<I>Beshalach</I>: The Mud and the Blood and the Beerit was at that grand moment, when the Jewish people were crossing the sea, that some of the Jews began to complain to one another saying: 'Look at this, in Egypt we were stuck in the mud all day making bricks, and here, too, we are stuck in the mud that is in the seabed. We had mud then, and we have mud now!'
Oh, After MidnightIn his hit song, Eric Clapton tells us that after midnight you are going to "let it all hang out." Moshe tells Pharaoh that at ?about midnight,? Hashem will strike down and kill all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. Now, would it not have been easier for Moshe to tell Pharaoh this would occur at midnight, as opposed to at ?about midnight??
Understand Well, My BrothersThe Jewish people in Egypt were so embedded in Egyptian culture, that when the redemption came, the great majority were unable to release themselves from it and had to be destroyed.
<I>Shemot</I>: Down in Old Egypt Land - Why?It was only when the Jewish people gave up any hope of salvation from mankind, and despaired totally of redemption, that they were able to come to an understanding that there is no other power in this world besides <I>HaShem</I>. For it is <I>HaShem</I> who brings down the mighty and raises up the lowly.
<I>Vayechi</I>: Just Not Here!"Please, if I have found favor in your eyes... do this kindness and truth with me - please do not bury me in Egypt." What was the concern that our forefather Ya'akov had about being buried in Egypt?
<i>Miketz</i>: Oh, Beautiful...One does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand and see the future unfolding before us. The world today is so complex that any little jolt in the wrong direction could literally bring the house down.
<I>Ekev</I>: It's All Written in the BookThere, in the midst of the Jordan, the water - as it disconnected from its source so as to allow the Jews to pass through - began to rise to great heights, towering over the entire Jewish people. It was at that point that Joshua stopped the Jews in their tracks and told them: I have an important message to relay to you all.
Rules of the GameThe Torah tells us: "When you go out to war against your enemy...." And does one ever go out to war against one's friend, such that the Torah needs to tell us that you are going out to war against an enemy?
<I>Balak</I>: Try as They MightAs the Jewish people began their approach to the Holy Land after being in the desert for forty years, the nations began to sense, both consciously and unconsciously, that the Redemption was at hand. And they all pulled together to try and stop the process.
<I>Chukat</I>: The Slave WomanThe Canaanite king of Arad heard that Israel had come by the route of the spies, and he warred against Israel and captured a captive from among them. There is nothing new under the sun.
<I>Korach</I>: LessonsThe rabbis asked: Korach was a wise man and leader. What caused him to rebel against Moshe?
Purim 5766 - And Still Going StrongSome weeks ago, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while denying that a Holocaust against the Jews took place during World War II, stated that there was indeed a "holocaust" that took place in Iran some 2,000 years ago, in which the Jews killed thousands of people.
Still Much Work To Do!This week?s parsha should put to rest any arguments for the philosophy of sitting around and waiting for the Redemption of the Jewish people. The Torah commands us to build a sanctuary for Hashem, that He may dwell within.
Parshat Mishpatim: In for the Long HaulAs if this weren't enough for one parsha, the Torah goes on to teach us the laws
of stolen property and prohibition of deceit. From there, it?s on to laws
applying to judges, witnesses, and defendants as well as those of false statements and capital punishment, etc. etc. etc.
Time to climb the MountainAn entirely different environment with our enemies??? What has the acting PM been smoking in his office? I suggest to the honorable actor that he go down to Gaza City by himself and ask Hamas what kind of a "new environment" he would like to see the Jewish people in!
<I>Beshalach</I>: Our Secret WeaponOne of the repeating themes woven throughout the story of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is the great <I>mesirut nefesh</I> (self-sacrifice) that certain individuals displayed for the sake of the Jewish people, and their great reward for their selfless acts. Eventually, these acts of self-sacrifice would spread to the entire nation.
<i>Bo</I>: They Never Really Say "Never"This is the cardinal rule brought down to us though our authentic Jewish leaders, Moshe and Aharon: When it comes to <I>Kiddush HaShem</I>, there is no 50, 70 or even 99 percent.
