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

The Jewish Way in Responsible Adulthood

The Jewish Way in Responsible Adulthood

  Shimon and Levi are each referred to in this verse as איש, a man. The Midrash calculates that this story took place barely thirteen years after the birth of Levi, the younger of the two brothers, and yet Levi is called a man, indicating that at the age of thirteen he had the emotional maturity of a grown man. […]

November 18, 2018 at 2:30 AM 0 comments

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 […]

November 12, 2018 at 2:43 AM 0 comments

The Residential Real Estate Guy – Parashat Vayeitzei

The Residential Real Estate Guy – Parashat Vayeitzei

Your name reflects more than just your parents’ feelings and whims at the moment you were born. According to the teachings of Kabbalah, parents are endowed by G-d with the wisdom to choose names that are associated with the unique source from which their child’s soul stems. Hence, though Leah attributed her choice of the name Zevulun to the milestone […]

November 10, 2018 at 3:07 AM 1 comment

How Yaakov Made His Fortune

How Yaakov Made His Fortune

  It is out of character for the Rambam, in a work strictly dedicated to documenting the laws of the Torah, to tell us of the reward that someone in history received for the observance of a particular law. Understandably then, the Rambam does not mention Yaakov’s reward for putting full effort into his work as mere words of inspiration, […]

November 10, 2018 at 2:48 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 10, 2018 at 1:59 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 […]

November 10, 2018 at 1:44 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 10, 2018 at 1:06 AM 0 comments

Gifts from a Minimalist – Parashat Toldot

Gifts from a Minimalist – Parashat Toldot

At the age of one hundred and twenty-three, Yitzchak was five years younger than his mother had been at her passing, and there was still a good chance that he would live another fifty years or more, as his father had. (In fact, he ultimately lived to 180, five years longer than his father.) Even his mother’s passing at the […]

November 3, 2018 at 1:25 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 3, 2018 at 1:13 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 3, 2018 at 12:50 AM 1 comment

Better Off Blind – Parashat Toldot

Better Off Blind – Parashat Toldot

To say that blindness is debilitating is an understatement. In fact, Rashi comments later (28:10), “Because Yitzchak’s eyes had become dim and he was confined in his house, he was like a dead person.” Why had G-d caused this to happen? According to one explanation brought by Rashi, this was to enable Yaakov to receive the blessings that Yitzchak intended […]

November 2, 2018 at 1:20 AM 1 comment

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, […]

October 28, 2018 at 1:34 AM 0 comments

Your Candles, Your Home

Your Candles, Your Home

With Sarah’s passing, Avraham (and Yitzchak) assumed the duty of lighting the candles in their tent each Friday in honor of Shabbos, (as the Halacha requires in circumstances where the woman of the house can not light them).  We see from Rashi, however, that the miracle of the Shabbos candles burning all week long, as Sarah’s had, was only restored […]

October 27, 2018 at 8:29 PM 0 comments

Parenting is Forever – Parashat Chayei Sarah

Parenting is Forever – Parashat Chayei Sarah

Yitzchak was a grown man of forty when Eliezer set off to find him a wife. The strong education that he’d received from his parents had clearly left the desired impact. When, at G-d’s command, Avraham had sought to offer him as a sacrifice, Yitzchak had been equally willing to go ahead with it (see Rashi to 22:8). At this […]

October 27, 2018 at 2:27 AM 0 comments