Gratitude During Challenging Times

Gratitude During Challenging Times

Aug 14, 2020 By Malka Strasberg Edinger | Commentary | Re'eh

This week’s parashah begins with the verseרְאֵה אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם בְּרָכָה וּקְלָלָה ׃ / “Behold, I set before you today blessings and curses” (Deut. 11:26). Within the context of the biblical narrative, this verse refers to a choice given to the Israelites upon entering the Promised Land: they could either choose to follow God’s commandments and reap rewards, or not to follow God’s commandments and suffer negative consequences. The blessings and curses set before the Israelites are enumerated in Deuteronomy 27–28, and were read publicly upon entering the Land, as recounted in Joshua 8:30–35. 

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A Diligent Inquiry

A Diligent Inquiry

Aug 17, 2018 By Malka Strasberg Edinger | Commentary | Shofetim

The main theme in this week’s parashah, Parashat Shofetim, is justice. One of the many legal matters discussed is false witnesses. Deuteronomy 19:16–20 reads:

If an unrighteous witness rise up against anyone to bear perverted witness against him; then both people, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before Hashem, before the priests and the judges that shall be in those days. And the judges shall inquire diligently…

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To Know or Not to Know

To Know or Not to Know

Aug 18, 2017 By Malka Strasberg Edinger | Commentary | Re'eh

The centralization of cultic worship is one of the major themes in the book of Deuteronomy. However, the place of that worship, the Temple, is described as “the place that God will choose,” with no mention of where that place is to exist. This week’s parashah, parashat Re’eh, introduces the theme that once in the Land of Israel, the Israelites are to worship their God in “hamakom asher yivhar Hashem” (the place that God will choose). This vague phraseology, which only alludes to a specific place but does not specify where that place is, is repeated 21 times throughout the book of Deuteronomy, with 16 of those occurrences in our parashah alone.

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Character vs. Reputation and the Social Construction of Reality

Character vs. Reputation and the Social Construction of Reality

Jul 3, 2015 By Malka Strasberg Edinger | Commentary | Balak

It is easy to pigeonhole people and to dichotomize the categories into which we place people, such as good vs. evil. Myths and legends tend to portray characters in this one-dimensional manner, and it is considered remarkable when a character is portrayed as complex. But all humans are complex. The human condition is a multivalent one, and people are almost never so easily categorized. Everyone’s character has the capacity for both good and bad, and in fact, everyone realizes elements of both within themselves.

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