Parshat Tazria-Metzora 5773: Manifestations of Ta’amei/Tahara on a Contemporary National Level and Gauging Individual/National Sincerity in Teshuvah

by Moshe Burt

In learning about the laws of tzara’as, we find posukim which are a pelah, a wonderment.

Torah relates in our Parsha;

“If the tzara’as will erupt on the skin, and … will cover the entire skin of the afflicted from his head to his feet, wherever the eyes of the Kohen can see — the Kohen shall look, and behold! — the affliction has covered his entire flesh, then he shall declare the affliction to be pure; having turned completely white, it is pure. On the day healthy skin appears …, it (the affliction) shall be contaminated.” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 13, posukim 12 – 14) [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Shemini 5773: Discerning Kosher from Treif in the Sincerity of the Our Service

by Moshe Burt

After learning in Parsha Tzav that for seven days, Moshe taught Aaron HaKohen and his sons the laws of their Avodah (the Kohanic Service, i.e. in the Tabernacle and later in the Beit HaMikdash — ” The Temple”) in the Mishkan, our Parsha Shemini begins by relating that on the eighth day, Aaron and his sons commenced their Avodah HaKodosh (Holy Service). It is interesting and ironic that our parsha is the other side of the term; “Tzav-Shemonah” which is the document or order issued by the Israel Defense Forces calling reservists to active duty in event of war. But the alignment of these two Parshiyot, one-after-the-other, seems to this author, to have deeper meaning, above and beyond mobiliation and deployment in time of war. This deeper meaning seems to denote a constancy of vigilance, of guard over Am Yisrael and their connection to Hashem, to Torah and to their sanctity (consecration, purity, holiness). And with this constancy of vigilance of Am Yisrael’s sanctity , our Parsha also teaches us about Kashrut, and “abstain[ing] from impure, non-Kosher item[s].” (L’ilmode U’Lamed, by Rabbi Mordechai Katz, Parsha Shemini, page 108) [...]  Click here to read more.

Rav Hirsch z”l, the B’nai Yisrael and “Being There” at the Pesach Seder 5773

by Moshe Burt

Shalom and Chag Same’ach Friends;

Seems I keep harping on the same theme regarding the Pesach Seder in recent years. I remember back some five years ago when Rav Chaim Zev Malinowitz spoke before Pesach 5768 saying that to truly experience Pesach, we need to put ourselves in a mindset of feeling the Yetziyat Mitzrayim (the leaving of Egypt) as if WE were THERE, as if WE had been through the slavery, bondage and persecution, as if WE watched the naisim of the Asserah Makkot (the 10 plagues) and were now dressed like Kings and Queens eating the Seder meal —the Korban Pesach which had been tied to our bedposts before slaughter, the Matzot (the bread of affliction which was baked in haste because of the haste of departure from that iron crucible: Mitzrayim) and the Maror — the bitterness of the affliction.. [...]  Click here to read more.

Dayenu 5773: That “Being There” Feeling and Remembering Our Brethren at the Pesach Seder

by Moshe Burt

This year will mark eighteen years, and my fifteenth Pesach in Eretz Yisrael, in which I have emailed, as it has become tradition with me from prior to my Aliyah, the rendition of Dayenu quoted from the book “Dear Brothers”, by former Arutz Sheva columnist Haggai Segal. In each year, Dayenu holds a unique perspective, unlike the perspective of any previous year.

Each year, this author tries to put forth factors that relate to the state of B’nai Yisrael — right here and right now. [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Tzav 5773: The Jewish Mold of Constancy, Self-Control Vs Rote, Intellectual Complacency, Laxity and Assimilation?

by Moshe Burt

In our Parsha, Tzav is Moshe’s command from Hashem to Aaron HaKohen and his sons to take up and clothe themselves in their Vestments, their garments of service in the Mishkan, and to begin their daily Avodah (service and offerings in the Mishkan).

For seven days, Moshe taught Aaron HaKohen and his sons the laws of their Avodah in the Mishkan. (You might say that they were given, as they term it in the US, OJT from Shemayim.) On the eighth day, Aaron and his sons began their Avodah.

We are taught in our Parsha about the two flames which burn continuously; the flickering light of the Menorah and the powerful flame of the Mizbeiyach (the altar where the various offerings to Hashem were brought). These two flames which burned constantly teach us that a balance must exist between strength and power and modesty and humility. These fires teach us about maintaining a consistency between enthusiasm and constancy. (L’lmod Ul’Lamed, Rabbi Mordechai Katz, Parsha Tzav, page 103-104)  [...]  Click here to read more.