Crushed for Brilliance

"And you shall command the Children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to elevate a light at all times" [Exodus 27:20]. The Torah requires that only the purest form of olive oil be used for lighting the Menorah in the Holy...

What Sets Jews Apart

This week we read of the Revelation of the Divine Presence on Mt. Sinai, and the Ten Commandments (which actually contain fourteen of the 613 Commandments, and are more precisely translated as "the Ten Statements"). The Medrash says that Sinai is related to the...

When Free Will is Miraculous

Our reading begins, "And G-d said to Moses, come in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may place these signs among them" [10:1]. This seems to contradict the idea of free will, which is a core concept in Judaism. Much as...

Carrying True Wealth

Rav Yaakov Galinsky zt'l tells a story he attributes to Rabbi Yisrael Mayer Kagan, the Chofetz Chaim. There was a gemstone dealer from St. Petersburg who traveled all the way to Danzig (today Gdansk, Poland) to a sale. Even today, this trip takes more than a day by...
Crushed for Brilliance

Crushed for Brilliance

"And you shall command the Children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to elevate a light at all times" [Exodus 27:20]. The Torah requires that only the purest form of olive oil be used for lighting the Menorah in the Holy...

read more
What Sets Jews Apart

What Sets Jews Apart

This week we read of the Revelation of the Divine Presence on Mt. Sinai, and the Ten Commandments (which actually contain fourteen of the 613 Commandments, and are more precisely translated as "the Ten Statements"). The Medrash says that Sinai is related to the...

read more
When Free Will is Miraculous

When Free Will is Miraculous

Our reading begins, "And G-d said to Moses, come in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may place these signs among them" [10:1]. This seems to contradict the idea of free will, which is a core concept in Judaism. Much as...

read more
Carrying True Wealth

Carrying True Wealth

Rav Yaakov Galinsky zt'l tells a story he attributes to Rabbi Yisrael Mayer Kagan, the Chofetz Chaim. There was a gemstone dealer from St. Petersburg who traveled all the way to Danzig (today Gdansk, Poland) to a sale. Even today, this trip takes more than a day by...

read more
Seizing the Moment

Seizing the Moment

“And Yosef could no longer hold back, from all those standing around him…” [45:1] For months, Yosef had kept up appearances. He treated his brothers coldly, as if he did not know who they were. Now, however, he “could no longer hold back.” He declared himself to be...

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Mirroring the Past

Mirroring the Past

In this week's reading, Yosef is sold, enslaved, and taken to Egypt, where he is purchased by Potiphar, chief executioner to Pharoah. He soon earns Potiphar's trust, such that Yosef is entrusted to manage Potiphar's house and all his property [Gen. 39:1-4]. This works...

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Joining Together

Joining Together

The Torah says that after Yaakov left his parents, fleeing from his brother Esav, "he came to the place" [28:11]. Rashi explains that he came to Mount Moriah, the same "place" mentioned previously, when Avraham brought Yitzchak to that same place, the site of the...

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All this, and no more

All this, and no more

Rivka told her son Yaakov that he must take food to his father, Yitzchak, and receive the blessings that her husband intended to bestow upon their older son, Esav—but Yaakov was reluctant. If his father realized, he said, "I will have brought upon myself a curse, not...

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When Fear is Required

When Fear is Required

One of the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is found in a popular Jewish tune: "All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is not to be afraid at all." He was speaking about the physical world—because, when it comes to fear of Heaven, just the...

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Abraham “the Hebrew”

Abraham “the Hebrew”

Since the horrific massacres that took place in the Land of Israel earlier this month, students on campus have faced rallies for "Palestine" that quickly devolved into explicit Jew hatred. Earlier this week, so-called protesters discovered that there were Jews...

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The Truly Good, the Mediocre… and the Evil

The Truly Good, the Mediocre… and the Evil

“These are the products [children] of Noach; Noach was a righteous man, pure in his generation, and Noach walked with G-d… And G-d said to Noach, the end of all flesh comes before me, for all the earth is filled with Hamas because of them, and behold, I will destroy...

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The Brotherhood and Depravity of Man

The Brotherhood and Depravity of Man

Two thoughts come to mind from our parsha, the reading this week. First of all, the notion of a “brotherhood of man” comes from our Torah; it is one of its first lessons. Today this is such a common idea that we don’t give it much thought, but in reality it is quite...

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