Parshah Columnists

Guest Columnists
The Daily Grind and the Daily Lamb
You see, religious life is thankfully full of high-voltage, electric moments. Such moments are indeed important, and it’s safe to say that no person, no matter how pious or devout, could survive without them. The problem is that such moments are not constant.
Why Orphans Are Not Made to Give Charity
What happens in a situation where a person has income but is in a physical or mental state that renders him unable to fulfill his charitable obligations? Is he exempt from being charitable, or must others contribute from his resources on his behalf?
When Moses Commanded G-d
Although Moses is not completely reconciled to his death in the desert (as we will see later in the Parshah of Va’etchanan), he can not leave the world in peace without knowing that his people will be in good hands.
The Talking Lottery
Pairs of lots—one from each box—were drawn. A Temple priest was there to prophesy each pick. To top it off, the lottery tickets themselves miraculously announced each pairing of a tribe with its portion of land.
A Daughter of Tzelafchad Speaks
The Torah’s account of the petition presented to Moses by the daughters of Tzelafchad is relevant both to women seeking halachic support for change, and to the rabbis who are ruling on their questions.
Not Just About the Soul
Moses sought to mitigate G‑d’s anger against Israel through prayer. In contrast, Pinchas’s action took place not in the supernal realms, but rather “below,” in the physical world.
Opinions? Pro or Con?
Confronted with Phinehas' heroism, the people felt challenged: Why hadn't any of them stepped up as Phinehas had? Why hadn't they objected and acted with bravery?
The Greatest Servant
A Jewish understanding of what leadership really means
Leadership is one of those qualities that, as soon as a person begins describing his or her own mastery of it, you can’t help but feel that in fact they don’t have it . . .
G-d Is in the Details
What does it mean to have a good life, a successful life? How do we handle life when it doesn’t bring us everything we hoped for?
Wedding Speeches for Pinchas
The Daughters of Zelophehad
“Why should our father’s name be eliminated from his family because he had no sons? Give us a landholding among our father’s brothers!”
Practicing Unilateral Virtue in the Face of Evil
The very purpose of negativity is for us to change it. We change “it,” however, when we change ourselves.
Phinehas: The Zealot of the Bible
Phinehas was brazenly zealous when he slayed Zimri, the licentious leader of the tribe of Simeon.
Moment of Fame or Moment of Fate?
Sometimes leaders remain silent in the face of certain events.
G-d Has Faith in What You Will Become
Good things are in store for you, because your future starts right now.
Torah Insights
Leadership in Times of Darkness
If Pinchas was rewarded with the gift of his children inheriting his priesthood, why did Moses not merit the same reward? After all, Moses turned G‑d’s wrath away from the children of Israel numerous times!
Appointed Time
Each and every ordinary day can indeed become a moed, a holiday, a day filled with enthusiasm, holiness and joy.
Weekly Sermonette
Looking for Leaders
Some are loved, some are respected, and the exceptional ones are loved and respected.
What Is Your Bottom Line?
What would arouse your righteous indignation? What would it take to galvanize you into action in defense of what you consider sacred and inviolate? Is there something that would incense you? Anything?
Is Everything OK?
I have serious reservations as to whether Dale Carnegie would use Pinchas as a role model for How to Win Friends and Influence People. And I'm definitely not suggesting that we root out all sinners by putting a spear through them. What, then, is the message of Pinchas for our time?
Destiny Beckons
Pinchas could have made a simple calculation. Here stand Moses and Aaron, other prominent elders and leaders and they are all silent. Who am I to step forward?
Life's Passages
Keeping Perspective
How to Become a Trailblazer
Trailblazers have the courage to take bold action and create positive change.
The Female Estate
Traditionally, the linear, male method of “conquering the land” has been perceived as superior and more effective. But the daughters of Tzelafchad realized that there will come a time when humanity will evolve to a more feminine mode of conquest . . .
What the Rebbe Taught Me
You Be the Judge
Criticizing politicians, statesmen, and religious leaders is in vogue. In the prevailing courtroom of public opinion, people are judged guilty until proven innocent. At least that's what the cynics say…
To Hell and Back
The virtue of a guilty conscience
The surprising tale of Korach's sons, the fomenters of rebellion, saved by a guilty conscience.
For Friday Night
Love Breaks Barriers
Pinchas steps forward with a spear, apparently breaking the Jewish rules of careful trial, evidence and judgment... What contemporary lesson does his deed hold for us?
The Road to Peace
Pinchas took action. He was a strong man, a zealot. But does that action express the virtue of peace? Yet G‑d says that in reward for his action "I give him My covenant of Peace."
