Rabbi Shlomo Aviner

Putting Fellow Man First: Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard is a true and faithful disciple of our forefather, Avraham <I>Avinu</I>, whose love of fellow man was thoroughly engraved upon his heart, even to the extent of self-sacrifice. , 1/12/2005, 7:28 PM

<I>Vayigash</I>: Love & Hatred

Why are the brothers crying now, at the time of their great joy, over the future destruction? And why is each one crying over the misfortune of the other and not over his own?, 12/16/2004, 5:28 PM

Lucky Yehudah the Maccabee Didn't Ask

It is lucky that Yehudah the Maccabee did not ask politicians, because if he had, they would have told him that one must consider the possible international pressure in the overall constellation, and he would have sat and deliberated and deliberated., 12/8/2004, 4:04 PM

Dreams

There are dreams that reveal noble, exalted truths, such as the dreams of Avimelech, Ya'akov, Lavan, Yosef and Pharoah's servants, Pharoah, Bilam, Shlomo in Giveon, Nevuchadnezer and Daniel. There are other dreams, however, that our sages deemed completely inconsequential. , 12/2/2004, 11:59 PM

<I>Vayishlach:</I> "I Buried Her on the Way"

The death of Rachel is not a simple and routine matter, but a complicated issue which Yaakov <I>Avinu</I> (our father) carried with him every single day of his life., 11/25/2004, 10:07 PM

<I>Vayetze:</I> Good Taste and Good Will

Ya'akov's good will is almost unbounded. He meets shepherds who are complete strangers at the well, and he says, "My brothers, where do you come from?", 11/18/2004, 4:02 PM

<I>Toldot:</I> Avoiding Arguments

In this week's <I>parsha</I>, Yitzchak appears as the peace-keeper <I>par excellence</I>. Just as Hillel cannot be angered, Yitzchak cannot be dragged into a fight. , 11/11/2004, 3:13 PM

<I>Chayei Sarah</I>: Acquiring Territory in the Land of Israel

In the Torah portion of <I>Chayei Sarah</I>, we encounter the acquisition of the cave of Machpelah in Hevron by Avraham <I>Avinu</I> (our forefather); and we ask ourselves what all of this episode says to us, what do we learn from it for our own lives., 11/4/2004, 10:10 PM

Refusing a Mad and Evil Order - Part II

Avner ben Ner was punished for various military-state transgressions, but not for pursuing David on the order of Sha'ul., 10/27/2004, 3:40 PM

Refusing a Mad and Evil Order - Part I

To our distress, we have already drunken from this cup of bitterness in the past, during the removal of Yamit. Then, <I>HaGaon</I> Rabbi Yaakov Ariel wrote..., 10/25/2004, 6:55 PM

<I>Lech Lecha</I>: The Trials of Avraham

struggle, or trial, makes one realize one's potential. It is a positive, not a negative, experience. Without it, one would never realize what inner strength one has. G-d, our Creator, sends us these trials in order to reveal our strength. , 10/21/2004, 6:12 PM

Jonathan Pollard: Our Teacher in Self-Sacrifice

When we struggle on behalf of one Jew, we demonstrate that we love the Jewish People and love every individual Jew. We also show that we are ready to struggle on behalf of every single Jew. That is the underlying foundation of the Israeli army. When a Jew is in danger, an army of soldiers are ready to fight for him. "All for one and one for all.", 10/19/2004, 8:40 PM

<I>Noach</I>: Technology and Morality

There is nothing wrong with building "a city and a tower whose highest point reaches the sky." (Genesis 11:4) There is nothing wrong with, "'Let us make bricks and fire them.' And the bricks became their building blocks and the clay their [building] material." (<I>ibid.</I> 11:3), 10/13/2004, 2:08 PM

Yonah: Fleeing From G-d?

