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Family Dynamics
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It all happened so quickly: Yosef, the maligned and hated brother, approached. The brothers’ enmity rapidly metastasized, and they began to talk about murder. For his part, Yosef felt love and kinship toward his brothers – all his brothers – but his love was repaid with jealousy and hatred. How had it come to this? […]
Homeward Bound
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For Yaakov, life is never simple. After being abused by his father-in-law Lavan, Yaakov finally makes a break, only to be chased down and confronted by Lavan. After they reach an understanding, Yaakov continues his journey home, but he must contend with his long-estranged brother Esav, who, last we heard, had sworn to kill him. […]
Climbing Jacob’s Ladder
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On the run from a furious brother who is plotting his demise, Yaakov finally falls to the ground in exhaustion and allows himself to sleep. His mind still racing, he wonders how the situation has spun so far out of control. Only yesterday, things had seemed perfect, even idyllic; only yesterday, he had been part […]
Inside Information
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The home life of Rivka and Yitzchak was complicated. This is not to say there was a lack of love, honor or respect; in fact, quite the opposite is the case. Theirs is the first relationship the Torah explicitly states was one of love[1]. Indeed, we might even say that theirs was love at first […]
Man of Peace
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In many families, when a child reaches marriageable age, parents get involved. This may take the form of more or less subtle hints, comments or barbs, or, in some societies, active involvement in the process of selecting a mate. When our second patriarch Yitzchak was “on the market” (the modern yeshivish idiom is “in the […]
The Chief Rabbi Of Sodom
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When Terach began his trek from his hometown, his destination was the Land of Canaan. The Torah never explains this migration, never gives us any insight into Terach’s motivation. The only information we are offered is the make-up of the traveling party: Terach uproots his son Avraham, his daughter-in-law Sarah, and his orphaned grandson Lot, […]
Covenant
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The relationship between God and man is asymmetrical: God is infinite, omnipotent, and man is limited and flawed. Nonetheless, God reaches out to lowly man, offering His hand, as it were, in friendship. So it was with Avraham: God speaks to him, and promises him a future filled with blessings. However, in what may seem […]
Cleansing Waters
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Many of us first heard the narrative sections of the Torah when we were children. “Bible stories” are so deeply embedded in our early learning that they are a part of our collective memory and consciousness, and this familiarity is surely an advantage. On the other hand, because we learned these stories as children, often […]
Garden Party
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It was a brand new world, pristine and holy. Adam was placed in this nurturing environment, and was given few instructions: To protect and work the Garden, to procreate…and then there was something about a tree. And Almighty God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and He placed there the man whom He […]
From Sinai to Jerusalem
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In the final parashah of the Torah, Moshe takes leave of his people by blessing them: And this is the blessing with which Moshe, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel [just] before his death. He said: “God came from Sinai and shone forth from Se’ir to them; He appeared from Mount Paran […]