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Gratitude
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The life that awaits the Children of Israel in the Promised Land will hold many challenges alongside its rewards, and in Parashat Ki Tavo Moshe turns the spotlight on both sides of this coin. The Land of Israel is unlike any other place in the world. It is a land imbued with a spiritual personality, […]
Another Brick in the Wall
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Over the past few chapters we have noted a gradual shift in the topics Moshe addresses as he imparts his final lessons to the Jewish People. From an extensive polemic against idolatry, the focus shifts to the building of the Temple, and then moves on to other national institutions such as the establishment and mandate […]
Democracy, Theocracy and Monarchy
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  Running any enterprise,whether it is a home, a business,or a country,is complex. As in so many other aspects of life,a delicate balance must be struck between competing considerations. In Parashat Shoftim, the Israelites’ time in the desert nears its end, and a new reality awaits them on the other side of the Jordan River. […]
Non-Prophets
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It seems as if the dearth of leadership is, and always has been, a perpetual problem. We have a tendency to search for people who can inspire and lead us; unfortunately, the role models we choose are rarely vetted in any systematic or rigorous way, and we tend to choose charisma over substance. Since the […]
Rain
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This past week was a difficult one here in Israel. There were two separate incidents of murder and attempted murder: First, a man who, based on his external dress, could be called an orthodox, or even ultra-orthodox Jew, attacked other Jews in the center of Jerusalem. Second, an Arab family was attacked, resulting in the […]
The Crucible
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The great tragedy of Moshe’s life was the fact that he did not complete his mission; he would not bring the people to the Promised Land. In fact, we might say that this is actually two tragedies: On a personal level, it is almost inconceivable that Moshe, our greatest leader and teacher, our staunchest defender […]
It’s About Time
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This week’s Torah reading is the first in a new book, but for the most part it is a book that tells an old story, a book whose very existence is born of tragedy. Moshe is close to death; he will not cross over the Jordan River to the Land of Israel, and he opens […]
A Lush Land
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After countless delays, punishments and disappointments, as the Jews draw tantalizingly close to the Promised Land, a strange request is made by the tribes of Reuven and Gad: They said, ‘If you would grant us a favor, let this land be given to us as our permanent property, and do not bring us across the […]
Moshe’s Mantle
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As the Israelites move closer to entering the Land of Israel, issues of inheritance come to the fore. This is true regarding the Land itself, on the one hand, but also in terms of leadership on the other hand. Moshe, who will not enter the Land of Israel, raises the question: Who will be the […]
The Road Not Taken
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The events recounted in Parashat Balak took place millennia ago, but so many of the elements of the story are all too familiar to the modern reader. Although the actual conquest of the Land of Israel had not yet begun, there had already been a few military skirmishes between the Israelites and the tribes of […]