This Shabbat begins the period in which Jews around the world have been reading the Arbah parshiyot – the four special passages known as Shekalim, Zachor, Parah and HaChodesh. These parshiyot, read as the Maftir, after the weekly Torah portion, prepare us for Pesach by expressing the values of communal commitment and involvement, integral to the holiday.
How do these specific parshiyot remind us and therefore motivate us in our communal responsibilities?
When we read Parshat Yitro this coming Shabbat, we will be reciting the עשרת הדברות - The Ten Commandments.
There is a widespread custom to stand during the reading of the עשרת הדברות. We rise in deference to this majestic moment in our history where every member of Bnei Yisrael beheld the vision of God.
Yet, some authorities, most notably the Rambam (Teshuvot HaRambam 46), oppose this practice based on a statement in Masekhet Brakhot, 12a, that the עשרת הדברות were read
Parshat B'shalach is called Shabbat Shira. It is interesting that when we think of song in prayer, often we think of the mizmorai tehillim from Ketuvim. There are two psalms which are unique in their opening formulation of “song.”
Mizmor shir l’yom HaShabbat, which is the psalm of the day for Shabbat and Mizmor shir Chanukat haBayit l’David which we say everyday before Baruch she-amar and is the psalm for every day of Chanukah. Each starts with the phrase, Mizmor shir - a
When instructing Benei Yisrael regarding the laws of the korban Pesach, Moshe admonishes, "You shall observe the matzot" (12:17). וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, אֶת-הַמַּצּוֹת, כִּי בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, הוֹצֵאתִי אֶת-צִבְאוֹתֵיכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם; וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת-הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם--חֻקַּת עוֹלָם. The straightforward reading of this pasuk would interpret it as referring to the mitzva of eating matzot. Moshe here emphasizes to the people that they should properly observe thi