<I>Vayishlach</i>: Jacob and IsraelThe "Israel" aspect of Jacob is revealed when the enemies of the Jewish People cannot beat them and Israel wins. G-d therefore calls Jacob "Israel".
<I>Toldot</I>: To Judge the Mount of EsauAlready during her pregnancy, Rebecca knew through her faith that at issue was not just two children, but two nations that would emerge from her, the Kingdom of Israel and the nations of the world.
"All That He Owned to Isaac"Our sages relate that, one time, Ishmael's descendants and Ketura's descendants came as litigants with the Jewish people before Alexander the Great. They announced, "The Land of Canaan is ours and yours, as it says, 'These are the chronicles of Ishmael son of Abraham,' (Gen. 25:12) and, 'These are the chronicles of Isaac son of Abraham.' (25:19)"
<I>Vayera</I>: The InheritanceOur ancestors' deeds presage our own. It is true that thousands of years have passed since Ishmael would shoot arrows at Isaac with the goal of driving him out of <I>Eretz Yisrael</I>, but unfortunately, the Arabs, Ishmael's descendants, have not ceased to fight us.
Abraham's VictoryThe first World War in the history of mankind was the War of the Four Kings Against the Five, during the days of Amraphel, a.k.a. Nimrod.
Noah and Abraham, Anguish and JoyWhen Noah was born, his father "named him Noah [comfort], saying, 'This one will bring us relief from our work and the anguish of our hands, from the soil that the L-rd has cursed.'"
Freedom, Torah and RejoicingBy way of political and spiritual freedom, we will merit to complete the process when we sit in the <I>succah</I> during Succot, the time of our rejoicing.
<I>Nitzavim-Vayelech</I>: What is Revealed, What is HiddenToday, a covenant of mutual responsibility has been renewed in our generation with the establishment of the State of Israel. The immoral behavior and corruption of the individual is not the private business of this person or that. It affects the entire nation and influences the plight of society, security and the economy.
<I>Ki-Tavo</I>: Gratitude - Then and NowThe first thing a Jew says when he gets up in the morning is, "I render thanks to You, everlasting King, who has mercifully restored my soul within me. Your faithfulness is great."
<I>Ki-Tetzei</I>: At War With Amalek for All GenerationsHizbullah wished to explode our image in the eyes of the world, which looks on with astonishment at the rebirth of the Jewish People in their land, fulfillment of the vision of the prophets of Israel - and sees clearly that Israel is the eternal people.
<I>Shoftim</I>: "Restore Our Judges as at First"We need a leadership that will be sensitive to the people's suffering, that of the public as a whole and of the individual. We need a leadership that will remain connected to the people, and will take responsibility for our people, Land and heritage.
Comfort, My PeopleWe can see with our own eyes how the land is developing with great strides. Roads and train tracks are being laid out, and the Isaiah's words are being fulfilled.
We Are Waging a <I>Milchemet Mitzvah</I>We are at the height of a <I>milchemet mitzvah</I>, a compulsory war, as Rambam taught: "What is a <I>milchemet mitzvah</I>? It is a war to assist Israel against an enemy that has attacked them." (<I>Hilchot Melachim</I> 5:1)
17th of Tammuz: Love Peace and TruthThe manifold causes of the suffering that beset us in the past still exist in our own generation, and we must repent for them. That is, we must rectify them both on the national level and on the personal level.
All-Out War Against Our EnemiesJust as the Israelites waged an all-out war, even though the cause of the war was the capture of a single female slave, so too in our own day.
<I>Korach</I>: "The Wise Shall Inherit Honor"Today, we greatly need to restore the value of honor to our society and culture, to honor our Torah scholars, teachers and educators, to honor our parents and to honor our leaders (despite our differences of opinion on political matters, etc.).
Festival of the Giving of the TorahThe Torah was given to the Jewish People, and not to this individual or that, neither to any particular party or stream within the Jewish People.
Raise the Flag of Jerusalem on Jerusalem DayOn this Jerusalem Day, let us remember that Jerusalem is the holy city, the city in which holiness is revealed on earth. And in order that holiness should be so revealed, we must return to Rabbi Kook's plan to "raise up the flag of Jerusalem".
May Our Eyes See Your Return in Mercy to Zion Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook said: "We have to be very joyous on Independence Day. We must be joyous over the revelation of the Divine Presence, the return to Zion and the rebirth of the Jewish people. All the rebuilding, rebirth and survival of the State of Israel is interwoven with great miracles that G-d has shown us."
The Exodus Narrative: A Love StoryIn the past, however, we have faced unimaginably harsh conditions, such as when we were pursued to death by the Spanish Inquisition, or when Jews were being burned to death in the furnaces of Auschwitz and elsewhere in Europe. Throughout those times, as well, Jews never ceased to recite in secret that great love story.
