Pesach 5781 #3


Who knows one?[1]

אחד, מי יודע? אחד, אני יודע! אחד אלקינו שבשמים ובארץ
Who knows one? I know one! One is our G-d in the Heaven and the Earth[2]

After an uplifting seder, we’re on an all-time high. We jubilantly sing about how we performed all the mitzvos of the evening[3]. We’re all inspired to bring the Pesach offering next year in Jerusalem[4], and pray that the Temple be rebuilt[5] However, one song seems to be the odd one out. A favorite of many children, אחד מי יודע, “Who knows one?”, is a classic Pesach song. However, if we think about it, what does it have to do with Pesach? It’s seemingly random things in Judaism that are associated with numbers, ranging from one to thirteen. What’s it doing at the end of the Seder?

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Va’eira 5781


The brighter side of things[1]

וידבר משה כן אל בני ישראל ולא שמעו אל משה מקוצר רוח ומעבודה קשה
And Moshe told the Jewish people so, but they didn’t listen to him due to a lack of spirit and the difficult labor[2]

Moshe saw some major setbacks at the beginning of his mission to redeem the Jewish people. First, his first encounter with Pharaoh, demanding the immediate release of the Jews, backfired. Rather than complying, Pharaoh magnified the suffering of the Jews by intensifying his immoral demands. They were expected to produce the same number of bricks as before, but this time being required to gather their own materials. This was the exact opposite of redemption. Subsequently, Hashem reassured Moshe that the Jews will indeed be redeemed. There will be a miraculous salvation, and the Egyptians will be punished appropriately for their heinous crimes. When Moshe told this great news to the people, they unfortunately didn’t. They were too overwhelmed from their labor, and had essentially given up hope of redemption.

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Nasso 5778

It’s the thought that counts[1]

ויקריבו נשיאי ישראל ראשי בית אבתם וגו’ ויהי המקריב ביום הראשון וגו’ ביום השני הקריב וגו’
The princes of Israel, the heads of their tribes, brought offerings…The one who offered on the first day…On the second day he offered…[2]

The day that the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, was completed, was a day of great celebration[3]. The princes of Israel, one for each tribe, were tremendously inspired. They wanted to express their gratitude for Hashem resting His presence among His people. They decided to bring offerings, including animals and fancy vessels, all with an ornate presentation. Part of their motivation was to make up for the last time there were donations given towards the Mishkan[4]. Every member of the Jewish people was overjoyed for the opportunity to give of their own towards Hashem’s future resting place. The princes decided to let the people have their chance, and when the collection finished they would make up for anything that was lacking. By the time the collection finished, there was too much donated[5]. This means there was almost nothing left for the princes to donate. When the Mishkan was finally constructed, they pledged to be the first to show their thanks. They got up and brought their various offerings.

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Mattos-Masei 5777

Rabbi Reznick requested that I remove all divrei Torah that I wrote up from him. He didn’t want them in a public forum. If you would like to see a copy from this week’s parsha, please email

Vayikra 5777

What’s in a name, anyways?[1]

ויקרא אל-משה וידבר יקוק אליו מאהל מועד לאמר
[Hashem] called out to Moshe; Hashem spoke to him from the tent of meeting saying[2]

Chazal inform us in the Midrash[3] that Moshe had not only one, but ten names. Some examples are: Tuviah, from the word טוב, because when he was born it says ותרא אתו כי טוב הוא, they saw that he was good[4]. Yered, meaning he brought down, because he brought down the Torah from the Heavens. Chever, meaning to join together, because he connected the Jews to their Father in heaven[5]. The Midrash ends by declaring that Hashem only wants to call him Moshe, the name that the daughter of Pharaoh gave him[6], as demonstrated by the first verse of this week’s parsha.

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