Parsha Vayikra 5771: Distinguishing Fact from Myth and True, Strong, Yet Humble Leaders From Frauds

By Moshe Burt

The first word of our parsha; Vayikra is the source of much discussion as to why the word ends with a small “aleph” and tells much about Moshe Rabbeinu’s level of principle, integrity and his standard of leadership of B’nei Yisrael. R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Rabbi Daniel Haberman) renders translation of our Parsha’s opening posuk:

“And He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the Tent of Appointed Meeting [Mei-Ohel Mo’ed], saying:” (Hirsch Chumash, Sefer Vayikra, page 1, Perek 1, posuk 1) [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Pekudei 5771: Paradigm of Accountability Standards for National Leadership

by Moshe Burt

Our Parsha Pekudei begins;

“These are the accounts of the Mishkan (the Sanctuary), the Mishkan of testimony, which were drawn up on Moshe’s orders …” (Shemos, Perek 38, posuk 21 — Metsudah Linear Chumash, page 579).

In short, Pekudei is the accountant’s parsha, the parsha of crunching the numbers.

The Sefer L’lmod U’Lamed (Parsha Pekudei, pages 97-98) asks what the primary reason was for Moshe’s detailed accounting of the costs of the construction of the Mishkan. The Sages tell that “there were apparently some who suspected that Moshe might have keep some … contributions for his own use.” (L’lmod U’Lamed, page 98).  [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Vayakhel 5771: Shabbos, the Mishkan and Unity

by Moshe Burt

Our Parsha Vayakhel is dedicated to teaching B’nai Yisrael about Shabbos which has always, until recent times, been the unifying, defining factor of Judaism. It alludes to all else — Yishuv HaAretz, Kiddushin, etc. It symbolizes the Jew’s faith in Hashem. And the melachot involved in the construction of the Mishkan were meant to define the paradigms of melachot prohibited on Shabbos.

The parsha begins by stating that “Moshe assembled the entire congregation of B’nai Yisrael…” (Perek 35, Posuk 1) Torah’s loshen (language) “Adat B’nai Yisrael”, in the context of learning the laws of Shabbos as related to the construction of the Mishkan, seems to indicate a unity — the Assembly of the B’nai if one single entity. [...]  Click here to read more.

Purim Kattan: Halachic Prerogative vs Today’s Reality in Israel

by, Moshe Burt

I’ll start by departing from norm and writing this in the first-person and by asking forgiveness in advance for the absolute bleakness of this piece. But if you don’t forgive me, well — that’s okay too! But I’m gonna say what needs to be said regardless of forgiveness, and regardless of who holds of me where because I see the below as true and accurate portrayal, on the whole, of the state of Am Yisrael today. What’s more, I can almost see R’ Meir Kahane writing precisely this. [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Ki Tisa 5771 — The First-Borns, The Kehunah and Bechirah

by Moshe Burt

For many years, this author has spoken or written about a posuk in Parsha Ki Tisa which alludes to an event which is recorded in Torah 40 years later, in a subsequent Parsha.

The posuk being referred to (Sh’mos, Perek 30, posuk 30) says that while Moshe Rabbeinu was on Har Sinai being given Torah, Hashem said;

“You shall anoint Aaron and his sons and sanctify them to minister (to serve) Me.”

This seemingly obscure posuk, which pops up 8 times in various different forms in Parsha Tetzaveh and again in our Parsha, raises a few challenging questions which cut to the chase of what we continue to face today. One question is; what about that Pinchas Ben Elazar? Why was he not anointed as a Kohen with his brothers? The other question is: What about the first-born and the Priesthood? [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Tetzaveh 5771 — The Bigdei Kehunah, The Urim U’Tumim and Common Sense

by Moshe Burt

In our Parsha Tetzaveh, the laws regarding the anointment, the vestments and the Avodah (service) of the Kohanim are enunciated for the Jewish people.

R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l offers this commentary on the Kehunah and the Bigdei Kehunah (the vestments of the Kohanim) in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman), pages 662-663 in Sefer Sh’mot:

The priestly garments must be supplied and owned by the nation. From this fact alone we draw the important conclusion that only when a Kohen dressed in these garments can be considered a Kohen. Only… [in this attire] does he appear as the nation’s servant in the Sanctuary of the Torah. Only thus does his service become the nation’s service in the Sanctuary… Only thus does… his service attain the character of a Mitzvah given to the nation by Hashem in His Torah…. [...]  Click here to read more.