Vayakhel: Seeing with the Heart

by: Batya Hefter “Moshe said to the children of Israel, 'See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Yehuda, and he has filled him with the spirit of God - in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and with talent for all...

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Ki Tisa: Moshe Repairs the Flaw of Noach

by Batya Hefter Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev teaches us that “Moshe is the tikkun (repair) for the soul of Noah” (Keddushat Levi, Noach).   This idea is based on the Ari z”l in Sha’ar Hagilgulim who says that Moshe is a gilgul, a reincarnation of Noah. This idea...

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Tetzaveh: You Are What You Wear

By: Batya Hefter “These are the vestments that they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a knitted tunic, a turban and a sash” (Shemot 28:4). Upon reading the list of Aharon HaKohen’s holy garments, one can’t but notice that the most significant article is...

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Teruma: Making Space for God

By: Batya Hefter “Take for Me an Offering” King Solomon asked, “The heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have built?” Yet we are told that the Tabernacle is a place for God. How is it really possible to create a space...

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Holiday Thoughts

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The Celestial and Earthly Jerusalem

by Rav Herzl Hefter Rabbi Yohanan said: the Holy One Blessed Be He said, “I shall not dwell in the Celestial Jerusalem (Yerushalayim shel ma’alah) until I dwell in the Earthly Jerusalem (Yerushalyim shel matah) ”There is a well-known dispute between Maimonides and...

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The Exodus from Egypt: The Never-Ending Story

By Batya Hefter Stories in the Torah are powerful because they resonate within us on multiple levels. On the face of it, the redemption from Egypt is a narrative of national emancipation from slavery. However, if we look carefully, we will learn that the story is...

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Pesach: Seize the Moment

By: Batya Hefter At the crux of Pesach is ‘haste’, as the children of Israel flee Egypt in haste.  Strikingly, Lot and his family flee the doomed Sdom in similar haste.   The story of Lot includes the intriguing detail that “he [Lot] baked for them [the angels]...

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Reflections on Purim

By: Batya Hefter When Mordechai hears the edict to annihilate the Jews, he rends his clothes as a mourner, dons sackcloth, and cries out bitterly from the depths of his being. Rav Zadok teaches that this is the experience of hester panim; Mordechai has lost all hope...

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Yom Kippur – God Desires the Heart

By: Batya Hefter “God desires the Heart’; so teaches the Talmud. Where are our hearts, the seat of our desires and yearnings on this day?   Since Rosh Chodesh Elul we have been the saying pasuk in mizmor leDavid, לך אמר לבי, בקשו פני, את פניך אבקש.   On the face of...

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Reflections on Yom Hashoa

By: Rav Herzl Hefter My father was a grown man at the time of World War II and would constantly relive and recount his memories of those terrible years as well as more pleasant times growing up with his family of nine brothers and sisters in Poland before the War....

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Reflections on the Day of Judgment

By: Batya Hefter These days of teshuva and forgiveness intensify the ongoing struggle between din and chesed.  On the personalplane, this translates into a struggle between holding ourselves accountable and forgiving ourselves and others.   Which attitude is...

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Yom Kippur: Why Aharon?

By: Rav Herzl Hefter And Moshe said to Aharon, “What did this people do to you, that you brought so great a sin upon them?” (Shmot 32:21) The temple service of Yom Kippur is only valid if performed by the High Priest. (Yoma 32b) Aharon is the one who led the people to...

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