Esav Lives!
Nov22

Esav Lives!

Esav Lives! Sad, but true. Living in the Land of Israel, I usually ignore talk media, i.e., radio and TV—especially TV. (There are many reasons why I avoid it. One is that I choose to not have a TV!) Visiting in the USA, as I have been for the last few weeks, I have been [...]

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Midrash for Monday; All Things Must Pass
Oct09

Midrash for Monday; All Things Must Pass

Midrash for Monday All Things Must Pass On Shabbat chol hamoed (the intermediary days) of Sukkot, we read Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), one of the three books written by King Shlomo (Solomon). Since one of the defining characteristics of the sukkah (hut, from which the Sukkot holiday gets its name) is that it provide shade, here is [...]

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A Midrash for Monday (#14)/Rosh HaShanah-Yom Kippur

A Midrash for Monday (#14) This one is especially appropriate for Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and the days in between. Actually, it’s good to have this one handy all the time! The prophet Yeshayahu says, “Seek God when He is present” (Isaiah 55:6), but King David (Yeshayau’s multiple-great-grandfather) says, “Seek God and His might; seek [...]

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A Midrash for Monday (#12)
Sep11

A Midrash for Monday (#12)

A Midrash for Monday (#12) I won’t say that there is more to share than usual. I will say that I am perceiving more so I can share more. We’ll start with a piece about the perhaps somewhat surprising preciousness of prayer and what adds to prayer’s strength. “This very day God is commanding you [...]

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A Midrash for Monday (#11)
Sep04

A Midrash for Monday (#11)

A Midrash for Monday (#11) Rav Ada says, “Because there are 248 active mitzvahs, the human body has 248 “limbs.” Each day the mitzvahs cry out to a person, ‘Do us! You will live a long life on our account.’ “There are 365 prohibitions, the same number of days as there are in a solar [...]

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A Midrash for Monday (#10)
Aug29

A Midrash for Monday (#10)

A Midrash for Monday “Appoint for yourselves judges and police in all your gates, for your tribes ... They will judge the people mishpat tzedek (fairly; literally, with charitable justice)” (Deuteronomy 16:18). “In all your gates” means in every city. “For your tribes” teaches us that even if all the people in the city are [...]

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A Midrash for Monday
Aug22

A Midrash for Monday

A Midrash for Monday “When God your Lord will expand your borders...” (Deuteronomy 12:20). This relates to the verse (Proverbs 18:16), “A person’s gift expands him.” When a person is generous, God gives him greatness. There’s a story about Avun Ramaah (Trickster) who lived in Batzrah. Our Sages went there on a fund-raising mission. Although [...]

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A Midrash for Monday (#8)
Aug15

A Midrash for Monday (#8)

A Midrash for Monday “At that time God said said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two stone tablets, like the first...’” (Deuteronomy 10:1). This is referred to in the verse, “To everything there is a time and a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). There was a time for the world to be created and a time for [...]

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A Midrash for Monday (#7)
Aug07

A Midrash for Monday (#7)

A Midrash for Monday “The roads of Zion mourn” (Lamentations 1:4). Rav Huna says, “Everything in Creation seeks to fulfill its purpose. In order to have puppies, a pet lapdog went out to a cliff in the wilderness to give itself to a male.” Rav Ami says, “Even cedar trees want to fulfill their purpose. [...]

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A Midrash for Monday (#6)
Aug01

A Midrash for Monday (#6)

A Midrash for Monday “These are the words that Moshe spoke... (Deuteronomy 1:1). The Jews said to Moshe, “Yesterday you said, ‘I’m not a man of words’ (Exodus 4:10), but now you’re talking so much!” Rebbe Yitzchak explained, “If you’re speech-impaired [as Moshe Rabbeinu was], speak many words of Torah and heal yourself. Moshe [when [...]

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A Midrash for Monday (#5)
Jul25

A Midrash for Monday (#5)

A Midrash for Monday Rendered from Midrash Tanchuma, Masei #8 “He teaches us from the beasts of the earth and makes us wise from the birds of the sky” (Job 35:11). God tells the Jews, “Learn from Elijah’s cow.” What did Elijah’s cow do? “When the Prophet Elijah challenged the worshipers of Baal (1 Kings [...]

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A Midrash for Monday
Jul18

A Midrash for Monday

A Midrash for Monday Midrash Tanchuma, Matot #5 “The tribes of Reuven and Gad had much cattle...” (Numbers 32:1). Teach us, our master. How many presents were created in the world? This is what our rabbis taught. The Holy Blessed One created three presents: chokhmah (wisdom), gevurah (strength) and osher (wealth). If a person is [...]

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A Midrash for Monday
Jul11

A Midrash for Monday

A Midrash for Monday “Therefore proclaim: Behold! I [God] am giving [Pinchas] My covenant of shalom!” (Numbers 25:12). Great is the shalom that was given, because the world runs only on shalom. The entirety of the Torah is shalom, as it is said (Proverbs 3:17), “Her ways are way of pleasantness and all her paths [...]

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A Midrash for Monday
Jul04

A Midrash for Monday

There are streams that grow strong people and streams that grow weaklings. Some streams grow handsome people, others grow ugly ones. Some streams grow chaste people, some licentious ones. The stream of Shittim, the water source of Sodom, was licentious. Because that stream was cursed, its waters will dry up. But they will be replaced [...]

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A Midrash for Monday
Jun27

A Midrash for Monday

A Midrash for Monday A gentile once posed the following question to Rebbe Yochanan ben Zakai. “Some of the things you Jews do seem like voodoo. You take a cow and burn it, grind it and gather its ashes. If one of you becomes tamei (ritually impure) by being in contact with a corpse, you [...]

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A Midrash’s Analogy
Jun02

A Midrash’s Analogy

“On the day Moshe completed erecting the Mishkan ...” (Numbers 7:1). Once upon a time there was a king who had a feisty queen, who often, often, gave him a hard time. One day the king asked her to make him a royal cloak. She began her work. As long as she was involved in [...]

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