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When one survives a life-threatening situation, he or she naturally feels a tremendous amount of gratitude to Hashem. Therefore, the Torah commands such a person to offer a thanksgiving-offering to the Lord. The Talmud (Berachot 54b) lists the four dangerous situations whose survivors are required to bring this offering: a potentially dangerous journey, dangerous imprisonment,… Read more »

When King Ahasuerus offered Esther up to half of the kingdom, this was not merely a show of generosity, but it referred to a specific geographic location. Jewish tradition states that the halfway mark of Ahasuerus’ empire was the site of the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple). Ahasuerus tells Esther that he is willing to do… Read more »

When King Ahasuerus offered Esther up to half of the kingdom, this was not merely a show of generosity, but it referred to a specific geographic location. Jewish tradition states that the halfway mark of Ahasuerus’ empire was the site of the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple). Ahasuerus tells Esther that he is willing to do… Read more »

Chana’s prayer of thanksgiving, recorded in this chapter, is considered a model prayer. In her time, there was still no established liturgy, and there was not yet any concept of organized prayer among the Israelites. Chana’s prayer was a spontaneous expression of her deep spirit, after finally being blessed with the child for whom she… Read more »

The word for ‘Hebrew’, Ivrit (עברית), comes from the root avar (עבר), ‘to cross over,’ which appears in this verse. Moshe tells the people that they are about to cross into the land on the other side of the Jordan. Similarly, our forefather Avraham was called Ha’Ivri (Genesis 14:13) because he came from the other… Read more »

The Talmud (Bava Batra 4a) quotes this verse in a passage explaining why the wicked King Herod was motivated to renovate and beautify the second Beit Hamikdash. Herod had engaged in a murderous rampage against the leading rabbis of his generation, only to regret his evil actions after he came to know and respect the… Read more »

The root of the Hebrew word for ‘compassion,’ rachamim (רחמים), is from the same root as the word rekhem (רחם), which means ‘womb.’ The connection between these two ideas is that a mother has innate compassion for her children, the fruit of her womb, as it says in Isaiah (49:15), “Can a woman forget her… Read more »

While on his sickbed, King David promises Batsheva that their son Shlomo will follow him to the throne. Batsheva then bows and says “May my lord King David live forever.” As all people must one day die, her words are somewhat puzzling. However, her statement must be understood on a deeper level. King David represents… Read more »

Hoshea promises that despite the period of punishment and separation, ultimately Israel will return and seek Hashem, their God and David, their king. He says this will take place b’acharit ha’yamim (באחרית הימים), translated here as ‘in the days to come,’ but often translated as ‘the end of days.’ However, as Prime Minister Menachem Begin… Read more »

Why is it called the Dead Sea in English? In Hebrew, it’s not called the Dead Sea, but the Salt Sea because of the extreme salinity of the water which makes life there unsustainable. However, the Bible says that this was not always the case – and Ezekiel says that in the future, there will… Read more »

Yeshayahu describes the great con­tributions that the nations and individual non-Jews will play in the resettlement of Eretz Yisrael. In modern times, this prophecy is being fulfilled by the unprece­dented number of non-Jews who visit, support and pray for Israel. Great individual Christian warriors for Tzion have also emerged to fulfill Yeshayahu’s prophecy. For example,… Read more »

Judaism follows a calendar with both lunar and solar components. The months are determined by the cycle of the moon, with the new month beginning when the first sliver of moon reappears in the sky at the beginning of a new lunar cycle. At the same time, though, the Jewish calendar has a solar component…. Read more »

The Hebrew language includes many words to describe various forms of happiness. The term osher refers to a type of personal happiness that one experiences when engaging in an activity such as listening to music or observing something spectacular in nature. Simcha, on the other hand, is a type of happiness that is created in… Read more »

According to Rabbi Tuly Weisz, “There is no more contested location than the spiritual epicenter of the world: The Temple Mount.” He asks, “Wouldn’t it be easier for the Jews to build the Third Temple somewhere else, anywhere else other than the highly contested Temple Mount?!” Rabbi Tuly further explains, “It wasn’t the rabbis who… Read more »

Following these words which introduce the census of the tribe of Levi, the Bible goes on to list only the descendants of Aharon and not those of Moshe, Levi’s most famous offspring. According to Rashi, Aharon’s descendants were considered to be Moshe’s as well, since Moshe was the one who taught them God’s word. Although… Read more »

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