This is My Decree

This is My Decree

Oct 11, 2019 By Raymond Scheindlin | Commentary | Ha'azinu

After surveying the 40 years of wandering in the desert; after reviewing and expanding the laws that God had given the Israelites during that period; and after repeating the terms of the covenant between God and Israel with its promises of a long and prosperous life in their own land if they fulfill God’s commands and its threats of impoverishment and expulsion if they fail to fulfill them, Moses now sums up his message in a poem designed to be memorized and recited regularly so that it might easily and reliably be transmitted from generation to generation.

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How to Be Holy

How to Be Holy

Apr 27, 2018 By Raymond Scheindlin | Commentary | Aharei Mot | Kedoshim

This week, we read two parashiyot from Leviticus: Aharei Mot and Kedoshim. Taken together, they cover five clearly defined topics. Aharei Mot deals with the rituals of the high priest on Yom Kippur; regulations governing the slaughter of animals for food and sacrifice; and the prohibition of various sexual relations, especially incest. This last subject is resumed at the end of Kedoshim. Between the two discussions of sexual relations is the famous Chapter 19, which opens Kedoshim.

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Vulture in a Cage: Poems by Solomon ibn Gabirol

Vulture in a Cage: Poems by Solomon ibn Gabirol

Nov 28, 2016 By Raymond Scheindlin | Public Event audio

Named after Solomon Ibn Gabirol’s own sharp self-description, Vulture in a Cage is the most extensive collection of the eleventh-century Hebrew poet’s works ever to be published in English. Here, vital poems of praise, lament, and complaint sit along­side devotional poetry, love poetry, descrip­tive meditations on nature, and epigrams.

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Garments of Light

Garments of Light

Feb 12, 2016 By Raymond Scheindlin | Commentary | Tetzavveh

Last week, we read God’s orders to Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle and its accoutrements. This week, our parashah continues on the subject of the Tabernacle and the preparations for starting the sacrificial cult, focusing on the Tabernacle’s personnel: the priests—particularly their vestments and the rituals for the priests’ consecration. These subjects will return, for after a week devoted largely to the story of the Golden Calf, the Torah will repeat the account of the Tabernacle nearly verbatim, not in the form of instructions for things to be made but as a narrative of their making.

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The Desert Dead

The Desert Dead

Jun 12, 2015 By Raymond Scheindlin | Commentary | Shelah Lekha

When the spies returned to the Israelite camp in the wilderness of Paran after scouting out the Land of Canaan, they reported that the land did indeed flow with milk and honey but that it could not be conquered. 

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God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Feb 12, 2013 By Raymond Scheindlin | Commentary | Purim

How is it possible to tell a story of redemption without even once mentioning the name of God?

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Adhering to God’s Word

Adhering to God’s Word

Jul 31, 2010 By Raymond Scheindlin | Commentary | Eikev

In Parashat Eikev, we hear the voice of Moses, that most eloquent of preachers, exhorting the Israelites as to how to behave in the Land that he is never to see. He reminds them of their past misconduct and warns that if it continues, they will not thrive in the Land. He devotes much of his attention to the Land itself.

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