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 […]

October 21, 2018 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 […]

October 21, 2018 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 […]

October 21, 2018 at 1:20 AM 2 comments

Sacrificing Your Faith for Your G-d

Sacrificing Your Faith for Your G-d

  To knowingly give up your life runs contrary to the basic human instincts of survival. Yet, our history is filled with kedoshim, holy martyrs who accepted death rather than submit to a belief contrary to the Torah. Chassidut explains that they drew their strength from Avraham, who “opened the channels of self-sacrifice”, enabling his descendants to access the supernatural ability […]

October 20, 2018 at 2:35 AM 1 comment

Sacrificing Your Faith for Your G-od – Parashat Lech Lecha

Sacrificing Your Faith for Your G-od – Parashat Lech Lecha

  To knowingly give up your life runs contrary to the basic human instincts of survival. Yet, our history is filled with kedoshim, holy martyrs who accepted death rather than submit to a belief contrary to the Torah. Chassidus explains that they drew their strength from Avraham, who “opened the channels of self-sacrifice”, enabling his descendants to access the supernatural ability […]

October 14, 2018 at 3:01 PM 0 comments

It’s About the Departure, Not the Journey

It’s About the Departure, Not the Journey

The details about the place from where Avram will be leaving seem entirely superfluous. A journey to a new land automatically requires leaving your current (and previous) land, and obviously your home and place of birth! On the other hand, knowing the details about where he’d be relocating to would have helped him plan and prepare for the journey. Yet, […]

October 12, 2018 at 2:55 AM 0 comments

Lasting Effect

Lasting Effect

“…And my covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant…” – Bereishit 17:13 והיתה בריתי בבשרכם לברית עולם – בראשית יז, יג “Our father Avraham observed the entire Torah before it was given,” says the Talmud (Kiddushin 82a). Chassidus explains, however, that the mitzvos our forefathers observed of their own initiative did not have the ability to impact and […]

October 12, 2018 at 2:45 AM 0 comments

The Reasonable Bad Guy

The Reasonable Bad Guy

Og was a rationalist and a cynic (see Beraishis Rabba 53), but he could still respect humanitarian causes based on rhyme and reason. So it wasn’t surprising that he’d encourage Avram to save his own flesh and blood from captivity. Yet, at their root, Og’s motives were entirely impure. For though the cause was justified and logical, Og knew that […]

October 12, 2018 at 1:42 AM 0 comments

Old Enough For What?

Old Enough For What?

In a covenant, the two parties commit to remain devoted to each other unconditionally, even if eventual discoveries or circumstances might be cause for them to lose favor in each other’s eyes. Yet, human beings are inherently limited and therefore undergo constant changes, such that there is no way to guarantee that even a covenant will truly last forever. The […]

October 12, 2018 at 12:01 AM 0 comments

The Only Self to Sacrifice is Your Own

The Only Self to Sacrifice is Your Own

“….And only Noach and those with him in the Ark survived….” (Bereishit 7:23) ״…וישאר אך נח ואשר אתו בתבה…״ – בראשית ז,כג In our holy task of providing the world with its spiritual sustenance, we must take a lesson from Noach’s devotion to tending to the needs of his passengers and dependents, the animal kingdom. Despite his saintliness and piety, Noach […]

October 6, 2018 at 2:28 AM 1 comment

Living the Dream – Parashat Noach

Living the Dream – Parashat Noach

 ״….צא מן התבה אתה ואשתך ובניך ונשי בניך אתך: כל החיה אשר אתך מכל בשר בעוף ובבהמה ובכל הרמש הרומש על הארץ הוצא אתך….״ – בראשית ח, טז-יז In his prophecies of the Messianic era, Yeshayahu (11:6) describes how “the wolf shall live with the lamb, and a leopard shall lie with a young goat…and a small child shall lead […]

October 6, 2018 at 1:18 AM 3 comments

Choose Your Role Models Carefully – Parashat Noach

Choose Your Role Models Carefully – Parashat Noach

“…..Noach was a righteous man, perfect in his generations….” – (Bereishit 6:9) ״…נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדורותיו…״ – בראשית ו,ט The two opinions brought by Rashi do not necessarily disagree regarding Noach’s actual level of righteousness. It’s possible that all agree that in comparison to Avraham, Noach’s righteousness was far from ideal.  Nevertheless, Noach was not entirely to blame […]

