April 13, 2024 |

Manny Jacobowitz


Bechukotai - Shmita and Personal Responsibility

Good shabbes! In today’s parashah, it turns out that I’m worth 50 shekels. By the sanctuary weight. And my mom said I’d never amount to anything. I’ll get back to the 50 shekels, but first, some of you may know, for years, my family has been working with a children’s environmentalist group...

Parashah Noach and Media Monopoly

The story of the Tower of Babel, on its surface, is disturbingly anti-Western. Bold men aspire to the heavens, G-d takes fright and/or offense at the invasion (“If, as one people with one language for all, this is how they have begun to act, then nothing that they may propose to do will be out of...

T'rumah - Pure Gold

Shabbat Shalom, everyone! Today, I'll be teaching you a bit about Parashat Terumah. Terumah contains G-d's instructions to Moses about how the Israelites should build the Tabernacle, or "Mishkan" and the "Aron," the Ark. Now, I’m already all dressed up for my Bat Mitzvah. I’ve got my kippah, I’ve...

Vayeira and Chaye Sarah - HaShem as shadchen

Again this year, I try to fathom the mystery of the Akeda. My previous dvarim on this subject lay out part of the answer: Abraham rebelled, tried to prevent Isaac's birth, prompted by horror at G-d's destruction of the people of the Cities of the Plains, and the Akeda test is G-d's response. If...

Sh'mot - Daddy, why did G-d try to kill Moses?

Today at shul, we looked at Exod. 4:24-26, where G-d comes to Moses and Zipporah on the way to Egypt and seeks to kill Moses or Moses' son, and is dissuaded by Zipporah's hasty circumcision of her son. We discussed a lot of interesting translation problems in the passage -- was the intended victim...

Vayera follow up

When Vayera came around again this year, I talked about my previous d'var with my Torah study group. The big question, for me, was: OK, if Abraham's error was to doubt G-d's justice, is this parasha telling us that G-d just wants blind obedience and/or faith? Just obey, just have faith, no matter...

Sh'mot - A Nameless Man Meets A Nameless G-d

What was Moses' name? Duh, Moses, right? Not so fast. Moses was the name given by Pharaoh's daughter -- but what did his parents call him? We never find out. For that matter, what are his parent's names? His whole family is nameless at first. Even Miriam is not named in this parsha. ...

Vayera -- Abraham's apostasy and the Akeda

From a standpoint of ordinary human ethics, Vayera is perhaps the most difficult of all the parashot. When we read the Akeda, those of us with children shudder at the thought of a man unhinged enough to offer up his own son as a sacrifice, and cringe at a G-d who would put him to that kind of test....


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