The 14th of the Hebrew month of Iyar is a special day called “Pesach Sheini” – the Second Passover. It was God’s answer to the pleas of the Jewish men who carried out Joseph’s bones from Egypt during the Exodus. They became ritually impure and were unable to bring the Passover offering at its appointed… Read more »
This chapter contains Ezekiel’s famous vision of the valley of dry bones coming to life. In the prophet’s time, Israel was destroyed and the people scattered to the four corners of the earth. Yet, when God asks Ezekiel “can these bones live?” he doesn’t express doubt or hopelessness. He answers that anything can happen if… Read more »
It is no coincidence that so many of our Biblical heroes were shepherds.The simple profession was ideal for two reasons. On the one hand, the abundance of time for quiet reflection and meditation allowed the shepherd to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord. Additionally, shepherds who excelled in their work acquired a deep sensitivity… Read more »
This Torah portion (Leviticus 21-24) describes the challah bread which was placed on a table in the Sanctuary. The loaves represent God’s concern, not only with our spiritual well-being, but even with our physical prosperity everyday, continually. This lesson comes alive to this day with a tradition to bake delicious challah for Shabbat.
Israel has sent a remarkable delegation of IDF soldiers and medics to save lives in Nepal after its devastating earthquake. Here’s what IDF Brig. General Yoel Strick had to say: “We have set out on a mission which symbolizes all that the IDF stands for, and we are greatly proud of this.” The soldiers of… Read more »
The Hebrew month of Iyar – אייר – is according to Jewish tradition an acronym that stands for the words in today’s verse: אֲנִי י-ְהוָה רֹפְאֶךָ. The very name of the month of Iyar teaches us that the powers of life and death and the ability to heal lie not in the hands of man,… Read more »
This verse, from the end of the Book of Genesis, introduces the blessings that Jacob bestows upon his children. Jewish commentators explain that really, Jacob intended on doing more than bless his children; his ultimate desire was to tell them about the ‘End of Days’ and the arrival of the Moshiach (Messiah). Although Jacob wanted… Read more »
In the Book of Exodus, God gives detailed instructions on building the Tabernacle and the glorious Ark of the Covenant into which the two tablets were placed. In Hebrew, the name of the Ark אָרון comes from the word אורה/ light, for it contained the spiritual light of the world. The Ark disappeared after the… Read more »
This verse from the wisdom of King Solomon urges each of us to seek out and connect with others with whom we can grow spiritually. From the word ‘chaver’ (friend) comes the word ‘chavruta’ – a study partner – a deeply traditional way of biblical learning where two people explore Jewish texts together.
This section comes from Naftali Herz Imber’s 1878 poem “Hatikva” which later became Israel’s national anthem. Meaning, ‘The Hope’ in Hebrew, Hatikva expresses the Jewish desire to “live in freedom.” However the Biblical notion of freedom is quite different from how others define it. In the modern world, people fight for freedom from some undesirable… Read more »
This incredible road sign provides a stark insight into life in Israel and the true miracle of Israel’s existence. Surely God could have nestled His Chosen Land in a more blissfully peaceful part of the world! Yet how much more so are we stirred to thank Him for the Land, made all the more miraculous… Read more »
As our verse describes, the righteous Samuel grew up in the service of God, and found favor in all those around him. He went on to annoint the first Kings of Israel, Saul and David. The name Samuel means “God has heard” referring to God answering the fervent prayers of his mother, Hannah, who was… Read more »
Several years ago, three fighter planes flew above Auschwitz – only this time they were Israeli Air Force jets, symbolizing the revival of the Jewish people and saying out loud to the whole world: “Never again“. Col. Avi Maor, one of the six pilots and navigators that took part in the flight, said: “The message… Read more »