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Faith and Ethics

And Deborah Sang

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There is a lot to be learned from the poem of praise which Deborah wrote (Judges Chapter 5). Like every victory song, it teaches us that we should rejoice about a victory over the enemies of Israel. In addition, we should also be happy about the suffering of our enemies: “By the window she sat looking, and weeping, Sisera’s mother… ... Read More »

Kingdoms at War

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The main message of the Haftarah for this week’s portion (Ezekiel 28:25-29:21), aside from the discussion of the punishment that will befall Egypt which is similar to the plagues in the Torah portion, is the lesson it teaches us about international struggles. This includes the story of the rise and fall of various empires. In ancient times, the status of ... Read More »

Final Instructions

In this Haftarah (Kings I Chapter 2), King David teaches his son Solomon the essentials of how to manage a kingdom, as the ultimate example of the ideal government. There are six basic principles: Adopting good practices, the foundations of morality: “Be strong, and act like a man” [2:2]. The desired trait that is emphasized for a king is courage. ... Read More »

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 »