We encounter, in this week’s parsha, one of the remarkable acts of self-sacrifice, and in the process the formation of a great leadership quality: the seal of the House of Judah. The tribe of Judah, as a result, would become the tribe where the leading kings of Israel would emanate from, King David, his descendants, culminating in the
Last Shabbos was Parshat Miketz. Something unusual happened last Shabbos: We read the haftarah assigned to Parshat Miketz. Assuming I counted correctly, over 100 years, this year, 5781 to the year 5881, this haftarah will be read only 10 times. Normally Parshat Miketz is read on either the first or second Shabbos of Chanukah, hence a
Every year around Chanukah time I call or visit my friend Joe Wolf to wish him a happy birthday. This year he turned 102 years old. He was still sharp as ever and wished me a long and healthy life, as he had enjoyed himself. Down South in Florida we have a neighbor, Gertrude, who will be turning 100 years old in February. Whenever
Jack was on a Birthright trip for the first time in Israel. The tour stopped at one of the largest yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael, Mir Yerushalayim. He was taken aback by the loud noise as he entered the huge study hall, with students talking in full voice, even screaming. Jack had been to many study halls where intense study was taking place.
Raised in the lap of his father Yaakov, with a whole world and future ahead of him, one day it all turns sour and so dark for Yosef. Yosef goes to check on the welfare of his brothers, but in no way are they checking on his welfare in the least. No, they have very different plans. They hold up Yosef, and are ready to end his life. Yosef is
Asara B’Tevet marks the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem that would ultimately result in Churban Bayit Rishon (the destruction of the First Temple). It is the first of four fast days in our national calendar that commemorate the destruction and/or its aftermath (the other three being 17 Tammuz, 9 Av and 3 Elul (Tzom Gedaliah).
Most religions have some version of an afterlife. To many people, it is almost synonymous with religion itself. It is rather strange that Judaism gives only one hint of an afterlife. This is a single phrase in the relatively late book of Daniel: “Many of those who sleep in the dust will awaken, some to everlasting life, and some to shame
If you’ve ever been to Israel for Chanukah, you may see Egged buses with signs that proudly proclaim “Chag Urim Sameach,” “Happy Festival of Lights.” This name for the holiday can be traced back to Josephus and draws its name from the miracle of the oil in the Beit Hamikdash that lasted for eight days. The miracle was a sign that
The situation has become dire. An elderly father traumatized by the death of his favored son and the imprisonment of another child refuses to dispatch his youngest child to Egypt. If Binyamin doesn’t make an appearance in Egypt, Shimon will remain incarcerated by a merciless Egyptian despot. Almost as menacing, the chances of the
Last month my wife and I felt ill with aches and flu-like symptoms. We got tested for COVID-19 and yes, we tested positive. So did all our children! We had been so careful by wearing masks and social distancing. Yet…I was sick for three days and my wife took a little longer. Baruch Hashem, our children felt fine. When we recovered, my
Yosef is sitting in prison not just for a few days or a year, but for 10 years. The Torah refers to his location as a “pit,” and thus we can imagine the sight of a dark, damp, isolated cave, with probably not the best air circulation to say the least. Who knows how much longer Yosef would sit, as hope of coming out was ostensibly highly
The tzadik Rebbe Shlomo of Karlin would, from time to time, prefer to light Chanukah menorah with thick wax candles, rather than oil. The talmidim respectfully challenged him: “Rebbe, is it not the accepted view that the ideal, most mehudar way to light the Chanukah menorah is with olive oil, through which the miracle occurred?” “Of