<I>Chayei Sarah</I>: The Cave DealAfter all the years that King David and his court tried to acquire the Mount, when the right time had come, it was, in the blink of an eye, turned over to the children of Israel.
<I>Bereishit</I>: The Song Remains the SameSo, once again, as we start anew our holy Torah, we come upon the famous first Rashi on the Torah. Even if we have spoken about it time and time again in the past, its message is timeless and its words have still not hit home for the Jews.
<I>Ki Teitzeh</I>: My Friend, My EnemyOur rabbis warned us not to take a liking to our enemies, not to make friends out of them, for if you fall into their hands, they will not have mercy on you. The best example of this is brought down in the Book of Kings, the story of Achav, king of Israel.
I Have Seen the Fire"A land that <I>HaShem</I> your G-d seeks out; the eyes of <I>HaShem</I>, your G-d, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the year's end." This is what our rabbis teach us: <I>HaShem</I> sees what the land's needs are and He introduces decrees upon it, at times for good and at times for bad.
<i>Devarim</I>: The Final <I>Tikkun</I>Ever wonder why Ariel Sharon's insane plan of Disengagement was planned for the period of the 9th of Av, the day that was decreed to be a day of mourning for generations? Just a coincidence that it's taking place at this time of the year, and was not called for, say, in February or December? I don't think so.
<I>Mas'ei</I>: The Long Road From and to GazaFrom time to time, we have heard voices stating that Gush Katif is not really part of the Land of Israel, never has been, and historically, we have no connection to it. This week's <I>parsha</I> should put an end to all those false accusations, as nothing could be further from the truth. Those claims come only to weaken a strong nation.
<I>Matot</I>: Not Over 'Til the Fat Lady SingsWhen Midian faced the whole Jewish people of some 600,000 soldiers strong, the Jewish people were unable to overcome their enticements and they yielded to sin. Now that they were only 12,000 strong, what chance did they have of not sinning?
Roadblocks on the WayWhy do they try to stop us on our journey to perfect the world? The <I>Midrash</I> teaches us that after the <I>Mashiach</I> will be made known to the world, the nations will gather to him and hear his words of wisdom, and they will then take council on how to kill him.
<I>Korach</I>: Symbols and StatusAs Rashi teaches us that Korach was a clever person, what is it that he saw which led him to this folly? His eyes led him to error. He saw a great chain of descendants emerging from him.
<I>B'ha'alot'cha</I>: The Silver LiningWe find in this week's <I>parsha</I> the sentence: "Arise, <I>HaShem</I>, and let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee from before You." Rashi points out: "'And let those who hate You' - These are those who hate Israel...."
Behukotai: The Two Paths...how grand it could all be if...we would have the arrival of our Redemption without
working for it, without repentance, without doing our part. But such is not the way of the Creator of this world, and so we find in this week's parsha, the two paths, the two choices in this world.
Ringin' in That Good ol' Freedom"It's all about freedom". So said President George Bush on his recent tour
to the former Soviet Union...just look at where this freedom of the Bushes of this world has led us... people now, with nothing but time on their hands, will watch an average of some 6 to 8 hours of TV a day, which is perverting and eventually destroying society.
Unmasking the ConfusionThe Talmud asks: "What is Chanukah?" And it then goes on to explain why we celebrate that holiday. Without a doubt, if the Talmud would have been written today, our sages would be asking: "What is <I>Yom HaAtzma'ut</I> (Independence Day)?"
The Poison CupG-d triumphs over the proud, punishing them though the precise vehicle of their arrogance.
The Missing IngredientHow tragic it has all become, as the wandering Jews continue to wander - this time, willingly.
<I>Metzora</I>: Of Houses and HousesThis suffering is needed in order for us, the Jewish people, to make a <I>kinyan</I> (acquisition) of the Land. For what comes easily and at no price, is lost quickly.
<I>Shemini</I>: Walk the LineIn this world, we all must walk that line, placing ourselves on the side of holy or profane, good or evil. Ultimately, it is up to us to make the choice of which side of the line we will be on, but know that in this world, there is no standing still.
Jericho FirstThis week, once again the ancient city of Jericho made headlines in Israel and around the world. "Jericho first" will be given over to Arab control as a sign that once again peace is in the air.