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Faith and Ethics

Don’t Be Afraid

What is the meaning of the double consolation in the opening verse of the Haftarah, “Be consoled, be consoled, My nation” [Isaiah 40:1]? It is true that Zion “has been given double for all her sins” [40:2], and therefore it is due for double consolation. But what does this mean? It would seem that the answer to this question can ... Read More »

“Hear the Word of G-d” [Jeremiah 2:4]

The Maharal explains that the destruction of the Temple cannot be blamed on sins of the people, because the destruction and the exile is a “momentous matter,” and such momentous occurrences do not depend on random events. (Netzach Yisrael, Chapter 2). Sin has a random quality as part of reality, since the very nature of mankind in general and of ... Read More »

The Ethics of the Prophets

Bible critics insist that the prophets guided the people of their generation about moral principles only and were not interested in religious rituals. Their proof, as is quoted by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi in the Kuzari (Volume 2, 47), is from a verse in this week’s Haftara: “Does G-d want to be appeased by thousands of rams, by tens of thousands ... Read More »

Parallel universes….

fantasy cosmos background, spiral galaxy

A year ago Thomas Friedman suggested that we solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict by placing NATO forces as the doorman of the Palestinian state. This suggestion is not of his own making, but that of Mahmoud Abaas, the acting governor of the civic affairs of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria. According to Thomas Friedman this is a reasonable ... Read More »

Is it Good to Have a King?

In the Haftorah for this week, Samuel tries to strengthen the status of the King. “And Samuel said to the people, Let us go to Gilgal, where we will renew the kingdom.” [Samuel I 11:14]. It seems that Samuel has resigned himself to accept the will of the nation to appoint a king as their head, in spite of his ... Read More »

Testimony for all of Humanity

This week’s Haftarah begins with the return of the Shechina – the holy Presence – to Zion and with the significance of this process for mankind: “Sing and be happy, daughter of Zion, for I am coming, and I will dwell within you – this is what G-d says. And many nations will join together with G-d on that day.” ... Read More »

Divine Names

In both religious and nonreligious circles, it is common to speak about the Holy One, Blessed be He, as the “Supreme Force” (“Koach Elyon“). However, this concept is entirely wrong, for several reasons. The simplest reason for this fact is that any attempt to define Divinity diminishes the concept and distorts the truth, in the manner of, “for You, silence ... Read More »

The Bill of Sale

Before Jerusalem was conquered by the Chaldeans, G-d commanded Jeremiah to buy the field belonging to his cousin Hanamel, as we read in the Haftarah for this week. This symbolic act, which took place in the last moments before the city fell, is a sign to those about to leave in exile that they will return to Zion: “This is ... Read More »

Grain from the Land

What is the main characteristic of the holiday of Pesach? At first glance, the answer to this question is simple: It is the Exodus from Egypt! However, if this is so then we are celebrating an event that has not reached an end. It is true that we were released from slavery into freedom, but we did not make it ... Read More »

Video: Making matza

raw-matza

See how matza is baked – a demonstration that was filmed at Merkas Harav, the yeshiva that was established 90 years ago by Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook. Includes all the necessary steps: mixing and kneading the dough, rolling out the matza, baking.   Read More »