Mishpatim – Why Have Law?

Mishpatim – Why Have Law?

Different writers have offered various rationales for society legislating laws. The general view is that they conform to human reason (though reason is variable). In Judaism law is an expression of G-d’s intention and will, thereby even the most reasonable of laws have higher meaning. Many a jurisprudential writer has argued the basis of the

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Yitro – Flexibility: Can You Touch Your Asymptote?

Yitro – Flexibility: Can You Touch Your Asymptote?

Yitro, Moses’ father-in-law, abdicates his position as the leading practitioner of the dark arts of idolatry and converts to Judaism.  But can he be really sure of his motivations? Are we ever 100% sure of our motivations? Yet life is about coming closer and closer to our truth. Notes: Moses’ father-in-law, Yitro, was no simple

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Vayakhel – Step Back to Get The Whole Picture

Vayakhel – Step Back to Get The Whole Picture

Not long ago I was lecturing in Europe and happened to visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I entered the Rembrandt Room and was confronted by the giant canvass named ‘The Night Watchman’. Close up I could recognise Rembrandt’s characteristic paintwork and splendid realism that he displayed in his art. But in observing the minutiae I

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Tetzaveh – Light Up Your Life

Tetzaveh – Light Up Your Life

Why was the lighting of the Candelabra in the Mishkan so carefully worded, even seeking surety that the flame stays lit? Our soul is like G-d’s candle and each one of us has the ability to ignite the other’s soul with joy and happiness. This should not be done half-heartedly or just out of a

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Mishpatim – Even Common-Sense Needs G-d’s Imprimatur

Mishpatim – Even Common-Sense Needs G-d’s Imprimatur

he definition of something as simple as the word, ‘law’, defies writers of jurisprudence, philosophy, and religion combined. And yet, our Parsha is named Mishpatim – ‘laws’.Interestingly in Hebrew the word for judge ‘Shofet’and for law ‘Mishpatim’ are the same root, indicating that the judge must be of the ‘same stuff’ as the law he

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Yitro – The Courage to Believe

Yitro – The Courage to Believe

One of the most dramatic moments of our 40 year journey through the desert takes place this week in our Parsha – Yitro. The news of the Exodus spreads very quickly through the Middle east. The event was unprecedented. The superpower of Egypt had not lost a war (so their hieroglyphics claim) and no rebellion

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Beshalach – It’s All a Miracle

Beshalach – It’s All a Miracle

The splitting of the Reed Sea, allowing the Jewish people to cross and finally leave Egypt, was a most unlikely phenomenon of nature. As it seems to offend our sensibilities, many rationalisations have been offered in history, some bordering on the ridiculous, like it must have been a mini-tsunami, or gale-force winds split the sea

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Bo – Spiritual Exodus

Bo – Spiritual Exodus

In this week’s Parsha, the final plagues finally convince Pharaoh to let our people go. The people have now been trapped in Egypt 400 years ever since Jacob and his family were forced to flee their home through famine conditions. These centuries describe a period of increasing constriction and social discrimination, leading to actual enslavement

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