We’re All Individuals

Knowing as we do how careful and sparing the Torah is in its use of words, it is particularly surprising to read, in the second half of this week’s long parsha, how the Torah records each leader’s identical celebratory offering in honor of the Tabernacle. The uniformity of the twelve sets of gifts is absolute, each price seemingly being totally conformist to his predecessor.   The great Spanish commentator, Ramban, cites the Midrash, which explains, inter alia, that the idea … Continued

The Clothes We Wear: Dignity or Deceit?

The Clothes We Wear: Dignity or Deceit? הבגדים שאנו לובשים: לכבוד או לבגידה?   In Parshat Tetzave, Moshe is instructed to “make sacred clothes for your brother Aaron, for dignity and beauty… They will be used to consecrate him and make him a priest to Me.” (Shemot 28:2-3). As my Rav, Rabbi Meir Wise, notes in his impressive translation and adaptation of Rav Kook’s words in Ein Eyah (http://pathsofthewise.wordpress.com/):   “Clothing has a dual purpose. Its first function is utilitarian, … Continued

Do Angels Work?!

In our parsha, Balak, king of Mo’av, sends messengers (malachim) to Bil’am the son of B’or, to commission his services to curse Israel (Bamidbar 22:5-6). Bil’am reluctantly agrees. He goes with the princes of Mo’av. “But God’s anger flared up because he went, and the angel (malach) of God stationed himself on the path to bar his way…” (22:22).   What is an angel? Normally, we conjure up in our minds an angel as an ethereal heavenly figure, cloaked in white … Continued

Israeli Power of Attorney

Israeli Power of Attorney Posted on December 28, 2012 by Deborah Opolion-Elovic, Adv.   A power of attorney is a document that you sign, authorizing another person – often your Israeli lawyer to take legal action, on your behalf. There are 4 types of Israeli power of attorney forms: Specific Power of Attorney If you need an Israeli lawyer to handle an Israeli probate matter, set up an Israeli company or represent you in an Israeli Court, you’ll need to sign a specific … Continued

What Will and What Will Not Constitute Ha-ra’at Te’naim

What Will and What Will Not Constitute Ha-ra’at Te’naim (a deterioration in an employee’s terms and conditions of employment) ? “A person who has been employed continuously for one year… by the same employer or at the same place of employment and has been dismissed is entitled to receive severance pay (pitzuyei piturin) from the employer who has dismissed him.” Section 1(a), Israeli Severance Pay Law, 5723-1963   “Where an employee resigns by reason of an appreciable deterioration of his … Continued

D’var Torah – Thought on Tzara’at (Spiritual Leprosy)

One of my favorite Divrei Torah on this week’s double-Torah reading comes from my Yeshiva days in Yeshivat Har Etzion.   “If a person has on the skin of his flesh a rising or a scab or a bright spot… a plague on the head or upon the beard… and when the plague of leprosy is in a garment… and I put a plague of leprosy upon a house in the land of your possession…” (Vayikra 13:2, 13:29, 13:47, 14: … Continued

What on earth is a Housing Corporation (Chevra Meshakenet)?!

A chevra meshakanet (a “housing corporation” or “settlement company”) is a large public building company that exists in Israel, which has constructed large numbers of dwelling units and temporarily registered them in an quasi (mini) land registry.   This legal arrangement is prevalent in newly constructed or about to be constructed residential buildings. For example, an apartment may have been purchased “on paper” from a building contractor (kablan) or entrepreneur (yazam). In such a case, the builder will normally have … Continued

Quantity or Quality – Chaim Arukim or Aruchim?!

In the blessing for the new month, the Birkat HaChodesh prayer, we ask God to grant us “חיים ארוכים, lives of peace, of goodness, of blessing, of prosperity…”   What does חיים ארוכים mean?   Most translated siddurim, including the US Artscroll, the UK Singers/Authorised Daily Prayer Book and the Israeli Rinat Yisrael Siddur, read this phrase as Chaim AruKim, meaning “long life.”   Grammatically, it has been argued that even though the word appears to be vocalized as Aruchim, … Continued

He’arat Azhara (Cautionary/Warning/Inquiry Note)

Once the purchase contract for your new home is signed and the down payment has been made, the first action to be taken by the lawyer representing you is to register a “cautionary note.” This is a note registered in the Land Registry, or the Israel Land Administration – the Minhal, to warn/alert any prospective purchaser (to whom the seller might, conceivably, try and resell the property, following the signing of the contract) that a purchase contract has been signed … Continued

Between “Vayikra” and Bamidbar”

The book of “Vayikra” is characterized by permanence, holiness (the Temple, the Cohanim, the People, the Land), of static encampment around the Temple, and the world it represents of eternal and timeless values, ideals and goals.   By contrast, the book of “Bamidbar” is permeated by dynamism, change and fluctuation (both of the camp and of the People in their moods), the present and being constantly “on the move,” roving through the barren wilderness.   In the Ramban’s words on … Continued