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Wake Up! | Kavanah | Zmanim | Tzitzit | Tefillin | Brachot
Pesukei d'Zimra | Kriat Shema | Amidah | Geshem and Tal | Mincha
Kaddish | Amen! | Shabbos | Kiddush | Shofar | Teshuva
Rosh HaShana | Ten Days | Yom Kippur | Sukkos | Pesach | Sefirat HaOmer
Shavuot | Chanukah | Purim | Rosh Chodesh | Tu B'Shvat
Fast Days | The Three Weeks | Tisha B'Av | The Four Parshiyot | Parshat HaShavua
The Kosher Kitchen | Issur v'Heter | Speaking to G-d | Spiritual Reality, Spiritual Freedom
The Jewish Calendar | Chinuch: Education | A Practical Guide to Shabbos | Rav Dovid's Shiurim
True or False? | Respect for Parents, Elders, and Torah Scholars | Ben Adam l'Chaveiro

Parshat HaShavua - The Weekly Torah Portion

Talks on the weekly Torah reading.
4 Sivan 5770 listen Naso: Accepting our Roles and Responsibilities (2:19)
We each have a task given to us by Hashem; discerning it is the challenge.
10 Av 5769 listen V'Etchanan: Do not Tolerate Thievery (1:56)
Not only are we commanded not to steal, we are also commanded not to tolerate others who steal.
25 Tamuz 5769 listen Masei: There Are No Coincidences (2:16)
The fact that the Land of Israel was apportioned by lots teaches us deep truths about Hashem's Hand in the world.
23 Tamuz 5769 listen Matot: Building Homes for Ourselves; Building a Home for Hashem (2:47)
The tribes of Reuven and Gad need to build homes for their families before entering the Land of Israel.
4 Tamuz 5769 listen Korach: Cruelty and Kindness (2:30)
Parshat Korach offers several examples of the balance we must learn between the use of empathy and the withholding thereof.
13 Sivan 5769 listen Naso: Serving Hashem in Your Unique Way (2:00)
In this week's parsha, each of the twelve princes of the twelve tribes brings an identical donation to the mishkan. But are they really identical!?
7 Adar 5769 listen Parshat Zachor (15:45)
The reading of Parshat Zachor.
Sources: OC 685:2,7; MB 685:6-8,14-16
26 Shevat 5769 listen The Mitzvah of Mechatzit HaShekel (18:34)
Shabbat Shekalim is in honor of the mechatzit hashekel. What is that mitzvah about?
Sources: Ex. 30:11-16; Sefer HaChinuch 108
23 Cheshvan 5769 listen Chayei Sarah: Listening to Hashem (2:31)
Life, death, and our relationship with Hashem.
5 Tamuz 5768 listen Balak -- Prayer that Works (3:11)
Hashem answers all our prayers, granting us whatever we need -- if we focus on the right needs.
28 Iyar 5768 listen Naso: Doing Our Jobs for Hashem (2:21)
Every Jew has a designated role in the Jewish people.
Sources: Ps. 94
24 Iyar 5768 listen BaMidbar: Torah: The Center of Life (1:54)
The Aron Kodesh -- the Holy Ark in which the Torah was kept -- always travelled in the center of the Israelite camp. Of what relevance is this to us today?
6 Nissan 5768 listen Tzora'as Bayis (2:37)
What makes "Tzora'as Bayis" -- "leprosy of the house" -- different from other forms of tzora'as?
28 Adar II 5768 listen Tazria: What is tumah? (2:15)
Just what is tumah, what causes it, and why?
27 Adar II 5768 listen Tazria: The Impact of Lashon Hara (2:11)
Speaking badly of others impacts our souls in ways we cannot fathom.
27 Adar I 5768 listen Pekudei: Learning from our Rabbis (2:17)
When constructing the mishkan Betzalel knew things which Moshe hadn't even told him. How did he know, and what is the lesson for us?
26 Adar I 5768 listen Pekudei: Loving Hashem's House (2:17)
We should love Hashem's House -- the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash -- like we love our own homes.
24 Adar I 5768 listen VaYakhel: Emotional Wisdom (2:05)
Betzalel and all the artisans and engineers for the construction of the Mishkan needed to have a "wise heart." We normally think of "wisdom" as an intellectual faculty. Just what is a "wise heart"?
