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Why Isaac? Why Jacob?
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Why Isaac, not Ishmael? Why Jacob, not Esau? These are among the most searing questions in the whole of Judaism. It is impossible to read Genesis 21, with its description of how Hagar and her son were cast out into the wilderness, how their water ran out, how Hagar placed Ishmael under a bush and […]
Carry On, My Wayward Son
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Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) was a leading spiritual, intellectual and communal figure in his day. Among his many accomplishments was the creation of an educational format that put individuals, both male and female, in the center. Not coincidentally, in his commentary on Parashat Toldot, Rabbi Hirsch took aim at the second generation of our […]
Fruitful Fragrance
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 Shiur provided courtesy of Naaleh.com Adapted by Channie Koplowitz Stein             We are all familiar with the subterfuge through which Yaakov Avinu received the blessing of the of the firstborn from his father Yitzchak  Avinu.  When Yaakov Avinu enters his father’s presence, Yitzchak Avinu “smelled the fragrance of his garments and blessed him. He said, ‘the […]
What Mystery Pervades a Well!
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One of the great benefits of visiting communities where I once lived and taught is the opportunity to meet people who were my students long ago. I enjoy reconnecting with them and am occasionally amazed by how much they remember of my lectures and sermons. I recently returned to one of my former communities. I […]
Love Will Conquer All
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“And Yaakov approached Yitzchak his father, and Yitzchak felt him, and said, `The voice is the voice of Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Aysav.’” — Bereishis 27:22 To “trick” Yitzchak into giving him the bracha, Yaakov donned Aysav’s clothing, put the skin of an animal on his arms and neck to simulate […]
Refining the Jewish People
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וַיִּתְרֹצֲצוּ הַבָּנִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ וַתֹּאמֶר אִם כֵּן לָמָּה זֶּה אָנֹכִי וַתֵּלֶךְ לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת ה’. וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ לָהּ שְׁנֵי גיים [גוֹיִם] בְּבִטְנֵךְ. The children agitated within her, and she said, “If so, why am I thus?” and she went to inquire of Hashem. Hashem said to her: “Two nations are in your womb.” (25:22-23) Chazal[1] explain Hashem’s words to […]