bamidbar

Moshe’s disguised divorce – a response to Ibn Caspi

Last year my friend Rabbi Schneeweiss posted about the mystery of the Moshe’s “Kushite wife”. https://kolhaseridim.blogspot.com/2020/06/behaalosecha-moshes-mysterious-marriage.html He quoted Ibn Caspi, who harshly rejects Chazal’s interpretation as the exact opposite of Pshat, as bad as if they said black means white or love means hate. (Did Ibn Caspi also think that the blind Rav Sheshet (Sagi…

bamidbar | meditations

Naso meditation – difference in sameness

The Parsha concludes with a detailed description of the tribal leaders’ initiation offering. And after reading them carefully, it turns out that **spoiler alert** they are all identical! Why does the Torah need 11 repetitions of the same details. We face a similar challenge with our service. For example, the “offering” of our daily Tefilla…

Mishneh Torah

The threefold quest of the convert

The Rambam (Issurei Biah 13:4) identifies three things which the convert seeks in joining the Jewish people. 1. To join the covenant 2. To find protection under the wings of the Shechina (divine providence) 3. Accepting the Yoke of Torah These three ideas are the basic features of the Jewish people. The first is Jewish…

Pesach

The sword outstretched over the Jewish people.

An “outstretched arm” is the sword, as it says “and his sword was unsheathed in hand, outstretched over yerushalayim” (Divrei Hayamim 1 21:16) Another way of understanding this Drash is that just like the sword threatening Yerushalayim, there was also a ‘sword’ in Egypt threatening the Jewish people with destruction. Moshe told Pharoah at the…

Uncategorized | Pesach

The answer to the Ma nishtana

A young child asks about a number of strange changes we make at the Seder? We answer by explaining that “we were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt, and Hashem took us out from there”. But how does this explain why we make changes? An ancient Yemenite commentary explains. A slave lacks choice, by doing things…

Uncategorized

A retroactive invitation

At the beginning of the Seder we invite those in need to join us in eating Matza and the rest of the Seder. But what kind of invitation is this? Its a bit late to be inviting people to the Seder, and besides if we say it at our house no one is going to…