There’s Nothing Like Home

There’s Nothing Like Home

“…And leah said, “…now my husband will reside with me, for i have borne him six sons,” so she named him zevulun…”  – bereishis 30:20 וַתֹּאמֶר לֵאָה . . הַפַּעַם יִזְבְּלֵנִי אִישִׁי כִּי יָלַדְתִּי לוֹ שִׁשָּׁה בָנִים וַתִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמוֹ זְבֻלוּן – בראשית ל, כ When our matriarch Leah bore her sixth son, she named him Zevulun, a derivative of […]

December 2, 2019 at 1:03 AM 0 comments

Good Night, Yaakov – Parashat Vayeitzei

Good Night, Yaakov – Parashat Vayeitzei

For fourteen years before this fateful night and twenty years after, Yaakov never lay down to settle in for a good night’s sleep. Now, Yaakov was spending the night at “the place”, precisely the spot where the Beis Hamikdash, Judaism’s holiest site, would some day stand. How could it be that specifically here Yaakov lay down for a relaxing and […]

December 1, 2019 at 1:44 AM 0 comments

The Rest of the Story

The Rest of the Story

“….On the third day, Lavan was informed that Yaakov had fled. He took along his kinsmen and pursued him for the distance of seven day journey….” – Bereishit 31:22-23 ״…ויוגד ללבן ביום השלישי כי ברח יעקב, ויקח את אחיו עמו וירדוף אחריו דרך שבעת ימים….״ – בראשית לא, כב-כג   There is a famous teaching of the Baal Shem Tov […]

November 30, 2019 at 1:59 AM 0 comments

Make the Time to Build a Home

Make the Time to Build a Home

Yaakov and Zevulun represent two opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to Torah study. Yaakov is called “an innocent man, who dwelled in tents (25:27),” referring to his extended studies in the “tents of Shem and Ever (Rashi),” the academies of Torah study of his time. Zevulun, on the other hand, famously arranged with Yissachar that “Zevulun will […]

November 30, 2019 at 1:06 AM 0 comments

Beneath the Surface of Eisav

Beneath the Surface of Eisav

Yitzchak was blind in his old age, but he couldn’t have been completely oblivious to Eisav’s unrefined character and conduct. His intentions to bless Eisav, nonetheless, must have been based not only on what he didn’t see or know about Eisav, but on what he did see in him. The Torah relates that Yitzchak devoted a lot of energy to […]

November 26, 2019 at 12:50 AM 1 comment

The Fighter – Parashat Toldot

The Fighter – Parashat Toldot

Our patriarchs and matriarchs were perfectly righteous people. In the words of the Tanya (Chapter 23), “throughout their lives they sanctified their every limb to serve exclusively as a ‘chariot’ for the implementation of G-d’s will.” From where then could Eisav, the child of the saintly Yitzchak and pure Rivka, have developed an attraction to idol-worship when he was but a […]

November 25, 2019 at 1:17 AM 0 comments

Earning the Unearnable – Parasht Toldot

Earning the Unearnable – Parasht Toldot

  Yaakov was a devoted son, and his mother’s welfare was surely a concern for him. Yet, Rivka’s promise, “Let your curse be upon me,” persuaded Yaakov to go ahead with her plan to trick Yitzchak into blessing him, and not Eisav, with the greatest blessings that Yitzchak had to offer. If Yaakov himself was afraid of Yitzchak’s curse, (should […]

November 24, 2019 at 2:34 AM 0 comments

Be Practical, but Spiritual…..

Be Practical, but Spiritual…..

  Avraham could not possibly have observed all the mitzvos in their physical form. In order to physically observe the mitzvah of wearing Tefilin, for example, the Tefilin must contain certain parshiyos, portions of the Torah, some of which speak about the Exodus from Egypt. As the Exodus took place more than three centuries after Avraham’s passing, Avraham’s fulfillment of this […]

November 24, 2019 at 1:13 AM 0 comments

Mitzvos for Misses and Mrs. – Parashat Chayei Sarah

Mitzvos for Misses and Mrs. – Parashat Chayei Sarah

A cloud began hovering over the tent immediately upon Rivka’s arrival. When she settled in and began going about her daily activities, Yitzchak noticed a special blessing in the food she prepared. When the candles that Rivka lit before Shabbos were still burning a full week later, Yitzchak became fully confident that Rivka was an heir to his mother’s saintliness, […]

November 17, 2019 at 1:34 AM 0 comments

Life is What You Make of It

Life is What You Make of It

Sarah’s life was far from uneventful or without suffering. Her years were colored by the painful longing for a child and then the joy of Yitzchak’s miraculous birth. The first half of her life she lived outside the Land of Israel; she moved there at the age of 65. She was twice taken captive by powerful kings who desired to marry […]

