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The contents of the widow’s jug of oil and jar of flour, both of which are close to empty, do not diminish during the entire period of drought. This miracle follows a familiar pattern. In general, when Hashem performs miracles, He does so by using that which is already in existence. Thus, He does not… Read more »

Yechezkel goes to the Israelite captives at Tel Abib near the Chebar River. Before he delivers his message of doom, however, he simply sits with them for a week, empathizing with their suffering before sharing the divine message. The name Tel Abib has been linked to the Akkadian “mound of the flood,” mentioned in ancient… Read more »

While the Bible makes frequent mention of military affairs and speaks often of soldiers, the important principle that emerges is found in this verse: Ha-sam g’vulaych shalom (השם גבולך שלום). Translated here as ‘He endows your realm with well-being,’ these words literally mean ‘He who makes your borders peaceful.’ We must always remember that ultimately,… Read more »

In Sefer Devarim (11:10-12), the Torah describes how the Promised Land is different from Egypt. In Egypt, one could water his crops from the Nile by using his foot to easily direct water to his fields, but in the Land of Israel, the eyes of Hashem are on the land. It is only through His… Read more »

Metzudat David explains that the prophetess Avigail is warning David that he should kill only if necessary as part of Hashem’s wars against enemies such as the Philistines, but not in order to exact revenge. This is one of the foundations of Jewish military ethics: The people of Israel are required to fight wars only… Read more »

This psalm contrasts the language of the wicked, who speak duplicitously with a forked tongue, with the pure unadulterated words of God. To express the level of purity of Hashem’s words, the verse uses the metaphor of metal mined from the earth, which goes through seven stages of refinement in order to arrive at a… Read more »

Throughout the Tanakh, God does wonders and miracles to save the Jewish people. Although perhaps one would think that a nation under Hashem’s direct protection should not need arms to defend itself, it is His will that people conduct themselves in a natural manner. Only when necessary will Hashem intervene with open miracles. This verse… 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 »

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 »

Once again, David is in a perilous state. Enemies from close and far depress him and make him feel lost and alone. In this psalm, he invokes a different technique to lift himself out of the morass: Memory. Isolating one’s consciousness to the here and now can be lonesome and disheartening. Remembering that one is… Read more »

Shimshon’s prayer to die among his Philistine oppressors, taking his own life for the sake of his people, is one of the most stirring scenes in the Bible. Shimshon has served as a model for soldiers of Israel who have been willing to give up their lives to save the Jewish people. A moving modern… Read more »

Because King Shlomo reigns over a united and strong kingdom living at peace, he is able to embark upon the building of the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim. The Talmud (Zevachim 118) relates that the Mishkan stood in Gilgal for 14 years, in Shilo for 369 years, and in Nov and Givon together for another 57… Read more »

The sharp sounds of waters crashing into the rocks, as if calling out to Hashem, and the juxtaposition of great mountains which stand as an affirmation of God’s wondrous creations, can only be referring to one place in Israel: Rosh Hanikra. At the northwestern tip of the country, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea,… Read more »

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