This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
Encampments and Journeys
Right at the end of the book of Shemot, there is a textual difficulty so slight that it is easy to miss, yet -- as interpreted by Rashi -- it contains one of the great clues as to the nature of Jewish identity: it is a moving testimony to the unique challenge of being a Jew.
Washing the Hands
A common feature of traditional Jewish life is washing the hands. On awaking in the morning, one washes one's hands. In the daily prayer book, the first of the morning blessings concerns washing the hands. Before eating bread, one washes the hands, saying the same blessing. The hands of the Kohanim (Priests) are washed by the Levites before they bless the people on a festival.
Sound and Silence
What does sound mean to you? Sound plays many roles. It is a vehicle for communication, music, and even distraction. But at its root, sound is the simple indicator of life.
In the office, it’s the constant hum of the computer. In the supermarket, it’s the steady buzz of conversation. At home, it’s the little sounds of children at play. These sounds are woven into the very fabric of my life, and they assure me that its operation is smoothly at work. Even as life’s incessant clanging drives me desperate at times, even as I crave a moment’s peace, I know that I find these sounds reassuring. Should the little noises ever stop purring, I know I would crave these most elementary indicators of life.