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January 15, 2022 – 7:20 pm | 38 views

When the Jewish people camped at Sinai, the Torah tells us that they were united. Rather than saying that they camped at Mount Sinai, the Torah says, he camped at Mount Sinai.[1] This draws the attention of Rashi, the eleventh century biblical commentator, who observes, “As one people with one …

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Articles by Lazer Gurkow

Devarim: Response to Suffering

July 10, 2021 – 10:35 pm | 322 views
faith and suffering - innerstream

Suffering is sadly familiar to Jews. We have a long and painful history of suffering. Our sages taught that the Torah was given on Mount Sinai because Sinai is etymologically similar to sinah, which means hatred. From the day that we were chosen to become a light unto the nations, …

Matot Masei: The Three Weeks

July 3, 2021 – 11:42 pm | 284 views
three-weeks

We are in a time of year called the three weeks. During this time, Jerusalem was sacked twice, once by the Babylonians circa 420 BCE and again by the Romans in 69 CE.  Each time, our enemies struck directly at the Jewish heart by destroying the Temple. The Babylonians destroyed …

Pinchas: Between the Gates

June 29, 2021 – 10:07 pm | 273 views
between-the-gates

As the Jacob and his family entered the gates of Egypt, Yocheved, the mother of Moses, was born between the gates. The Torah tells us that seventy Jews traveled to Egypt. Yet, if you count the names of all the people listed in Jacob’s party, you find sixty-nine. Our sages …

Balak: Stolen Waters

June 19, 2021 – 11:26 pm | 262 views
stolen-waters

King Solomon famously wrote, “Stolen waters are sweeter.”[1] By this, he meant that the moment something is forbidden to us, we lust after it. Not because we like it or enjoy it, but because we can’t have it. It is a quirk of human nature to be titillated by the …

Chukat: An Available Tool

June 13, 2021 – 11:22 am | 328 views
available-tool

This week we read the Torah portion that delineates the laws of the Red Heifer. Jews who contacted a dead body were deemed ritually impure. The process of purification was lengthy, but one of the steps was for the impure person to be sprinkled with a mixture of water and …

Korach: Judaism Has a Message

June 9, 2021 – 12:18 pm | 1,548 views
Judaism-has-a-message-innerstream.ca

Judaism has a message for every topic in life. Many are surprised by this. Religion is expected to have a relevant take on spirituality and devotion, but what does religion know about geopolitics, race relations, or virology?
A Jew once asked Rabbi Sholom Ber Schneersohn, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, which political …

Shelach: The Behavior Mirror

May 29, 2021 – 11:55 pm | 276 views
mirror

The mirror can be brutally honest. It reveals our beauty and our ugliness. It is not a good idea to stare in the mirror all day, but every so often it is good to take an honest look in the mirror.
When the Jewish people were in the desert, they found …

B’ha’alotcha: Tithe for Israel

May 23, 2021 – 12:05 am | 352 views
Israel-innerstream.ca

Israel seems to be a recurring problem for the Jewish people. Ever since Joshua conquered the land, nations have tried to wrest it from us. Our ancestors fought recurring battles against the Moabites, Midianites, Canaanites, Amalekites, Ammonites, and Philistines. Later came the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and finally, the Romans, …