Parsha Chayei Sarah 5773: Why Hevron’s Ma’arot HaMachpela for Sarah Imeinu’s Burial Place?

by Moshe Burt

Our Parsha opens by giving Sarah Imeinu’s age upon her death:

“Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years: the years of Sarah’s life.” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 23, posuk 1)


Why was it necessary to break the 127 years into 3 sections rather than to merely say, as rendered in translation in The Living Torah Chumash by R’ Aryeh Kaplan z”l (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 23, posuk 1) :

“Sarah had lived to be 127 years old. These were the years of Sarah’s life.”  [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Vayeira 5773: Prayer and Avraham, vs Israel and Chutz L’Aretz in Our Times

by Moshe Burt


Our Parsha opens with Hashem, as we understand, visiting Avraham Aveinu on the 3rd day after Bris Milah, when Avraham was at the height of his pain following the circumcision, as Rashi indicates, “to inquire about his welfare.” (Metsuda Linear Chumash rendering of Rashi on Perek 18, posuk 1).

It’s not like Hashem needed to pay a visit to ascertain Avraham’s actual condition. Hashem is the Creator, The Master, The Ruler over the world who knows and is aware of everything. And so, as Hashem visited to inquire as to Avraham’s wellbeing, Avraham pardoned himself from Hashem when he spotted 3 travellers inviting them into his tent.  [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Lech Lecha 5773: Avraham Avinu’s Search for Hashem, Our Creator and What It Means Today?

by Moshe Burt

Midrashim tell how Avraham Avinu deduced at an early age that Hashem was the Creater and Ruler of the world. He tried worshipping the earth, the rain, the sun, the moon, etc. but deduced that not one of these forces regulated the world and that:

There must be a higher intelligence directing them [the various forces].

“I have not seen Him,” said Avram, “but I can understand that only a mighty and merciful G-d could have created the… world around me, and only his superior intelligence is able to keep it going. To Him will I bow.” (The Midrash Says, by Rabbi Moshe Weissman, Sefer Breish’it, Parsha Noach, page 118.) [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Noach 5773: “Chamas”, Compromised Principles, Perceived “Larger Cheshbonot” Revisited

by Moshe Burt

There is a Midrash Says at the end of Parsha Breish’t (pages 78-80) which is prelude to No’ach (pronounced No’akh) and the Mabul. It speaks about Hashem, as it were, Bemoaning His Making of man. The Melachim say to Hashem that they would do far better than man and would sanctify Hashem’s Name. So they came down and were more evil than man.

The Midrash Says notes that these Melachim were referred to in Torah as “the sons of judges”, “the lofty ones” for “they took for themselves wives from whomever they chose.” And so Gilui Aroyot (coveting illicit intimacies) became the “right of passage” expected by the “lofty ones” — the powers to be of the era such that this evil became institutionalized,what they wanted expecting and institutionalizing this usurpation. Therefore, common man, ever more victimized, sunk further and further into evil.  [...]  Click here to read more.

Simchat Torah and Parshiyot V’zot HaBracha – Breish’t 5773: Completion and New Beginnings; The Continuim of Torah

by Moshe Burt

Somehow, not being rabbinic or a Talmud Chacham, it has always seemed difficult to put a true and deep meaning of Hashem’s creation to words to express the continuim of the end and the beginning of Torah.

Shem Mishmuel concludes a vort on V’zos HaBracha this way;

Let us propose that these brachot are eternal, that they were not just pronounced by Moshe to Klal Yisrael on his last day on earth, but like the rest of Torah, their influence is everlasting. Indeed, the beautiful blessings which Moshe bestowed upon us are still with us, as if he were standing and blessing every one of us today. Of course, as with their inception, the quality of the brachot will depend upon the ability of each of us to successfully receive them. [...]  Click here to read more.