Daniel Bloom

Daniel Bloom

Daniel Bloom is an Australian-born technologist who currently works for a healthcare company. He has a degree in Jewish Studies from Monash University in Melbourne and also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Daniel enjoys travel and has spent time in over thirty countries across six continents. After moving to Israel, he studied for a year at Yeshivat Hamivtar before serving for six months in the Israeli Defense Forces. He currently lives with his wife and two children in Chicago. Daniel can be reached at danielibloom@gmail.com.

Re’eh

In Parashat Re’eh we are introduced to one of the most radical economic and social mandates of the Bible. We are commanded: “Every seventh year you shall practice remission of debts. This shall be the nature of the remission: every creditor shall remit the due that he claims from his fellow; he shall not press his fellow or kinsman, for the remission proclaimed is of God.” Though the Torah does not generally encourage the shirking of a personal obligation or pledge, this law appears to unfairly relieve borrowers of responsibility for their debts. Further, the subsequent verses specifically instruct us to lend wholeheartedly to those in need. How can the Torah simultaneously cancel all debts and encourage us to lend money?

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Tazria

Much of the double portion of Tazria-Metzora deals with the laws governing tzara’at, an enigmatic affliction which takes the form of a skin disease in people, but which can also afflict clothing and houses. Due to its symptoms of skin discoloration and the requirement that the victim be quarantined, tzara’at has often been mistakenly identified as leprosy. However, it is not caused by infection or a biological imbalance; rather, it is the physical but supernatural manifestation of an individual’s spiritual malaise.

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Pekudei

In the double portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei we read a detailed recounting of the establishment of the Mishkan and the materials used in its construction. Allaying any suspicion of corruption, Moses and his workers display a model of leadership and accountability in handling the resources of Bnei Yisrael that leaders of the world’s nations today would do well to emulate.

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Noach

In Parashat Noach God destroys all of humanity, save for Noach and his family, in a great flood. The text provides us with a reason for God’s wrath—va’timale ha’aretz chamas, —that the earth was filled with violence. A simple reading may bring to mind a brutish anarchic existence, in which people fight, steal and destroy without restraint. Indeed, various rabbinic interpretations explain chamas as connoting theft, murder, sexual sins and kidnapping.

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Tazria-Metzora

Much of the double portion of Tazria-Metzora deals with the laws governing tzara’at, an enigmatic affliction which takes the form of a skin disease in people, but which can also afflict clothing and houses. Due to its symptoms of skin discoloration and the requirement that the victim be quarantined, tzara’at has often been mistakenly identified as leprosy. However, it is not caused by infection or a biological imbalance; rather, it is the physical but supernatural manifestation of an individual’s spiritual malaise.

Read More

Tazria-Metzora

Much of the double portion of Tazria-Metzora deals with the laws governing tzara’at, an enigmatic affliction which takes the form of a skin disease in people, but which can also afflict clothing and houses. Due to its symptoms of skin discoloration and the requirement that the victim be quarantined, tzara’at has often been mistakenly identified as leprosy. However, it is not caused by infection or a biological imbalance; rather, it is the physical but supernatural manifestation of an individual’s spiritual malaise.

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Vayechi

This week’s Dvar Tzedek was originally published in 2010. In Parashat Vayechi, we find a fascinating examination of complex relations amid a family struggling to move beyond the sins of the past. Much has changed since the traumatic incident decades earlier, when Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him, eventually selling him into slavery. Now, after …Read More

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Re’eh

In Parshat Re’eh we are introduced to one of the most radical economic and social mandates of the Bible. We are commanded: “Every seventh year you shall practice remission of debts. This shall be the nature of the remission: every creditor shall remit the due that he claims from his fellow; he shall not press …Read More

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Pinchas

In the space of eight verses in Parshat Pinchas, God and Moses arrange a succession plan for Israel’s faithful shepherd. The passage, together with an accumulation of rabbinical commentary thereon, provides a window into what kind of person the Torah sees as fit to lead the Jewish people. According to the Midrash, Moses hopes that …Read More

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Naso

‘Meat is Murder’—at least that’s what was painted in large letters on an overpass near my family’s home. At the time, I dismissed it as extremism—after all, if meat was murder, what did that make me? It was only after an extended period of nuanced education that I slowly evolved to become a more conscious …Read More

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