Sources: Ex. 35:10
22 Adar I 5768 listen VaYakhel: Give Generously with a Full Heart (2:01)
Parshat VaYakhel demonstrates three types of people who give tzedakah.
Sources: Ex. 35:5
21 Adar I 5768 listen VaYakhel: Emunah, Shabbos, and the Mishkan (2:05)
The juxtaposition of the sanctity of Shabbos, even in the face of the tremendous mitzvah of construction of the Mishkan, teaches us several important principles in emunah and bitachon.
Sources: Ex. 35:2
25 Shevat 5768 listen Mishpatim: Meat, Milk, and Kindness (2:08)
Parshat Mishpatim is almost entirely about mitzvot ben adam l'chaveiro -- human interactions and civil law. So why, in the middle of the partsha, are we told not to mix milk and meat?
21 Shevat 5768 listen Mishpatim: Holiness in Our Interactions with Each Other (2:13)
Right after the revelation of Divine Law in the Ten Commandments, we are given a long set of civil laws regarding many aspects of human interactions. What is the connection?
11 Shevat 5768 listen B'Shalach: Torah and Mitzvos (1:53)
If Hashem fought for Am Yisrael at the Red Sea, how is it that Amelek were able to attack immediately thereafter?
Sources: Ex. 17:8
10 Shevat 5768 listen B'Shalach: Justice (2:48)
In this brief yahrzeit l'chaim, Rav Dovid explains how conflicting midrashim on the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea provides insights into our relationship with this World, the Next World, and Justice.
9 Shevat 5768 listen B'Shalach: The Ultimate Redemption (1:30)
Chazal teach that parshas B'Shalach proves the ultimate ressurection of the dead at the time of the Redemption. What is the proof, and how should we prepare?
Sources: Ex. 15:1
24 Tevet 5768 listen Va'Eira: Freedom and Free Will (27:21)
If Hashem hardens Pharoah's heart so that he doesn't let the Jewish people go, how is it fair that Hashem then punishes Pharoah for not letting the Jewish people go? If Pharoah has no free will, how is he responsible?
20 Tevet 5768 listen Shmot: Measure for Measure (1:39)
According to Rashi, Moshe rabbeinu makes his first mistake as a leader by speaking lashon hara about the Jewish people. The Chofetz Chaim explains just how Moshe is punished for this act.
Sources: Exo. 4:1-7; Rashi, ad.loc. vs. 3 and 6
19 Kislev 5768 listen Chanukah and the Sale of Yosef (13:16)
While we don't know exactly when Yosef was sold into slavery, there are hints that he was sold on Chanukah.
Sources: Gen. 37:24-26; Shabb. 22a; Sofrim 18:3; Ps. 30; Mal. 3:14
16 Elul 5767 listen Ki Tavo: Living a Song of Praise to Hashem (57:08)
If we live our lives properly as Jews, we will inspire everyone around us to praise Hashem. How do we go about establishing such a life for ourselves?
Sources: Deu. 26-27
2 Elul 5767 listen Shoftim: Judges, Guardians, and Justice (57:17)
"Justice, justice, shall you pursue!" What is Justice, and how do we pursue it? The requirements of judges, elders, and soldiers... and the implications for the rest of us...
Sources: Deu. 16:18
25 Av 5767 listen Re'eh: True and False Prophets; True and False Prophecy (1:04:05)
Deuteronomy 13 imposes a death penalty on anyone who prophecies falsely. But just who is a false prophet, and how can we tell the difference between true and false prophecy? How do we know if a prophet truly speaks in Hashem's name? Understanding prophecy will provide us with a firmer grounding in our certainty of the veracity of Torah.
23 Av 5767 listen Re'eh: Blessings and Curses -- A Yahrzeit L'Chaim (1:52)
As part of Moshe's departing words, he explains to us the blessings and curses of Hashem. The blessings are guaranteed to come, since Moshe knows that we will follow in Hashem's ways. As for the curses? They are completely avoidable. It's up to us to choose. A Yahrzeit L'Chaim for one who has chosen well.
Sources: Deu. 11:26-28
4 Av 5767 listen Devarim: Who wrote Devarim?; Tochacha (1:00:52)
Sefer Devarim is clearly different from the rest of Torah. The "Bible Critics" say it is different because it was written by a different author. Are they right? Also: learning "tochacha" from Moshe Rabbeinu.
