Devotionals

Throughout the Bible, horses are mentioned as animals of war. Here, King Shlomo is emphasizing an important lesson that is no less true today than it was when he said it centuries ago: Man prepares as much as possible, but ultimately, all victory and success comes only from Hashem.

The identity of these ‘Hebrew midwives,’ meyaldot haivriyot (מילדות העבריות), is debated by Rabbinic commentators. Many have assumed, as the literal reading implies, that they were Jewish women. But other commentators, such as the Abrabanel, suggest that the midwives Shiphrah and Puah were Egyptians. This interpretation is primarily based on the use of the phrase… Read more »

This passage lists the curses that will be brought upon the People of Israel if they fail to follow Hashem’s commandments. If His children’s sins become too great, God promises to exile the people from the Promised Land, and to destroy the land itself. Following these curses, however, Hashem promises that He will never give… Read more »

There are different words the Bible uses for rain. Yoreh (or moreh) literally means “shoots,”” as well as “teacher,” while the word malkosh is related to the Hebrew word mekoshesh (reaper). Malkosh is the name given to rain which falls at the onset of spring (Pesach-time). Its name is related to the Hebrew word for… Read more »

The 1917 Balfour Declaration is one of the most significant documents in modern Jewish history, articulating the historic right of the Jewish people to reestablish their homeland in Israel. Written by foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour and approved by the government of Great Britain, the declaration states clearly and unequivocally that Britain’s leaders “view with favor… Read more »

The late nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed a series of massive waves of Jewish immigration to Israel, known as Aliyot, literally, ‘ascents.’ Each Aliya had a specific demographic character. The nature of the returning Babylonian Jews was similar to the immigrants who came during the years 1882-1904 on what is known as the “First Aliya”…. Read more »

As King David says in this verse, “The earth is Hashem’s and all that it holds.” Just as the creator of a piece of art is the owner of his masterpiece, God, as creator, is the owner of the entire world. Only a creator can see the full potential of his creation, have a vision… Read more »

The job of awakening the will of Hashem (God) to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) is not limited to the Jewish people. Rather, the third Temple will be built by all of mankind. And if the Beit Hamikdash is to be built through prayers and good deeds, as Jewish tradition teaches, it is the… Read more »

This verse is one of the most significant verses in the entire book. Traditionally, when Megillat Eicha is read in synagogues on the ninth of Av, this verse is repeated at the conclusion of the reading, to highlight its significance and to end on a positive note. The verse emphasizes that Hashem will one day… Read more »

The Hebrew word mashiach (משיח) means ‘anointed one.’ According to biblical law, kings and high priests are to be anointed with oil, which symbolizes their designation for their holy positions. In Hebrew, the Messiah is referred to as the Mashiach, as he will be a king who is anointed for this holiest of roles. He… Read more »

Walking through the Land of Israel is an educational experience. Every kilometer tells another story of ancient, medieval or modern history. The empires that have passed through this land are many: Canaanite, Israelite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Hasmonean, Roman, Byzantine, Muslim, Mamluk, Ottoman, British. Today, Israel is holy to many religions. Each one passes down… Read more »

Devarim 32 contains the song that Moshe teaches to the Israelites before his passing. In it, he reminds the people that if they sin in Eretz Yisrael they will be punished with exile. However, the song concludes with the promise that God will redeem His people and exact retribution from their enemies. Moshe starts his… Read more »

In a number of places throughout Shir Hashirim in addition to this verse, the “maidens” or “daughters” of Yerushalayim represent the nations of the world (see 1:5, 2:7, 3:5, 5:8, 8:4). The medieval commentator Rashi explains that this is because in the future, Yerushalayim will be the metropolis of all countries, and all people will… Read more »

Throughout the Tanakh, God does wonders and miracles to save the Jewish people. Although perhaps one would think that a nation under Hashem’s direct protection should not need arms to defend itself, it is His will that people conduct themselves in a natural manner. Only when necessary will Hashem intervene with open miracles. This verse… Read more »

When one survives a life-threatening situation, he or she naturally feels a tremendous amount of gratitude to Hashem. Therefore, the Torah commands such a person to offer a thanksgiving-offering to the Lord. The Talmud (Berachot 54b) lists the four dangerous situations whose survivors are required to bring this offering: a potentially dangerous journey, dangerous imprisonment,… Read more »