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Rabbi Jonathan, Author at Rabbi Jonathan KliglerRabbi Jonathan Kligler

Author Archive | Rabbi Jonathan

Justice, Justice

This week’s Parsha, Shoftim, begins with this famous declaration: Tzedek, tzedek tirdof — Justice, justice thou shalt pursue. Deuteronomy 16:20 This is one of the central declarations of the Torah, echoed in many other instructions. For example: You shall not be partial in judgment; hear out low and high alike. Decide justly between the Israelite […]

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The Shma — Attention, Please

(This week’s Torah portion contains the Shma Yisrael and the paragraph that immediately follows, V’ahavta (“You shall love…). Following is a teaching about these passages that I originally offered during Yom Kippur, 5769/2008. Shabbat Shalom, JK) Shma Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad. (Deuteronomy 6:4) Shma Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad. Conventionally translated as “Hear, O […]

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A Tribute to Herbert Krasnow

My wonderful stepfather Herbert Krasnow passed away peacefully last week at the age of 99. I want to honor his memory by sharing a few words with you here. My mother was widowed in 1979, and bravely set about creating her life as a newly single person while now being the sole parent of three […]

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D’varim: Finding Your Voice

B’ever ha’Yarden b’eretz Moav ho’il Moshe be’er et hatorah hazot On the far side of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this Torah (Deuteronomy 1:5) The English name of the fifth and final book of the Five Books of Moses is “Deuteronomy”. Deuteronomy is a Greek term that means “repetition […]

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Matot-Mas’ei: The Inner Journey

Eileh mas’ei V’nei Yisrael asher yatz’u me’eretz Mitzrayim These are the journeys of the Children of Israel after leaving the Land of Egypt (B’Midbar 33:1) As we reach the end of the book of B’Midbar, the Children of Israel have arrived at the banks of the River Jordan. The Promised Land is just on the […]

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Pinchas: The Daughters of Tzelofechad

Vatikravnah B’not Tzelofechad… The daughters of Tzelofechad came forward… (Numbers 27:1 We encounter a remarkable passage as Sefer B’Midbar, the Book of Numbers, draws near its conclusion. The forty years of wandering have passed, and the Children of Israel are approaching the banks of the Jordan River. Miriam and Aaron have passed away, and Moses […]

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Balak: Mah Tovu – How Good It Is

Mah tovu ohalecha Ya’akov, mishkenotecha Yisrael How goodly are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel (Numbers 24:5) The Israelites are journeying toward the Jordan River, and pass through the territory of King Balak of Moab. Balak is terrified, and hires the prophet Balaam to lay a curse upon the Israelites. Three times Balaam climbs […]

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Chukat: Confronting Mortality

Va’yavo’u B’nei Yisrael kol ha’edah Midbar Tzin bachodesh harishon vayeshev ha’am b’Kadesh. Vatamot sham Miriam vatikaver sham. V’lo haya mayim la’edah. And all the Children of Israel arrived at the Wilderness of Tzin on the first new moon, and stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there. And there was no water for […]

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Korach: Demagogue

Vayikhalu al Moshe v’Aharon vayomru aleihem: “Rav lachem, ki chol ha’edah kulam kedoshim u’v’tocham YHVH – u’madua titnas’u al k’hal YHVH?” And [Korach and his followers] gathered against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! Is not the entire community holy, and is not YHVH in their midst? Why do […]

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Shlach Lecha: Healing the Crushed Spirit

Va’nehi b’eineinu kachagavim, v’chen hayinu b’eineihem We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, so we certainly must have looked that way to them. (B’midbar 13:33) The Children of Israel are preparing to enter the Promised Land. Moses sends twelve scouts, one from each tribe, to scout out the land and bring back a reconnaissance report. Forty […]

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