The above verse is taken from this week’s Torah portion. In Synagogues all around the world during the Shabbat services, a specific portion from the Torah is read aloud. A double portion called Nitzavim-Vayelech will be read. These portions tell of Moses passing the torch onto Joshua. He tells the people that Joshua will lead… Read more »

With the words lech l’cha (לך לך), literally “Go for yourself,” Avraham is commanded to leave everything behind and head to the Holy Land. It would have been enough for God to command him lech (לך), “go.” What is added by the word l’cha (לך)? According to the well-known Biblical commentator Rashi, the word l’cha… Read more »

Sefer Devarim (Book of Deuteronomy) contains Moshe’s farewell speeches to the people of Israel. The people of Israel are camped out on the banks of the Jordan River, finally ready to cross over and inherit the land that Hashem promised them. Since Moshe is not allowed to enter the land, he takes this opportunity to… Read more »

In Genesis 26, Hashem warns Yitzchak not to escape the famine in the Land of Israel by fleeing to Egypt. Though Avraham went down to Egypt when there was a plague in Israel, and Yaakov likewise descended to Egypt toward the end of his life, Hashem told Yitzchak that he is not to leave the… Read more »

In the above verse, the Jewish nation is instructed to be “holy, for I am holy.” Many Biblical Commentators interpret the phrase being holy to mean demonstrating self-control in overcoming natural human desires and instincts. While humans were created with desires and instincts, Hashem commands us to conquer these urges in an effort to attain… Read more »

In the last couple of weeks, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from their homes and lost all or many of their possessions. Unfortunately, many were injured or even killed. In a heartfelt prayer for the people of Houston, Florida, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and anywhere that was hit by some of the most… Read more »

The love story of the Song of Songs is a metaphor for the love between Hashem and His children. During the current Hebrew month of Elul, Jews all over the world strive to repent and improve their actions. The word Elul is an acronym for ‘anee l’dodee v’dodee lee – אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי (I… Read more »

The stirring declaration “trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield” is repeated three times in Psalm 115. The three repetitions of this phrase connote three different ways of serving Hashem. There are those who serve Hashem out of a feeling of love. The second way of serving Hashem is out of… Read more »

In the above verse, Avraham names the place where he entered the covenant with Abimelech Be’er Sheva. The name Be’er Sheva (באר שבע), is made up of two Hebrew words. Be’er (באר) means well, hinting to the fact that this covenant acknowledged Avraham’s right to the water well. The second part of the word is… Read more »

The significance of the shofar dates to the dawn of Jewish history. In the Torah, the shofar serves various purposes, both practical and spiritual. It was sounded during military operations, such as the battle of Jericho in Joshua 6. The shofar is intimately connected to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New year; the Torah refers to… 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 »

The Book of Samuel opens with a heartbroken Chana who has no children, and therefore goes to pray at the Mishkan (tabernacle) in Shiloh.  The Mishkan stood in Shiloh for 369 years before the building of the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim.  During that time, Shiloh served as the central focal point of the national service… Read more »

Throughout the Bible, the Land of Israel is described as “flowing with milk and honey.” On the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, which begins at sundown on September 20th, there is a popular custom to eat apples dipped in honey in hopes that Hashem will grant us a sweet new year. There is a difference… Read more »

This verse obligates each of us to actively search for and see the goodness in God’s beloved Jerusalem. Anyone who has visited Jerusalem can tell you that this is not a difficult obligation to fulfill. Touring the land and visiting the ancient in Jerusalem brings one closer to God in His glorious city.

The Jewish people continue to hope and pray for a time in which the status quo of the borders of Israel is quiet and peaceful, as described by the Prophet Isaiah in the above verse. Israel is far too familiar with violence at her borders and aggression from every direction. In the past seventy years… Read more »