Devotionals

Music has always played a significant role in the Bible. The earliest instruments are mentioned in Sefer Bereishit (4:21). Moshe and the Jewish people sing a great song of gratitude after the splitting of the sea, and Israel sings a similar song after being saved from peril in the desert (Numbers 21:17). Priests and Levites… Read more »

In the Bible, the word Tzion often refers to Yerushalayim. 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 Rebbe Nahman… Read more »

Time and time again, Hashem commands the Jewish people to care for the hungry and downtrodden within their communities. One of the most basic and fundamental ways to care for the underprivileged is to give food to the poor- to feed them. By providing the hungry with warm and nutritious food, you are strengthening their… Read more »

Ramban (Nachmanides) the Medieval Jewish scholar writes that nowhere in the world would one find a land which is good and bountiful when settled by its people, but desolate when ruled by foreigners. However, this is exactly what Hashem promises regarding the Land of Israel, as it says in Vayikra (26:32), “I will make the… Read more »

Psalm 91 is special, as it includes Hashem’s response at the end. By contrast most of the other Tehillim are presented in only one direction, with man speaking to, or about, the Lord. Rarely do we find a psalm that includes an expression of God recognizing the faith that man has shown and responding in… Read more »

Each of the twelve tribes of Israel is to receive a specific portion of the land, corresponding to that tribe’s unique spiritual attributes. According to Jewish tradition, the sons of Zevulun, who were given a coastal territory as their inheritance, became successful sea merchants and entered into a special partnership with the tribe of Yissachar,… Read more »

The Bible emphasizes universal feelings of sympathy and compassion for all, and warns against rejoicing at the downfall of others. For this reason, with the Jewish people celebrate the exodus at the Passover Seder each year, they remove some of the time in their cups to sympathize with the Egyptian suffering which happened in the… Read more »

Numbers 30 discusses the laws regarding vows and oaths. Hashem takes these matters very seriously, and commands that any commitment to do something must be fulfilled. In fact, violating one’s vows is a sin. This commandment teaches how important it is to be true to one’s word: Hashem expects us to keep our word, just… Read more »

This verse describes the great strength of Hashem, Who can produce water from a rock. The Hebrew word for ‘the rock,’ ha-tzur (הצור), alludes to something that is unmoving or stubborn. Yet if read backwards, the word becomes rotzeh (רוצה) which means ‘want’ or ‘willing.’ Just as a rock can be turned into water, so… Read more »

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 »

The last word of this verse is tzedaka (צדקה). In Hebrew, this word is used to mean both ‘charity’ and ‘justice.’ While in English these concepts are very different, the Hebrew word teaches that the act of giving to those who are less fortunate is not to be seen primarily as benevolence or kindness. Rather,… Read more »

The foremost commandment given by Hashem to Moshe and Aharon in preparation for travel to the Land of Israel is to count the people. Since the Israelites are heading toward the Promised Land to conquer and settle it, the census serves to inform the leadership of how many soldiers they have available for their army… Read more »