Beshalach: Spiritual Heights & Beyond

By: Batya Hefter The spiritual impact of Kriyat Yam Suf (where a mere handmaiden comprehended a divine revelation that the prophet Yechezkiel Ben Buzi did not have access), second only to Matan Torah, is described metaphorically by the Beit Ya’akov as follows: “They...

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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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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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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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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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Yitro: Idolatry – A Challenge?

by: Batya Hefter. He did it again. Rabbi Mordechai Yosef transforms a bygone prohibition into a living challenge.  לא תעשה לך פסל   ‘You shall not make a graven image’. In the ancient world people focused their attention on idols. How is this relevant today? Rabbi...

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Dedications

Shani Taragin’s class was dedicated in memory of Elizabeth Zinner z”l, Malka z”l bat Chaim and Sara, by her daughter Miriam Deutsch
Malka Hubscher’s Shavuot shiur was dedicated in memory of הניה בת פרל, Helen Tessler Kaplan z”l, by Pnina and Barry Farkas
Sara Tesler’s Shavuot shiur was dedicated in memory of Esther Alvan z”l, by her parents Ruth & Tzion Alvan
Lisa Fredman’s Shavuot shiur was dedicated in memory of beloved WBM participant Sara Blaustein z”l

Holiday Thoughts

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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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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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Reflections on Moshe and Rebuke- Tisha B’Av 5777

Batya Hefter - Rosh Beit Midrash “And these are the words”(Dvarim 1:1)  says Rashi, ‘these are words of rebuke’ Parshat Dvarim is always read the Shabbat before Tisha B’av. The linguistic parallel between Moshe words “איכהאשא לבדי טרחכם” and  איכה ישבה בדד' ‘ the...

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Reflections on the Days of Judgment

by Batya Hefter These days of repentance and forgiveness intensify the ongoing struggle between judgement and unconditional love.  On the personal plane, this translates into a struggle between holding ourselves accountable as opposed to being forgiving of ourselves....

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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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Dedications

Shani Taragin’s class was dedicated in memory of Elizabeth Zinner z”l, Malka z”l bat Chaim and Sara, by her daughter Miriam Deutsch
Malka Hubscher’s Shavuot shiur was dedicated in memory of הניה בת פרל, Helen Tessler Kaplan z”l, by Pnina and Barry Farkas
Sara Tesler’s Shavuot shiur was dedicated in memory of Esther Alvan z”l, by her parents Ruth & Tzion Alvan
Lisa Fredman’s Shavuot shiur was dedicated in memory of beloved WBM participant Sara Blaustein z”l