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Bamidbar: Count for Something

May 10, 2018 – 9:40 pm | 49 views

G-d instructed Moses to take a census of the Jewish people in the desert. In all, G-d told Moses to count the Jews three times in a forty-year period. Rashi, the famed eleventh century biblical commentator, explained that G-d counts the Jews because He loves them.[1]
This statement makes it sound …

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B’har B’chukotai: True Freedom

May 6, 2018 – 8:19 am |
freedom-innerstream.ca

Freedom is one of humanity’s fundamental goas. Ever since Moses trumpeted the call, “let my people go,” people the world over valued and treasured freedom. Yet we sometimes apply freedom too narrowly. When we see a person indentured into servitude we chafe at the unfairness of it. When we see young children snatched off the street and sold halfway across the world into slavery, we rail at the abhorrent and horrible crime. But what of our own freedom? Are we free?

In the Torah we read that the Jewish people in Israel were enjoined to proclaim the Jubilee, a year of freedom for all the land’s inhabitants. A wise rabbi asked an obvious question. On the jubilee year, the Jewish slaves were set free. But not all the inhabitants of the land were enslaved. Why does the Torah enjoin us to proclaim freedom for all the land’s inhabitants?

The obvious answer is that even people that are free on the outside, might not be free on the inside. We might be free of external masters, but are we free of ourselves, our internal merciless master? Read the full story »

Emor: Effective Perspective

April 29, 2018 – 12:16 am |
perspective-innerstrea.ca

Perspective is the key ingredient in life. Some people take the perspective that life owes them. Others take the perspective that no one owes them anything. The former, do nothing to help themselves, the latter do all that they can to help themselves. In our generation, too many are growing …

Acharei Mot Kedoshim: Chai to Life

April 21, 2018 – 11:08 pm |
chai-innerstream.ca

We are all familiar with chai, the Hebrew word for life. Chai has a numeric value of eighteen, which is why it is common for Jews to donate to charity in multiples of eighteen. The Talmud tells us that charity saves us from premature death.[1] When we donate in multiples …

Tazria Mezora: Judging from Past Behavior

April 15, 2018 – 12:09 am |
past-behavior-innerstream.org

Past behavior is often a harbinger of the future, but to judge fairly we must consider the very latest episode of the past behavior. I was once at a wedding, where the groom’s elderly venerated teacher danced with vigor and joy, and his many students, their eyes sparkling with admiration …

Shemini: What Is Impurity

April 12, 2018 – 9:48 pm |
what-is-impurity-innestream.ca

Why does one who eats non-kosher food become impure? What does impurity even mean?
Hebrew is a delightful language and if we pay attention to the words we can often gain insight into the meaning. The Hebrew word for impure is ta’me. The word is comprised of three letters, a taf, …

Passover: No Salt Rule

March 25, 2018 – 12:23 am |
no-salt-innerstream.org

Matzah has a no salt rule. It is made of flour and water. Nothing else. No liquids, no spices, not even salt. This is because the Matzah that we eat at the seder represents the poor person’s bread and the poor can’t afford to add flavor to their bread. The …

Tzav: Smoking Hot

March 17, 2018 – 11:31 pm |
smoking-hot-innerstream.ca

Smoke and FireThe temperature in the Temple was smoking hot. One can only imagine that the summer months in Jerusalem were hot enough as it was. Add to that the myriads of people that filled the temple on a given day, and the many fires atop the altar, and you …

Vayikra: Coming to Shull

March 14, 2018 – 9:58 am |
coming-to-shull

When you live in a small Jewish community, you often need to recruit people to attend services at the synagogue just to ensure that you have a Minyan (quorum of ten men for prayer). Many grow frustrated with the process and wonder what value there is in attending only because …

Vayakhel Pekudei: Playing Host to G-d

March 3, 2018 – 9:29 pm | One Comment | 
host-innerstream.ca

A Wise Host
The host of the party was worried that there were too many people and not enough refreshments. He was sure that not everyone had been invited, but he had to identify the crashers. So, he called for silence and asked, “Will those from the bride’s side of the …