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Jewish Holidays

For the Sake of Jerusalem, I Will Not Be Silent

May 9, 2019, by

For the Sake of Jerusalem … These are remarkable days. These days between Pesach and Shavuot, these days between Yom Hazikaron and Yom Yerusholayim. What more appropriate time than with Parshat Emor—“say to the Kohanim’—and at the beginning of the month of Iyar, to focus and stir our hearts with a deeper appreciation for geula […]

Yom Haatzmaut 5779

May 8, 2019, by

Why, in Shemoneh Esrei, does the bracha of Kibbutz Galuyot immediately follow Barech Aleinu? Because as the Gemara says, there is no surer sign that Moshiach is coming than the land yielding it’s produce: “‘ואמר רבי אבא אין לך קץ מגולה מזה שנאמר (יחזקאל לו, ח) ‘ואתם הרי ישראל ענפכם תתנו ופריכם תשאו לעמי ישראל” […]

The Imperative of Gratitude: Yom Haatzmaut 5779

May 7, 2019, by

The historical development of Yom Haatzmaut as a holiday among Torah-observant Jews. According to the Ramban. part of the commandment of יישוב ארץ ישראל, to settle the Land of Israel, is to cultivate the land, not to leave the land desolate (שממה) and to consider any land other than the Land of Israel as a […]

Is Yom Ha’atzmaut a “Halachic Holiday”?

May 7, 2019, by

Is Yom Haatzmaut a Halachic holiday? Are we allowed to add holidays to the calendar? The Ramban writes that Yeravam commited a sin by adding a holiday to the Jewish Calendar. On the other hand, we have post-Biblical holidays such as Chanukah that commemorate miraculous events. The Chatam Sofer writes that we are biblically obligated […]

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

September 10, 2017, by

Even when redemption is unclear and incomplete, we are still expected to believe that Hashem is somehow revealing the redemption slowly but surely. Rabbi Shalom Hammer’s Sleepless Sermon for Yom Haatzmaut 5769

A Light to the Nation: A Small People; A Great Impact

May 9, 2016, by

…but I will make you a light of nations, so that My salvation shall be until the end of the earth. – Isaiah 49:6 Haters gotta hate. Sadly, this dismissive shorthand for the cruelty of individuals and nations has weighed on Israel too heavily throughout our history.  Our tradition has incorporated it into its teaching.  […]