Sightseeing in the Parsha - Naot Kedumim

In the the Ben Shemen forest, near the city of Modiin there is a park called Naot Kedumim. This unique park imitates biblical Israel; it has a few areas dedicated to visualising different parts of the Tanach. For example there is a trail that passes through all seven of the Shivat Haminim with the appropriate verses quoted along the way and a path through foliage that relates well with love and romance complete with quotes from Shir Hashirim. Additionally they have various tools and contraptions right out of the Bible and Mishna. Visitors that come at the right time of year can find themselves crushing olives to make oil in a way only familiar to us through books. One of the fascinating exhi

Sukkot - Connecting the World to Am Yisrael

When we read through the Torah, and when we go over the calendar, we can immediately see a unique fact about Sukkot. It is in the end of two different cycles of holidays. It is the end of the Tishrei cycle, being the last holiday after Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and also the third of the cycle of the Shalosh Regalim, which include Pesach and Shavuot. The special thing about this fact is that the two cycles seem to be reversed, and even contradictory. The Regalim system is a system based on the story of יציאת מצרים and in that way, is an only-jewish cycle, while the Tishrei cycle is much more universal dealing with crowning Hashem as king of the world, and the judgment of all creatures. Rav

Sightseeing in the Parsha - Kfar Yehoshua

At the end of the book of Devarim and the end of a long time in the desert, Moshe, the undisputed leader of Israel, begins to transfer the leadership to the next generation. In our Parasha, Moshe commands Yehuoshua bin Nun: “Be strong and courageous because you shall bring the people to the land.” Moshe is telling Yehoshua that he will be the next leader, and that Yehoshua is the one who will bring the children of Israel to the Promised Land. In 1900, there was another Jewish man wandering around the Land of Israel, who was named after Yehoshua bin Nun – this was Yehuoshua Hankin. Hankin was born in the Ukraine, moved to Israel at a young age, and began purchasing land all over the country.

Four Steps to Hashem - Vayeilech

הַקְהֵל אֶת־הָעָם הָאֲנָשִׁים וְהַנָּשִׁים וְהַטַּף וְגֵרְךָ אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ, לְמַעַן יִשְׁמְעוּ וּלְמַעַן יִלְמְדוּ וְיָֽרְאוּ אֶת־ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֔ם וְשָׁמְרוּ לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרי הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת: In what is one of his last speeches to Am Israel, Moshe Rabeinu teaches us the mitzvah of Hakhel. Every seven years, at the end of shnat hashmita, the entire nation is supposed to gather together for this special event. One of the unique things about this mitzvah is that we are specifically asked to bring the children, even though they aren’t obligated to fulfill mitzvat Talmud Torah. Rashi says that this commandment is issued to us ‘so those who bring them will receive rewards’. Sti

The Reason for the Commandment to Eat on Erev Yom Kippur

It is a Mitzvah to eat on the eve of Yom Kippur and to increase the amount one normally consumes (Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim 604:1). Seemingly, it would appear to be more appropriate to fill oneself with fear and trembling than food. What reason could there be for joyful eating and drinking at such a time? Rabbi Moshe Cordovero explains that we rejoice in anticipation of fulfilling the commandment of repentance on Yom Kippur, for it is fitting that we rejoice greatly in our fulfillment of each and every Torah commandment. All the more so when it comes to such an important commandment as repentance. But because repentance, by its very nature involves grief, regret, confession, and a firm res

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