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Daniel Pinner

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Parashat Behar: Two different Shabbatot

There iis a fundamental difference between these two Shabbatot.

Parashat Behar:  Two different Shabbatot

Bitter ironies, bitter lessons, and self-hating Jews

The story of a Jew who rejected his identification with the Jewish nation. Needing to belong somewhere, he made common cause with the most vicious Jew-haters. A lesson for today. Op-ed.

Bitter ironies, bitter lessons, and self-hating Jews

Yom Hazikaron 2024

Thoughts during the siren

I think of the price of freedom, of independence. And then I think of the price of not having freedom. The price which we commemorated a week ago, on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Thoughts during the siren

Kedoshim: Preparing for Redemption

The prophetic message of the Return to Zion in the Haftorah we read could have been tailor-made for this Shabbat.

Kedoshim:  Preparing for Redemption

Shabbat Hagadol: Redemption then, redemption now

It is a fundamental component of Pesach that the redemption from Egypt – our first national redemption – is the paradigm for the final redemption,

Shabbat Hagadol: Redemption then, redemption now

The first day of Nissan - in Egypt

It is the first of Nissan in the year 2448 (1312 B.C.E.). Nine of the Ten Plagues have struck Egypt, and only the tenth, the Slaying of the Firstborn, the most devastating Plague of them all, is yet to come.

The first day of Nissan - in Egypt

Parshat Shmini and Parshat Hachodesh - stages of Redemption

An analysis of the non kosher animals mentioned in the parasha is connected to the four questions - and Redemption. This will be the final exile, after which we will never again be defeated or exiled from our Land.

Parshat Shmini and Parshat Hachodesh - stages of Redemption

Purim: Why do they hate us?

Every nation, every culture which ever felt threatened by the knowledge of G-d was determined to exterminate, to kill, and to destroy all the Jews, from young to old, babies and women.

Purim: Why do they hate us?

Shabbat Zachor: Perverted compassion

Refusing to kill Amalek, keeping Amalek alive, isn’t a surfeit of compassion. It’s the opposite: it is a perversion of compassion. Exterminating evil is the truest compassion.

Shabbat Zachor: Perverted compassion

Parshat Shekalim: One nation with one destiny

Jews the world over, estranged for decades if not generations, have been forced to return to the Jewish body, to recognise that their destiny is Jewish destiny.

Parshat Shekalim: One nation with one destiny

Natural miracles

The IDF freed two hostages in Gaza in the middle of the night. A miracle? No question about it, but one that occurred by natural means, the cooperation of Intelligence and fighting forces.

Natural miracles

Yitro: The greatest Heritages

The word מוֹרָשָׁה, morashah, meaning “heritage”, appears only twice in the Torah, referring to the two heritages of Israel. One cannot do without the other.

Yitro:  The greatest Heritages

Beshalach: In time of war...

What, then, was uniquely harsh about the Plague of Hail?

Beshalach: In time of war...

Parashat Vayechi: Judah lies down like a lion

When G-d arises, when those who hate Him are blown away as smoke is, then Israel – Judah – can lie down peacefully, like a lion at rest.

Parashat Vayechi: Judah lies down like a lion

The 10th of Tevet and Vayigash: The beginning and end of Exile

The 10th of Tevet marked the beginning of the end of the First Jewish Commonwealth.

The 10th of Tevet and Vayigash: The beginning and end of Exile

First night of Hanukkah: One candle or eight?

Hillel sees the world as it is; Shammai sees the world as it should be. In our imperfect world, we follow Hillel’s rulings, but one day....

First night of Hanukkah: One candle or eight?

Parashat Vayishlach: Israel’s first war

Read the Maharal on Shimon and Levi: They understoodl that if this outrage was unpunished, then no Hebrew would ever be safe again

Parashat Vayishlach: Israel’s first war

Chaye Sarah: Towards the downfall of the savage

G-d will hear the nation of Israel]'s cries because of what Ishmael’s descendants do to them in the Land of Israel at the end of days..

