A Holiday for Humanity!
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It’s not Easy to be Jew

“You are the only ones I knew intimately from among all the families of the world, I will therefore hold you to account for all your sins” [Amos 3:2]. This verse, which appears in the Haftarah for this week, leads us to understand that the status of the Chosen People is not a comfortable position. If we ask ourselves if ... Read More »

Heaven and Earth

Different sectors within Judaism read different versions of the Haftarah for this week’s Torah portion. Ashkenazim read from the verse starting, “And Yaacov fled” [Hosea 12:13], until the end of the book (14:10). The Sephardim and the Yemenites read from “And My nation hesitate about returning to Me” [11:7], until “on the furrows of my field” [12:12]. And some Sephardi ... Read More »

What Did He Lack?

We read in the Haftorah this week, “And Adonijah Ben Haggith rose up and said, I will be king” [Kings I 1:5]. At first glance, Adonijah had all the proper credentials to take over the kingdom. He was the fifth son of David, after Avshalom, who was fourth, so that from the point of view of age he took precedence ... Read More »

My Slave

There are two ways to serve G-d, either as a slave or as a son (Introduction to Shaar Hahakdamot, by Rabbi Chaim Vital, 1:3). The first one, labor as a slave, is a technical activity, which only requires the person to perform the specified duties. One who acts as a slave does not try to determine the reasons for the ... Read More »

Pesach for the Nations


On the face of it, the date of the holiday of Succot seems to be out of place. The Torah teaches us that the purpose of Succot is “so that your later generations will know that I caused The Children of Israel to dwell in succot when I took them out of the Land of Egypt” [Leviticus 23:43]. This could ... Read More »

“Haziv Lach” – The Radiance is Yours

The Torah portion of Ha’azinu is the only one that has an ancient tradition about how it should be divided into short segments among the people who read it in public. The division is indicated by the phrase “Haziv Lach” – The radiance is Yours – which is an acronym – the first letter of the first word of each ... Read More »

Torah from the Earth

At Mount Sinai, the Torah was given from heaven and not from the earth. A tremendous and powerful voice of G-d burst forth from the mountain peak, and the nation was not allowed to climb up or even to touch the edge of the mountain, under a threat of death. When the Torah is given in this way, it creates ... Read More »

Why Two Torah Scrolls?

The King is commanded to write a second Torah scroll for his own use, in addition to the one that every man in Israel is required to write (at least according to the Rambam and the Beit Yosef). “And it will be, when he sits on his throne, let him write this second Torah on a scroll, before the Priests, ... Read More »

Is it our Right or Not?

The possession of the land does not depend on the merits of the conquerors. That is what we are explicitly told in this week’s Torah portion: “You do not come to conquer their lands by virtue of your righteousness and your upright character” [Deuteronomy 9:5]. However, if this is so, we might have thought that the evil acts of the ... Read More »

A New Order

The story of the scouts is repeated in the Torah portion, revealing a unique trait of Moses. The people decided that they would not be able to conquer the land because of the existence of the giants, and they said: “Because of G-d’s hatred for us, He took us out of Egypt to deliver us to the hands of the ... Read More »