Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 20: Shelach

view-005(Numbers 13-15)

“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation that murmur against me?” (Numbers 14:27)

A learned Rabbi of blessed memory once said: “the whole of the world is contained in every sentence of the Torah”. He obviously never had to give a sermon in Rabbinical college on Genesis 5.22: “And Zillah also bare Tubal-cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron, and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah”. Sometimes we have to work to extract the Torah’s riches, but sometimes those riches jump up at us like an Honorary Secretary into whose lap we’ve accidentally spilt a cup of hot soup. (I still maintain it was an accident.) (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 21: Korach

Korach land swallows(Numbers 16-18)

I’m often asked what is the greatest mitzvah a man can perform? Or at least I was asked it once by someone who donated a rubbish piece of “art” to the shul hall and was obviously fishing for a compliment. Is it pikuach nefesh, the saving of a life, for which even the laws of the Sabbath can be suspended? – Possibly. Or what about the mitzvah between man and man that was deemed so important it was placed with the commandments between man and G-d: kibud ov voeim – honour thy father and thy mother? Unlikely, especially if your mother used to make you eat every meal alone in the cellar whilst she checked the living room carpet for miniaturised aliens and Soviet spies. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 22: Chukas

(Numbers 19:1 – 22:1)

chukasFirst of all, “thanks” to all those who wrote in about my column last week, pointing out that I didn’t even mention the parsha and accusing me of being, chas vecholilah, Heaven forbid, self-indulgent. Anyone who’s read my column knows there’s nothing I deplore more than the “me me me” self-indulgence you find when you look away from my Words of Wisdom and read other stuff. People just aren’t interested in the dull minutiae of a writer’s life, as I’m always telling Rabbi F, my wife, her lover the woman who’s a builder, the honorary officers, the local shopkeepers and, most recently, the fresh-faced, pretty young schoolgirls emerging from the local girls’ school, which has got me into a certain amount of unmerited trouble. But I would never mention that in my column. (more…)

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