Chaye Sarah: Towards the downfall of the savage

Gaza: Rectifying the original evil

Why has Gaza remained disputed? Why has it never become part of Israel? Here is the story. Op-ed.

Gaza: Rectifying the original evil

Ending the month of beginnings

And since Tishrei is the month of beginnings, it is especially apposite that we conclude the annual Torah-reading and then begin it again.

Ending the month of beginnings

Be an etrog!

You have the choice to be any one of the Four Species.

Be an etrog!

Who will become impoverished, who will become wealthy

Four men, the Zohar tells us (Volume 1, Bereishit 27a), entered the Orchard, the פַּרְדֵּס (Pardess)....

Who will become impoverished, who will become wealthy

Who by fire, who by water…

"And repentance and prayer and charity reverse the evil of the decree”.

Who by fire, who by water…

Parashat Shoftim: On Jewish Justice

Learn how the Torah guarantees that justice is administered - and a comparison to Israel's court system.

Parashat Shoftim: On Jewish Justice

Re’eh: Return to Eden

The 7 Haftarot of Consolation from Isaiah are his magnificent prophecies of the halcyon days to come, in our return en masse to the Land.

Re’eh: Return to Eden

The Ninth of Av:: A magnificent tragedy

It took the entire might of the Roman Empire seven years to defeat the Jews. An inspiring episode, indeed!

The Ninth of Av:: A magnificent tragedy

Devarim: From Moshe to Joshua to Ruth to Rashi and beyond

We invariably begin to read the final Book of the Torah, Deuteronomy, on the Shabbat which immediately precedes the fast of the ninth of Av.

Devarim:  From Moshe to Joshua to Ruth to Rashi and beyond

Mattot-Mas’ei: 42 stations

Why does the Torah list all 42 of these stations? What does this list add to our knowledge or understanding?

Mattot-Mas’ei: 42 stations

Balak: Welcome back, Diaspora shul-goers

The double parashah which communities in exile will read this week, Chukkat-Balak, can happen only in exile, never in Israel.

Balak: Welcome back, Diaspora shul-goers

Conversation in the desert

The twelve men chosen to reconnoitre the Promised Land in a heart to heart (imagined) conversation.

Conversation in the desert

Op-ed:

Another ceasefire…and another…and another…

We can but live the best we can and look forward to the next round unless we decide to take back Gaza. Op-ed.

Another ceasefire…and another…and another…

Parashat Emor: Between independence and liberating Jerusalem

The Haftarah for Emor gives us hope for the future, the future which has already begun in the last two generations.

Parashat Emor: Between independence and liberating Jerusalem

Yom Ha'atzmaut: Where in the Redemption are we?

We no longer stand on the edge of Redemption: we have already taken our first hesitant, faltering, uncertain steps into Redemption..

Yom Ha'atzmaut: Where in the Redemption are we?

Thoughts during the sounding of the siren

Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day for IDF Fallen and Victims of Terror 5783 (2023) begins with a siren on Monday 8pm and then at 11am Tuesday.

Thoughts during the sounding of the siren

Memorializing the Holocaust: The world versus Israel

Israel and Jewish communities commemorate the Holocaust as a time when Jews were murdered, but also as a time when Jews fought back.

Memorializing the Holocaust: The world versus Israel

Parashat Tzav and Shabbat HaGadol: chametz and matza

The Todah (the last sacrifice we read before Pesach) and the Korban Pesach both convey the same idea: The Jew must thank G-d, but not alone.

Parashat Tzav and Shabbat HaGadol: chametz and matza

Vayikra and Nissan: A new era in our relationship with G-d

The Mishkan, the start of the month of Nissan and the beginning of the Book of Leviticus, mark a new phase in Jewish history.

Vayikra and Nissan: A new era in our relationship with G-d

Shabbat Hachodesh: Nation of Royalty

It is significant that our first national mitzvah was to take control of our time starting with the new year of kings.

