Devotionals

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.

Abraham planted an “eshel” א-ש-ל tree which Jewish tradition describes as an acronym for the practice of open-armed hospitality developed by our father Abraham. א stands for “orchim” (guests), ש is “shotim” (refreshments), and ל is “levaya” (escorting his guests). Thousands of years later, it is incumbent upon us as the descendents of Abraham, to… Read more »

Anyone who has seen the sky in Jerusalem will tell you that there is something about it that is bluer, brighter and more vibrant than anywhere else on Earth. As the verse by King David states, the sky itself seems to tell of G-d’s glory. Looking into the vast expanse, one can’t help but marvel… Read more »

King David’s poetic “shield” refers to God’s protection, an admission from David that his strength on the battlefield came by the grace of the Almighty. Today the soldiers of the IDF are “our shield” on the ground.

The Hebrew month of Shevat contains the wonderful festival of Tu B’Shevat (which means “the 15th day of Shevat”), the New Year for the Trees. It is a time when all those who love the Land rejoice in its bounty and eat of its blessed fruit. During these days, the soil of the Land has… Read more »

The Children of Israel were fed manna from heaven the entire forty years they wandered in the desert up until they were literally in sight of the Promised Land. The Jews then, went from being directly sustained by the manna to being sustained by the bountiful produce of the Land of Israel. R’ Samson Raphael… Read more »

All of God’s bounty is beneficial for us and there are many delicious foods that grow in the Land of Israel, yet the Creator of the world singled out seven species of fruit and grain as being particularly blessed. Over the centuries, many have sought to explain the special significance of the ‘Seven Species,’ known… Read more »

The Tabernacle, in Hebrew ‘mishkan’ from the Hebrew word which means to dwell, was erected in the desert as a temporary dwelling for God, and ultimately found its permanent resting place in the form of the Temple on Mount Moriah. But getting there took some time. Our Sages trace the movement of the ‘mishkan’ in… Read more »

The commentator Maharal writes on the verse in Zephaniah (3:9) that each language reflects the essence of the nation who speaks it. The Jewish people are a holy people, and therefore they speak the holy language. Since it is holy and pure, it contains no vulgar nor shameful words. Biblical Hebrew is known as Lashon… Read more »

How is it possible that King Solomon planted all kinds of fruit trees in his garden, if different trees require different climates in order to grow? The Sages say that in his wisdom, King Solomon understood that Jerusalem is the heart of the world, and the foundation from which the rest of the world was… Read more »

Until this point, God had said that the plagues are meant to teach the Egyptians that He is the true God. At this point He adds another dimension: that the plagues are intended to cause the Israelites to recognize God. Sometimes, even people of faith need a spiritual boost. This is especially important now as… Read more »

The Metzudat David, a classical commentator on the Books of the Prophets, explains that the prophetess Abigail is warning David that he should only kill people while fighting God’s wars against the Philistines, and not kill in order to take vengeance against his enemies among the Israelites. This is one of the foundations of Jewish… Read more »

The Hebrew language has many words to describe happiness. According to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, ‘osher’ (אשר) refers to the personal happiness that one experiences, such as when listening to music or observing something spectacular in nature. ‘Simkha’ (שמחה), on the other hand, is happiness that is created in the company of others, such as… Read more »

The people of Israel are not questioning their faith in God. Rather they are wondering to what extent God is involved in their everyday lives. This question was a natural outgrowth of the presiding worldview regarding God’s interaction with Man. In Egypt, and civilization in general, God and nature were viewed as static, with unchanging… Read more »

This verse appears towards the end of the kosher dietary laws. God draws a clear parallel between obeying the kosher laws and sustaining a status of holiness; of being holy as God is holy. The Bible instructs to distinguish between things which can be eaten and things which are not to be eaten. In handing… Read more »