. Back then, the people of Moav and Midian sent women in to seduce the men of Bnei Yisrael – not just physically, our commentators tell us, but spiritually, leading the Jewish men into worshiping idols. Now, it’s time for revenge. Interestingly, we’re t

Time for a Simcha! Short Happy Vort for a Balak Engagement

Our older daughter is engaged!!!  We are so utterly overjoyed.  If you are among the many, MANY people we care about who weren't able to make it to the vort tonight (given that it was held in Toronto with only 3 days' notice), I wanted to share this with you.  Know that we were thinking of you and are sharing our simcha in spirit if not in real live actual person. Speaking after the father of the chosson and one of his rebbes, I could have gone on and on and on all night – you know me – but I was told we only had 3 minutes to speak, so this was it.  Enjoy! ----- In this week’s parsha, Balak, an unusual thing happens. After Bilam tries to curse Am Yisrael, he comes up with another plan, to lead them into avoda zara through Midianite women. When this happens, Moshe Rabbeinu is not only silent, but he stands weeping. This is one of only few times in the Torah that Rashi says “nitalmu mimenu halacha,” the halacha was concealed from Moshe. There are five places in the Torah where t