From our earliest Biblical roots, the Jewish people have held soldiers up in high esteem. Our greatest biblical heroes have combined their spiritual service of God with a willingness to physically fight for what they believed in and defend His honor. Abraham went to battle against the five kings, David was a brave warrior and… Read more »
This Torah portion opens by discussing the basic required materials the people of Israel will need in order to begin the construction of the Tabernacle (Mishkan). Interestingly, the Mishkan is not intended to be a physical structure that houses God within its walls, as the verse does not say “and God will dwell within it.”… Read more »
Did you know that the Prayer Shawl is made up of two components; the garment and the fringes (in Hebrew, tzitzit). The garment which surrounds the worshipper represents God who is constantly surrounding each and every one of us. The fringes hanging off of the garment are composed of a series of 613 knots. These… Read more »
We learn in this verse of the significance of the jubilee (50th) year. Every seven cycles of seven years, God commanded that on the 50th year, the Land of Israel, the Jewish people and all the farming animals be allowed to rest from their work and take the time to rejoice over Hashem and the… Read more »
The Torah begins with the letter ב/bet (‘In the beginning”/בראשית) and ends with the letter ל/lamed. Put the letters together and you get lev/לב, which means “heart.” The Torah is the heart and soul of the Jewish people and is an expression of God’s love towards all of mankind. By learning its holy words, we… Read more »
Have you ever had a “bad” experience only to later discover that it was all for the best? Esther was the unwilling wife of an anti-Semitic king who lived a secretive life as a Jew. Yet her predicament places her in the perfect position to rise up and save the Jewish people. On Purim, we… Read more »
Jeremiah describes the Land of Israel as an “eretz khemdah” (אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה), “a pleasant land.” The word ‘khemdah,’ however, also means “desire.” A commentator explains that Jeremiah uses this description since the Land of Israel is desired by all the nations. God’s holy presence is so palpable there, that everyone senses and seeks its holiness.
Incredibly we find one of the ethical foundations of the Israeli army right here in today’s verse. The prophetess Abigail reminds King David that he may only fight God’s wars – which at that time were against the Philistines – and not wars of vengeance against his enemies. To this day, the nation of Israel… Read more »
When God commanded Abraham to leave his home and travel to the Land of Canaan (ancient Israel), he was instructed to bring his, wife, his sons, and all his ‘substance’. Midrash, an ancient commentary that comes to reveal deep questions, explains that substance refers to all the souls who were taught and influenced by Abraham… Read more »
The pomegranate has always been a symbol of beauty; its unique shape is a favorite design element, appearing on the priestly garments and on the pillars at the entrance to the Temple in Jerusalem, as well as featuring in many forms of artwork to this day. The special fruit is one of the seven agricultural… Read more »
Envision today’s verse as it was declared by Queen Sheba to King Solomon during the time of the First Temple. The Queen hears of King Solomon’s unsurpassed wisdom and sets off on a desert journey to visit and test him with riddles. She is awestruck that King Solomon’s wisdom and holiness surpass all of her… Read more »
‘Lekhem’, (לחם) bread, is the root of the word ‘milkhama’ (מלחמה) or war. According to Rabbi Benjamin Blech, people go to war not because they are wicked, but rather because they are deprived of basic necessities such as bread. If we take care of our brothers and sisters who are needy and provide for those… Read more »
In Torah portion, called Yitro after Moses’s father-in-law Jethro, God uses the term ‘kohanim’ in reference the Jewish people. While ‘kohanim’ is translated literally as ‘priests’, in this context God is bestowing upon the Chosen Nation the unique duty of serving as emissaries who exemplify sanctity for the entire world. The revelation at Sinai was… Read more »
Here’s a beautiful lesson from the holy language of Hebrew! The root of the word for “give” in Hebrew is “natan” נתן which is a palindrome; it reads the same backwards as forwards. The essence of giving is that what we give, we get back in some way. While many assume that their time or… Read more »
Ramban (Nachmanedes), a Biblical commentator, explains that Hebrew “is the language with which G-d speaks with His prophets and His nation.” Biblical Hebrew is known as Lashon Hakodesh, the holy language, and indeed it is the very dialect spoken by the Jewish nation for thousands of years, since the time of Adam and Eve.