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Throughout his psalms, David struggles with the reality that righteous people sometimes suffer while the wicked thrive. Psalm 58 is directed at the wicked, chastising them for their corruption and deceit. He warns that Hashem will bring retribution upon them for their sins, and he invokes several metaphors from nature to express his sentiment. The… Read more »

The story of Yitzchak among the Philistines alludes to the history of the Jewish people during their lengthy exile, hosted by various foreign nations. Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin points out that Yitzchak is one Jew in an entire country, yet the Philistines claim that there is no room for him. As a successful farmer, Yitzchak is… Read more »

Despite all the dangerous threats surrounding the modern Jewish State, Israeli citizens consistently rate extremely high in global surveys measuring quality of life and happiness. While their sense of purpose in helping to reclaim the land of their forefathers certainly contributes to Israelis’ high levels of satisfaction, the key to happiness in life is found… Read more »

The Zohar, our primary mystical text, says that this blessing is what has sustained the People of Israel throughout the millennia. If so, why was Yitzchak the one who gave the blessing and not Avraham or Yaakov? Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, the influential Hebrew songwriter of the 20th century, explained that both Avraham and Yaakov spent… Read more »

Why are the children of Avraham compared to the stars? The poetess Chana Senesh was born in Hungary in 1921 and in 1939 she emigrated to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine. Senesh was a brave heroine who volunteered to leave her beloved Palestine in 1944 in order to fight with the partisans… Read more »

Yitzchak is warned that despite the famine in Eretz Yisrael, he is not to escape the hardship by fleeing to Egypt. Though Avraham went down to Egypt when there was a plague in Israel, and Yaakov likewise descended to Egypt towards the end of his life, God told Yitzchak not to leave the Land of… Read more »

The word amen is used in the Bible to connote agreement, faithfulness and certainty. It is often translated as “so be it.” Amen is one of the most common examples of an English word that comes from biblical Hebrew. According to the movement of Edenics, which believes that English is a derivative of biblical Hebrew,… 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 »

Although the Old City was lost in the 1948 War of Independence, it was liberated in the June 1967 Six-Day War. In May of 1967, Israeli songwriter, Naomi Shemer (1930-2004), composed the song Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (ירושלים של זהב), ‘Jerusalem of Gold,’ for the Israeli Song Festival. In it, she poetically describes the people’s 2,000… Read more »

The Torah states that Avraham, Sara, Yitzchak, Rivka, Yaakov and Leah are all buried in Machpelah Cave. According to tradition, Adam and Chava were buried there as well. Avraham’s purchase of this property to bury Sara was the first concrete action that established a Jewish connection with a particular site in Eretz Yisrael, and upon… Read more »

The Hebrew word for ‘camel’ is gamal (גמל), which also means ‘to be independent.’ We find the usage of this word in a variety of contexts: “The child grew up, and was ‘weaned’ (vayigamal)” (Genesis 21:8); “and borne almonds” (vayigmol – i.e. ‘became independent of the stalk’; Numbers 17:23). According to Rabbi Natan Slifkin, popularly… Read more »

The names of many Israeli cities have profound sigificance. According to a Midrash quoted by the Ramban, the Hebrew name for Hebron, ‘Chevron’ (חברון), is a contraction of the word chaver (חבר), ‘friend,’ and the word na-eh (נאה) ‘beloved.’ Thus, the very name of the city of Chevron alludes to its most famous resident Avraham,… Read more »

The Shabbat (שבת), ‘Sabbath,’ is designated as a sign between Hashem and the Children of Israel that Hashem created the world, and resting from work on Shabbat is the sign that the Jewish Nation recognizes God as the Creator. Each week, Jews reaffirm their submission to Hashem by sanctifying the Shabbat, and they recite this… Read more »

After Avraham demonstrates his unwavering faith in Hashem with the binding of Yitzchak, the Lord repeats His original promise found in Sefer Bereishit (12:3), and assures Avraham that all the nations of the world will be blessed through him. When we look at the many contributions that the State of Israel makes to the entire… Read more »

Daily Devotional

Before going to war, the Children of Israel are required to first offer their enemies the opportunity to make peace. According to some commentators, this applies even to the nations living in the parts of the Land of Israel promised to B’nei Yisrael. The land was given to the People of Israel as an inheritance,… Read more »

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