Sources: Deu. 1
28 Tamuz 5767 listen Matot: Doing Hashem's Will at Any Cost (8:21)
Life is all about drawing closer to Hashem by performing His Will -- at any cost. Moshe Rabbeinu demonstrates this midda to us in the parsha.
26 Tamuz 5767 listen Matot: Speaking the Truth, Living the Truth (59:47)
Parshat Matot contains disparate storeis and mitzvot that are tied together by a common theme: the power of speech. Join Rav Dovid in an exploration of the wondrous power of speech to both create and destroy worlds.
19 Tamuz 5767 listen Pinchas: Just what is "Shalom"? (59:23)
Shalom is likely the most well-known of all Hebrew words. But what does it mean? And how do we bring Shalom to the world?
Sources: Num. 25
12 Tamuz 5767 listen Balak: Prophecy for the Non-Jews (57:41)
Balak wants to defeat the Jewish people in battle. Why does he ask Bilaam to curse the Jews rather than asking Bilaam to bless him? Who is Bilaam, and where does his strength come from?
10 Sivan 5767 listen Naso - Working for Hashem (4:07)
Why do we need to read through the identical contributions of the Princes twelve times? Why doesn't the Torah just give us the totals?
18 Iyar 5767 listen Emor -- Guarding our Speech; Understanding our Spiritual Roles (21:39)
Emor is full of seemingly disconnected elements: the obligations of the cohanim (priests) including the Cohen Gadol (high priest); a tour of the Jewish Holidays that includes shabbos, and the story of a man who cursed G-d and his subsequent punishment. What are these disjointed elements doing in one parsha together?
1 Iyar 5767 listen Understanding Tumah and Taharah (7:38)
"Tumah" and "Taharah" are two of the most misunderstood concepts in Judaism. Yet they are critical concepts for understanding the spiritual reality of the world in which we live. Rav Dovid explains what they are about, why they exist, and presents them in terms that we can not only understand but apply to our everyday lives.
10 Nisan 5767 listen Shabbat HaGadol (13:08)
The shabbos before Pesach is known as "The Great Shabbos -- Shabbat HaGadol. Why is it called "Great", and what are the customs associated with this special shabbos?
Sources: Ex. 12:1-20; OC 430:1; MB 430:1-2; Mal. 3:23
24 Adar 5767 listen Pekudei: Betzalel's Insight -- and Ours (3:34)
Betzalel knew how to build the Mishkan from his prophetic insight. We occasionally get a hint of what such insight might be about.
23 Adar 5767 listen VaYakhel-Pekudei: Why all the details? (3:41)
VaYakhel-Pekudei is full of details regarding the Mishkan (the portable sanctuary built by the Jews in the desert), most of them repetitions of those learned in the prior parshas. Why all the details, and why all the repetition?
5 Adar 5767 listen Teruma: Understanding the Mishkan (59:21)
Why all the details about building a temporary structure that we will never build again? Wouldn't a picture or architectural diagram have done the job more efficiently? Why does all of this come following parshat Mishpatim? And what can we learn about ourselves from all of this?
Sources: Exo. 25-27
28 Shevat 5767 listen Mishpatim - Religious Law and Its Transmission (1:01:02)
Why does this section of "tort law" follow the lofty heights of the Ten Commandments? And why all the details about goring oxen and the like?
Sources: Ex. 21
21 Shevat 5767 listen Yitro: Revelation at Sinai: Fact or Fiction? (56:33)
This week's Torah portion includes the 10 commandments. What happened at Mt. Sinai? What is Revelation? What was "revealed"? Was the Sinai Revelation real in the historical sense or a collective myth?
Sources: Exo. 19-20
20 Shevat 5767 listen Why is Parshat Shekalim read prior to Rosh Chodesh Adar? (19:20)
Also: what if you forget to read one of the four parshiyot?
Sources: Ex. 30:11-16; Meg. 29b; OC 685:1; MB 685:2
14 Shevat 5767 listen B'Shalach: Not by Bread Alone -- Living on Manna; Living on Faith (59:31)
An introduction to the concepts of Emunah and Bitachon (faith and trust in Hashem) as seen in Parshat B'Shalach.
