Author Archives: igplotzk

Yom Kippur

In biblical Hebrew there are about 20 different words which denote “sin.” That’s from an article in the Jewish Virtual Library, with lots of sources.  Yes, it’s almost Yom Kippur.  This is the culmination of the Ten Days of Penitence, at the … Continue reading

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Vayeilekh (Deuteronomy 31:1-30), Shabbat Shuvah

 (From 2016) This Shabbat: Very short weekly Torah portion (30 verses), longish special haftarah (29 verses at my shul).  We are in the midst of the Ten Days of Penitence leading to Yom Kippur. [Before I forget, there are some … Continue reading

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Rosh Hashanah

Tonight, we mark the birthday of the world, so it is quite fitting that today is the birthday of our favorite son. Happy birthday, Alan! Rosh Hashanah, which starts tonight, marks the beginning of the year 5779 (and Year Twenty … Continue reading

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Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30:20)

We are nearing the end of 5778, the Israelites’ journey, and our annual Torah reading.  Nitzavim has only 40 verses.  Its key points: 1) Everyone is entering into the covenant – men, women, children. 2) Obeying the Law is each … Continue reading

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Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8)

(From 2015) This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, starts cheerfully and gets increasingly dark.  We first read about ceremonial offerings to be brought by the Israelites in their new land.  As I noted last year (2014), “First, we read instructions for the … Continue reading

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Ki Tetse (Deut. 21:10 – 25:19)

(largely built from 2015’s and 2016’s comments) Last week: an overall vision of a just and compassionate society and a framework within which it can be carried out.  The Israelites were commanded to pursue justice and sweep away evil.  This … Continue reading

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Shoftim (Deut. 16:18 – 21:9)

A community needs a legal system with an agreed-upon framework of courts, judges, magistrates, laws, and a means of changing laws.  Is justice a necessary consequence of obeying the law?  Of course not. Recognition that obedience leads to injustice is … Continue reading

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