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Faith and Ethics

Testimony for the Entire World

This week’s Haftarah begins with the return to Zion and the ramifications of this event for all of humanity: “Be happy and joyful, daughter of Zion, for I am coming, and I will dwell within you – that is the declaration of G-d. And many nations will join together and come to G-d that day…” [Zechariah 2:14-15]. The end of ... Read More »

The Wisdom of Edom

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Based on a verse from this week’s Haftarah, our sages have taught us the following: “If a person tells you, ‘There is wisdom among other nations,’ believe it, as is written, ‘I will destroy the wise men from Edom and the understanding from Mount Sei’ir’ [Obadiah 1:8]. If he tells you, ‘There is Torah among other nations,’ do not believe, ... Read More »

“And as to Esau…”

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The words of the Elijah of Vilna [by his Hebrew acronym Gra (“HaGaon Rabbenu Eliyahu”)] about the first verses in this week’s Haftarah are quite surprising: “Is not Esau a brother to Jacob, and I have loved Jacob? But as to Esau I have hatred.” [Malachi 1:2-3]. Just at this place, where the passage emphasizes the differences between Israel and ... Read More »

Why Perform a Miracle?

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Why did Elisha perform the miracles described in this week’s Haftarah – the continuous production of new oil and reviving the son of the Shunamite woman? Even though righteous people and prophets can indeed cause wonders to take place both by praying and by the force of their holiness, it is not appropriate to change the ways of nature for ... Read More »

Tell about His glory among the Nations

“Tell about His glory among the Nations” (Psalms 96,3) From the very beginnings of history, the descendants of Abraham were given the task of being a source of blessing for all the families of the earth (Genesis 12,3). When the nation of Israel was chosen and was given the Torah of God, it was charged with the task of being ... Read More »

He Released the Nations

In this week’s Torah portion, humanity makes a covenant promising to observe Seven Mitzvot. However, surprisingly, this covenant is not kept. The following appears in the Talmud: “Rav Yosef said: ‘He stood and measured the earth, and He released the nations’ [Habakkuk 3:6]. What did He see? He saw that the Bnei Noach did not observe the Seven Mitzvot which ... Read More »

Celebrate Humanity Day

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The Twenty-Seventh of Marcheshvan – a holiday for Noahides, on the date that Noach left the ark and received the Seven Mitzvot. Download “Humanity Day”, pdf Read More »

The Beginning, the Middle, and the End

Why did our tradition choose the Song of David (Samuel II 22:1-51) as the Haftarah of the Torah portion of Ha’azinu, which contains the epic exalted poem written by Moses? For the portion of Beshalach, which includes the epic poem of the Children of Israel at the Red Sea celebrating the victory over the Egyptian army, the Song of Deborah ... Read More »

The Essence of Existence

The Prophet Isaiah turns to the community of Israel with consolation: “Be happy, barren woman who did not give birth” [54:1]. Who is this person to whom the prophet turns? Is there a personality that stands alone, which has a dialogue with the Creator? The answer is that it is the entire nation, throughout all the generations, which is viewed ... Read More »

An Eternal Covenant

This week’s Haftarah describes the stages of the consolation of Zion in a very clear way (Isaiah 54:11-55:5). Zion is depicted as a poor woman with a tempestuous soul who will not be consoled until all the goals of redemption have been achieved. The consolation takes place gradually, corresponding in a remarkable way to the events of our era: – ... Read More »