November 16, 2019 at 2:22 AM 0 comments

A Legacy of Dust and Ashes

A Legacy of Dust and Ashes

It was not only because Avraham humbly described himself using the metaphor of “dust and ashes” that his descendants merited mitzvos that involve dust and ashes. Rather, these two mitzvos in particular, the red heifer and the Sotah water, reflect the heritage of Avraham as expressed in his words, “I am but dust and ashes”. With these words, Avraham effectively […]

November 11, 2019 at 4:46 AM 1 comment

Judging by the Weather

Judging by the Weather

In the midst of conversing with G-d, Avraham sees three men approaching and runs to welcome them to his home. The Gemara (Shabbos 127a) learns from Avraham’s behavior that hospitality to guests is greater than receiving the Shechina, the Divine Presence. The question is, however, having no example or precedent from which to learn, how did Avraham know that it […]

November 10, 2019 at 2:43 AM 2 comments

Angels Have Feelings Too – Parashat Vayeira

Angels Have Feelings Too – Parashat Vayeira

Avraham hosted three angels in the midst of being visited by G-d, from which we learn that hospitality surpasses receiving the Divine Presence. Yet, considering that Avraham’s guests were angels, who had no need for the food and drink he offered, did Avraham in fact fulfill the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim with this act of hospitality? In hindsight, the cause for which […]

November 10, 2019 at 1:20 AM 2 comments

Do You Feel an Urge to Be Kind?

Do You Feel an Urge to Be Kind?

According to Rashi’s explanation, G-d caused that day to be unnaturally hot in order to spare Avraham the burden of entertaining visitors, but the absence of guests was ultimately a source of anguish for Avraham. Does that mean that G-d’s plan went awry? Was G-d’s interference with the weather patterns a waste? It must be that although the plan was […]

November 10, 2019 at 12:35 AM 1 comment

A Jew and His Dreams – Parashat Vayeishev

A Jew and His Dreams – Parashat Vayeishev

  Both of Yosef’s dreams foretold that one day his family would bow before him, but the imagery in the two dreams was not identical. The subjects of his first dream were from the plant kingdom: eleven sheaves of wheat bowed to his sheave. In the second dream, his family was represented by the solar system: the sun, the moon […]

November 24, 2018 at 2:51 AM 2 comments

Dreaming to Toil

Dreaming to Toil

“…And behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field – bereishis 37:7 וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה – בראשית לז, ז Yosef and Pharaoh both had dreams involving grain. A noticeable difference between these two dreams, however, reflects the fundamental disparity between what each of them represents. Yosef’s dream opened with a scene of toil. In his […]

November 24, 2018 at 2:04 AM 0 comments

Filled with Emptiness – Parashat Vayeishev

Filled with Emptiness – Parashat Vayeishev

  Our Sages teach that water is a metaphor for Torah (Bava Kama 17a). In view of that, we can understand why the presence of snakes and scorpions (in the pit where Yosef was thrown) is hinted in the Torah with the superfluous phrase “there was no water in it,” instead of the verse stating explicitly that the pit was […]

November 23, 2018 at 5:09 AM 0 comments

Don’t Make Yourself at Home

Don’t Make Yourself at Home

The literal translation of the word גַּרְתִּי is “I sojourned”, meaning, “I lived there as a foreigner” (from the root-word גֵר.) Yaakov emphasized that he was always a stranger in the house of Lavan, and never became a permanent resident. The word גַּרְתִּי according to its literal explanation, “I sojourned,” is truly the secret behind this word’s other interpretation – based on its numerical […]

November 19, 2018 at 3:16 AM 0 comments

You Should Really Get Out a Bit

You Should Really Get Out a Bit

Dinah’s socialness was inherited from her mother, explains Rashi. The Torah’s association of these two women who “went out” suggests that their presence in the public arena was considered excessive by the Torah’s standards of modest conduct. Despite the value of a lesson in feminine dignity, this interpretation seems contrary to the Torah’s trademark sensitivity. Would the Torah make a […]

November 19, 2018 at 3:08 AM 0 comments

It’s Not Petty When It’s Your Child

It’s Not Petty When It’s Your Child

It is remarkable that such a crucial aspect of Jewish faith, our eternal hope of survival, is commemorated with a law so narrow in scope. The prohibition of eating the sciatic nerve seems to be a mere technicality in the laws of Kosher, applicable only to the precise nerve that the angel wounded in Yaakov, which is in and of […]

November 19, 2018 at 2:28 AM 0 comments