Devotionals

With the words lech l’cha (לך לך), literally ‘go for yourself,’ Avraham is commanded to leave everything behind and head to the Holy Land. It would have been enough for God to command him lech (לך), ‘go’; what is added by the word l’cha (לך), ‘for yourself’? According to Rashi, the word l’cha implies that… Read more »

This verse seems to contradict the assertion that Eretz Yisrael was not affected by the flood. The Ramban, a leading scholar in medieval Spain, solves this contradiction by stating that rain did not fall over the Land of Israel, but nevertheless, as there was no barrier surrounding the land, the flood waters entered the land… Read more »

The first segment of this psalm calls out to Hashem in praise of the wonderful acts of kindness and love He does for the world. While praising God and acknowledging that He is Creator and Master of the world, the psalmist turns to the great mountains Tavor and Chermon. Mount Tavor is where the great… Read more »

According to one opinion in the Talmud (Zevachim 113b), the effects of the flood were less severe in the Land of Israel. Why did Hashem choose to spare this particular land? Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad Hasidic dynasty in eighteenth century Russia, concludes that the purpose of the flood was… Read more »

As opposed to Psalm 1 which heralds the man who walks in the ways of Hashem, Psalm 2 is directed to nations and kings, rebuking those derelict peoples who reject the Lord and seek to destroy Israel. The Sages suggest various possibilities to explain to which enemy the psalm refers: Nimrod, Pharaoh, or Gog and… Read more »

Throughout Talmudic literature, the Jewish people are compared to the dove. Once a dove meets her mate, she never leaves him for another, and a dove, even when her offspring are taken, will never abandon her nest. In a similar fashion, the Children of Israel are faithful to God. The Sages of the Midrash comment… Read more »

In Jewish tradition, the Bible is often compared to water. Just as water promotes physical growth in the agricultural world, so too does studying the Bible promote spiritual growth and development. The Land of Israel serves as the perfect backdrop for demonstrating the significance and necessity of water. Rain, especially in desert lands such as… Read more »

Reisheet kol t’vuatecha (ראשית כל תבואתך), translated here as ‘the best of all your income,’ literally means ‘the first of your grain.’ Offering the first of our crops to God reminds us how much we owe Him. It is easy to forget how much Hashem has given us, as we get caught up in our… Read more »

Michael J. Weisz, 62 years old, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family in the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 6, 2019.  He was the devoted son of Josephine “Peppi” and the late George Weisz of Cleveland, Ohio. Born September 28, 1957, in Chicago, IL, and raised in Cleveland, Michael attended… Read more »

In Jewish tradition, the Bible is often compared to water. Just as water promotes physical growth in the agricultural world, so too does studying the Bible promote spiritual growth and development. The Land of Israel serves as the perfect backdrop for demonstrating the significance and necessity of water. Rain, especially in desert lands such as… Read more »

Hashem has many titles in the Bible, one of which is go-ayl (גואל), ‘redeemer.’ In Isaiah 49:7, He is referred to as the “Redeemer of Israel,” and here He will “redeem Yerushalayim.” The same word is used in the Bible in another context. Sefer Vayikra (25:25) states “his nearest redeemer shall come,” referring to someone… Read more »

This psalm starts with the words sha’alu sh’lom Yerushalayim, ‘Pray for the well-being of Yerushalayim.’ Shalom (שלום), translated here as ‘well-being,’ is the first Hebrew word many people learn. It actually has three meanings: ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye’ and ‘peace.’ It is the word with which friends greet one another, but shalom is more than a greeting;… Read more »

If the Bible is essentially a book of law, why does it begin with stories of Genesis? Would it not make more sense to skip the stories and start with the legal sections of the Torah? Rashi, the famed medieval commentator, answers this question with an essential lesson that should inform our reading of the… Read more »

Zecharya begins this chapter by calling on the Children of Israel to pray for rain. Should they ask for rain, Hashem will gladly fulfill the request. It seems strange that the people are to pray for rain “in the season of late rain.” Since it is the rainy season, the request seems unnecessary. However, in… Read more »

This is the only time the Bible tells us how Hashem “spends His time.” From the beginning of the year until the end, it says, the Creator of the universe focuses “His eyes” and attention on Israel. If we combine this idea with that mentioned in verse 22 instructing us to walk in Hashem’s ways… Read more »