Sources: Exo. 13:17-10:15; Rashi ad. loc.
Dedicated in memory of Aharon ben Tzvi on the occasion of his yahrzeit.
7 Shevat 5767 listen Bo: A Torah View of Time (59:35)
From Man's viewpoint, the world consists of three distinct time periods: past, present, and future. Hashem's view of the world is entirely different, consisting of one moment -- now -- which encompasses all of eternity's past and future. How is this manifest in our understanding of our relationship with Hashem?
Sources: Exo. 3:12; 10:2,6,14,16; 11:4,6; 12:1-20,29; 13:8,14; Sefer HaChinuch Parshas Bo
28 Tevet 5767 listen VaEira: Miracles and Magic; Mysticism and Mazal (1:04:28)
A look at the plagues as brought in parshat VaEira... How did Moshe cause the plagues to happen, and how did the Egyptians do the same? Do Jews believe in miracles? Are we convinced by them? What are the rules that govern spiritual forces, and can they be harnessed and controlled?
Sources: Ex. 6:2; Rashi and Ba'al HaTurim ad. loc.; MT Yesodei HaTorah 8
21 Tevet 5767 listen Shmot: What really happened at the burning bush? (1:13:27)
We all know the story of Moshe at the burning bush. But what really happened there? What made Moshe special that Hashem spoke to him? Why did his staff turn into a snake? Why was Moshe scared of the snake? Where did his staff come from and what were its special properties?
Sources: Ex. 4
15 Tevet 5767 listen VaYechi: The Chesed of Bikkur Cholim (56:49)
In the first aliyah of VaYechi, Yosef visits his sick father Yaakov on his deathbed. Just what is the mitzvah of bikkur cholim, and how does one fulfill it properly? What are the spiritual roots involved in the kindness of visiting a sick person? An understanding of bikkur cholim helps us to better understand ourselves and our role in Hashem's world.
8 Tevet 5767 listen VaYigash: What does it mean to be a "Jew"? (56:04)
What is so special about Yehudah that the Jewish people are called "Jews" due to him? What is it that makes a Jew Jewish?
Sources: Gen 44-46
1 Tevet 5767 listen Mikeitz: Teshuva, Measure for Measure (Part 2) (1:03:15)
Hashem runs the world mida k'neged mida -- "measure for measure". Understanding this concept helps us gain insight into Divine Justice and how to do proper teshuva. This class further explores the concept of mida k'neged mida as manifest throughout the narration of Joseph and his brothers.
Sources: Gen 40-43
24 Kislev 5767 listen VaYeishev: Teshuva, Measure for Measure: A Look at Joseph and his Brothers (56:35)
Hashem runs the world mida k'neged mida -- "measure for measure". Understanding this concept helps us gain insight into Divine Justice and how to do proper teshuva. This class explores the concept of mida k'neged mida as manifest throughout the narration of Joseph and his brothers.
Sources: Gen 37-38
17 Kislev 5767 listen VaYishlach: Relating to the Physical World: Yaakov and Eisav (52:04)
Yaakov and Eisav have diametrically opposed relationships with the physical world in which we live. What do we learn from them?
9 Kislev 5767 listen VaYeitzei - The Meaning of Truth (41:58)
Ya'akov Avinu served Hashem through emes -- truth. What is "truth"?
3 Kislev 5767 listen Toldot: True Love, the Torah Way (58:59)
"Yitzhak loved Eisav for his hunting in his mouth, but Rivka loved Ya'akov." (Gen. 25:28) In this one pasuk, the Torah reveals deep wisdom regarding the true meaning of love. What is the Torah view of love, and how can it help us in our lives?
Sources: Gen. 25:28; Radak to Gen. 25:28; Hezkuni to Gen. 25:28; MT Yesodei HaTorah 2:2; Kesef Mishneh Yesodei HaTorah 2:1 and following
26 Cheshvan 5767 listen Chayei Sarah: Finding Your Basheret: Yitzhak and Rivkah, a Match Made in Heaven (1:02:39)
Yitzhak found his spouse via the antithesis of today's romance-centered search for self-fulfillment and love. Rivkeh readily agreed to the match; against the adice of her family, she left her father's home with a servant she had just met on a long journey to marry a man she had neer seen. This Match Made in Heaven established the future of the Jewish people for all time and lays out the foundations of the Torah's way in love and marriage.
