Torah Columns
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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
She is one of the most unexpected heroes of the Hebrew Bible. Without her, Moses might not have lived and the story of the Exodus would have been different. Yet she was not an Israelite. She had … more
Twenty-one-year-old Zvika Greengold had just been accepted into the prestigious Company Commanders course and given two weeks’ leave. He was home on his Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot near … more
The two old men couldn’t have been more different from each other. Yet they both taught me the identical life lesson. The first, a cagey old Irishman, was one of my mentors in the … more
I was very embarrassed by her sharp rebuke. But looking back, I realize that the lesson I learned from her brief criticism was more valuable than most of my other training experiences. It … more
If you want to understand what a book is about, look carefully at how it ends. In this week’s parsha, Vayechi, Genesis ends with three deeply significant scenes. First, Jacob blesses his … more
Parashat Vayechi is the final sidrah in Sefer Bereishit and the bridge to Sefer Shemot. Until now, our forebears were a small family of 12 tribes, yet within the first chapter of Sefer Shemot, … 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
Some time ago I had the privilege of meeting a World War II veteran with a fascinating story to share: Born in Germany, his parents saw the writing on the wall and he was sent to boarding school … more
The last two festivals to be added to the Jewish calendar prior to modern times — Purim and Chanukah — are both about anti-Semitism. There is one obvious difference between them: … more
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