The ancient city of Jaffe is one of the oldest ports in the world, mentioned in the Bible as the city where the Prophet Jonah departed from. It was also here at this port that the cedars of Lebanon were brought to be used in the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jaffa’s name in… Read more »
Throughout history we see that kings and leaders bring honor to themselves by revealing their accomplishments. God’s glory, on the other hand, is made greater by concealment. His miracles and actions are beyond human understanding, and though they are recorded in the Bible, many of them are shrouded in mystery and riddles.
On the Jewish calendar, today marks the bitter fast day known as the 17th of Tammuz which begins the ‘Three Weeks’ of mourning leading up to day when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. During this period, we remember not only the ancient loss of the Temple, but pray for an end to the dangers… Read more »
You will never read Leviticus 19 the same way ever again…Are you sitting down for this one? Since the Jews began returning to the Land, they looked to today’s verse for inspiration and planted trees. In fact, since 1901, through the Jewish National Fund, over 240,000,000 trees have been hand-planted in Israel – that’s right… Read more »
Here’s why we love the Hebrew language! In Hebrew, a human dwelling is called a “dirah”, while an animal dwelling is called a “dir”. The difference between these two words is the letter “hey” which represents the name of God. The Almighty’s presence in our homes is what characterizes us as distinctively human, spiritual beings…. Read more »
The prophet Zecharia lived at a very exciting time, when Persian King Darius allowed his Jewish subjects to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. At times, Zecharia becomes frustrated that the people are not in fact returning with the proper enthusiasm and he often tries to encourage them, by reiterating God’s promises and blessings,… Read more »
In the small nation of Israel, every loss of a young soldier is a deeply painful loss mourned by the entire nation. This week, a lone soldier from New Jersey lost his life in a grenade explosion while patrolling Israel’s northern border with Syria. 20-year-old IDF Sergeant Shlomo Rindenow, obm, left the US two years… Read more »
The Torah considers old age a virtue and a blessing. Throughout the Torah, “old” (zakein) is synonymous with “wise”; it describes Abraham as one who “grew old and came along in days” – his accumulated days, each replete with spiritual growth, meant that with each passing day his worth increased. (from the Lubavitcher Rebbe).
The Hebrew word for camel is גמל “gamal” which also means “to be independent”: “And the boy grew up, and was weaned ויגמל (vayigamal)” (Genesis 21:8). The connection to the trait of independence refers to the camel’s ability to survive without water for many months. Isn’t it fun to see the intrinsic meaning of Hebrew… Read more »
Our Jewish sages describe a beautiful idea in the Talmud that “ten measures of beauty descended to the world, and nine of them were taken by Jerusalem.” The beauty of Jerusalem is not merely a physical magnificence which can be seen with the eye. It is a spiritual beauty and inner purity which one must… Read more »
The Hebrew word for the Jordan is “Yarden” which means “descent,” referring to the river’s sources that come from the melted snow of Mount Hermon, which flows down through the Sea of Galilee before reaching the river. The waters continue to descend to the Dead Sea, below sea level. When the Israelites entered the Holy… Read more »
In biblical times in Israel, olive trees were harvested by beating the branches with a stick, causing the olives to fall to the ground, as it says in our verse “when you beat thy olive trees”. According to the Sages, this hints to the blessing of abundance in the Land of Israel. There will be… Read more »
Did you know that every synagogue in the world is built facing Jerusalem? Since both Europe and the United States are west of Jerusalem, their synagogues were traditionally built facing east. But in any part of the world, when a synagogue is built, it always faces Jerusalem. Thus, whenever a Jew prays, he faces this… Read more »
Just as a flower maintains its beauty even amongst the thorns, the State of Israel remains a beacon of light, freedom and democracy though surrounded by enemies. The Rose of Bethlehem is a flower emblematic of the nation’s spirit. It grows in the Judean desert and blossoms again and again with only a few drops… Read more »