Shabbat Hachodesh: Nation of Royalty

Ki Tisa and Shabbat Parah: Taking off the mask

Our Sages enacted that on the Shabbat (occasionally the final Shabbat) before Nissan, every Shul would read this decree of the Red Cow:

Ki Tisa and Shabbat Parah: Taking off the mask

Shushan Purim: The sweetest victory

Can you hear us celebrating, Haman? Hark from whatever dismal depths you are in now, and hear our sweet children singing in our own country.

Shushan Purim: The sweetest victory

Parashat Truma and the month of Adar-a contra to Av

it is appropriate that the Torah-readings for Adar, when we increase in joy, prepare us for building the Mishkan. Numerology attests to it.

Parashat Truma and the month of Adar-a contra to Av

Mishpatim, the legislative parasha

Is this a random selection of mitzvot, or is there a connecting theme?

Mishpatim, the legislative parasha

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…”

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, will yet defeat our enemies in the Land of Israel.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…”

The Tenth of Tevet: Why do we fast?

The final sentence could have been delayed, or even averted altogether, if only the nation had repented.

The Tenth of Tevet: Why do we fast?

Vayigash:The only mistaken thing Jacob ever said

What was the reason for Jacob's fear about going to Egypt?

Vayigash:The only mistaken thing Jacob ever said

The essence of Light: Miketz, Hanukkah, and Rosh Chodesh Tevet:

This year 5783, as occurs about one-third of the time, Shabbat Parashat Miketz falls on Rosh Chodesh Tevet which is on Hanukkah..And...

The essence of Light: Miketz, Hanukkah, and Rosh Chodesh Tevet:

Why didn't we light 8 candles the first night of Hanukkah?

Should we see the world as it is, or as it should be? We pray for the day the potential is going to be the same as the actual. Speedily!

Why didn't we  light 8 candles the first night of Hanukkah?

A robe too far

Why was it this luxurious robe, rather than anything else, that so aroused Joseph's brothers’ ire?

A robe too far

Vayishlach: Ask an American Rabbi

Jacob could have saved himself a lot of trouble had he stayed put in Laban's house.

Vayishlach:  Ask an American Rabbi

How to get angelic protection

When a Jew leaves Israel: there is an interim when he has no Divine protection. When he comes, he is escorted by the angels of the land.

How to get angelic protection

Chayei Sarah: Towards the downfall of the savage

Yishmael - A man suited to the desert, unable to coexist with his fellow-men, accept human laws or to live with civilized human society..

Chayei Sarah: Towards the downfall of the savage

Vayeira: Unexpected source of Redemption

The incestuous union of Lot and his daughter, began the dynasty that would culminate in the Mashiach.

Vayeira: Unexpected source of Redemption

Lech Lecha: The conversation that never was

Had the words of G-d been said to Abraham today, what would the outcome be?

Lech Lecha: The conversation that never was

Noah – The flawed tzaddik

Rabbi Yochanan perceived that something was wrong and it is not just that Noah did not try to save his generation, as is usually said..

Noah – The flawed tzaddik

Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, the last Festival in Tishrei

Ending the month of beginnings.

Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, the last Festival in Tishrei

Yom Kippur: Genesis of Repentance

As G-d’s world was launched, He already provided the capacity for atonement on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, repentance, forgiveness.

Yom Kippur: Genesis of Repentance

Parashat Vayeilech: Going into the future

G-d had given Israel 611 mitzvot via Moshe, only two more remain. And these two final mitzvot ensure Jewish continuity after Moshe is gone

Parashat Vayeilech:  Going into the future

Moses' words in Nitzavim: Prelude to Rosh Hashanah

Since Moshe said “all of you” why did he add "your heads, your Tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Israel; your infants..."?

Moses' words in  Nitzavim: Prelude to Rosh Hashanah

Ki Tavo: The ultimate punishment

Comparing the first set of admonitions (tochacha) with those in this week's parasha.

Ki Tavo: The ultimate punishment

Ki Teitze: Coincidence?

There are mitzvas which, by their nature, no one can plan to do. Perhaps God sends these opportunities to those who look for mitzvot to do.

Ki Teitze: Coincidence?