Sources: Gen. 23-24
19 Cheshvan 5767 listen VaYeira: Learning to Love from Avraham and Sarah (57:42)
Avraham and Sarah were not only two of our greatest prophets, they were and are two of our greatest role models. What do we learn about love and marriage from the progenitors of the Jewish people?
Sources: Gen. 18-20; Rashi to Gen. 18:13; Avot d'Rebbi Natan ch. 13; Bava Me. 87a
12 Cheshvan 5767 listen Lech L'cha: Going Beyond All Limitations (1:06:24)
What made Avraham and Sarah so special that they became the progenitors of the entire Jewish people? And what can we learn about ourselves by learning about their lives?
5 Cheshvan 5767 listen The Waters of Noah - Transforming the World; Transforming Ourselves (55:20)
How exactly did 40 days of flood water transform the world, and what impact can this have on us today?
27 Tishrei 5767 listen Breishit - The Science of Creation (53:28)
Ever wonder what the Torah has to say about the Big Bang? Unfortunately, "Western" culture paints Judaism with the same brush as fundamentalist Christianity and assumes that Jews take the Genesis account literally. Well, we do take it literally... literal according to the Torah tradition, which isn't what you might think.
Sources: Gen. 1; Ramban to Gen. 1
26 Av 5766 listen Re'eh - Proof of the Authenticity of Torah (6:40)
Drawing on the Oral Tradition, Rav Dovid highlights one proof of the authenticity of Torah as found in Parshas Re'eh.
Sources: Deu. 14
30 Sivan 5766 listen Shlach: Sending Out Spies, Trying Out Mitzvot (4:50)
How could the Jewish people have so little trust in Hashem, after all they had seen, that they sent spies to investigate the Land of Israel that Hashem had promised them? Rav Dovid explains... and enlightens us into our own nature as well.
Sources: Num. 13
1 Iyar 5766 listen Tazria-Metzora - Proof of the Truth of Torah (4:23)
1 Iyar 5766 listen Metzora - What is "Leprosy" in the Torah? (11:42)
25 Nissan 5766 listen Shemini - Proofs of the Authenticity of Torah (10:47)
How do we know the Torah is true? How do we know it is Divine?
26 Adar 5766 listen VaYakhel: Torah vs. Idol Worship; The Tabernacle vs. The Golden Calf (12:47)
What makes the baby-faced golden angels holy on the Holy Ark but the golden calf idolotry?
21 Adar 5766 listen Parshat HaChodesh - Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Nissan (9:40)
16 Adar 5766 listen Parshat Parah (9:53)
The reading of Parshat Parah on the Shabbos after Purim.
Sources: Num. 19:1-22; OC 685:3,7; MB 685:15
7 Adar 5766 listen Parshat Zachor - Shabbat before Purim (2:37)
The reading of Parshat Zachor on the Shabbos before Purim.
23 Shevat 5766 listen Parshat Shekalim - Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Adar (10:19)
The reading of Parshat Shekalim on the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh Adar.
Sources: Ex. 30:11-16; Meg. 29a; OC 685:5; MB 685:1

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Enjoy each of Rav Dovid's Daily Halacha Series:
Wake Up! | Kavanah | Zmanim | Tzitzit | Tefillin | Brachot
Pesukei d'Zimra | Kriat Shema | Amidah | Geshem and Tal | Mincha
Kaddish | Amen! | Shabbos | Kiddush | Shofar | Teshuva
Rosh HaShana | Ten Days | Yom Kippur | Sukkos | Pesach | Sefirat HaOmer
Shavuot | Chanukah | Purim | Rosh Chodesh | Tu B'Shvat
Fast Days | The Three Weeks | Tisha B'Av | The Four Parshiyot | Parshat HaShavua
The Kosher Kitchen | Issur v'Heter | Speaking to G-d | Spiritual Reality, Spiritual Freedom
The Jewish Calendar | Chinuch: Education | A Practical Guide to Shabbos | Rav Dovid's Shiurim
True or False? | Respect for Parents, Elders, and Torah Scholars | Ben Adam l'Chaveiro
Rav Dovid's daily halacha is given at the Wall Street Synagogue before shacharit.

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