Justice and treesJudges who are selected must be in a position in which they have no need of the good wishes or gifts of the people they are meant to judge. They must also become emptied of their own personal political view and ideological perspective.
JourneysA true journey into destiny must be focused on two points. Where we came from and where our destiny lies.
Naso: Unique SamenessJust as there were different offerings, but all rejoiced, each group at the Wall brought their unique character and outlook into prayer but were clearly united in the rejoicing and the dancing.
A Divine Act of LovingkindnessThe metzorah phenomenon existed in a time when G-d , in an act of mercy, allowed the physical reality to mirror and reveal impediments in the inner workings of our soul.
Gathering the AshesPurim which will fall just as the mourners for the Fogel family “stand up” to re-enter life. A life that is a mixture of spiritual fire together with the cold ashes of what was.
"Six Days Work Shall be Done"In this portion, rather than the Ten Commandmant's verse "Six days shall you work", the sentence is in the passive mode. What does this signify?
Teruma: Made of Acacia WoodWhat is the point in stressing the use of acacia wood to build the Holy Ark? Why not pure gold like the Menorah?
The Burning BushThroughout the land there is a foreboding sense that this people has lost the strength to surge forward through history. That perception is utterly mistaken.
The Dangerous Melting SnowmanYou would have thought that this frigid Jerusalem blizzard would keep Israelis at home, but that did not seem to be the case.
Facing the Darkness With a Little LightThe large picture seems overwhelming, yet the victory begins with the small picture, the single candle; each candle lit in the personal domain of each individual. Those are single candles intimately linked with all the others, growing in strength from day to day.
MediocrityDiscernment regarding what is good and what is evil is sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity. Hopes and dreams are relinquished for its sake, and life and death decisions are postponed indefinitely in order to maintain that cherished state of mediocrity.
Dark Clouds Are MassingThe clouds of war are gathering and yet our government leaders are still involved with protecting their Knesset seats. Lives are put at risk, but political futures seem to be the only concern of our elected officials.
To Taste the SweetnessSuch is the reality of this period of the people's journey to their destiny. The birth pangs of this nation invariably involve a painful mixture of destruction and hope.
The Decaying of the HuskThe people of Israel, as opposed to their leadership, are as determined and as courageous as ever.
A Different Sort of MoralityThe morality of this people is defined not by the meda, nor by world opinion, but rather by the individuals who make up this people.
The Family Gathers StrengthThroughout our history, the nation of Amalek and its spiritual children have never let up in their spiritual warfare against the people of Israel. Those that are still under the impression that this struggle is about land and national self determination are missing the whole story. This truly is a war of cultures and spiritual beliefs.
A Funeral Amongst FamilyI did not know the Asheri family, but I could not help but be at the funeral of the murdered 18-year-old boy, Eliyahu. The people of Israel prayed for the well-being of the kidnapped Israelis Gilad Shalit and Eliyahu Asheri, and the news of Eliyahu's murder cut like a knife.
Cowardly OptionsThe outposts provide one of two functions: the first is to set up a line of defense around existing settlement blocs, and the second is to secure the hilltops abutting the intersections and roads where innocent Israelis have been murdered.
Seeing the Heart of the MatterIt is so easy to lose perspective. It is so easy to ponder the obstacles strewn before you and lose perspective of the destination that lies in the distance.
Without the Past There is No FutureThe memory of those days of fear preceding this six-day miracle, and the exhilaration that followed it, has been forgotten by a large segment of Israel's present-day population. But in those six days, all but the most stubborn were impressed that G-d wrought a miracle.
The Dung of the DonkeyThe Talmud tractate <i>Sanhedrin</I> (98b) describes a conversation between several great sages, thousands of years ago. Rabba, Ulla and Rabbi Yochanan said: "Let Mashiach come, but I do not want to have to live in that time." Rabbi Yosef said, "Let him come.... Let me be worthy to sit under the shadow of the dung of his donkey!"
The Tattered FlagLast week, I went with members of my family to visit some of the expelled Jews from Gush Katif who had begun to carve out a future in Amatsia. We were invited to return during the Independence Day holiday for a large happening that is being planned in their new location. I asked if planning such an event was difficult for them.
Staying on the RoadWhat is painfully true is that the faithful segment of this land has not succeeded in sharing their love for the vision and destiny of this land and its people with the rest of the country. The people of Israel did not reject the land of Israel, but, sadly, they have not even stopped to ponder its importance and relevance.
