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BAMIDBAR 5781

2021-05-13 04:02:49 PM

May13

Last night, I filled out the census form for Canada. And this week, the Book of BaMidbar begins by telling us how Moses and Aaron and the leaders of the tribes took a count of males 20 years and up.

Actually, it seems that the original name of BaMidbar was humash ha-pequdim, the “Humash of the enumerated.” (See, for example, the first Mishna in chapter 7 of Tractate...Read more...

BEHAR BEHOQOTAI 5781

2021-05-06 05:58:31 PM

May6

When I relate the following, there are tears in my eyes. A mixture of tears of happiness and tears of sorrow. You see, my wife, Sara Devora, daughter of Raizel, a"h, passed away shortly before Passover. And just before Lag ba`omer, a week ago Thursday, my granddaughter Rosy gave birth to a girl. And this past Shabbat, her husband Elchanan named the baby in his shul: Sarah Devorah, also daughter of Raizel. May they...Read more...

EMOR 5781

2021-04-29 03:53:26 PM

Apr29

One important purpose of midrash is to read between the lines of the Torah, and to unearth profound ideas.

This week's parasha gives us a great example of that approach.

By way of introduction: last week's parasha was replete with inspiring practical mitzvot. Yet it ended with a verse that seemed incongruous: a person who practices necromancy should be put to death.  This week's parasha opens with the words: "speak to the...Read more...

AHAREI MOT-QEDOSHIM

2021-04-22 04:35:34 PM

Apr22

As this week's double parasha is titled, in translation, "after the death: holy" it seems most appropriate to write a few words about my wife a"h, who passed away unexpectedly on the 2nd of iyyar.

Sorah Devorah (Sandra Sukey,) daughter of Yehoshua and Raizel Hirsch, was by all accounts, a remarkable personality. [Although her physical health had been precarious for the past...Read more...

2021-04-22 11:18:47 AM

Apr22

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AHAREI MOT - QEDOSHIM

2021-04-22 11:17:50 AM

Apr22

​As this week's double parasha is titled, in translation, "after the death: holy" it seems most appropriate to write a few words about my wife a"h, who passed away unexpectedly on the 2nd of iyyar.

Sorah Devorah (Sandra Sukey,) daughter of Yehoshua and Raizel Hirsch, was by all accounts, a remarkable personality. [Although her physical health had been precarious for the past...Read more...

CONTINUATION OF MY COMMENTS FROM LAST WEEK

2021-04-15 04:35:45 PM

Apr15

We pointed out that there is an old rabbinic midrash that noticed  how certain holidays fall on the respective days of Passover. By pairing up the first 6 letters of the Hebrew alphabet with the last 6 letters (in reverse order) the midrash noticed that day 1 = this coming Tisha b'av; day 2 = shavuot; 3= Rosh haShanah; 4= Simchat Torah; 5 =  Yom Kippur; 6= the previous Purim.

Of course, something was missing from that...Read more...

Words from Rabbi White

2021-04-08 03:18:40 PM

Apr8

Here is one of my favourite divrei Torahs.

I have said it in the past in Chevra Shaas, and said it at the table in my daughter's house on the last day of Pesah:

There is an ancient midrash that tells us that we can determine the dates of the holidays according to the days of Pesah.

It is a system called "at bash," matching the letters in forward and reverse order, and goes like...Read more...

VAYAQHEL=PEQUDEI HA-HODESH 5781

2021-03-11 01:38:53 PM

Mar11

The word “va-yaqhel” is from the same root as the words “qahal” or “qehilla,” which mean "a community". Moshe called all of the people together. And we anticipate the time when in the near future, we should be able to come together in the synagogue, without the limitations that we must currently follow. At the same time, I am opposed to the efforts of some of our coreligionists to put pressure on the gov’t to ease the...Read more...

Ki Tissa' 5781

2021-03-04 03:28:10 PM

Mar4

Ki Tissa'  5781

A point of Hebrew grammar, leading to a nice idea:

Our parasha begins with the words “ki tissa’”. It is usually accepted that every Hebrew verb has 3 root letters. The root of “tissa’” is clearly the 3 letters “nun,” “sin”, “‘aleph.” But what happened to the “nun”? It has disappeared, and assimilated into the “sin”. [So, you see, letters can assimilate, just like people!]...Read more...

TETSAVEH/PURIM 5781

2021-02-25 06:00:44 AM

Feb25

TEIn honour of Purim, we’ll change the nature of our devar Torah.

Here are some Purim jokes:  scroll down for the answers:

What was Esther’s gown made of? (I know, a preposition is something you never end a sentence with!) Why do some people drink on Purim? The proper name for Yom Kippur is Yom Ha-Kippurim, which could be translated (well, not really) as “a day like Purim.” So, what do these 2 holidays have in...Read more...

Trumah-Zachor 5781

2021-02-18 06:00:00 AM

Feb18

Rabbi White

Purim is this coming week, and with Purim, we complete the cycle of holidays observed during the Pandemic. [We were fortunate last year, as we didn’t have to close the synagogue until after Purim.]

Purim is the holiday of ve-nahafokh hu’, that is “topsy turvy.” i.e., the mighty kingdom of Persia was planning to exterminate the Jews, but we came out victorious. This was...Read more...

Mishpatim 5781

2021-02-11 10:57:13 AM

Feb11

Rabbi White

There have been several major news items this past week: impeachment of former president; vaccines; Montreal police; etc.

But let’s take a break from that and talk about the other major story: The Super Bowl!

Here is the story in a nutshell: the NE Patriots had been the greatest team in the NFL. Their prominence in the sport was due in great...Read more...

Sun, May 16 2021 5 Sivan 5781