Before anything, we will answer the first question that stands before us: how is it at all possible to flee from <I>Hashem</I>? , 9/22/2004, 6:39 PM

Redemption and Repentance

Some say the <I>Geula</I> (redemption) will come only through G-d and not through our actions. We must wait patiently and do nothing until G-d redeems us. On the contrary, they claim, any such act on our part is to be considered an act of rebellion, expressing apostasy and a lack of faith. Any apparent success of these actions is to be considered an act of Satan., 9/9/2004, 11:38 PM

<I>Ki Tavo</I>: Joy in the Observance of <I>Mitzvot</I>

Our <I>parsha</i> warns that we may be punished, "if you did not serve the L-rd your G-d with joy and with a good-heart, from so much of everything," (Deuteronomy 26:1), 9/3/2004, 12:13 AM

<I>Ki Tetze</i>: Guarding Your Tongue

One of the <i>mitzvot</i> of this week's Torah <I>parsha</i> is not too well known: "Remember that which the L-rd your G-d did unto Miriam on the way as you came forth from Egypt." (Deuteronomy 24:9), 8/26/2004, 11:07 PM

Souls of <I>Ikvata</I>

Under the guidance of our great teacher, Rabbi Kook, we are involved in uplifting the <I>akev</I>; and we do so not by breaking with our past, but "as a result of (<I>eikev</I>) following these laws," (Deuteronomy 7:12) and understanding their quintessential divinity, encompassing even "those [seemingly] unimportant <I>mitzvot</I> which one treads on with his heel (<I>akev</I>)." (Rashi, <I>op.cit, 8/23/2004, 5:25 PM

<I>Shoftim: Emunat Chachamim</I>

Some people think that faith must be blind and preclude understanding. This is a very shallow interpretation. It allows skeptics to say, "If faith is not a function of the intellect but rather some vague emotion that I personally do not feel, then there is no reason for me to believe." On the contrary, faith is the greatest exercise of intellect and the greatest achievement of philosophy that ther, 8/19/2004, 4:44 PM

<I>Re'eh</I>: The Mitzvah of Settling the Land

Two separate, but complementary, <I>mitzvot</I> are mentioned in this verse: possession and residence. The former means that <I>Eretz Israel</I> must belong to us. The latter, that we must live in <I>Eretz Israel</I>. It may happen that Jews live in the Land, but it doesn't belong to them, as during the British Mandate. Conversely, we may possess areas of <I>Eretz Israel</I> where Jews do not live, 8/12/2004, 5:18 PM

<I>Vaetchanan</I>: The Torah is the Soul

There are two main channels through which Man establishes a connection with his G-d - Torah and prayer: "For what nation is there so great, that has such righteous statutes and laws as this Torah?" (Deuteronomy 4:8) "For what nation is there so great, that has G-d so near to them, as the L-rd our G-d is to us whenever we call out to Him?" (Deuteronomy 4:7), 7/29/2004, 8:58 PM

In Honor of Herzl's 100th <I>Yahrzeit</I>

What is the ruling regarding hanging a picture of Theodor Herzl on the walls of a Talmud Torah for children?, 7/9/2004, 1:03 AM

<I>Balak</I>: Bil'am's Wickedness

As Bil'am is on his way to curse the nation, we witness a strange showdown with his ass. What role does this incident play within the larger context? Does it have anything to do with the conflict between the People of Israel, Bil'am and Moav? , 7/1/2004, 7:17 PM

Differentiation or Generalization

Korach was not just anyone. He belonged to Kehat, the family of <I>Levi'im</I> who carried the Holy Ark (<I>Bamidbar Raba</I> 18:3), and according to our sages, was on the highest spiritual level (<I>ibid.</I> 8). In fact, according to our rabbis, it was precisely that which misled him. , 6/17/2004, 6:44 PM

The Spies

They did not believe that the nation's <I>kedusha</I> (sanctity) was powerful enough to pervade all of the Land of Israel. They did not distinguish between the status of the Nation of Israel in exile and in the Land of Israel. Sanctity in exile is limited to spiritual matters, while in the Land of Israel it is diffuse., 6/10/2004, 7:00 PM

