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

Under Renovation

Under Renovation

“……And you shall tear down their altars… You shall not do so to G-d, your G-d….” – Devarim 12:3-4 וְנִתַּצְתֶּם אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתָם . . לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן כֵּן לַה’ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם – דברים יב, ג-ד Anyone who demolishes a single stone from the Altar or any part of the Temple building… with a destructive intent is worthy of lashes, as is written: […]

August 5, 2018 at 1:05 AM

The Seasons: A Cycle of Growth

The Seasons: A Cycle of Growth

“…Safeguard the month of spring, and offer a Pesach to G-d…” – Devarim 16:1 We are commanded to set up the calendar in a manner that ensures that the holiday of Pesach will always be in the spring. The season of spring and its symbolism teach us a most uplifting and inspirational lesson. Throughout the winter, the earth’s processes of […]

August 5, 2018 at 1:01 AM

Enjoying the Joy of Yom Tov

Enjoying the Joy of Yom Tov

Even though the simcha mentioned here refers to the korban shlamim… included in this simcha is to make himself, his children and members of his household joyous, each one according to his means. How? For children one gives roasted kernels and nuts and sweets. For women one buys clothing and pleasant jewelry based on what one can afford. And men […]

August 5, 2018 at 1:01 AM

What’s On Your Mind? – Parashat Eikev

What’s On Your Mind? – Parashat Eikev

“…..And you shall teach them to your children to speak with them, when you sit in your house and when you go on the way; when you lie down and when you rise….” (Devarim 11:19) The final words of this verse teach that the mitzvos of studying Torah and reciting the Shema (“to speak with them”) must be observed at […]

July 29, 2018 at 2:20 AM

Speak as G-d Speaks – Parashat Eikev

Speak as G-d Speaks – Parashat Eikev

The Sifri explains the commandment to walk in G-d’s ways as an obligation to emulate the kind and just ways which the Torah attributes to G-d, such as patience and compassion. Our Sages taught, “The word of G-d is like an accomplished act (see Rashi, Beraishis 15:18).” According to the above Sifri, it can be suggested that we are obligated […]

July 29, 2018 at 2:11 AM

The Faith Diet

The Faith Diet

“…Who fed you with manna in the desert, which your ancestors did not know, in order to afflict you…” – Devarim 8:16 הַמַּאֲכִלְךָ מָן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדְעוּן אֲבֹתֶיךָ לְמַעַן עַנֹּתְךָ – דברים ח, טז The Talmud (Yoma 74b) interprets this verse quite literally, saying, the manna was a food that left you feeling hungry and afflicted.  According to one […]

July 29, 2018 at 1:29 AM

First Words…. – Parashat Eikev

First Words…. – Parashat Eikev

In the previous parsha, Va’eschana, the Torah commands us: “– You shall teach them thoroughly to your children”. Rashi (6:7) explains that “children” in that context is a reference to students, and the words ושננתם לבניך instruct us to teach the Torah to all who seek to study, and not only to our own children. It is only from the […]

July 29, 2018 at 1:12 AM

The One and Only Word – Echad

The One and Only Word – Echad

“…Hear, O Israel: Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is one…” – Devarim 6:4 שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ ה’ אֶחָד – דברים ו, ד This verse expresses the cardinal principle of the Jewish faith: belief in the singular existence of G-d. The deeper meaning of this “oneness” is that not only is there no deity other than the One G-d, but […]

July 24, 2018 at 2:23 AM

The Martyr’s Shema

The Martyr’s Shema

“…You shall love Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might…” – Devarim 6:5 וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ – דברים ו,ה Our Sages explain the commandment to “love G-d… with all your soul” to mean, “even if He takes your soul,” i.e., to devote yourself to G-d even at the […]

July 24, 2018 at 1:24 AM

Mezuzah: Protecting the Citizens of Israel

Mezuzah: Protecting the Citizens of Israel

“…And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates…” – Devarim 6:9 וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל מְזֻזוֹת בֵּיתֶךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶיךָ – דברים ו, ט Our sages teach that affixing mezuzos to the doorposts of our homes brings security and protection for the house and all its inhabitants (see Talmud, Avodah Zarah 11a). The Zohar (vol. 3, p. 263b) takes […]

