If the watchmen are upon the walls all day and all night, then why is the superfluous word tamid (תמיד) ‘always,’ included in this verse? 20th century American Rabbi David Stavsky explains in his book of sermons: “Tamid, ‘always,’ refers to speaking up about Yerushalayim. Never should we remain silent when Yerushalayim is threatened. We… Read more »

In these verses, Hashem describes a precise plan to inherit the Land of Israel through a gradual process. Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra, a well-known medieval commentator, poet and philosopher, explains that although God could have destroyed the inhabitants of Canaan instantaneously, He gave the Jewish people time to increase and take over the land in… Read more »

Any species of tree may be used to construct the sukkah, the booth used to observe the holiday of Sukkot. For this particular Sukkot, though, the people specifically looked for olive branches. Besides being one of the seven special agricultural species of the Land of Israel (Deuteronomy 8:8), the olive also plays a significant role… Read more »

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains the importance of the mincha, the meal offering (see Leviticus chapter 2) that accompanied the evening sacrifice. The mincha was made of flour, oil and wine, three important products of Eretz Yisrael. Flour represents life, oil represents wealth and wine represents spiritual joy. The three fruits of the land used… Read more »

Following the giving of the Ten Commandments, the Torah discusses numerous civil laws dealing with honest and ethical business practices and interpersonal relationships. These laws precede the dictates regulating our relationship with Hashem, teaching us that religion demands not just belief, but ethical conduct as well. In fact, there is an oft-quoted adage, “derech eretz… Read more »

This psalm is a song of praise to Hashem for saving the Nation of Israel from its enemies. Though it is unclear to which specific battle this psalm refers, contemporary author Amos Hakham points to the Septuagint, which adds the words “regarding the Assyrian” into the title of the psalm. This certainly refers to the… Read more »

Daily Devotional

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 Torah names seven species as the special agricultural products of Eretz Yisrael. Even today, these seven crops can be seen growing all over Israel. In particular, the pomegranate has always been a symbol of beauty. Its unique shape was a favorite design element, appearing on the priestly garments and the pillars at the entrance… Read more »

A simple reading of this verse implies that after the implementation of Jethro’s suggestion for expediting the judicial process, every individual would be able to return to their homes much sooner. Based on a careful reading of the Hebrew words, however, the Kli Yakar explains that the verse does not refer to individuals returning to… Read more »

Based on this verse, Rashi explains that God’s forty-two letter name can only be uttered where the Divine Presence resides. The Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim was, therefore, the only place where the Kohanim could use this special name when giving the priestly blessing to the people. The description of the blessing, found in Sefer Bamidbar… Read more »

Yechezkel reverses the negative prophecies and includes a vision of hope. Referring to Mashiach, he describes a small cedar shoot which will be restored to the high mountain of Yerushalayim. This tree will grow, bear fruit, and provide protection for all those who seek it. Yechezkel is teaching that in the time of redemption, not… Read more »

Daily Devotional

“Operation Magic Carpet”,’ also called “Operation On Wings of Eagles” based on this verse, secretly airlifted almost fifty thousand Yemenite Jews to Israel between June 1949 and September 1950. Many of the Yemenite Jews had never seen an airplane before, and they likened the ride from Yemen to Israel as a fulfillment of this verse,… Read more »

The eagle flies higher than other birds. According to the medieval commentator Rashi, this is the reason why Hashem uses the metaphor of an eagle when describing the Exodus from Egypt: “I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me” (Exodus 19:4). As opposed to other birds who carry their young between their… Read more »

When he composed this psalm, the psalmist might have been standing at the foot of a large mountain, perhaps the Chermon mountain range, about to embark on a long journey. As he looks up to the mountains, he stands in awe of their beauty, their massiveness, their sheer greatness. It makes him feel meek, and… Read more »