Rabbi Avi Billet
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One of the more mysterious narratives in the Torah concerns what is likely the final trip back to Egypt after the burning bush (the midrash suggests Moshe went back and forth a number of times, … more
Every now and then I like to revisit the question of whether the Torah has a consistent method for how it switches between calling our third forefather Yaakov and Yisrael. He does have both … more
Why is Chanukah an eight-day holiday? With respect to the eight days being contingent on a miracle of a small amount of oil lasting eight days, there are many answers for the question. But in … more
Before the sale of Yosef, Yosef is on a mission. Walking near Shechem, looking lost, he encounters a “man” (the rabbis identify him as an angel) who says two words to him, Mah … more
Parshat Vayishlach begins with Yaakov’s worries over finally meeting Eisav after many years apart. And while that encounter goes surprisingly pareve-ly, his next significant stop, in Shechem, … more
When it came time to find a wife for Yitzchak, Avraham, in this week’s parsha, Chayei Sarah, was very clear in his instructions to his servant. He makes him swear “that you will not … more
One of the more fascinating family relationships in the Torah surrounds that of Yaakov with his wives, and that of the wives themselves with one another. The following discussion of parsha Vayetze is … more
Our parsha, Toldot, shares three stories. The first is the background to the birth of Eisav and Yaakov and the sale of the bechora (birthright); the second is in the chapter dedicated to the life … more
Avimelekh, king of Gerar, is a tragic figure. He is a king, but is very insecure. He thinks his position allows him to do things no civilian could get away with, but every time he gets called on his … more
Rabbi Yehuda Amital, the founding rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion, was known to say at the beginning of the new cycle of the Torah: “I don’t understand anything in parshat … more
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