Mundane MiraclesWith the double parashah of Behar-Bekhukkotay we complete the Book of Leviticus this Shabbat before going on to Numbers.
It Happened Seventy Years Ago - TodayThree events of great significance occurred on the 12th of Iyar - two in 1943 and one in 1948. What a difference between the three - and at the same time, what a connection!
A Line Stretches From Egypt to WarsawThey tried in Egypt, Persia and Europe. And in Warsaw, the valiant Jewish fight against impossible odds began the same day that, 3,255 years earlier, the Jews of Egypt had shaken off their fear of their slave-masters.
When Does Pesach End?There are two holidays in Nisan connected by the Seder. Most people do not realize that.
Telling of FreedomWhat is our response to the wicked son? – We include him against his will! His very opposition to the Jewish tradition becomes part of the Jewish tradition.
The Meaning of Shabbat Parshat HachodeshThe Sabbath preceding the first day of the month of Nisan is called Hachodesh. We read the first mitzvah given to the Jews as a people, which tells us to take control of our time.
Purim: Why Pretend?Confronted with extermination, the Jews threw aside their costume of idol-worship and returned to G-d in complete repentance.
Islam, Jihad and Non-MuslimsA definitive summary of the recent articles on the subject. For a current object lesson, read the article below on Egypt.
Vayigash: UnityJudah knew that from his descendants was destined to come forth the kingship over Israel; he knew of the royal treasure that was to be his. Yet he willingly threw it away for his father's sake.
Appointing a KingIs this a commandment that must be kept or simply the instructions that tell us what to do if we decide we want a king.
Vaetchanan and Tu B'AvUltimate love: The model of love between man and woman as a paradigm for the love that the Jew should feel towards G-d is a persistent theme in Judaism.
Eicha! (Lamentations)Mourning Destruction - the Book of Lamentations by Jeremiah decribes his emotions at the destruction of the Temple and is read on the eve of the 9th of Av while sitting on the floor in the synagogue with the lights dimmed.
Reading Mattot-Masei "Between the Straits"The reading of this week's parsha invariably falls during the Three Week mourning period for the destruction of the Land of Israel and theTemples. Its commandments deal with preserving the land.
Emor: The Kohanim's Portion (Israel Reading)Perhaps it is not entirely coincidence that Parashat Emor almost always falls in the 23-day period between Israel Independence Day and Jerusalem Liberation Day - and that the menorah lighting is written after the list of holidays.
The Temple Mount on Passover!Actually, without the Korban Pesach, we have not fulfilled the mitzvah at all. The Pesach is the Pesach Offeriing; without that, we have no Pesach at all!
A Tale of Two Assads: Lion and CubBashar is still far short of what his father Hafez achieved thirty years ago this month in Hama; but he is making valiant efforts to catch up. It is sobering to think that Rabin almost gave up the Golan Heights to Syria.
Shabbat Zachor is Here - Learn All About ItThis week we read Parshat Zachor at the end of the Torah portion. The Torah commands us to hear the short reading, we stand and absorb every single word. There are 3 major episodes with Amalek in the Tanach - each with a strong message for today.
End of Egypt, End of PharaohThe tenth plague is a puzzling anomaly. In ancient Egypt, as in most monarchies, the king was the first-born son. Why was Pharaoh spared?
The Tenth of TevetIf the 10th of Tevet falls on Friday (as it did last year), then we fast on Friday: we enter Shabbat fasting, and do not eat until after Kiddush, in contrast to other fasts. Why?
Hanukkah and Mikkeitz: EnlightenmentEven societies which have been wonderfully welcoming to Jews have usually turned against them sooner or later. Egypt was the paradigm; Greece followed the same pattern, and so on.
The Dreamer Leads - Follow in his FootstepsMan is captain of his own soul; and wherever there is a will to Judaism, there is a way to lead the Jewish life. Joseph was viceroy of Egypt, yet he remained a loyal son of Israel. The stars bowed to him, not he to them.
Vayetze: Unified Around the Tzaddik Israel as a nation is to be united around its Tzaddikim. This unity around and with Tzaddikim – and the implicit rejection of evil – is what brings G-d’s blessings pouring down on us like the precious anointing oil.
Toldot: Free WillThe two twin brothers actually had the same chances, the same opportunities, to achieve holiness and their connection with G-d.
Abraham Passes the TestsThere are several versions of the 10 tests of Abraham, but no matter which you read, he passes them all - including the hardest one, Akeidat Yitschak.
Why isn't stopping Sodom's destruction on any list?
Entering the Era of TorahThe story of Noach leads into the story of Abraham. The inverted letter "nun" in the word "Haran" is a key to the connection.