Why Did It Happen?Our sages say that Achav was king of Israel because his father Omri built the city of Shomron. Whoever builds towns in the Land of Israel merits governing the Land.
The Footsteps of the MoshiachThe three generations are the generations of Moshiach ben Yosef, Eliya the prophet, and the royal Moshiach, Moshiach ben David. The task of Eliya the prophet is to connect Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben David, by "turning the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers (Malachi 3:24)....
Why Do We Live in the Year 5765?The prophets who prophesized in Babylonia, and in the Land of Israel, left us many descriptions of the future redemption. Some of the most intriguing prophecies seem to exactly define the timing of the redemption. Without a correct understanding of the Jewish year count, a proper interpretation of these intriguing prophecies is not possible.
The Sun is SigningThe relation between the Jewish equinox and the astronomical equinox is a fascinating subject and the key to many ancient secrets, among them the time of Redemption. The following is one aspect of this.
<I>Tetzave</I>: A Historical NecessityIn the middle of the many detailed instructions for the service of the Tabernacle in <I>parshat Tetzave</I>, and just before the specifications of the dimensions of the Inner Altar, the Torah hints at a great secret....
The First MitzvahIt is tempting to say that a renewed performance of the first <I>mitzvah</I> given to the nation could be the first task of our new Sanhedrin. However, the Sanhedrin cannot use its power in this way without first founding itself.
<i>Miketz</i>: The Psak of YosefBy Divine providence, we are reading about Yosef <I>HaTsaddik</I> while two great <I>poskim</I> in Israel are about to issue a <I>psak</I> that will likely make or break the formation of a government that plans to disengage from Gaza and the Shomron and to uproot Jews in the Land of Israel.
EvolutionThe Torah teaches us how to live. It does not strive to be historically accurate. To the contrary, the potentially confusing historical facts were expressly concealed, and the teachings of Kabbalah regarding Creation were never taught in public.
<I>Ki Tetze</I>: The Test of the ExileThe relationship between G-d and Israel is like the relationship of husband and wife, a relationship of faith and love, as well as one of mutual obligations. The Covenant between G-d and Israel is in fact so much like marriage that we can learn reliably about marriage by studying the Covenant and vice versa.
The Final ExaminationAfter learning with Moshe for forty years, Israel undergoes a final examination. The examination does not test knowledge of Torah and it does not address observance of <I>mitzvot</I>. It tests only one thing: faith.
<I>Shelach</I>: Following <I>HaShem</I> CompletelyDuring the spies' trip, it seems a critical event happened in Hebron: "They ascended in the south and he arrived at Hebron, where there were Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the offspring of the giant." (<I>BaMidbar</I> 13:22) The one person who arrived in Hebron was Calev. Rashi brings down that he went to pray at the graves of the Patriarchs. Why did the others not arrive in Hebron? The answer likely
<i>Bamidbar</i>: The Jewish LegionThe separate status of the tribe of Levi is an enigmatic tenet of Judaism. For whoever wants to ponder the issue, <I>parshat Bamidbar</I> is mandatory reading.
<I>Kedoshim</I>: Honesty and JusticeIn his commentary to <I>Parshat Kedoshim</I>, Rashi uses extremely harsh descriptions for a certain type of individual. He calls him an <I>aval</I> (villain), a <I>sanui</I> (hated one), a <I>meshukats</I> (repulsive person), a <I>cherem</I> (one who is banned) and a <I>toeva</I> (abomination). Rashi goes on to say that this type of person contaminates the Land, desecrates G-d's Name, chases away
Ladder of HolinessIn the <I>Omer</I> period - the seven weeks following <I>Pesach</I> - we are called upon to climb up the ladder of holiness to receive the Torah anew at <I>Shavuot</I>. Not by accident, the weekly Torah readings in this period are all about achieving holiness and purity, and about avoiding and removing the opposite: <I>tum'ah</I> (impurity).
Collapsing LeadersThe Jewish elite of our days fell victim to great weakness. Even once-brave leaders are collapsing. A fresh perspective on the phenomenon may be gleaned from an apparent incompleteness of the first Pesach.
Scary NumbersThis is a <I>D'var Torah</I> about scary numbers that imply a frightening scenario for the future. I pray it will help us wake up. Because, assuming that the following deductions from the holy words of our Sages and Prophets are valid, the frightening scenario is only that - a scenario. It will not happen if we mend our ways. My main source is a famous <I>Mechilta</I> on the phrase <I>"Chamushim A
Faith in the NationThere never was a greater Jew than Moshe. Never was anyone as disappointed with the People of Israel as Moshe was after the sin of the golden calf. If Moshe nevertheless kept believing in the Jewish Nation, no one has the right to denounce it - for all times.
