June 20, 2018 |

Daniel M. Kimmel

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My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Tazria

“As for the person with a leprous affection, his clothes shall be rent, his head shall be left bare, and he shall cover over his upper lip; and shall call out, ‘Impure! Impure!” (Lev. 13:45). Parshah Tazria is not an easy text for modern readers, and this verse sounds like the goal is to humiliate...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Shmini

Parshah Shmini is chock full of information about the laws of kashruth: what we are permitted to eat, and what we are not. Once you get past the rules for meat (cows, yes; pigs, no) and sea creatures (tuna, yes; lobster, no; swordfish, maybe), there are some rules that may not be as familiar. "All...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Tzav

The Torah is a document that can very terse on some matters and go into tremendous detail on others. One would think the priests didn’t need to be told to throw out the ashes from yesterday’s sacrifices, yet in Parshah Tzav that’s precisely what they are told: “He shall then take off his vestments...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Vayikra

In the midst of a lengthy discourse on guilt sacrifices in Parshah Vayikra is a section that begins, "In case it is a chieftain who incurs guilt..." (Lev. 4:22). Individuals have to atone for themselves. Priests have to atone for both their own personal wrongdoing and on behalf of the community. ...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah)- P'kudei

"This Moses did; just as the Lord commanded him, so he did." (Exod 40:16). This is an interesting declarative statement in Parshah P'kudei. Moses follows instructions. There comes a time when you have to follow orders. Not in the sense of not thinking - an excuse laid to rest at Nuremberg. ...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Vayakhel

In Parashah Vayakhel we’re told, “You shall kindle no fire throughout your settlements on the Sabbath day.” (Exod. 35:3). For many Jews today, it is a struggle to make Shabbat a separate day as it was intended. Although many Conservative Jews do not consider turning on electric lights to be the...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Ki Tissa

Sometimes the rabbis find something in our Torah reading that’s just too good to resist. Take the opening of this week’s Parshah Ki Tissa. It beings with God commanding Moses to take a census by having each person age 20 or older contribute a half-shekel which will then go to support the Tent of...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Tetzaveh

Parshah Tetzaveh is one of those sections where your eyes may glaze over as it spells out in detail the decorations and accoutrements of the Tabernacle. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find something of relevance to today. In fashioning the priestly robes, we learn that on the shoulder pieces of...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Terumah

Parshah Terumah begins with God telling Moses, “Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts.” (Exod. 25:2). It’s an odd command. Even with the rest of the verse qualifying the “gifts” as being from everyone “whose heart so moves him” it seems strange. Perhaps it’s because “terumah” is being...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Mishpatim

The Israelites have experienced the revelation at Sinai and now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of spelling out the laws. Where to begin? Amazingly, Parshah Mishpatim begins with the law dealing with Hebrew slaves. Given that the Israelites themselves had just been freed, why start with...

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