Parashat Nitzavim: Not in the Heavens

This class explores the meaning and importance of the proclamation in this week’s parsha that the Torah is “not in the heavens.” It seems like an obvious statement, so why does the Torah elaborate so emphatically about this point? We will show that even though the giving of the Torah at Sinai established the Torah […]

 
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Parashat Ki Tavo: Walking in G-d’s Ways

Parshat Ki Tavo contains the verse “And you shall walk in His ways”, which we will learn is the basis for the mitzvah of emulating G-d. In this lesson we will see how following it will create a positive transformation in our approach to life. We will gain a deeper understanding of the power of […]

 
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Parashat Ki Teitzei: You are What you Wear

Of all our laws and customs, one of the least known is the Torah law that forbids the wearing of shatnez, which generally speaking is any garment containing both wool and linen. We will learn about this Biblical prohibition and see how the laws against shatnez teach us a unique spiritual lesson.

 
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Parashat Vaetchanan: The Spiritual Power of Oaths and Vows

The third of the Ten Commandments is the prohibition against taking HaShem’s name in vain. The Oral Law teaches us that this commandment goes far beyond the improper use of HaShem’s name, and includes the Torah prohibition against swearing falsely in general. In this lesson we will explore the practical importance and inner meaning of […]

 
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Parashat Devarim: Uniting Heaven and Earth

The final book of the Torah is the book of Devarim, also known as Mishneh Torah – the review of the Torah. It ultimately bridges the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the spiritual and the physical. While the previous four books are ascribed to G-d alone, the authorship of Devarim is attributed to Moshe. Yet a […]

 
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Parashat Matot: Our Mysterious Strength as a People

The name of this parshah – Matot, meaning tribes – is also related to the Hebrew word mateh, or staff, which symbolizes lasting strength. Matot is always read during the ‘three weeks’ prior to Tisha B’Av, the date of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, and many of the themes in the parshah and its […]

 
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Parashat Pinchas: This Law is Not the Law

Is it ever permissible to intentionally violate the laws of the Torah for what we believe is the greater good? If so, who has the right to do so, and when? In this class, we will focus on how Pinchas, in a moment of zealousness, took it upon himself to be judge, jury and executioner, […]

 
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Parashat Balak: The Fate of the Nations

In this Torah portion we have one of the few references to the Messianic era in the Torah. Interestingly that reference says as much about the nations of the world as it does about us. In this class we will examine the role of the nations of the world immediately prior to and during the […]

 
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Parashat Chukat: The Message of the Copper Serpent

When jews were complaining bitterly about, of all things, the miraculous manna that had sustained them for nearly 40 years, HaShem, in response, sent snakes that killed some and poisoned others. But He simultaneously provided a cure for the snakebites in the form of a copper serpent mounted on a pole. In this class we […]

 
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Parashat Korach: The Individual and the Collective

In this parsha we learn how a group of Jews led by Korach challenged the authority of Moshe. Many important contemporary questions are addressed in this episode. Is there an ideology or institution that could transcend the conflict between the individual and the collective so that both can be satisfied?

 
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Parashat Shelach: Counter-Intelligence: Spying the Truth

This parshah contains the story of the spies who were sent by Moshe to investigate the Land of Canaan. As a result of the people’s acquiescence to the spies’ negative report about the Land of Israel, the entire nation was forced to wander the desert wilderness for forty years until a new generation would arise […]

 
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Parashat Naso: From G-d’s Mouth to Moses’ Ears

It was through the communication between HaShem and Moshe that the centrality of prophecy in Jewish life was established. But, one may ask: Why didn’t and doesn’t HaShem communicate directly with each of us? In this class we will discuss the concept of prophecy in general and learn why it was critical for the Divine […]

 
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Parashat Bamidbar: To Count or Not to Count

In this lesson we will examine The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s analysis of Rashi’s commentary on why the tribe of Levi was excluded from the national census that was taken at the outset of the Book of Bamidbar. We will discover that while the tribe of Levi may not have been counted physically, they certainly counted spiritually. […]

 
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Parashat Bechukotai: Can a Person Give Too Much?

There is no action where kedusha – Holiness – is more manifest than in the act of giving tzedakah. While most people leave it up to their current emotional and financial state in deciding how much to give, Jewish law is very specific as to the limits and boundaries of tzedakah. A key question disputed […]

 
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Parashat Behar: The Kabbalah of Interest

The charging of interest to another Jew is a very serious prohibition that the Prophet Ezekiel lists among the worst of transgressions. The question is: Why can’t you charge a fair rate of interest? Why should you lose out by doing someone a favor? In this class we will explore the meaning of the Torah’s […]

 
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Parashat Emor: Speak Good and it will Be Good

This lesson is about not just seeing the goodness in life, but more importantly, how to spread that goodness by speaking about it. While it is very important for every Jew to focus on lashon hora, and the destructive, negative power of speech, it may be even more important in our own age to be […]

 
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Parashat Kedoshim: Love Yourself

We will explore a fundamental principle of Judaism: Ahavat Yisrael, the commandment to “Love your fellow as yourself.” We are all created with an inborn self-love, and a natural need for self-protection. How then is it truly possible to love someone to the same degree that you love yourself? We will strive to understand this […]

 
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Parashat Acharei: Can I Love G-d Too Much?

In an age where nothing seems more necessary than greater spirituality and closeness to G-d, it seems almost absurd for there to be something wrong with trying to become too close to Him. Nevertheless, the Torah gives us many examples of cases where too great of a religious enthusiasm led to ruin. For example, we […]

 
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