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Did Yaakov Steal the Berachos?
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For seventeen years, I had the privilege to study one-on-one with Rav Yaakov Weinberg, zt’l, Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshivat Ner Yisrael of Baltimore. Rav Weinberg was one of the Torah luminaries of the 20th century, and he had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of his students, not to mention his students’ students […]
The Blessing of a Father: Isaac’s “Blindness”?
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The choreography of Yaakov’s “theft” of Esav’s blessing is well-known. Favored by Rivkah , he conspires with her to take advantage of his father’s failing eyesight to win Yitzchak’s blessing, leaving Esav, favored by his father, to go without the honor of the first-born. This reading of parshat Toldot makes central the animosity between the […]
Hibur: Yes, we are our brothers’ keepers
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“They kidnapped me.” On June 12th those words, those horrible words, were whispered by Gilad Shaer into his cell phone. He had been hitch hiking in Gush Etzion with Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah. Three teenagers. Youngsters. Children. Our children. Hiking in our Judean Hills on their way home from yeshiva when Palestinian terrorists, members […]
Chesed: Acts of Loving-Kindness
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Imagine this scene: A gentleman, along in years, sits on the porch of his house on a warm, summer’s day. The sun is high in the sky. Perhaps the man, drowsy with the afternoon heat, begins to close his eyes for a brief nap. But a noise startles him. He looks up. A car coming […]
Jonah and ISIS
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Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me. But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Jaffa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish… – Jonah 1:1-3 Is there a more singular, better known […]
We Forget Amalek at Our Peril
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We are incredible beings for so many reasons, perhaps none so much as our ability to embody so many seeming contradictions with such ease. We are both soul and flesh, corporeal and spirit. We are defined by our sense of self, by our individuality, by the “I” yet we are lost unless that “I” also […]
All Part of the Whole: The Value of Each Life
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Whosoever saves a single life, it is as if he saved an entire world. – Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 A fundamental Jewish principle is that man is created “in the image of God” and therefore, possesses inherent dignity and worth. The rabbis teach that this inherent worth is the reason that man was created as an […]