What Did Korah Do Wrong?

Headshot of Elliot Dorff
by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD
posted on July 3, 2019
I have often felt that Korah was punished unfairly.  In fact, the story of Korah reminds me of the cowboy stories I saw on television when I was growing up in the 1950s (you do not have to do the math: I am 76!).  The good guys all had white hats, and the bad guys all had black hats.  There were no grays: people were either good or bad, and you did not even have to guess who was which.  That made for a very clear picture, along with the security of knowing who was right and who was wrong.  Moreover, the good guys always won in the end, so justice always prevailed.   Read more...

Have You Seen My Alps?

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on June 11, 2019
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
A story is told of Rabbi Sampson Raphael Hirsch (Germany, 1808-1888), the intellectual giant behind the founding of contemporary Orthodox Judaism: It is said that late in his life, the old rabbi surprised his students by scheduling himself a long trip to Switzerland. When they inquired about why he insisted on making such a journey, he replied:  “Soon, I will stand before the Almighty. I will be held answerable to many questions. But, what will I say when I am asked, ‘Shimson, my son, it is true you did many mitzvot, but did you also remember to see My Alps?” Read more...

Wagering on the Meaning of Meaning

Photograph of Tamar Marvin
by Tamar Marvin, PhD
posted on May 29, 2019
Behukkotai is known for its aspect of tokhehah, admonition. This parashah details the consequences of pursuing God’s laws (hukkot) and commandments (mitzvot), including the positive but dwelling upon the negative, in terms of sheer number and detail. The parashah begins, “If you walk in my laws (im behukkotai telekhu) and keep my commandments (et mitzvotai tishmeru),” and continues with promises such as, “I shall grant you rains at the correct times…I shall grant peace in your land…and turn towards Read more...