Posts by NKahana

Shoftim 5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Shoftim 5778

Countries the world over have armies but in Israel it is the army that has a country, where every important decision takes into account security implications.

We love our soldiers. The young people begin their private physical training while still in high school in preparation for army service. And how great the disappointment when a youngster does not make it into a highly dangerous special unit of Tzahal. And the adults willingly report for reserve duty with great loyalty.

However, things could be better…

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Re’ah  5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Re’ah  5778

It is apparent from these verses that there are three possible situations in the Creator-Yisrael relationship:

Verse 27) “…if you obey…” – life will be a blessing

Verse 28) “…if you do not obey…” – then life will be a curse

Verse 26) “Perceive! I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse” – when life is a blessing imbedded and disguised as a curse, as is transpiring today in front of our eyes.

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Va’etchanan-Eikev-Re’eh 5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Va’etchanan-Eikev-Re’eh 5778

Questions:
1. Why is the first paragraph of kri’at shema (the standardized recitation of Shema Yisrael) worded in the singular, while the second is in the plural?

2. Why did HaShem not give the Torah to the Patriarchs — Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov?

3. Why must a Gentile convert in order to be obligated to keep the Torah?

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Matot-Masei 5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Matot-Masei 5778

Our parasha enumerates the 42 stations where the Jewish nation encamped in their 40 years of wandering in the desert; some are well known, others are just markers on a map.

Wandering is the essence of Jewish history when HaShem banished us from His holy land.

To have to leave the land in which you and your parents were born, in order to begin a new life in foreign surroundings, with the knowledge that in three or four generations your descendants will also have to leave for a new place, is traumatic. But these situations also held within them the survival of our people. The feeling that we are “permanently temporary” decreased the degree of assimilation into the cultures of our “host” countries. Some might argue that the “treatment” was much too harsh in combating the disease. Perhaps! But it worked.

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Pinchas 5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Pinchas 5778

This parsha always draws me close to tears. How I feel for the greatest of men – Moshe Rabbeinu – who was forced to succumb to HaShem’s absolute and terminal judgment prohibiting him from entering the Holy Land.

But it should not have come as a complete surprise to the great Moshe. Among his ten names, Moshe’s holy Jewish name given to him by his parents at birth was Tuvia, whereas Moshe was the name given to him by Batya, the Egyptian princess who saved him as a baby from the river (Moshe in ancient Egyptian means “to draw out from water”).

From all his names, why did HaShem choose to call him by the Egyptian word “Moshe”?

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Balak 5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Balak 5778

This week’s parasha completes the tragic transgression trilogy perpetrated by the Jews in their 40-year desert sojourn.

The first was the distortion of HaShem’s revelation at Sinai by the heretical, idolatrous worship of the Golden Calf, causing the death of 3,000 Jews. Followed by the refusal of the majority of the men to enter the Holy Land while under the influence of the Meraglim, which took a toll of hundreds of thousands between the ages of 20 and 60 who were condemned to die over the coming 38 years.

And in our parasha the sinful relationships with the daughters of Moav and Midyan, leading to the death of 24,000 Jews, including the head of the Tribe of Shimon.

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