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A Sound of Silence

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What is the meaning of the Divine revelation to the Prophet Elijah at Mount Horeb? The explanation given by Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook is well known, that in a way it was a lesson for Elijah, accompanied by a scolding, since his zealous defense of G-d was not perfect and was tainted by a personal matter, when he said, “They ... Read More »

Jephthah in his Generation

Jephthah is not considered an especially outstanding man, not in Torah wisdom and not as a public leader. The sages list him as one of the “minor people” of the world, whose lack of seriousness cost him the life of his daughter. He collects empty people around him, and he is banned from his own family (Judges 11:3). However, when ... Read More »

British turbulence

What I’ve learned from the British decision: On Friday, Great Britain decided to leave the European Union. What a crisis! I am reminded of the words of our sages: "When Israel is redeemed, all the nations will enter together, intermingled" (to ask for a reward for the kind way they treated the Children of Israel during the exile…). This was ... Read More »

“For we have Heard”

Rahab helps the two scouts that Joshua sent, even though she knows that they have come to conquer Jericho. At first glance this would seem to be an act of treason against her own people and an act supporting the invaders. However, she can justify her actions based on a number of significant claims. Rahab’s first claim is a realization ... Read More »

In preparation for Shavuot

This week we will celebrate the giving of the Torah, here are  two key insights: When a person is drowning in a swamp, he can’t get himself out by tugging at his own head. He needs external assistance to get out of the mud. We understand our world through our senses. The brain perceives our senses (hearing, sight, touch…) and processes ... Read More »

Exception to the Rule

There have been a number of prominent people in the history of Israel who lived as a nazir, an ascetic who refrains from drinking wine. The one whose laws are discussed in greatest detail is Samson, as appears in the Haftarah for this week: “The boy will be a nazir of G-d from the womb” [Judges 13:5]. Evidently the reason ... Read More »

“We have not Lost our Hope”

The complaint by Jeremiah the Prophet about the scourge of idol worship which was practiced by the Children of Israel takes on a special meaning in view of the spiritual revolution that took place during his lifetime. At the end of the era of the First Temple, those with the intuition of the Holy Spirit were able to sense that the ... Read More »

He has Faith in You!!

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Greetings from the Land of Israel. When we wake up in the morning, the first thing we recite is the “Modeh Ani” prayer: “I give thanks to You, everlasting King, who has compassionately restored my soul within me; great is Your faith.” Just look at the amazing and surprising end of this sentence: “Great is Your faith.” What does the ... Read More »

Before the Great Day Comes

Elijah the Prophet offered Olah Sacrifices outside the Temple, seemingly performing a sin, in order to cause the children of Israel to repent their ways. And this indeed corresponds to the ruling of the halacha: A prophet can cancel a mitzva on a temporary basis (“hora’at sha’ah”), as is written, “It is time to act for G-d, they have violated ... Read More »

Purity of Awareness

  While the special Torah reading of Parshat Parah involves the purification of a single individual who is ritually impure, the Haftarah discusses the purification of the entire community (Ezekiel 36:16-38). Personal impurity is a halachic matter which has practical implications for a person’s life. However, general impurity leads to removal of the Shechina as a result of the effects ... Read More »