July 23, 2018 at 2:54 AM

The Tefillin Line of Attack

The Tefillin Line of Attack

“…And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes…” – Devarim 6:8 וּקְשַׁרְתָּם לְאוֹת עַל יָדֶךָ וְהָיוּ לְטֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ – דברים ו,ח Our Sages taught that the mitzvah of Tefillin scares away the enemies of the Jewish people. The Talmud (Berachos 6a) declares, “It is written: ‘And […]

July 22, 2018 at 2:09 AM

War of Words

War of Words

“…On that side of the Jordan, in the land of Moav, Moshe began explaining this teaching, saying…” Devarim 1:5 בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹאָב הוֹאִיל משֶׁה בֵּאֵר אֶת הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת לֵאמֹר – דברים א, ה Before his passing, Moshe began to prepare Bnei Yisrael for their entry into the Land of Israel by recounting all that they had experienced during their forty […]

July 17, 2018 at 5:05 PM

Jewish Nationality

Jewish Nationality

“…Hashem, our G-d, spoke to us in Chorev, saying, “Your stay at this mountain has been plenty for you”… Devarim 1:6 ה’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ דִּבֶּר אֵלֵינוּ בְּחֹרֵב לֵאמֹר רַב לָכֶם שֶׁבֶת בָּהָר הַזֶּה – דברים א, ו Moshe recounted to Bnei Yisrael that, if not for the episode of the Spies, G-d would have brought them into the Land of Israel […]

July 16, 2018 at 1:44 AM

War? What For?

War? What For?

“…Come and possess the land that G-d swore to your forefathers, to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Yaacov, to give them and their descendants after them…” – Devarim 1:8 בֹּאוּ וּרְשׁוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה’ לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם וּלְזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם – דברים א, ח Moshe recounted to Bnei Yisrael that, if not for the episode of […]

July 15, 2018 at 11:42 PM

Uncontestably Yours

Uncontestably Yours

“…See, I have given the land before you; Come and possess the land that G-d swore to your forefathers, to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Yaacov, to give them and their descendants after them…” – Devarim 1:8 רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵיכֶם אֶת הָאָרֶץ בֹּאוּ וּרְשׁוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה’ לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם וּלְזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם – דברים א, […]

July 14, 2018 at 1:59 AM

Radical Blessings

Radical Blessings

“…Come, I will advise you… what this people will do to your people at the end of days…” – Bamidbar 24:14 לְכָה אִיעָצְךָ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה הָעָם הַזֶּה לְעַמְּךָ בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים – במדבר כד, יד Fearing that the Jews would wage war against him and conquer his land, Balak, the king of Moav, summoned the prophet Bilaam and asked him to curse them. […]

June 24, 2018 at 1:15 AM

Beauty Lies in the Details

Beauty Lies in the Details

“…How beautiful are your tents, Yaakov!…” – Bamidbar 24:3 מַה טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ יַעֲקֹב – במדבר כד, ג What was the beauty that Bilaam saw in Bnei Yisrael’s tents? The Talmud (Bava Basra 60a) explains that Bilaam observed that Bnei Yisrael arranged their tents in such a manner that the tents’ entrances did not exactly face one another. This practice reflected […]

June 23, 2018 at 2:12 AM

Uncountable Mitzvos

Uncountable Mitzvos

“…Who has counted the dust of Yaakov?…” – Bamidbar 23:10 מִי מָנָה עֲפַר יַעֲקֹב – במדבר כג, י Bilaam’s plot to curse the Jewish people was foiled when G-d forced him to bless and praise them instead. Describing the Jewish people’s endearment to G-d, Bilaam said, “Who can count the dust of Yaakov?” According to one interpretation brought by Rashi, […]

June 22, 2018 at 1:30 AM

Live Prey

Live Prey

“…Behold, a people that rises like a lioness, and raises itself like a lion…” – Bamidbar 23:24 הֶן עָם כְּלָבִיא יָקוּם וְכַאֲרִי יִתְנַשָּׂא – במדבר כג, כד Bilaam compared the Jewish people to lions. As interpreted by the Midrash Tanchuma, this comparison hints to the vigor with which the Jewish people recite the Shema, like a lion pouncing on its […]

June 22, 2018 at 1:06 AM