Jan. 17, 2020 |
WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED
Book of Exodus open, the Children of Israel descend into Exile in Egypt. Not
that they were not in Egypt already, but now darkness descends upon them. We
have said goodbye to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, and now we say goodbye to
the generation of Jacob’s children, as we read: “Yosef died and all his
brothers and that entire generation.” (Exodus 1:6)
Jan. 10, 2020 |
“Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the end of days.” (Genesis 49:1) These are Yaakov Avinu’s (our Father Jacob’s) prophetic words to his sons as he prepares to leave this world.
Jan. 03, 2020 |
REDEMPTION IN FRONT OF OUR EYES
“Ani Yosef … I am Yosef.” The brothers’ mouths drop open.
Dec. 27, 2019 |
Dreams play a major part in our history. Our Father Jacob dreamed of a ladder reaching up to Heaven; Joseph dreamed of future redemption.
Dec. 20, 2019 |
THROUGH TESHUVA, THE ENTIRE WORLD IS FORGIVEN
Immediately after the brothers sell Yosef, we read about the incident with Yehuda and Tamar (see Genesis Chapter 38). This is one of those unlikely incidents in which the Children of Israel descend to a low and even embarrassing level, from which we rise incredibly to great heights. Our entire history is logically “impossible!” It is built on miracle after miracle.
Dec. 13, 2019 |
LONGING FOR THE DAWN
Two weeks ago we contemplated the epic struggle between our Father Jacob and his twin brother Esav. I would like to focus on this more intently, because it concerns us both individually and nationally.
Dec. 06, 2019 |
CLIMB THE LADDER
My friends, I don’t think we are allowing ourselves to understand the gravity of world events. If we would contemplate what is happening, then our davening would be different and every thought would be directed toward personal, national and world survival.
Nov. 29, 2019 |
THE OUTER WAR MIRRORS THE INNER WAR
As anti-Semitism heats up throughout the world, it is vital to focus on its origins, which are right here, in our Parsha. “The children agitated within her, and … Hashem said …‘Two nations are in your womb, two regimes from your insides shall be separated. The might shall pass from one regime to the other and the elder shall serve the younger.’”
Nov. 22, 2019 |
FINDING THE SOURCE OF PURITY
“How did Avraham discover the Cave of Machpela? He was running after a calf, as it is written, ‘Then Avraham ran to the herd,’ (Genesis 18:7) The calf fled into the cave [and] Avraham followed it …. Also, he used to pray every day and go out into the field, from which wafted sublime fragrances. He saw a light coming from that cave and prayed there and the Holy One Blessed is He spoke to him there. Therefore, he desired that cave….” (Zohar 1:127a)
Nov. 08, 2019 |
AND YOU SHALL BE A BLESSING!
About twelve years ago, my wife and I
accompanied my late father when he was honored by President George W. Bush for
his outstanding collection of contemporary American art. Before going to the
White House, I said to Hashem, “I want to make a kiddush Hashem and speak to
the President about the return of Am Yisroel to the Holy Land.”
Nov. 01, 2019 |
EVEN THE RAINBOW IS DANGEROUS
This year, on Shabbos
Shuva, there was a sudden rainstorm in the Holy Land, followed by a
spectacular rainbow. Hashem says in our Parsha,
“I have set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant
between Me and the earth…. and the water shall never again become a flood to
destroy all flesh.”
Oct. 11, 2019 |
“ON THAT DAY I WILL RAISE UP THE FALLEN BOOTH OF DOVID”
Soon, in the secular calendar, it will
be 2020. Over a decade ago, I wrote a book entitled “2020 Vision.” For better
or worse, things are shaping up pretty much as described in the book.
Sep. 27, 2019 |
REDEEMING THE BEAUTIFUL SOUL
“Achos katana … The little sister…. She prepares her
prayers and proclaims her praises. Oh
Sep. 20, 2019 |
“I DON’T DO ANGRY”
I actually enjoy going to the dentist. Maybe it’s Bina, the
amazing hygienist, who tells me divrai Torah as she cleans my teeth.
Sep. 13, 2019 |
A GREAT, POWERFUL WIND
As I write, it is Rosh
Chodesh Elul, the first day of the Month of Elul.
Sep. 06, 2019 |
STRENGTHENING OURSELVES DURING CHODESH ELUL
As I write, we are still mired in the crisis generated by
the New York State Board of Education’s attack on our yeshiva system. It is not just New York. I saw a recent note regarding
a Chabad school in Florida, where the regional public schools are
threatening to close a program in which hundreds of Jewish children have used
school facilities for over a decade. And what about England? Why are we being
threatened around the world?
Aug. 30, 2019 |
“A STATE OF BLINDNESS”
Our parsha opens with the word, “re’eh… See.” Why is this word needed?
Aug. 23, 2019 |
HASHEM DID NOT WISH TO DESTROY YOU!
The Satan is pushing against us. As King David says, “You
pushed me hard that I might fall, but Hashem assisted me.” (Psalm 118)
Aug. 15, 2019 |
REB ZUNDEL’S MUSSAR
We have made it through Tisha
B’Av and we are still alive.
Aug. 09, 2019 |
“I AM WRONG”
Recently I was driving through a checkpoint at a United
States military base. I did not see any guard, so I proceeded slowly forward.
Suddenly there was a loud bang on the rear window. A military policeman stepped
out of the shadows and started yelling. He wasn’t interested in hearing that I
hadn’t seen him.
Aug. 02, 2019 |
EVERY STEP DIRECTED FROM ABOVE
have reached the end of the Book of Numbers (Sefer Bamidbar in the
Torah) and the culmination of the travels of the Children of Israel through the
Desert. The Holy Nation is gathered on the Plains of Moav, across from
the Eastern border of the Holy Land, poised to cross the Jordan River.
Jul. 26, 2019 |
THERE CAN BE PEACE
How does one merit “bris shalom … [the] covenant of
peace?” (Numbers 25:12)
Jul. 19, 2019 |
Bilaam was a novi.
A novi can give unique service to Hashem. His task in life is to
transmit Hashem’s will and thereby elevate the entire world.
But, like every opportunity, it is a two-edged sword. Spiritually-powerful
people need humility in order to ensure that they use their power properly. Who
was more powerful than Dovid Hamelech? Yet Dovid says, “I am a worm.” (Psalm 22)
Jul. 12, 2019 |
THE LOCATION OF ETERNITY
Why is a human corpse the basic source of impurity?
Jul. 05, 2019 |
HOW COULD HE DO IT?
could Korach and his followers have rebelled against Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses)?
Jun. 28, 2019 |
DID WE LEARN?
It amazes me how events in each week’s Torah Portion constantly
pinpoint our exact situation as we travel through history. Of course, that is
our Torah. “Hashem n’chaini … Hashem, guide me in Your righteousness,
because of my watchful enemies. Make Your way straight before me.” (Psalm 5:9) I
remember, from my early years, blundering with no Guide and no path.
Jun. 21, 2019 |
Several years ago, at this season, I heard a parable from
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger Shlita”h, Rosh ha Yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, in the name
of the Ishbitzer Rebbe.
Jun. 07, 2019 |
THE QUIET OF THE NIGHT
I admit it. My favorite of all the Megilas is Rus.[i] The
language is simple, even spare, the essence of understatement.
May. 31, 2019 |
SEVEN TIMES SEVEN
This week, we tremble at the Tochecha.[i]
May. 24, 2019 |
“THE LAND IS MINE!”
Do you feel different when you are in Israel?