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Rabbi Yakov Nagen

Rabbi Yakov Nagen

Rabbi Dr. Yakov Nagen (Genack) is the Rosh Kollel of Yeshivat Otniel, a Hesder Yeshiva in the Hebron Hills. He is a Musmach of RIETS and a PhD in Jewish Philosophy from the Hebrew University. His books, in Hebrew, include “Nishmat HaMishna,” a literary and philosophical approach to the Mishna, “Water, Creation and Divinity: Sukkot in the Philosophy of Halacha” and “Awaking to a New Day: Stories and Insights from Life.”

Moshe and the “Daughter of God”

January 13, 2012, by

“Shemot” means names, and indeed in Parshat Shemot there appear many names. However, the most important name of all is missing. The central figure of the Parsha, as well as of that of the entire Torah, our greatest leader and prophet, is Moshe. However, Moshe is the Egyptian name given to him by the daughter […]

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One People, One Family

December 29, 2011, by

The cruelty of the brothers to Yosef, as well as to their father Yaakov, is appalling. However, as Professor Uriel Simon demonstrates, this story ultimately leads us to an optimistic view of the human condition. Much of the narrative of Book of Beresis revolve around relationships within the family and in particular relationships between brothers. […]

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The Pain of the Past

December 22, 2011, by

After years of trauma and suffering, Yosef’s fortunes change dramatically for the better as he is catapulted to greatness. The names he chooses for his two children reflect two approaches to the pain of the past. The name of his first child, Menasha, is linked by the Torah to the Hebrew word Nashani, which means […]

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The Angel’s Blessing

December 8, 2011, by

Yakov is returning home after many years of self imposed exile. During the journey he is confronted with a mysterious figure. They struggle and Yakov is wounded with an injury that he will carry for life. He overcomes his opponent, who is revealed to be an angel, and then demands from him to bless him. […]

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God is Here, Where am I?

November 30, 2011, by

One night in the midst of his journey to Charan, Yakov dreams of a ladder that reaches up to the heavens. When he awakens he exclaims “God is in this place, and I did not know.” Rabbi Lawrence Kushner has devoted an entire book to the various commentaries to this statement showing that from each […]

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Does the End Justify the Means?

November 23, 2011, by

The Machiavellian concept “The Ends Justify the Means” has been a source of much of the evil that the world has known. One example is the Western intellectuals who viewed themselves as humanists who nevertheless supported Stalin, believing that his atrocities were necessary steps for achieving a better future for humanity. But if we do […]

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God is Present in the Other

November 8, 2011, by

Parshat Vayera concludes dramatically with the story of Akedat Isaac, in which Abraham demonstrates his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son. The Torah does not tell us what were the events leading up to the Akeda, this gap is filled both by the Midrash and by the Zohar. The differences between these two accounts highlight […]

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Journey to the Self

October 31, 2011, by

Lech Lecha. With these words God calls upon Abraham to embark upon a journey. The literal meaning of Lech Lecha is Lech – go, Lecha – to you: Go to you. There is a profound teaching of the Zohar based on this literal meaning. The Zohar teaches that the journey Abraham undertakes is not only […]

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