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Jewish Journal

Rabbi Steven Weil

  • Full circle

    October 12, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    My daughter, the animal lover, has a father who isn't. A hamster is the biggest pet I've gotten talked into so far. It lives in her room, and basically I wouldn't even know it was there except for one thing -- it's nocturnal.
     
    All night long I could hear Ruby the hamster running in...
  • The Ultimate Enigma

    July 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Zot chukat haTorah begins this week's parsha, telling us that the subject of the Red Heifer is the chok of the Torah. A chok is a law that is simply incomprehensible. It makes no sense to us whatsoever.

    When I tell you that a person who had become ritually defiled by close contact...

  • Sacrifices Address Emotion of Guilt

    April 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The theme of Parshat Tzav is korbanot, the animal sacrifices brought in the Tabernacle and, later, in the Temple.

    The Rambam, in his "Guide to the Perplexed," writes, "The purpose of sacrifices being incorporated into the Divine service of the Jewish people was to accommodate the...

  • Should We Shun 80 Million Friends of Israel?

    September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    One of the more unusual characters in Jewish literature appears in the Book of Esther. The palace guard Charbonah originally plays a part inHaman's conspiracy to slaughter the Jews and dispossess 0them of their property. But somewhere along the way, he experiences a change of heart,...

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  • Divine Judgment

    January 30, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, known as the Rav to his many thousands of students, takes exception to the usual distinction many make between the chukim (decrees) and the mishpatim (judgments). Usually, some think that chukim are nonrational laws, while the mishpatim are rational,...

  • The Price We Pay

    November 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Jacob spent 20 long years in the home of his father-in-law, Laban, before he could return to the land of Canaan, his home and homeland.

    He had been threatened, cheated, tricked, attacked, injured and orphaned over the course of those years. Certainly, he was hoping to settle down...

  • Ethics and Warfare

    August 15, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    This week's Torah portion opens with a fascinating topic: the psyche of a soldier at war, and the ethical boundaries that even a soldier must observe.

    KiTetze la'milchama: "When you go out to war ... and you take captives and see among the captives a beautiful woman...."

    The Torah...

  • Remembering Jerusalem

    July 11, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    It was the saddest day of the year. I sat on the cold, hard floor with hundreds of fellow Jews -- hungry, thirsty and unshaven. Together, we mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, studying Lamentations, the haunting words of Jeremiah the prophet. For six straight hours, we drowned...