Dvar Torah for Parshat VaYakhel
Feb24

Dvar Torah for Parshat VaYakhel

Dvar Torah for Parshat VaYakhel Based on Likutey Moharan II, Lesson #25 In addition, it’s also good to make a prayer out of Torah. That is, when you study or hear a Torah lesson from a genuine tzaddik, turn it into a prayer ask. Plead with God about each point in the lesson: “When will [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Ki Tisa
Feb17

Dvar Torah for Parshat Ki Tisa

Dvar Torah for Parshat Ki Tisa Based on Likutey Halakhot, Devarim HaYotzim Min HaChai 4:40, 51 “Do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 34:26). There are many paradoxes in life and for good reason. The universe is built on a paradox of an Infinite Creator and a finite creation. The prohibition of [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Tetzaveh
Feb10

Dvar Torah for Parshat Tetzaveh

Dvar Torah for Parshat Tetzaveh Based on Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom #23 “Make sacred clothing for Aharon your brother, for honor and eminence” (Exodus 28:2). The Rebbe then said, "Happy is the one worthy of eating many chapters of Mishnah and afterward drinking a number of psalms, and clothing himself with some mitzvot” (emphasis added). Allow [...]

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Midrashic Mnemonics
Feb03

Midrashic Mnemonics

I know a lot of us like to find or make up positive and/or inspiring allusions in words and names we find in the Torah. So here are two from Midrash Tanchuma (Terumah #10). On the word MiZBeiaCh (altar): Mem is for Mechilah (forgiveness) Zayin is Zekhut (merit) Beit is for Berakhah (blessing) Chet is [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Terumah
Feb03

Dvar Torah for Parshat Terumah

Dvar Torah for Parshat Terumah Based on Likutey Halakhot, Terumot u’Maasrot 3:8 “Fifty loops you will make on one awning, and fifty loops you will make on the edge of the other awning...The loops are to be parallel one another, one corresponding to the other” (Exodus 26:5). Take a guess. What is it that optimizes [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Mishpatim
Jan26

Dvar Torah for Parshat Mishpatim

Based on Likutey Halakhot, Dayanim 4:3 “In every case of misappropiation, whether it involves an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment or anything else that was [allegedly] lost...both parties’ claims must come before the elokim (judge)” (Exodus 22:8). There are other Hebrew words for “a judge.” Why then, asks Reb Noson, is the word [...]

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Rush Not to Judgment
Jan24

Rush Not to Judgment

Generally speaking, we don’t think to connect the end of one parshah (weekly Torah reading) with the beginning of the next. The Midrash, however, does. The end of Parshat Yitro teaches us that the mizbeach (Altar) was to be ascended by a ramp rather than by steps. The beginning of Parshat Mishpatim begins with, and deals [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Yitro
Jan21

Dvar Torah for Parshat Yitro

Dvar Torah for Parshat Yitro Based on Likutey Moharan II, Lesson #24 There were many preparations the Israelites needed to make for matan Torah (the giving of the Torah) at Sinai. One which gets almost no mention at all is simcha (joy, happiness). In an unnamed teaching (unofficially titled “The Sad Tzaddik,” which is appended [...]

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Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Jan20

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

“in order that thy days should be long” (Exodus 20:12). Besides Mom and Dad, the "father" and "mother" being referred to here are chokhmah/wisdom and binah/understanding. Chokhmah and binah parent all that we do. They beget our actions, our words and even our thoughts. (If you think what you think about, you might think differently!) Who [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Beshalach
Jan11

Dvar Torah for Parshat Beshalach

Dvar Torah for Parshat Beshalach Based on Likutey Halakhot, Bekhor Beheimah Tehorah 4 “On the six weekdays you will gather [manna], but on the seventh day, Shabbat, there won’t be any” (Exodus 16:26). The holy Zohar (2:88a) asks, “If there is no food to be found on Shabbat, in what way is Shabbat blessed (Genesis [...]

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Parshat HaMan: Today!
Jan11

Parshat HaMan: Today!

The Parsha this week recounts the amazing miracle of the Man (Manna Bread) which began miraculous falling from the sky and nourished the Jewish people for some 40 years in the Midbar. The Great Chassidic Master and Tzaddik Reb Mendel of Riminov famously praised studying these passages especially during the third day of the week that this [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Bo
Jan06

Dvar Torah for Parshat Bo

Dvar Torah for Parshat Bo Based on Likutey Halakhot, Pidyon Bekhor 4 “You will separate for God every first issue of the womb. In addition, every male firstling of [kosher] beasts that you own, will be God’s and every firstling of an ass you shall redeem...and you will redeem every firstborn of your sons” (Exodus [...]

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SHOVaVYM (ToT)
Jan06

SHOVaVYM (ToT)

This is “extra credit,” intended to be informative, not obligatory. This is a slightly updated version of a dvar Torah from many years ago, so if it looks familiar, you know why. The week of the Torah-reading (parshat) Shemot begins the period of Shovavym. SHOVaVYM is an acronym for the first six parshiot found in the [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat VaEra 5771
Dec29

Dvar Torah for Parshat VaEra 5771

Dvar Torah for Parshat VaEra Based on Tzaddik #162* and Likutey Halakhot, Devarim Habaim b’Seudah 4:14 “God said to Moshe, ‘Look here! I have installed you as Elokim (a god) to Pharaoh’” (Exodus 7:1). “And I [God] will harden Pharaoh’s heart...and he will not listen to you” (ibid. 3–4). A major theological problem presented in [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Shemot 5571 Body & Soul
Dec23

Dvar Torah for Parshat Shemot 5571 Body & Soul

Dvar Torah for Parshat Shemot Based on Likutey Moharan I, Lesson #22:4–5 “The Egyptians subjugated the Children of Israel with hard labor” (Exodus 1:13). Rashi comments: Hard labor that crushes and breaks the body. Body and soul. We all hear what the body says. It is not at all shy or reticent about expressing what [...]

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Dvar Torah for Post-Chanukah

Dvar Torah for Post-Chanukah Based on Sichot HaRan (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom) #1 By Ozer Bergman Multiple-Choice Quiz: Are your Chanukah candles still burning? A) No B) Yes C) Don’t know D) Unable to answer The correct answer is any and all of them. Allow me to explain. Your physical Chanukah candles have certainly burnt out [...]

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