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Rabbi Yonatan Kirsch

News and updates about Rabbi Yonatan Kirsch

Parashat Emor and Yom Hazikaron-Ha'atzmaut

I find that this week's Parsha contains a powerful message for us, after having just celebrated Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haátzmaut -and especially this year because of the war in Gaza.

Parashat  Emor and Yom Hazikaron-Ha'atzmaut

The inside story of Megillat Esther

To present an example that is happening right before our eyes; Why is the entire world focused, and even obsessed with Israel?

The inside story of Megillat Esther

The Great Whale, Sukkot and Simchat Torah

The whale of Messiah's time and the water libation are connected.

The Great Whale, Sukkot and Simchat Torah

Yom Kippur and the fixing of Nadav and Avihu's sin

A comparison of the atonement of Yom Kippur and the sin of Aaron's sons.

Yom Kippur and the fixing of Nadav and Avihu's sin

Shlach (Israel): Why send the spies to see the land?

Didn't everyone know there would be trouble?

Shlach (Israel):  Why send the spies to see the land?

From the Zohar to the Geula

A look back at Lag Ba'Omer leads to contemplating the connection between Redemption and the kabbalistic Zohar.

From the Zohar to the Geula

Two stories, one people

We want the type of unity that respects others, areas that bind us. Israel belongs to all of us.  A shul belongs to all of us.Op-ed.

Two stories, one people

The Nazirite and a Kohen Gadol

Daf Yomi learners finish the Tractate Nazir just as we begin the Book of Vayikra on Shabbat with the work of the Kohen Gadol. A comparison.

The Nazirite and a Kohen Gadol

More than enough!

Comparisons to the sin of the Golden Calf.

More than enough!

Vaeira: The process of convincing Pharaoh

Step by step, plague after plague, Pharaoh learns the way the world works.

Vaeira: The process of convincing Pharaoh

Vayechi: Tying up the loose pieces

Some of the "final words" and "small print" at the end of the contract ending the book of Bereishit.

Vayechi: Tying up the loose pieces

Understanding Yaakov through colors

Let's refer to Esau as red, and to Lavan as (how predictable...) white.

Understanding Yaakov through colors

Lech Lecha: The emunah of our Forefather

Reading this week's parsha can show us the amazing development in Abraham's life regarding a crucial existential question.

Lech Lecha: The emunah of our Forefather

Legal justice: Jerusalem and the court system in the parasha

The real inspiration and power for the court comes from the holy city of Jerusalem and the Temple. This helps the judges stick to the truth.

Legal justice: Jerusalem and  the court system in the parasha

Balak: Legal but wrong

Balaam is the perfect example of someone who tries to get away with doing anything not specifically forbidden.

Balak: Legal but wrong

Three leadership styles and three different emphases

38 years passed between last week's Parsha and this one. Not only did the whole nation die, all three of its leaders pass away.:

Three leadership styles and three different emphases

How to make Shavuot bloom

The Torah lifestyle reaches out to every corner of the world that seems to be empty, shallow and "dry"- and gives it life, color and depth.

How to make Shavuot bloom

Behar (Israel): Yovel Year and Geula

Three occasions--Akedat Yitzchak,  the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and the year of the yovel,  have commonality.

Behar (Israel): Yovel Year and  Geula

Advice for the Wise Son

Focus on the wise son's question and possible answers that point to the experiential aspects of Torah observance.

Advice for the Wise Son

Daf Yomi: The meaning behind Yibbum

To all of the Daf Yomi participants that begin this week with Seder Nashim and Masechet Yevamot, I present this introduction.

Daf Yomi: The meaning behind Yibbum

Choni Hameagel: When dreams become reality

If any of our grandparents from the previous generation would visit ours, would they be pleased with what they see?

Choni Hameagel: When dreams become reality

VAYISHLACH 5782

Of angels and men

Yaakov makes his first step into the "boxing arena" He is injured because this is now reality.

Of angels and men

Four characters=Four worlds

Each of the four starring characters in the Jacob story has his own attitude towards this world and the world to come.

Four characters=Four worlds

Flooding lessons

In books of Chassidus (Tzidkat Hatzadik 107, Torah Ohr Parshat Noach) the Mabul is described as one great 'Mikve' (ritual bath).

Flooding lessons

It's not about me

Why don't we ask forgiveness for our personal sins on Rosh Hashana if it is the Day of Judgment?

It's not about me

Who is your tour guide?

Who is your tour guide? That makes all the difference.in how you deal with the Giant problem.

Who is your tour guide?

The Revelation at Sinai - the War with Gaza

As one man with one heart, that is how we received the Torah and how we face our enemies.

The Revelation at Sinai - the War with Gaza

Shmita - Rest for the Man or for the Land?

Is it the land lying fallow that is the central theme, or are the Jews who do not work it during the shmita year the focus?

Shmita - Rest for the Man or for the Land?

'Here is the way you shall enter'

In this week's Torah reading, why begin the description of the Avoda on Yom Kippur with telling us of the demise of the sons of Aaron?

'Here is the way you shall enter'

See you in Court

Parshat Mishpatim, the Torah portion called "laws" also calls judges "elohim" - God, masters or lords. What does this signify?

See you in Court

Choosing the Geula model

Which of the two models for Redemption is in the story of the Exodus? And which will be our story?

Choosing the Geula model

Zot Hanukkah: What was the real conflict with the Greeks?

Before the holiday ends, a short Video Dvar Torah given at the Sderot Hesder Yeshiva makes the real conflict with the Greeks clear.

Zot Hanukkah: What was the real conflict with the Greeks?

'Let us go up and possess the land'

Abraham's negotiations in Hevron are a lesson for the future.

'Let us go up and possess the land'

A whole new world - lessons from Parashat Noach

The world changed after the Deluge. Ours can as well.

A whole new world - lessons from Parashat Noach

The loss of the world as we knew it

When the Holy Temple was destroyed, the loss was of a whole way of life.

The loss of the world as we knew it

Recipe for a perfect Red Heifer

This is not in our food section because the ingredients are currently unavailable, but how we wish we could achieve the purity it brings!

Recipe for a perfect Red Heifer

Korach – He has a point

One can define Korach's camp as an ideological group, except that it was tainted by the faults that bring down many failed ideologies.

Korach – He has a point

The custom of dairy products on Shavuot

There is something special when it comes to customs. Sometimes their effect is stronger than that of mitzvot.

The custom of dairy products on Shavuot