Torah Columns
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There is war, and then there is madness. In war, one often has to fight, but when madness sets in, sometimes, perhaps one simply has to run. Such was the question on that dark October afternoon in 1973, when the quiet beauty and desolation of the Suez Canal was ruptured by the roar of an entire army crossing the water, bent on bloodshed. more
The Torah never addresses when a newborn is to be named. Just about every Biblical figure introduced at birth is named right away. This would not come as much of a shock in a pre-Avraham and pre-bris era. But the fact that Yitzchak, Yaakov, Eisav, and all of Yaakov’s sons (perhaps with the exception of Binyamin’s second name) are named the moment they are born (or so it seems) stands to leave open the idea that in Biblical times, boys were named before the bris. more
Once, in the midst of a class, I noticed a student’s eyes begin to water. We were having a discussion about identity, and how we tap in to who we really are. In tears, he explained how he had arrived at Isralight in Jerusalem. He had been a concert violinist with enormous potential, until in a tragic freak accident; he got his hand caught in a car door. After all the hospital care and operations, his hand was left partially paralyzed, and his career in music was over. And he realized, with panic, that he had no idea who he was any more. Whenever anyone would ask ‘what do you do?’ his response had always been: “I’m a violinist.” But that was no longer true. So who was he? more
This may seem trivial. And to be honest, I may be completely wrong. But I can’t help thinking there’s something deeper behind the names Avraham and Yitzchak seem to give to the city where they each forge a treaty with Avimelech. more
The land of Egypt has always loomed large in the history of our nation. In fact, the word “Mitzraim” appears 680 times in Tanach. In the main, our people’s relationship with this land has been a negative one. more
His eyes haunt me; looking out as they do from a picture taken over seventy years ago. Just one drop of one story from amongst a sea of pain. more
I’ve heard it said a number of times that were Yitzchak and Rivkah alive today, there is no way they’d get married. more
The prophet Malachi presents a scenario when the G-d-fearing public presents its goodness to G-d, in contrast to the wicked who felt it was worthless to serve G-d. “At that time, the God-fearing people spoke to one another. G-d listened and heard, and a scroll of remembrance was written at His command concerning those who fear God and those who meditate on His Name.” (Malachi 3:16) more
There are very few feelings in life that leave us more challenged, hurt, and insecure, than the feeling we get from being ignored. Part of this may stem from the fact that we need to feel we have what to contribute, to give back to society and the world. Indeed our ability to be in touch with what we have to give is the essence of connecting with our purpose in this world. So when someone completely ignores us, perhaps we wonder whether we really have as much to offer as we think we do. more
Sometimes, you can’t change the world, and in order to make sure the world doesn’t change you, difficult and often painful decisions are necessary. I still remember joining the Israeli army, full of motivation and inspired to make a difference, only to discover that the reality of army life often had its own set of rules. more
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