<I>B'haalotcha</I>: Journey and Transitions

One professor wrote an article in which he attempted to prove the intrinsic corruption of the Jewish Nation as reflected in the "Old Testament" itself, by the sins we committed in the desert., 6/2/2004, 5:21 PM

<I>Bamidbar</I>: Military Service and Family Units

In this week's <I>parsha</I>, we read of the census taken in which all males are counted in the framework of their military service. The Children of Israel cross the desert in military formation, each tribe encamping in its own special area. The people are counted according to the number of men "able to go forth to war," (Numbers 1:3) all men from twenty to sixty years old. "Twenty is the age of p, 5/20/2004, 11:27 PM

Yerushalayim

Why isn't Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) mentioned in the Torah? What does Yerushalayim mean to us? Memories, history, the capital of Israel? Or much more? What is it really?, 5/17/2004, 2:05 PM

<I>Emor</I>: An Eye for an Eye

One who physically harms another deserves to have his own eye or hand cut off, but of course this kind of punishment is impossible. He should, though, be aware that this is the punishment he really deserves, and that it is incumbent upon him to achieve forgiveness from the injured party (<I>Gur Aryeh</I>)., 5/6/2004, 10:42 PM

Where is Our Brother Jonathan?

Where is our brother, Jonathan Pollard? In his nineteenth year of captivity in an American prison. , 5/4/2004, 2:37 PM

Na'aman's Tzara'at

This week's <I>Haftara</I> tells us the story of Na'aman, brigadier general of Aram, who was cured of <i>Tzara'at</i> by immersing himself seven times in the Jordan River, as commanded by the prophet Elisha (II Kings 5:1-19). However, in this week's Torah reading, <I>Tazria</I>, we read of the process by which <i>Tzara'at</i> is "diagnosed" and "treated" by the <I>Cohen</I>, a process completely d, 4/21/2004, 1:54 PM

<I>Shemini</I>: Dedication of the Mikdash

The <I>Mikdash/Mishkan</I> is the site where the Nation of Israel meets G-d. As such, it serves a dual function: G-d reveals Himself to us as a nation, through our serving Him in His sanctuary (see <I>Parshat Tzav</I>; Rambam, <I>Hilchot Beit HaBechira</I> 1:1)., 4/16/2004, 1:21 AM

<I>Vayikra</I>: It Is Intent That Counts

Every society needs both rabbis and agricultural workers. Both groups are obligated to study Torah (Maharsha, <I>op. cit.</I>), each according to his ability. If they do so, "the reward of he who studies copiously is like the reward of he who studies a small amount." (Rashi, <I>op. cit.</I>). , 3/25/2004, 2:17 PM

Good and Bad

The <I>k'ruvim</I> in the Holy of Holies were also figures made of gold. The fundamental difference between the golden <I>k'ruvim</I> and the Golden Calf is that one was commanded by God and the other was not. This is an "all-or-nothing" criterion., 3/11/2004, 9:19 PM

What Will Be in the End?

Terror attacks! Uprooting of settlements! Non-stop suffering! What will be in the end? , 3/2/2004, 11:13 AM

"And I Shall Dwell in their Midst"

The Divine Presence reveals itself in every domain of this world: mineral, vegetable, animal and human. At the same time, G-d transcends the world: "<i>Adon Olam</i> - Master of the world, Who ruled before any creature had been created...." (From the morning prayers) G-d is in no way limited to revelation through nature, as Spinoza would have had it. He is above all revelation, unlimited, at once , 2/27/2004, 12:00 AM

<i>Mishpatim</I>: The General and the Particular

The <i>parshiot</I> of <i>Yitro</I> and <i>Mishpatim</i> complete and complement each other. , 2/18/2004, 5:08 PM