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The Best of Intentions
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The key to understanding Parshat Toldot is the ten different relationships contained therein – between Yitzchak, Rivkah, Yaakov, and Esav. Why is Esav referred to as the older brother by Yitzchak – he’s only minutes older than Yaakov! Yaakov buys the bechora not to trick Esav but to do him a favor, to relieve him […]
Family Dynamics
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Sometimes family life can be complicated, but the family of Yitzchak and Rivka was particularly complex. At the root of the complexity was a prophecy: God informed Rivka that her two children, Esav and Yaakov, would be in conflict, that each would sire a separate nation, and that the younger of the two (Yaakov) would […]
The Prayer of The Servant
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And Avraham said to the senior servant of his household, who had charge of all that he owned…go to the land of my birth and get a wife for my son Yitzchak.” (Bereishit 25:2-4) The elderly Avraham sends his most trusted aide on a most important mission, to find a wife for his son Yitzchak. […]
The Flow of Inspiration
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Everything that happened to Elisha happened to Eliyahu. Elisha’s power comes from Eliyahu and Yitzchak’s prayers are answered because he is the son of Avraham and Sarah. The Haftarah, like the Parsha, speaks about an elderly couple who have a child. Why didn’t Hashem communicate with Avraham after the Akeida? As soon as Sarah passes […]
A Time for Silence
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Sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day, Avraham has an epiphany: God appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. (Bereishit 18:1) This verse is followed by what seems to be an “interruption:” He lifted up […]
The Fourth Angel
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Sodom is the antithesis of Avraham and his mission yet Avraham prays for them. Why don’t we see any record of Avraham praying for Yitzchak? Why is Avraham’s name not mentioned at the beginning of the Parsha and what is the content of God’s revelation to Avraham? Download the mekorot here Delivered at the OU Israel […]
Making Souls
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The story of Avraham has no introduction, unlike Noach we are not told why he is chosen. Onkelos deviates from a strict translation when explaining ואת הנפש אשר עשו בחרן (the people he caused to believe in God) which may explain why he was chosen. Download the mekorot here Delivered at the OU Israel Center, October […]
The Dissenting Voice at the Tower
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The order in which Shem, Ham, and Yafet are listed throughout Parshat Noach. After listing the descendants of Yefet, Ham, then Shem, the story of Migdal Bavel appears after which it goes back to Shem. Why does the story of Migdal Bavel interrupt the Shem genealogy, is meant to be seen as part of the […]
The First Echo Chamber
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The sin of Adam and Eve had brought about the exile from Eden, and their sin was soon followed by a heinous crime, perpetrated outside the Garden; from there, things deteriorated even more. As hard as it is to imagine a sin worse than murder, one could argue that the taking of Hevel’s life was […]
Death and Taxes
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They may well have thought that they had escaped relatively unscathed. While Adam and Eve had just been sentenced to the worst punishment in the history of the world, there was nonetheless reason for optimism: As they slunk away, casting their last glance at the Garden of Eden in the proverbial rear-view mirror, they must […]