Lioness

Parshat Balak: Spiritual and Physical Power

This week, Israel was challenged again by another “Freedom Flotilla,” attempting to reach the Gaza strip. Internationally, Israel is often portrayed as the ‘Goliath’ – the side that has and makes use of its military power. In sharp contrast to this picture, throughout our long history, the Jewish people were associated with the lack of […]

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People Arguing

Parshat Korach: Korach’s Message for Today

My mother often asked me, “how might the uninformed layperson know which rabbi’s opinion is correct?” One rabbi rules that “ mixed gender seating at weddings is fine,” but others disagree.  After hearing all sides, we remain  beside ourselves. How might we measure who is correct? What can we cull from the Korach/Moses conflict? There […]

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Shavuot holiday

Shavuot: Beyond Symbols

The Torah teaches that upon completing the count of the Omer, the Festival of Shavuot is celebrated (Deut. 16:9–10). In addition to commemorating the conclusion of the counting of the weeks of the Omer, Shavuot also celebrates the wheat harvest (Ex. 23:16), and is therefore known as “Ḥag HaKatzir,” the Harvest Festival. The shetei haleḥem, […]

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Opposing forces

Parshat Bamidbar: Joy and Fear

Our parsha describes the encampment of B’nei Yisrael in the wilderness. Not a detail goes by unaccounted for: the number of fighting men and the layout of the camp, tribe by tribe; the Levites, their roles and encampment. By the end of our parsha we have received a detailed blueprint of the plans for the […]

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Baseless Hate

Parshat Bechukotai: The Great Rebuke

The “style” of this week’s Torah portion — which marks the end of the Book of Leviticus — departs somewhat from the style of the other portions in this book and indeed from the style of the entire Torah. In place of the narrative or recitation of legal strictures to which we have become accustomed, […]

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Beit Hillel Shabbaton

Beit Hillel Los Angeles Shabbaton

Beit Hillel — Attentive Spiritual Leadership invites you to our first inaugural Shabbaton Contemporary Challenges facing Modern Orthodoxy in Israel and the Diaspora. The 4-day event, Contemporary Challenges facing Modern Orthodoxy in Israel and the Diaspora, will take place in Los Angeles, California, from May 8-11 (Parshat Emor). The Shabbaton is in cooperation with: and […]

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Do the right thing.

Parshat Behar: Preserving our Spirit

In Parshat Behar, the Torah codifies a story of human tragedy. When an Israelite is sold into slavery, having to leave behind him not only his home and family but his people and his faith, the Torah commands that his family has the right and obligation to redeem him: He shall have the right of […]

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Harvest

Parshat Emor: When Does The Omer Begin? National Historical Memory and Contemporary Society

וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר: דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וּקְצַרְתֶּם אֶת קְצִירָהּ וַהֲבֵאתֶם אֶת עֹמֶר רֵאשִׁית קְצִירְכֶם אֶל הַכֹּהֵן: וְהֵנִיף אֶת הָעֹמֶר לִפְנֵי ה’ לִרְצֹנְכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת יְנִיפֶנּוּ הַכֹּהֵן… וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה: עַד מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת […]

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Spring Renewal

The Exodus and the Awakening of Nature

:שָׁמוֹר אֶת חֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב וְעָשִׂיתָ פֶּסַח לַה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ כִּי בְּחֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב הוֹצִיאֲךָ ה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ מִמִּצְרַיִם לָיְלָה :וְזָבַחְתָּ פֶּסַח לַה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ צֹאן וּבָקָר בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר ה’ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם (דברים טז, א-ב) Keep the month of spring, and make the Passover offering to the Lord, your God; for in the month of spring, the Lord, […]

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Passover Seder Plate

The Role of Karpas at the Pesach Seder

What is the reason behind the “Karpas” at the Pesach Seder, and what is the significance of its name? A number of Rishonim (see Rashbam), based upon the Gemara (Pesachim 114), imply that the karpas is meant to stimulate the children to ask questions. It is not clear, however, whether that is the entire reason, […]

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