Dan Moskovitz

Monotheism and the Problem of Truth

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Reuven Firestone

"You shall have no other gods beside Me!" This is the first of Aseret HaDib'rot, literally the "Ten Declarations" or "Ten Commandments" found in this week's parashah, Va-et'chanan (see Deuteronomy 5:2-18; we recited a slightly different version earlier in the year in Parashat Yitro, Exodus, chapter 20). Aseret HaDib'rot lays out the central terms of an exclusive covenant between God and Israel. After a brief prologue in which God self-identifies as the One who freed Israel from Egyptian bondage, the first declaration occurs in the form of a command that Israel take no other gods in addition to the God of Israel: "You shall have no other gods beside Me!"

Who Is Rich? Those Who Are Happy With What They Have

D'Var Torah By: Richard A. Block

Parashat B'haalot'cha takes up the issue of the perils of materialism that Rabbinic interpreters found implicit in a verse from last week's portion, Numbers 6:24, "The Eternal bless you [with possessions] and protect you [from your possessions possessing you]." An incident occurring in this portion makes the point vividly.