The Four Levels of Fulfillment

Our parashah includes a celebrated and powerful teaching “Man does not live by bread alone” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition, conveys to us the ultimate meaning of this verse, and illuminates for us the human path to a genuine and everlasting sense of fulfillment and inner nourishment. The...

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Our Greatest Enemy

This Shabbat, Moses speaks to us, the People of Israel, the following words: “I stand between you and G-d” (in Hebrew: “אנוכי עומד בין ה’ וביניכם”). On the immediate level, Moses is simply reminding the Jewish People that he, Moses, serves as the “go between”, the intermediary, the spiritual messenger...

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Why Fast on Tisha be’Av?

This coming Wednesday night we will be commemorating Tisha be’Av, the only 25-hour fast day of the Jewish spiritual calendar, in addition to Yom Kippur. Why do we still fast on Tisha be’Av even though we already regained sovereignty in Israel 72 years ago? We fast on Tisha be’Av in...

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Being for Israel

Our Torah reading this Shabbat includes a narration of the future allocation of different geographical locations in Israel for each of the twelve respective tribes of Israel. However, two of the tribes, Reuven and Ephraim, approach Moses with an unusual and somewhat cheeky request. The heads of these two tribes...

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You Are What You Consistently Do

If somebody asked you to name the most important verse in the Torah, what would you say? The Jerusalem Talmud actually discusses this question. In this Talmudic passage, Rabbi Akiba proposes the verse: “Love your fellow person as you love yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). No doubt, Rabbi Akiba’s choice is a...

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The Symbolisms of Human Dignity

When I was a college student, I found myself one morning sitting in a class next to a person who was nonchalantly sketching a swastika. I immediately felt offended and upset. Being Israeli, I had no qualms about telling her what I think of the inappropriateness of sketching such a...

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Holy Chutzpah

Elie Wiesel once said that “One can be a Jew with G-d, or against G-d, but not without G-d.” What I think Wiesel meant by this, is that spiritually, the most important thing for a Jew to do, is to be religiously engaged, to grapple with G-d. One can “agree”...

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Israel, Coronavirus & the Sanctity of Life

The Talmud teaches us: “He who saves the life of one soul – it is as if he saved the world entire.” This is exactly how Israel is dealing with the global health crisis humanity is facing. The Israeli Government is not making any political or economic calculations. Israel’s assertive...

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