Someone whose father fought in the Battle of the Bulge gave me a book about this epic chapter in the history of World War II. Even reading about war is difficult. The reality is hard to imagine, especially for Americans, who have long been insulated from armed conflict. But war is real. Today, with the threat of long-range weapons and close-range enemies, it seems to be edging closer. Governments, who are supposed to protect, in some cases actually threaten the world! 


During the Sefiras HaOmer period of counting the 49 days between Passover and the holiday of Shavuos, we are working intensely to refine our character, trying to merit receiving the Torah on Shavuos. During Passover, I was privileged to perform the rare mitzvah (Torah commandment) of “shiluach hakan” - sending away the mother bird before taking her young (Deuteronomy 22:6-7). 


“G-d has taken you and withdrawn you from ‘kur habarzel’… the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a nation of heritage for Him, as this very day…” (Deuteronomy 4:20). 


There is a dispute whether the world was created in the Jewish month of Tishrei or Nissan (Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 10b-11a). In a real sense, the answer is …. both! Tishrei marks the anniversary of physical creation; Nissan marks the anniversary of spiritual creation.  


“Ketores - the Incense Offering - the dearest of all the offerings.”  (Rashi on Numbers 16:6)  


We have reached a new level in our weekly Torah portion. From the Book of Genesis through last week’s Torah portion, in which Israel receives the Torah at Mount Sinai, the Torah portions have been narrative, beginning with the epic story of Creation, the formation of the Nation of Israel, and culminating in the redemption from Egypt and the (literally) earth-shaking meeting between G-d and His Chosen People at Mount Sinai.  


The essential message of Yom Kippur is that everything depends on our spiritual condition. To the extent that we follow Hashem's will, our life will be good. The economy is not the determining factor. Politics is not the determining factor. Social issues are not the determining factor. The only thing that counts is our relationship with G-d. That's it. 



Recent Posts


Haman Jacob shield of Abraham Torah Moshaich angels Mount Sinai Samuel the Prophet Exodus Final redemption Leah kiddush Rebbe synagogue cries Yaakov miracles Master of the Universe Moses Esau Sabbath Solomon patriarchs'matriarchs Terror Attack in Jerusalem siddur locusts Land of Israel war tablets terrorism kosher Mount Zion Shavuos trees Psalms Ruth liberation fault Baku judgement mikveh Adam Eve Macabees Amalek rabbi Purim water Zechariah secret Mount Hermon Tisha b'Av angel King David Pharaoh Jewish festival incense ancestors Maccabeans night Bilaam Song of Songs Chanukkah messiah Rabbi Akiva matzos keys Rashi survival enemies chaos Jerusalem Zion, Angel spies King Solomon Abraham logic Malbim Jews Temple minyan king evil Sephardi mitzvos patriarchs materialism Elul Hagar cholent United Nations Sarah Ashkenazi Geula Tzuk etan prayer Hebrew fragrance Holocaust tremors Yom Kippur tears Judgement Day world to come missiles heavenly gates Moshiach Raiders of the Lost Ark shmittah Western World Holy Temple song Shechina Benjamin Ammon David Tefillin Torah portion Maimonides Banias Bais Hamikdosh Golden Calf resurrection Beit Hamikdash Father in Heaven dreams Western Wall blessing Zohar Zion Canaan Psalm Ten Commandments sun hubris meraglim Protective edge leprosy Gog Samuel Moab Matriarchs High Holy Days barley creation God Avraham gossip Ishamael persecution sanctity murder Matisyahu mikveh, Sabbath alone plague Europe forefathers culture pray Day of Atonement exile Midrash bird prophet Rabbis Eglon stones lights Lunar eclipse Temple Mount Tallis soul End of Days flood Golan light Noah compassion commandment Talmud purity paradise repent three weeks violence Blame yarmulke Golus pain Divine presence stars Sages Greeks mitzva Angel of Death Garden of Eden Jewish Egypt Earth shofar India Passover Seder Aharon Abrahem Isaac New Moon Miriam Passover Edom Achashveirosh Mordechai Sukkah Judah seder Jewish People eternal evolution brotherhood sin Balak Chofetz Chaim Amram Red Heifer Pinchas Rome Second Temple Ishmeal evil inclination Galil Sukkos Laban Yerushalayim Moshe moon ethics terror prophets Sea of Galilee heavenly throne Holy land Miraglim Hasmoneans redeemer 2020 Vision Rosh Hashanah slaves spiritual Judaism Day of Judgement Parsha priests Teshuva Rosh Hashana Creator chessed danger tabernacle Prophecy Heavenly Mercy Lot darkness Ishmael Rebecca holiday earthquake kinneret Isaiah Red Sea Babylonia slavery Jeremiah esrog rosh chodesh idolatry Tu b'Shvat Shushan spirituality repentance High Priest Holiness Israel prayers Ezekiel Joseph Jewish holidays America kesuba Chanukah Genesis Shabbos Boaz Solar eclipse menorah peace Babylon Chol haMoed Jew Faith redemption prophet Samuel automobiles sacrifices Sefiras haOmer G-d Nation of Israel King of the Universe idol death heaven bible Sodom bris milah media yeshiva Tu b'Av deluge eternity Torah scholars Dead Sea Hashem holy Repentence Rachel terrorists prayer book fear Esther Chafetz Chaim terrorist self-worship Magog fires Children of Israel rain biblical Holy Ark miracle salvation