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And when you make for Me an altar of stones, do not build them hewn, for you will have raised your sword over it and desecrated it. (20:22)

The Bobover Rebbe, Horav Bentzion Halberstam, z.l., interpreted this pasuk in a novel homiletic manner.  He once davened in a shul where the chazan, instead of focusing on achieving proper kavanah, devotion, was priding himself on his ability to enunciate the words clearly with the proper syllables.  His melodious voice only increased his arrogance.  Witnessing this degradation of the sanctity of Tefillah, prayer, the Bobover Rebbe remarked: The Torah states: “If you will make for Me an altar of stones.”; Chazal teach us that tefillah has replaced the altar with its sacrifices.  The Sefer Yetzirah states that in kabbalistic vernacular,…

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“You shall not take the Name of Hashem, your G-d, in vain.” (20:7)

The Torah admonishes us not to swear falsely or in vain.  Horav Reuven Katz, z.l., interprets this pasuk homiletically.  Do not “raise up/attach Hashem’s Name to that which is false.  Do not misguide people by placing Hashem’s endorsement on your illicit behavior. Regrettably, some individuals resort to the most cruel forms of character assassination in order to undermine, and even destroy, communal Torah-oriented endeavors.  They present their deeds under the guise of l’shem shomayim, in the Name of Heaven.  Their negative propaganda thinly veils an apparent disdain for the individual or organization they seek to defame. These individuals publicly proclaim…

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“When the ram’s horn sounds long, they shall come up to the mount.” (19:13)

One would assume that after such a singular event in history, when Hashem revealed Himself to Am Yisrael for the purpose of giving the Torah, that this mountain would remain eternally holy. Yet, we see that immediately when the Shechinah “left,” the mountain reverted to its natural state; anyone, even the animals, were permitted to walk on it.  Shouldn’t some of this distinctive holiness have permeated this mountain, transforming it into a makom kadosh, holy place?  Horav Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita, explains that being the designated site for Matan Torah does not give Har Sinai license for eternal kedushah, holiness. It…

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And now if you listen well to My voice and guard My covenant you shall be to Me the most beloved treasure of all people. (19:5)

The Da’as Zekeinim in Parashas Vayeira, (Bereishis 18:8) states that when the three angels came to visit Avraham Avinu, they ate basar b’cholov, an admixture of milk and meat. When Hashem prepared to give the Torah to Bnei Yisrael, the ministering angels came before Hashem and demanded that the Torah would be more appropriately welcomed and observed if it remained in Heaven. Hashem responded by reminding them that the Torah demands that one not eat an admixture of milk and meat, an activity which was not consistent with their behavior during their brief visit with Avraham.  Immediately upon hearing these…

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