Parashat & Current Events

Chanuka 5779

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Chanuka 5779

Our family and friends celebrated my wife Feiga’s eightieth birthday (to 120) this week.

Each family wrote blessings to their Imma, Savta and Savta Raba (mother, grandmother and great grandmother), but one letter stands out because it represents the others in content and spirit. It is also special because it encapsulates all of the weekly messages that I have been sending out these past 15 years.

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Vayaishev 5779

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Vayaishev 5779

The central theme of these two parshiot is JEWISH IDENTITY – Ya’akovism vs. Aisavism, or to put it plainly: as with the practice of medicine where wellness is defined as the absence of sickness; in Judaism, Ya’akovism is defined as the absence of Aisavism. And just as a minor illness excludes the sufferer from the status of wellness, even an infinitesimal dose of Aisavism excludes a Jew from the distinctive, unique, sacred, aristocratic status of Ya’akovism.

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Vayishlach 5779

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Vayishlach 5779

In parashat Beshalach (Shemot 17) we read that Amalek attacked the Jews immediately after leaving Egypt. Two questions:

Amalek resided in the area of today’s southern Jordan and in the Negev; how did they come to be so far west in the Sinai Peninsula?

What was their hurry to wage war on the Jews as soon as we left Egypt?

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Vayai’tzai 5779

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Vayai’tzai 5779

Ya’akov set out for Lavan’s house to find a wife. Yet unlike Avraham’s servant Eliezer, who dozens of years beforehand had arrived at that same well, with a caravan laden with wealth, Ya’akov arrived empty-handed.

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Toldot 5779

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Toldot 5779

Two dominant features regarding Yitzchak: HaShem does not permit him to leave Eretz Yisrael and HaShem is with Yitzchak. This is the heritage of the servants of HaShem, and this is their vindication from me, declares HaShem.

We see this happening now before our very eyes in Eretz Yisrael. It is the miraculous protection of HaShem over his loyal children.

It is “HaShem is with us” in all its glory as Am Yisrael shakes off the shackles of the galut to continue our journey towards the unique destiny that HaShem has determined for us.

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Chayei Sarah 5779

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Chayei Sarah 5779

The sudden, tragic murders of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh, and yesterday’s horrendous accident near the Dead Sea where the entire Atar family was killed – parents and 6 children, bring forth again that incontestable question – why did HaShem make it happen?

These two tragedies, as with most of Jewish history, have no rational basis in human logic and are not acts of compassion. The reality of our lives leaves one standing in profound anguish before the inexplicable decisions of the Creator.

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