Miracles and Physics<i>HaShem</i> rules the world within the confines of the laws of Nature. However, our Sages insist that the splitting of the sea was an exception to the rule. It was not caused by the wind. Instead, we are taught (<i>Mechilta, Midrash Tanchuma,Pirkei Avot</I>), the event involved ten explicit miracles.
<i>Sh?mot</I>: The Wrong <i>Psak</I>The second chapter of <i>Shemot</i> relates the birth of Moshe, the beginning of the redemption. The chapter starts with Amram taking back his wife: "A man went from the house of Levi and he took a daughter of Levi." The message is clear: The critical event that started the redemption was Amram's reversal of his <I>psak</i> (halachic decision) that in the given situation it was better to not have
<i>Vayechi</I>: Jacob's ReminderJacob's reminder serves to teach a very profound principle. <i>HaShem</i> allowed man free will and yet controls history. There is no rigid plan for the course of history and yet the end is known. The birth of a holy nation was decreed, but it could have come from Esau and Jacob, or from Joseph and Benjamin. Esau could have saved himself as the ten brothers did, and the ten brothers could have don
<i>Vayeshev</i>: Abraham's Deep CounselThe phrase "that righteous one" clearly refers to Abraham, but why is he not simply called by his name? And what is so righteous about entering a covenant that is guaranteed to bring misery to one's descendants?
A Balance of FearA certain fear of the nations seems to always influence political deliberations in Israel and get in the way of decisive actions. At the same time, the world can get exceedingly nervous about things that Israel does or seems to be planning to do, even if these things do not appear to affect any international interests. Why is this?
Don't Keep FallingThe similarity with our generation is hard to overlook. The threats of our enemies made our 'leaders' effectively shrink back from the whole idea of conquering the Land. A bereaved Nation is longing for a real heart, authentic Jewish leadership.
Renew Our DaysIn the <i>Slichot</i> prayers, we exclaim time and again: "Renew our days as of old." In <i>parshat Ha'azinu</i>, the <I>parasha</i> of <i>Shabbat Shuva</i>, the same theme appears in different words: "Remember the days of old, understand the years of generation after generation. Ask your father and he will relate to you, your elders and they will tell you." (<i>Devarim</i> 32:7)
Where is the Truth?Whoever turns to Judaism to find the Truth, may well be held back by the many rituals that seem empty and by the lack of consensus about important religious subjects. How can there be Truth in such a system? Has the Truth perhaps departed from our planet?
<i>Re'eh</i>: Personal Responsibility<i>Parshat Re'eh</i> starts out with a syntactic peculiarity. Its first verse uses the singular imperative word <i>re'eh</i>, meaning ?See?, to address a plurality: "<i>Re'eh</i>, I present before you [plural] today a blessing and a curse." The syntactic imperfection carries a direct message to every individual: watch out, you are personally responsible.
The Nature of UnityAccording to Jewish Law (<i>Shulchan Aruch</i> 61:6), we must, during the daily recital of the <i>Sh'ma</i>, stress the word "One," and in particular its last letter in Hebrew, the <i>dalet</i>, and have in mind that we crown <i>HaShem</i> King over Heaven and Earth and that He rules over the four (the number value of the letter <i>dalet</i>) winds of the world.
The Secret of the LionBileam was a giant of history. A man endowed with mystical powers based on a valid understanding of the hidden layers of Creation. He was a true prophet, a non-Jewish prophet. Many know his lyric praises of the Jewish nation, found in <i>Parshat Balak</I>: "Behold, it is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations." (<i>BaMidbar</i> 23:9) "How goodly are your tents,
The <i>Shechina</I> is WaitingWe know it is sorely missing - Jewish Unity. But do we really understand its importance? Do we know at all how Jewish Unity can be attained? <i>Parshat Beháalotcha</I> gives amazing clues.
The Holy Seventh WeekWe have a holy seventh day, <i>Shabbat</i>. We have a holy seventh month, the month Tishrei with its many holidays - Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, <i>Succot</i>, <i>Sh'mini Atseret</i>. We have a holy seventh year, the <i>Shmitta</i> year. But we do not have a holy seventh week. Or do we?