Staying Connected

Whenever one swears falsely denying the claim of an item to its owner, a sacrifice is required to atone for that offense. However, in this week’s parsha there is an additional dimension added when the affronted is a convert. The offender is considered as though he has stolen from Hashem.

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What is Good?

In a few days we will celebrate and “reenact” the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. As with every Yom Tov besides the reading of the Torah we also read from a special scroll from the Writings. On Shavuos we read Megillas Rus which is an incredible account of the life of this amazingly righteous woman who was the great-grandmother of King David.

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True Peace

We live in dangerous times when peace is elusive. Battles rage, there are many casualties and the wars continue to wear us down and the light at the end of the tunnel is dark. This week’s parsha gives us a clue how to survive in these difficult periods which even less than a year ago we had no illusions that such challenging chapters were set to unfold.

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Why 33?

We know that thousands of students of the great Torah scholar Rabbi Akiva died during this period. During this time, we pay tribute to their memory and avoid happy occasions such as marriage. The plague that engulfed them ended on the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, the 18th of the month of Iyar. Therefore, we pause the national mourning in honor of their memory.

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Timeless Torah

We are obliged to guard the Torah. Rashi understands this to mean that we must be informed and know the sources of the mitzvos. Malbim expounds upon Rashi  clarifying that genuine preserving is in the heart, the storage facility of our knowledge. Certainly, we must study and realize this but it would seem that guarding has a much more profound intent.

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A Name Dropper

One of the many topics discussed in this week’s parsha is when a judge acts inappropriately and therefore one who should be exonerated is actually convicted or obligated to compensate for damages or otherwise. The terminology employed in defining this wrong act is that it is a disgrace. Of course, that in it of itself should alarm the judge and motivate him to pursue his office with diligence and integrity.

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The Question Remains

We unfortunately leave the majestic and uplifting Yom Tov of Pesach and begin the counting of the Omer slowly but surely preparing ourselves for Shavuos. However, perhaps we should consider the possibility that although Pesach leaves us we should not leave Pesach. In other words, what can we continue to carry within us once we finish eating matzah and we again enter the world of chametz?

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When Are We Leaving?

This is of course the quintessential uncertainty that shrouds our minds until this very moment. The severity of pogroms, holocausts, bestial treatment and abusive environments that our nation has endured for thousands of years seems to never end. And that was exactly what our forefathers in Egypt felt as well. They were worked to the bone and underwent tremendous cruelty at the hands of the Egyptian taskmasters. What was the necessity to undergo such difficulties in order to merit the exodus? 

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First Place

This Shabbos we will read the parsha that discusses the upcoming month of Nissan. It is considered the first and foremost of the months of the year. What indeed is so significant about this month. Of course, we bring the special Passover sacrifice in this month, however why would that make the month itself so important?

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