Welcome to the Nishma Insight Discussion Forum blog.

The NISHMA INSIGHT is our popular dvar Torah, distributed almost every week by e-mail, that touches upon an important concept in the Parsha, theme in a holiday or event in contemporary society.

Often, readers respond, via e-mail, with comments that initiate a further dialogue. Through this Discussion Forum, we now wish to open this dialogue to others. If you have a comment on the INSIGHT, we invite you place to your comments here; then we invite everyone to join the discussion.

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Friday, July 19, 2019


For  Balak
Not yet available on the Nishma website

For clarification purposes, I just want to further explain my point. To draw someone into a certain plan of behaviour which this person may find objectionable, the first step may be to draw the person into an activity which the person actually values. In sharing this activity with this other, some connection may also form. Steps can then be taken to foster the connection while drawing the person into other behaviours which this person may not necessarily value as much but would still not find objectionable. As the connection then strengthens, especially if it is seen as a value in itself, a slightly objectionable action could then be suggested and if that works, the potential to draw the person into further objectionable activities could be a result. As there is a connection between sexuality and relating, one could see how such a path could lead a person who values human relationships, over some time period, to be drawn in, by an initial simple act of relating, into a sexual misdeed -- even, albeit, initial concern for inappropriate sexuliaty.
Rabbi Ben Hecht

Friday, July 12, 2019


For  Chukkat
Not yet available on the Nishma website

One may wonder why we could not learn the idea I present in the Insight directly from the story of Moshe and the rock found completely within this Parsha. The fact that Moshe and Aharon are deemed to have sinned and, as such, faced the consequence of not entering Israel would seem to convey the same message regarding righteousness. We do not see righteousness from a micro perspective and while one is still responsible for the details of one's actions, the tzaddik is evaluated from the macro perspective, the gestalt. The fact is, though, that the problem with Moshe's hitting of the rock is unclear and there is so much ambiguity regarding this action, a lesson of this nature could be easily circumvented. While there is much discussion regarding what exactly Miriam did wrong, there is no doubt that a transgression was done. Nevertheless, the righteousness of Miriam is never challenged.