Parshah Messages
Uphill Battles
The story of Pinchas has repeated itself like a broken record throughout our difficult but glorious history. Our nation would not exist today if not for the many heroic, odds-defying acts performed by courageous individuals and groups.
Would You Do Anything For Your Child?
What is the most effective method to ensure that our children follow the path we wish for them to follow? The daughters of Zelophehad lead us to a compelling answer.
Who Makes Your Choices?
On which choices will we focus? The “big” ones, over which we have no control, or the “small” ones, which are entirely in our hands?
Parshah Blog
When He Took the Law into His Own Hands
Today's Fundamentalists could shove down our throats the precedent of Pinchas: no witnesses, no judge, no trial, no appeal—simply, "G‑d came to me; and He will reward me like He did Pinchas"...
Parshah Musings
Well Done!
Looking back, it seems ridiculous that I wrestled so long over making up my mind, or that it meant so much to me at the time, but those few days were an agony of indecision.
High Roller
I can just imagine the scene "Roll up, roll up! Where are you and your children going to live and work? Who fancies the mountain region? How about a cottage by the sea? Take your chances. Come one, come all..."
Saved From the Brink
At the very last moment, as the dramatic denouement drew to a close, they had a fleeting moment of remorse. And that was enough to deliver them from their fate.
The Perfect Leader
The Jewish people have been blessed. Throughout history we have been influenced and led by the best. We have followed Moses' prescription for leadership and have survived and thrived through the ages.
My Big Mistake
One of the most embarrassing moments of my rabbinical career happened early in my first year on the job.
What Do You Think?
Imagine Every Day a Holiday
Our day is comprised of a mesh of constants and variables. Getting out of bed every day: a constant. What time we get up: a variable. But isn’t change preferable over the predictable? Can we all agree with the teenage motto, “Normal is boring”?
A Thought for the Week
To Know Is To Do
The Daughters of Tzelafchad
And what they teach us about life’s difficulties
Living through the Parshah
Multitaskers Anonymous
If you’re not fully present in the preparatory stages, you won’t be fully present when you arrive
The division of land was so essential that G-d fully invested Himself in its process. It was a visual and auditory experience for the nation, one that perhaps left a life-long imprint...
Torah for Now
The Big Little Voice
The wind, earthquake and fire – all these were miraculous and astounding phenomena, so why did G‑d choose to appear in the small voice?
Reflections on the Parshah
Leadership by Example
Moses' is concerned about his successor in whose hands the future of Israel is to be entrusted. In his prayer Moses expresses the qualifications of Israel's leader in simple yet all-inclusive terms.
Parshah Moment
Don't Psychoanalyze!
Is it that simple to know everything going on in someone else’s head? Are you always that accurate with what’s happening in your own head?
Weekly Torah
Common Denominator
The Freeman Files
Returning Energy
About the animal sacrifices in the Holy Temple
How To Take the Law Into Your Own Hands
I was feeling quite satisfied over how I had handled the situation, when I discovered The Three Fundamental Rules on How To Take The Law Into Your Own Hands. That nipped my career as an outlaw in the bud. Though it was fun while it lasted.
The Extremist
The extremist makes us feel uncomfortable, because he makes hypocrites of us all.
The extremist makes us feel uncomfortable, because he makes hypocrites of us all: if we all acted on what we believed in, we'd all be extremists...
Parshah Recovery
Give G‑d Your "Present"
We don't understand those people who "stop and smell the flowers" and extol the simple pleasures of life. Some of us wouldn't recognize a "simple pleasure" if it jumped up and bit us.
Inner Stream
A People of Three-Thousand Years
Every generation replaces and becomes not only the generation that precedes it, but all the generations till Abraham.
Jewish Pop-Ups
Have you ever wondered why pop-up ads always offer licentious opportunities, and never Torah or mitzvah opportunities?
Covenant & Conversation
The Crown All Can Wear
Moses knew he was not fated to live long enough to cross the Jordan and enter the land. Who would be his successor? Did he have no thoughts on the matter?
Moses' Dissapointment
How are we to explain Moses’ apparent failure with his own children and grandchildren?
Elijah and the Still, Small Voice
In 1165, an agonizing question confronted Moroccan Jewry. A fanatical Muslim sect, the Almohads, had seized power and were embarked on a policy of forced conversion to Islam. The Jewish community was faced with a choice: to affirm Islamic faith or die.
On Parents and Teachers
Was Moses, the great leader, inwardly disappointed that his children did not inherit his role?
Beyond Speech
On the Haftarah: A Lesson from Jeremiah and Pinchas
For the haftarah of Pinchas, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
Everlasting Change
You Can Change the World
Every Jewish person has a portion in the land.
The Key to Redemption
In order to bring Moshiach we have to tap into our yechidah to draw G-d's essence that is beyond existence into the world.
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