Author: Rav Tzadok

Devarim: The Warping of Self

Originally Posted August 2012 Overview of Sefer Devarim: Three Sections Before we enter into parshas Devarim in detail, let’s take an overview of the sefer as a whole. According to the Malbim, Sefer Devarim is divided into three sections The Tochachah (rebuke): The first eleven chapters of the sefer, beginning with the words Eleh HaDevarim. Includes parshios Devarim, Vaeschanan and Eikev. The Mitzvos: Chapters 12 through the beginning of Nitzavim, beginning with the phrase KeChol Asher Tzivah Hashem Oso Aleiheim The Biyur (explanation) Hoil Beier Moshe Es HaTorah HaZos Giving Tochachah Looking deeper into the nature of the tochachah, Rashi identified two forms: tochachah nisteres (hidden...

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Mattos Massei: Integrating the Realm of the Permissible

Mattos Massei 5772 – Integrating the Realm of the Permissible Overview The parshah has three main sections: The Laws of Nedarim (vows) The war with Midian including the booty The boundaries of ever hayarden The laws of vows seem out of place in the narrative. Last week’s parshah (Pinchas) ends with the war against Midian, so we’d expect this week’s to continue with it, instead, the Torah interpolates the laws of vows. Why? Divrei Reshus The majority of the parshah deals with the collection and integration of the Midianite booty. This represents a three-step process to integrating divrei reshus. Some things...

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Pinchas: The Mechanics of Inheritance

Originally published July 2012 Overview: Three Sections The Bris Shalom of Pinchas as well as the commandment to attack the Midianites Starting in chapter 26: Concept of inheritance, including Bnos Tzelofchod Yom Tov Korbanos Attack the Midianim The war on Midian was necessary because the nature of their attack against us could not go unchecked. It was an attack which hit at the core and foundation of what the world is all about, similar to Amalek. It’s not motivated by a need to “save face” against potentially damning claims against the Torah. Jews are not war mongering, imperialist missionaries; we...

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Miscellaneous Mezuzah Questions

A balcony door going out to the backyard has a mezuza placed on the right of walking into the house or on the right of entering the balcony? Minhag Yerushalayim is to place it on the side which is to the right when you are going out. There are poskim to rely on either way. Better to be yotzei the bracha on a different mezuza, then put this one. What if there is no post, only the insertion for the sliding doors? You can have a professional make a cavity in the aluminum if that isn’t possible, people stick it on the face...

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Balak: The Evil Eye

Originally Published Jul 2012 Overview King Balak of Moav hires Bilaam the sorcerer to curse the Jews Bilaam curses them but the curses turn to blessings He suggests to Balak that they send Midianite girls to seduce the Jews The plot succeeds and a divind plague breaks out among the Jews Pinchas assassinates the leader of the indulgers. Balak’s Strategy Balak’s political agenda was to deal with the Jewish problem, namely that the Jews were coming to Israel. He hired Bilaam as his hitman to do to the dirty work. Balak still had to keep tabs on Bilaam to...

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