Devotionals

The produce of the Land of Israel is a direct response to the behaviour of its inhabitants. Hashem (God) makes this point very clear in the Bible, specifically in Deuteronomy, in which He links the concept of reward and punishment with the successful produce of the land. If the Children of Israel veer from God’s… Read more »

Jewish tradition tells a story about a remarkable woman name Bruriah, who lived in the Land of Israel shortly after the second Temple period with her husband, the great sage Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Meir had been abused by vagrants, and prayed for their destruction. Bruriah quoted this psalm, and noted that the above verse should… Read more »

Shabbat, the seventh day of the week, is a reminder that God is the creator of the entire world. Just as He created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, we use our creative powers to work for six days, and rest on the seventh. By keeping the Shabbat, we affirm our… Read more »

“And plant them in your own mountain” is understood as a reference either to Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) or to the entire Land of Israel. When Hashem (God) says that the Jewish People will be planted in the Land of Israel, He means that they will establish roots there and flourish. Jewish tradition explains… Read more »

The Sages teach that the wisdom referred to in this verse is the knowledge of Torah (Bible), and the patrimony refers to the Land of Israel, the eternal inheritance of the Jewish People. Tova chochma im nachala (wisdom is as good as patrimony) literally means “wisdom is good with an inheritance.” This means that the… Read more »

For the People of Israel, the past and present fuse together to create the most extraordinary future. Through Ezra’s actions, it is clear that a carefully choreographed event was planned and designed to reflect the Exodus from Egypt. Just as the Jews left Egypt in the first month, the Hebrew month of Nissan, and crossed… Read more »

To explain the unfolding tragedy of destruction and exile, Yechezkel (Ezekiel) employs a metaphor, portraying Israel as a baby abandoned in the wilderness. Ignored by most, a kind passerby picks her up, protects her and cares for her. Upon her reaching the age of maturity, he marries her. Nevertheless, despite his dedication and affection, the… Read more »

We often think about how grateful we would be to have wealth and abundance. This proverb points out that often, riches do not lead people to gratitude, but rather to smugness and self-satisfaction. If we have too much of a good thing, we may forget Hashem’s (God’s) hand in our lives. In fact, the Bible… Read more »

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) presents the Children of Israel’s confession of impurity and unworthiness of divine assistance to Hashem (God). The prophet then prays to Hashem on behalf of the Children of Israel and begs God to not be angry with them forever. The Children of Israel humbly acknowledge that they are like clay, and that Hashem… Read more »

According to Jewish tradition, the phrase “a time for throwing stones” is a reference to the destruction of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) when the holy city’s grand walls were reduced to a heap of rocks. The phrase, “and a time to gather stones” refers to the second stage of exile, when King Yechonya, and those exiled with… Read more »

Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) describes the Land of Israel as a ‘desirable land’. The Land of Israel is desired by all nations since Hashem’s (God’s) holy presence is so palpable there. Everyone who senses the holiness of the Land of Israel is drawn towards it. One needs to look no further than the modern media outlets to… Read more »

Daily Devotional

King David begins the Book of Psalms by focusing on man. This man’s first action is to walk, in Hebrew halakh (הלך), and immediately upon setting out on his journey he is forced to decide which path he should take: righteous or wicked, fruitful or barren. This ‘walking’ reminds us of God’s first words to… Read more »

The Prophet Isaiah speaks speaks of an idyllic time in the future when the earth is calm. Calm may not be one of the first words that one would use to describe the future redemption. The Bible however, does use the calm numerous times as a positive character trait as well as a desirable state… Read more »

Hashem (God) created the world for both man and animal to prosper. Had Hashem desired that only the animals roam the world, there would have been no need for of mishpatecha (משפטיך), ‘your justice’. Man, with the capacity to veer from evil and to become educated, was set on the land to fulfill Hashem’s will…. Read more »

In the Bible, the word Tzion (Zion) often refers to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Reflecting upon the significance of the holy city, Holocaust survivor and Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel said, “Jerusalem must remain the world’s Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and hope. As the Hasidic master… Read more »