<I>Vayak'hel-Pekudei</I>: Withhold No Good ThingWe are commanded to make a sincere effort - and G-d helps us. We have limited strength, but Omnipotent G-d assists us; as our sages said, "If a person sanctifies himself a little bit, G-d will sanctify him much."
Light and Gladness, Joy and HonorOn the Sabbath before Purim, it is a <I>mitzvah</I> to read <I>parashat Zachor</I> (Deuteronomy 25:17-19), about "what Amalek did to you on your way out of Egypt." And what did they do?
The World is Full of <I>Hamas</I> [Violence]Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda strongly insisted that there is no room for negotiations with the Arabs and there is nothing to talk about with them as long as they do not recognize our right to our land in its Biblical borders.
Patience is the KeyAs Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi said: "The Patriarchs had such a high degree of faith and such pure hearts that although they encountered only evil all their lives, their faith in G-d never weakened." (<I>Kuzari</I> 2:2)
<I>Sh'mot</I>: Israel as a NationThe Nation of Israel was born in Egypt. They went down to Egypt numbering seventy, and they left Egypt a nation. The first to discern their peoplehood was Pharaoh, of all people, who announced to Egypt: "The people of Israel are becoming too numerous and strong for us." (Exodus 1:9)
<i>Mashiach-ben-Yosef</i> and <i>Mashiach-ben-David</i>Just as Joseph was wise and insightful, and successful in everything he did, and just as he engaged in saving Egypt economically, so, too, our generation is one whose chief preoccupation is ensuring our survival and our economic welfare. Yet, this is just the first stage in Israel's rebirth.
Increase LightAfter two thousand years, we have emerged from the "pit" of the dark exile, which was full of snakes and scorpions.
<I>Vayishlach</I>: No Longer JacobWhen Jacob arrives in Bet El, G-d appears to him and blesses him: "G-d said to him. 'Your name is Ya'akov. No longer will your name be Ya'akov, but Yisrael will be your name;' and He named him Yisrael."
The Clash Between Esau and Jacob - Then and NowIsaac, before his death, ostensibly wished to bless Esau. He saw in him a man of action, busy with material affairs, the matters of this world; hence, Esau seemingly deserved both the birthright and the blessing. Only through Rebecca's guile and wisdom did the blessing pass to Jacob, the scholarly man who remained within the tents.
Abraham's Generous, Loving NatureIt is true that the people of Sodom sinned heavily, and ostensibly, Abraham could have ignored them and cut himself off from them. Yet, Abraham had a generous nature. He had love for the Creator and His creations - even those who had distanced themselves far from Him.
Gladden UsToday, mankind's goal is to emerge from the anguish that has hung over it since the days of Adam to the enormous joy that will characterize the human race in general, and Israel, the eternal People, in particular, at the End of Days.
Elul: Month of MercyWe are now in Elul, the month of repentance and mercy. What is this mercy that we are in such great need of in general, and especially at this time?
We Must Pass On Love and FaithEverything happening today in Israel is a tangible, concrete expression of the moral, spiritual and ethical doldrums in which the State of Israel finds itself.
Let Our Suffering Not Drive Us MadRambam's father, the rabbi and judge Maimon, wrote a letter to the Jews of Morocco, against whom the Muslims had issued harsh decrees. In his letter, he offers them consolation and encouragement, strengthening their faith and trust in G-d.
Those Who Love the Land Will Win"The episode of Tzelafchad's daughters was juxtaposed to the section regarding the census. Those daughters loved the Land and they were as righteous as Joseph, who likewise loved the Land and asked to be buried there. Whoever loves the Land is righteous and worthy of praise." (Rashi on <I>Bamidbar</I> 27:1)
<I>Chukat</I>: The People Grew DiscouragedImagine someone running a forty-kilometer marathon. On the thirty-eighth kilometer, his spirit weakens and he has no more strength or will to complete the last two kilometers, so he stops running. That is how it was with the Israelites towards the end of their trek through the desert.
Go Forth and Occupy the LandOstensibly, the spies carried out their mission. They were sent by Moses, who instructed them with questions regarding the quality of the Land and its inhabitants.
Education that Bears FruitToday, the State of Israel is investing 25 billion shekels [5.8 billion US dollars] each year in education. Yet sometimes one gets the feeling that its education system is barren, both in moral and spiritual terms, and in terms of its general intellectual achievements.
On Being Independent and True to OurselvesToday, during these days of counting, we emerge from slavery to freedom. In the first stage, we emerge from political slavery to freedom; and in the second stage, we emerge from the forty-nine levels of impurity ? from spiritual servitude and enslavement to our passions ? to eternal freedom with the giving of the Torah.
You Shall Be HolyIt is true that the terrible Holocaust taught us in the hardest and cruelest fashion that our people, Israel, is a special people. Yet, at the same time, the Holocaust also confused and distanced us from studying and knowing what is special about us.
From Disengagement to ReengagementIn 1912, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, in a letter to the rabbis of the Jewish People, addresses the possibility of civil war, G-d forbid, and discusses how to avoid it.