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ב"ה

The Practical Parshah

Biblical Sources for Mitzvot

Each week, Rabbi Mendel Kaplan will delve into that week's Torah reading to bring out a practical lesson for life and explain the Biblical sources for the customs, laws, practices and ethics of our people.

1:30
Promotional Trailer
A weekly live class with Rabbi Mendel Kaplan on the weekly Torah reading highlighting Biblical sources for Jewish laws and customs.
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1:01:00
Practical Parshah—Bereishit
In the first portion of the Torah, Adam and Eve receive the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply.” What are the parameters of this mitzvah today?
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45:00
Practical Parshah - Noach
The life of Noah raises questions of how to address the moral failings of others, from zealous extremism on one hand to insularism and apathy on the other.
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45:00
Practical Parshah—Lech Lecha
How, when and if to speak up for what’s right, when the people who are acting improperly are your own family members.
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45:00
Practical Parshah—Vayeira
G‑d’s visit to Abraham following his circumcision teaches us some important guidelines in how to properly perform the mitzvah of bikkur cholim—visiting the sick.
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45:00
Practical Parshah—Chayei Sarah
Abraham’s response to the loss of his wife, Sarah, teaches us how to properly honor those who have passed on.
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45:00
Practical Parshah - Toldot
Emulating our forefather Isaac's financial success and how he apportioned his wealth to tzedakah—charity.
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45:00
Practical Parshah—Vayeitzei
We learn from our father Jacob an important lesson in when and how to forgo a personal religious stringency in the face of a greater obligation.
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1:04:25
Practical Parshah—Vayishlach
The story of Jacob’s struggle with an angel provides the source for the prohibition of eating the sciatic nerve of an animal. In this class, other complicated issues involving the preparation of kosher meat are also discussed.
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1:07:35
Practical Parshah - Vayeishev
Rachel's firstborn son, Joseph, being sold into slavery as a source for the mitzvah of monetarily redeeming the firstborn son of a Jewish woman.
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1:13:17
Practical Parshah—Mikeitz
The Torah tells us that both of Joseph’s sons were born before the famine began in Egypt. What do the commentaries say we are supposed to learn from this?
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1:05:05
Practical Parshah - Vayigash
In this week's portion in which Judah promises the safe return of his brother Benjamin, we look at the severity of oaths and vows, how to know when you've made one and how to be released from it once you have.
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1:05:19
Practical Parshah - Vayechi
In this week’s portion, Jacob gives his sons his last will and testament. What does Jewish law say about how to bequeath an inheritance to heirs?
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1:08:14
Practical Parshah - Shemot
The unusual circumstances of Moses’ son’s brit milah (circumcision) and what it teaches us about how that mitzvah may be performed -- and by whom.
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1:11:56
Practical Parshah—Va’eira
Moses would not pray anywhere within Pharaoh’s capital city, because it was full of idols. Where—besides for a synagogue—can a Jew pray? Where is a Jew forbidden to pray?
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1:00:00
Practical Parshah - Bo
In this week’s Torah portion, the Jews leave Egypt and receive the commandment to keep the Passover. What practical preparations are needed to be ready for Pesach?
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1:08:57
Practical Parshah - Beshalach
A double portion of manna would fall from heaven on Fridays. We discuss the mitzvah of the “double Shabbos loaves” (lechem mishneh) and other customs of the Shabbat meal.
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1:19:08
Practical Parshah - Yitro
The difference between “remembering” and “keeping” the Shabbat.
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1:06:24
Practical Parshah - Mishpatim
The strict prohibition against two Jewish litigants taking their case to secular courts.
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58:01
Practical Parshah—Terumah
Every synagogue is known as a “miniature sanctuary” (mikdash me’at). How does one show respect for a shul?
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1:15:26
Practical Parshah—Tetzaveh
The priestly garments were allowed to contain an admixture of wool and linen that is normally forbidden. Why is this? And why is it normally prohibited?
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58:26
Practical Parshah—Ki Tisa
The priests would wash their hands in the laver (“kiyor”) each morning before working in the Temple. What are the laws of the morning handwashing ritual?
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1:04:23
Practical Parshah - Vayakhel
“Six days shall you work…” How does one actually rest on Shabbat?
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1:00:00
Practical Parshah - Pekudei
Moses publically audits what all of the donations were used for in the building of the Sanctuary. To what lengths must one go to clear oneself of suspicion?
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1:04:18
Practical Parshah—Vayikra
This Torah portion speaks about the central role that salt played in all of the Temple sacrifices. In this class, we will see how this prominence carries over into many common Jewish practices.
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55:00
Practical Parshah—Tzav
We learn about the thanksgiving offering (korban todah), which is the basis for the blessing recited when one survives a life-threatening situation.
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55:00
Practical Parshah—Shemini
