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If the watchmen are upon the walls all day and all night, then why is the superfluous word tamid (תמיד) ‘always,’ included in this verse? 20th century American Rabbi David Stavsky explains in his book of sermons: “Tamid, ‘always,’ refers to speaking up about Yerushalayim. Never should we remain silent when Yerushalayim is threatened. We… Read more »

As Moshe and Yehoshua did before him, Yiftach tries to avoid war by sending a message to the enemy. The Children of Israel always offer their adversaries a choice between three options: make peace, flee the land, or fight. Although war is the least desirable choice, peace is not to be obtained at any price…. Read more »

The Torah is always very careful to use words sparingly and not to repeat even a single word unnecessarily. If so, why is the word “comfort” repeated twice in this verse? The prophecy considers the future destructions of both the first and the second Beit Hamikdash. The loss of both Temples would constitute a double… Read more »

When he composed this psalm, the psalmist might have been standing at the foot of a large mountain, perhaps the Chermon mountain range, about to embark on a long journey. As he looks up to the mountains, he stands in awe of their beauty, their massiveness, their sheer greatness. It makes him feel meek, and… Read more »

Moshe promises the Children of Israel peace and security in the Land of Israel. Indeed, after conquering and dividing the land under the leadership of Yehoshua, the Children of Israel did dwell peacefully in the land, as the verse says “Hashem had given Israel rest from all the enemies around them” (Joshua 23:1). However, this… Read more »

Despite the predictions of punishments that will befall the Children of Israel, Amos ends his prophecy with a message of hope. He proclaims that the day will come when the people will return to the Land of Israel, build houses, plant vineyards and trees, and enjoy their fruits. This is reminiscent of the idyllic times… Read more »

This chapter contains an extended poem in praise of the eishet chayil, translated here as ‘capable wife,’ but generally referred to as the ‘woman of valor’ (verses 10-31). She provides for her family in all ways, both materially and spiritually, and her endeavors and accomplishments are praised by the members of her household and by… Read more »

Sometimes we see wrongdoing in this world, and it bothers us. This verse teaches that it is not up to man to avenge evil, rather, this is Hashem’s duty. However, the fourteenth-century sage Rabbi Levi ben Gershon, better known as Ralbag, points out that we should not wish for God’s vengeance against our enemies, but… Read more »

King David repents for what he did, and he and Batsheva are blessed with a son. The son is known as Solomon, or in Hebrew, Shlomo (שלמה),which comes from the word shalom (שלום), ‘peace.’ Additionally, he is also called by the name Jedidiah, in Hebrew, Yedidya (ידידיה), meaning ‘beloved of God.’ Radak suggests that Hashem… Read more »

According to Rashi, these words refer to the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim. He explains that the foot of the ladder in Yaakov’s dream was in Be’er Sheva, and its head was in Beit El. Therefore the middle of the ladder hung over Mount Moriah and the intensity of the encounter with Hashem occurred in that… Read more »

The Hebrew word used for ‘insignia’ in the verse is aydut (עדות). This term, usually translated as ‘testimony,’ is often used to refer to the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written and the ark that contained them (see Exodus 32:15 and 26:33). As the Ten Commandments are representative of the entire Torah, Rashi… Read more »

With these words, Chavakuk asserts that it is the faith of the righteous person that grants him life. Israel’s acclaimed national poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik, a pioneer of Zionist Hebrew poetry wrote: “This particular people called Israel has, despite all the vicissitudes which for two thousand years have daily, yea hourly, attempted to expel it… Read more »

This verse describes the future redemption of the Jewish people from all the nations amongst whom they are scattered. The “ingathering of the exiles” was the stated goal of the first Zionist Congress in 1897, and remains a central mission of the State of Israel. This objective is reflected in the Knesset’s 1950 “Law of… Read more »

Yirmiyahu describes the Land of Israel as eretz chemda (ארץ חמדה), ‘a desirable land.’ The commentator Radak explains that Yirmiyahu uses this description since Eretz Yisrael is desired by all the nations. Hashem’s holy presence is so palpable there, that everyone senses its holiness and wants it. One needs to look no further than the… Read more »

Yeshayahu speaks in his own voice, rejoicing in Hashem’s goodness to His people. The salvation of the Jewish people, returned and dwelling safely in their own land, will be as visible as the fine jewels worn by a bridegroom and bride on their wedding day. In the meantime, while Har Habayit lies in ruin, the… Read more »

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