Meeting Our People Face to FaceAs we sat in the car, we discussed our discomfort at forcing ourselves into the lives of unsuspecting residents. We wondered how people would respond. Would we be met with anger or apathy?
Struggling Out of the Deep WellAfter another little while the farmer looked into the well and he was shocked to see
the donkey standing defiantly on his four legs. As the garbage would land on its back it would shake it off and then use its hoofs to pack down the earth below it. Slowly but surely the distance to the top of the well was becoming smaller.
The Battle Lines Have Been DrawnAfter the last several months it has become clear that Religious Zionism
cannot see itself any more as the Bridge but must focus on its ultimate
goal of being the Destination.
Eternal ImpressionsSuddenly, they heard the loudspeakers throughout the city cry out: <I>Shachar Adom</I>, Red Dawn. At that point, Ayala rushed over to her 10-year-old brother, Moshe, and hugged him, protecting him with her body.
The Legacy of a ManIt is our prayer that Ariel Sharon survives his medical emergency and lives to see his true legacy reestablished, and the disappointments and the downturns rectified.
Chanukah and the GeneralThe military victory, the <I>Maharal</I> explains, was a great miracle. Yet, the source of such a great miracle can usually be confused with military power and tactics. The Divine origins of such a victory can be lost amidst the din of the pompous self-adulation of the victors.
The Story of the FruitsEvery stone in Jerusalem has been embedded with the narrative of a people on a long voyage. Yet, there is no more dramatic story than that which is told by the fruit of this land.
A Selfless Act of CouragePain and suffering seeps through the land again. Yet, even in the midst of this horror, the courage of the sons of Israel again blossomed into greatness.
Choices in the Midst of DecayRabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, of blessed memory, describes how secular Zionism has become the vehicle and the framework necessary for enabling the final redemption. He warns, though, that unless this vehicle becomes infused with spirit and faith, it will begin to crumble and decay.
<I>Lech Lecha</I>: FaithfulnessThe impossible test with Isaac at Mount Moriah had not yet occurred. He had not yet been told to send off his son Yishmael, born to Hagar, into the wilderness. Avraham had not even been commanded to enact the ritual of circumcision at the age of ninety-nine. Yet, we are told that Avraham <I>he'emeen</I> (believed) in <I>HaShem</I>.
Going From the End to the BeginningHad we not been filled with the passions and joys of the previous month of Tishrei, we would not have been able to navigate the cold and lonely month of Heshvan. The previous month of Tishrei has nourished and impassioned us with the power to light and illuminate the dark months of the coming winter.
Standing in PrayerThis year, our souls have been battered and have been singed. How must that affect our prayers in this important period of time?
A Broken VaseA beautiful vase has been broken and the shards threaten to be dispersed throughout the country. This fragile vase used to be filed with the faithful and proud farmers of Gush Katif, together with the determined and prayerful lovers of Israel from every corner of this land.
Darkness and LightThe lights of Gush Katif have been dimmed. The lights of all the faithful of Israel who stood, marched, cried out and struggled has also been stifled. The darkness that seems to emanate from the media and the office of the prime minister seems to be prevailing at this time.
Orange on the HorizonThe commander went back into the synagogue and found several of his men sprawled on the floor in front of the empty <I>Aron Kodesh</I> (the Ark), weeping.
Struggling for BalanceThe people of Israel have been wounded both physically and spiritually. They want to cry out in pain, but the cry comes out in a bewildered whisper.
Gathering Tears in a BottleAs he prepares his dental tools, the dentist gives his patient some forms to fill out and walks into the next room. When he returns, he finds the man weeping softly. The patient had gotten to the question on the form asking for his address and could go no further.
The Struggle of the SpiritThe people of Israel are undergoing difficult and important days. Though the struggle seems to be progressing along the avenues of what we call the real and tangible world, the real struggle seems to be playing out in another dimension.
They Cannot Still the CryThis Tuesday, with G-d's help, many people will make their way down to Sderot in order to express their anger, scream out their protest and cry out their pain. Tens of thousands of simple Jewish citizens will be gathering in like-minded purpose.
Faith and Fear in Kfar Maimon - Part IIMany young people were calling out to the soldiers, "My brother, my sister, was this what you were trained to do?" At one point, I called out to a group of young soldiers, "At least shed a tear as you do what you are commanded to do." One female soldier said to me, "I haven?t stopped crying since this morning."