The biblical criteria for determining which animals are kosher, and their practical application today.
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1:02:35
Practical Parshah - Tazria
This portion provides the Biblical source for the mitzvah of circumcision on the eighth day. What are the specific laws and customs of this life-cycle event?
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1:09:37
Practical Parshah - Metzora
A textual analysis of the Biblical origins for the laws of family purity and mikveh.
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45:00
Practical Parshah - Acharei
In this portion that lists all of the many forbidden relationships, we examine how Torah expects us as Jews to conduct ourselves in the most private and holy aspect of our lives.
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1:06:59
Practical Parshah—Kedoshim
A detailed explanation of how the commandment “Do not destroy the corners of your beard” (Lev. 19:27) is understood in various communities.
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1:15:36
Practical Parshah - Emor
Various added restrictions, responsibilities and honors that apply to the patrilineal descendants of Aaron even in our days.
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1:13:25
Practical Parshah - Behar
The agricultural restrictions of the seventh (shemita) year, how it is practiced by Jewish farmers in the Land of Israel today, and how it affects kosher consumers.
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1:13:55
Practical Parshah - Bechukotai
Even laymen are obligated to be learned in Torah. But how much is one actually obligated to study? How often?
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1:11:11
Practical Parshah - Bamidbar
In this portion, Moses takes a census of the Jewish people without directly counting any of them. Why do we not count each other directly and what are the practical applications for this mitzvah today?
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1:04:56
Practical Parshah - Naso
The kohanim are commanded to bless the people. What is the meaning of a blessing given by one human being to another?
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53:23
Practical Parshah - Behaalotecha
Torah views meat-eating as a luxury, not a right. When is it appropriate -- and inappropriate -- to use animals for food?
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45:00
Practical Parshah—Shelach
The commandment to attach fringes to the corners of our garments. What it means, and how it is done.
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1:00:51
Practical Parshah - Korach
The Sages tell us that the argument of Korach in this week's portion was doomed to fail because it was "an argument that was not for the sake of heaven." What is an argument that is for the sake of heaven?
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1:13:01
Practical Parshah - Chukat
This portion describes Moses' unusual way of healing those who suffered from poisonous snake bites. A Jewish look at how healing really works.
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1:03:34
Practical Parshah - Balak
This portion contains poetic references to the coming of Moshiach. What is the obligation to believe in the coming of Moshiach?
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59:29
Practical Parshah - Pinchas
Pinchas took the law into his own hands and was vindicated. When is it permissible to be a vigilante?
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45:00
Practical Parshah—Matot
It is a mitzvah to keep a vow, but it is also a mitzvah to have a vow properly annulled. How is a vow annulled?
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45:00
Practical Parshah - Massei
In listing the places where the Jews encamped, we learn alternative names for locations named for idols. What is the law about mentioning the name of a false deity?
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1:01:44
Practical Parshah - Devarim
Moses translated the Torah into the languages of his day. What are the rules, and the risks, of translating Torah into other languages?
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55:00
Practical Parshah - Va'etchanan
The prohibition against intermarriage appears in this week's portion. How does Torah guide Jews in finding Jewish spouses? (This video was shot live on location from Jerusalem.)
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01:04:12
Practical Parshah - Eikev
"When you eat and have been satisfied, you shall bless." The laws of reciting grace.
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55:00
Practical Parshah - Re'eh
There is a specific commandment to "rejoice on your Holidays." How does one get into the joyful holiday spirit?
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1:19:58
Practical Parshah - Shoftim
The Torah gives the Sages the power to enact new laws and observances. We look at the "rabbinical holidays" of Chanukah and Purim.
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55:00
Practical Parshah - Ki Teitzei
The detailed laws of returning a lost object to its rightful owner.
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55:00
Practical Parshah - Ki Tavo
The morning routine, according to Torah and how to put "first things first" the Jewish way.
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1:02:59
Practical Parshah - Nitzavim
What does it really mean to repent? What feelings or actions does true repentance consist of?
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44:08
Practical Parshah - Vayelech
It is a commandment incumbent on every man and woman to write a scroll of the Torah. How does a "regular Jew" fulfill this mitzvah?
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49:45
Practical Parshah - Haazinu
The meaning of the word "Amen," when to say it, and why.
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1:19:06
Practical Parshah—V’Zot HaBerachah
The tribe of Yissachar studied Torah, while the tribe of Zevulun made money to support them. The mitzvah of financially supporting Torah study.
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Each week, Rabbi Mendel Kaplan will delve into that week's Torah reading to bring out a practical lesson for life and explain the Biblical sources for the customs, laws, practices and ethics of our people.
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