“Dear Mr. Prime Minister…”

“Dear Mr. Prime Minister…”

May 28, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Behukkotai

This past Sunday, New York Jewry greeted the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, at a Leadership Assembly at Baruch College sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and United Jewish Communities.

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Ethics in Business

Ethics in Business

May 23, 1998 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Behar | Behukkotai

When in Israel last, I needed to buy a pair of tefillin as a bar–mitzva gift. Deep inside Mea Shearim, my son and I finally found the shop that had been recommended to us, a hole in the wall on the main street, that specialized in tefillin. The space was musty and untidy and cluttered with religious books and artifacts. Behind the counter presided an elderly and diminutive couple, whose vigor belied their years. They bounded from one end of the counter to the other to serve an unending flow of customers.

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Behukkotai’s Challenge to Us

Behukkotai’s Challenge to Us

May 27, 2000 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Behukkotai

Blessing comes to fruition through journey. The journey may be as simple as lighting Shabbat candles or it may be as complicated as leaving the comfort of one’s home to discover new worlds. Either way, that which is familiar is left behind and a new reality challenges one to grow and thus to earn God’s Blessing. Such is the challenge of this week’s parasha.

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The World-to-Come

The World-to-Come

May 24, 2003 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Behukkotai

The penultimate chapter of Leviticus consists of a divine plea to heed God’s commandments. It takes the form of inducements and intimidations, promises of agricultural bounty and national tranquility and threats of defeat, chaos and exile. The future of ancient Israel in its homeland will depend entirely on its adherence to the revelation at Sinai. Aside form the poetry of the passage, its rhetoric pulsates with a tone of urgency. Free will has its risks; people may choose to put themselves in harm’s way. Rebellion against the strictures of God is the persistent evil that endangers society.

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Our Lives in Exile

Our Lives in Exile

May 20, 2006 By Marc Wolf | Commentary | Behar | Behukkotai

Recently, while studying with a student, the concept of exile surfaced, and my student bristled when I nonchalantly commented that we live in a state of exile.

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Rashi’s God and Ibn Ezra’s God

Rashi’s God and Ibn Ezra’s God

May 16, 2009 By Walter Herzberg | Commentary | Behar | Behukkotai

I am in the midst of reading Michael Fishbane’s recently published book Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology. Especially compelling, from my perspective, is the emphasis he places on experiencing the act of biblical interpretation which “is understood to foster diverse modes of attention to textual details, which in turn cultivate correlative forms of attention to the world and divine reality” (page xi). To quote my student Rachel Isaacs (rabbinical student in my Advanced Exegesis class), “Fishbane articulates most clearly the reason why rabbinical students are engaged in the types of learning they are. Close reading [of the Torah text] is not a useless skill or a rite of passage. It forces us to have an intimate, thoughtful, and challenging relationship with the text. As a result, we acquire new revelations through the process of encountering the text as much as we do from the content itself.”

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The Torah’s Lessons for Society

The Torah’s Lessons for Society

May 25, 2008 By Edward Feld | Commentary | Behukkotai

The concluding parashah of Leviticus, Behukkotai, centers on God’s enumeration of both blessing and curse—the blessings that will follow upon observance of the commandments and the curses that will result from violation of the commandments.

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Raising the King’s Sons

Raising the King’s Sons

May 19, 2012 By David Levy | Commentary | Behar | Behukkotai

In Parashat Behukkotai, God spells out a list of blessings that will come if the Israelites will follow God’s rules. This is followed by a harrowing list of curses that will ensue if the Israelites fail in this task. Finally, at the end of chapter 26, God foretells that even after the curses, when the Israelites repent, He will remember the covenants He made with our ancestors, and will remember the land. 

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