Devotionals

Purim is the only Jewish holiday that is observed on two different days, depending on one’s location. The residents of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) and other walled cities celebrate on the fifteenth of Adar, while the rest of the world celebrates on the fourteenth of Adar. In establishing the holiday of Purim, Esther wanted to guarantee that… Read more »

Why does Esther deem it necessary to invite the evil Haman to her banquet with King Ahasuerus? As long as the Jewish people knew that they had Esther in the palace, they were counting on her to reverse Haman’s evil decree. Yet Esther wanted the people themselves to fully repent for their wrongdoings. Inviting Haman… Read more »

When King Ahasuerus offered Esther up to half of the kingdom, this was not merely a show of generosity, but it referred to a specific geographic location. Jewish tradition states that the halfway mark of Ahasuerus’ empire was the site of the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple). Ahasuerus tells Esther that he is willing to do… Read more »

Mordechai’s inspiring words move Esther to courageously step up and defend her people. Mordechai does not say, “If you are silent now, then we are all doomed,” because he knows that the God of Israel will never forsake His people. Instead, Mordechai empowers Esther to take a leading role in the redemption, and not to… Read more »

Usually, the Torah (Bible) provides a reason as to why an individual, or the nation as a whole, are punished. Megillat Esther (The Book of Esther), however, does not explicitly state what the people did to deserve the threat of annihilation. When viewed in historical context, it becomes clear that the Jews of Shushan, Persia… Read more »

When read aloud in the synagogue on Purim, this verse is read in the same solemn tune as the Book of Lamentations, since they both mention the exile of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel. The verb ‘carried away’ (ג-ל-ה) is mentioned three times in this verse, alluding to the fact that Mordechai… Read more »

This verse starts with the words v’zeh hadavar asher ta’aseh lahem (וזה הדבר אשר תעשה להם), ‘this is what you shall do to them.’ In the context of this verse, the Hebrew word hadavar (הדבר) means ‘the thing’. However, hadavar can also mean ‘the word’. According to the Sages, the use of this term in… Read more »

When the two and a half tribes residing on the east bank of the Yarden (Jordan River) set up an altar to Hashem (God), the other tribes reacted quickly and harshly. The other nine and a half tribes threatened to make war if they did not put an end to their practice. Because the mishkan… Read more »

The word for tabernacle is mishkan (משכן), from the Hebrew root ש-כ-נ, which means ‘to dwell’. The mishkan was erected in the desert as a temporary dwelling for Hashem (God), which was ultimately replaced by a permanent resting place, in the form of the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) on Mount Moriah. The Sages trace the… Read more »

The death of Aharon’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, occurs in the midst of the joyous inauguration ceremony of the mishkan (tabernacle). The Sages explain that Aharon’s sons were so moved by the closeness they felt to Hashem (God) that they desired to bring an offering of their own into the Holy of Holies inside the… Read more »

While in the desert, the women of the Nation of Israel donated their mirrors to provide copper for the laver of the mishkan (tabernacle). In Egypt, the women would use these mirrors to beautify themselves in order to enliven the spirits of their husbands after returning from the day’s slave labor. These righteous women never… Read more »

Jewish tradition teaches that Yaakov (Jacob) planted acacia trees, pictured above, in Egypt. The planting of these trees was in preparation for the redemption of the Children of Israel from Egypt at which point they would be used in the construction of the mishkan (tabernacle). Yaakov was not only preparing the materials for the future… Read more »

Daily Devotional

Jewish tradition teaches that Yaakov (Jacob) planted acacia trees, pictured above, in Egypt. The planting of these trees was in preparation for the redemption of the Children of Israel from Egypt at which point they would be used in the construction of the mishkan (tabernacle). Yaakov was not only preparing the materials for the future… Read more »

In the above verse, Hashem (God) instructs the Children of Israel to build Him a dwelling place. This dwelling place in Hebrew called the mishkan is not intended to physically contain Hashem. Rather, the mishkan is a place which enables Hashem to dwell “among them,” meaning in the midst of the Children of Israel. Unlike… Read more »

According to Jewish tradition, King David purchased the entire city of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) from Aranuah the Jebusite. The threshing floor on which King David intends to offer sacrifices, is now called the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim. As this site would later becomes the location of the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple), David purchased the land publically… Read more »