October 5, 2018 at 5:23 PM 3 comments

The Maturing of Humankind – Parashat Noach

The Maturing of Humankind – Parashat Noach

In the aftermath of the Flood, the world was introduced to two seemingly opposite extremes. On the one hand, the earth achieved stability and permanence – after the Flood, G-d swore to never again destroy the world. Conversely, the human life span was drastically shortened: from an average close to 1000 years before the Flood, to an average of 100-200 […]

October 5, 2018 at 2:46 PM 0 comments

You Will, But When Already?

You Will, But When Already?

“…And it was evening and it was morning, the sixth day…” – Bereishit 1:31 וירא אלהים את כל אשר עשה והנה טוב מאד ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום הששי   – בראשית א, לא At the conclusion of its account of the first day of creation, the Torah sums up the day saying, “It was evening and it was morning, one […]

October 1, 2018 at 1:44 AM 0 comments

Solid Backing

Solid Backing

“…..You are all Standing today before G-od, your G-od: the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Israel, your young children, your women, and your convert who is within your camp, both your woodcutters and your water drawers. So that you may enter the covenant of G-od, your G-od…” – Devarim 29:9-11 אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם […]

September 3, 2018 at 2:08 AM 0 comments

Can Teshuvah Be an Obligation?

Can Teshuvah Be an Obligation?

“…And you will return to Hashem your G-d, and you will listen to His voice…” – Devarim 30:2 וְשַׁבְתָּ עַד ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ וְשָׁמַעְתָּ בְקֹלוֹ – דברים ל, ב The Sefer Mitzvos Katan (#53) interprets this verse as a command to do teshuvah; meaning, one has a positive obligation to repent, and has neglected a mitzvah if he does not. Others, however, […]

September 2, 2018 at 2:29 AM 0 comments

Your Happiness is My Happiness

Your Happiness is My Happiness

“…And it will be, when you come into the land which G-d, your G-d, gives you for an inheritance, and you possess it and settle in it, that you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground… ” (Devarim 26:1-2) וְהָיָה כִּי תָבוֹא אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּ בָּהּ וְלָקַחְתָּ מֵרֵאשִׁית […]

August 28, 2018 at 2:49 AM 0 comments

Raising Children: The Hardest Job of All….

Raising Children: The Hardest Job of All….

“…So we cried out to Hashem, G-d of our fathers, and G-d heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression…” –  (Devarim 26:7) וַנִּצְעַק אֶל ה’ אֱלֹקֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ וַיִּשְׁמַע ה’ אֶת קֹלֵנוּ וַיַּרְא אֶת עָנְיֵנוּ וְאֶת עֲמָלֵנוּ וְאֶת לַחֲצֵנוּ – דברים כו, ז Our toil – these are the sons, as it is written “Every son […]

August 27, 2018 at 2:59 AM 0 comments

Monarch Psychology… – Parashat Ki Tavo

Monarch Psychology… – Parashat Ki Tavo

Parashat Ki Tavo “…..G-D HAS SET YOU APART THIS DAY TO BE HIS TREASURED PEOPLE, JUST AS HE SPOKE CONCERNING YOU…..” (DEVARIM 26:18) In Shemos 19:5, Rashi explains the significance of being G-d’s “treasure”:   A beloved treasure, like “and the treasures (וּסְגֻלַּת) of the kings” (Koheles 2:8) – costly vessels and precious stones, which the kings store away. Likewise, […]

August 26, 2018 at 7:07 PM 0 comments

The Holiday that was Left Out

The Holiday that was Left Out

The seven days of the festival of Sukkos are followed by Shemini Atzeres (and Simchas Torah). Regarding the seven days of Sukkos, the Torah explicitly commands us to be additionally joyous, even more so than all other festivals. But what of Shemini Atzeres, the eighth day of the holiday? According to the Talmud, the words “you will be only happy” […]

August 5, 2018 at 1:15 AM 0 comments