Length: 49 minutes
The Tenth of Teves is the date that commemorates both the siege around Yerushalayim that began the process of its destruction, as well as the Yom Shemu’ah, the date following the Churban that the news of the destruction reached the Jews in exile. It follows that we should use Asarah B’Teves as a Yom Shemu’ah, a day of hearing and understanding, when we should be attentive to what is going on around us and hear the messages for real change. This talk was given on Asara B’Teves 5769, and draws lessons relevant to events of that time. While some of the circumstances have changed, the message remains painfully relevant.
Length: 52 minutes
When Yaakov gathers his children together, he wants to reveal the end of days but the Shechinah(Divine Presence) is removed from him. He fears that this is due to a lack of emunah (faith) among his children, but they assure him that they all believe in Hashem by saying Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad. Although they are unified in their emunah, they are not unified as a group, and therefore Yaakov could not reveal to them the Ketz—the end of days.
Length: 55 minutes
In the second aliyah (portion) of Parshas Vayechi, Yaakov gives Efraim and Menashe a bracha, and says that they will be considered like sons to him. There is a unique quality to Efraim and Menashe that Yaakov wants to include as part of theShevatim (tribes). They were born to Yosef in the land of Mitzrayim, separate from Yaakov Avinu, and have thekoach(strength) of Yosef to become leaders and rule in a situation of golus (exile). We bless our children to be like Efraim and Menashe, achieving greatness through exile while still remaining separate and elevated.
Length: 57 minutes
Throughout the story of Yosef and his brothers, Yosef seems very concerned with seeing the dreams through to their fruition. Yosef understood that the reason he ended up in Mitzrayim was because Hashem orchestrated it to be so, not because of his brother’s schemes. Unlike the nations of the world, we are not subject to the stars and laws of nature—we are above and under the specific Divine protection of Hashem. If the second dream, that of the sun, moon and stars bowing down—would have come to fruition, with the brothers fully understanding what Yosef had absorbed, we would not have needed to remain as slaves in Mitzrayim.
Length: 1 hour 5 minutes
Throughout Yaakov’s life, there are many examples showing that he is very preoccupied with ensuring that all of his children remain righteous and alive until the end of his days. Yaakov Avinu was the first of the Avos (forefathers) who had all of his children continue as Jews. Yaakov is very concerned that none of his children should be lost to this framework as he is working toward a level of completeness, with every child of his physically and spiritually part of continuing as G-d fearing individuals.
Length: 1 hour
When Yaakov gives a bracha to Efraim and Menashe, he tells Yosef that he never hoped that he would be able to see him again. The language of the passuk used for “hoped”, philalti, is similar to tefilah, prayer, which is an expression of one’s greatest hopes and desires. Throughout the lives of our Avos, we see that we were born from despair—from Avraham and Sarah having Yitzchok when it was not physically possible, to Yitzchok being childless for 20 years. At the point of greatest despair—our Tefilah, our expression of hope, is very effective and should be expressed to Hashem.
The period of the month of Elul and the Yamim Noraim, known as the High Holiday season, is a great gift, מן הטובות אשר הטיב הי"ת עם ברואיו. Each year we are afforded this opportunity to reﬂect and to reconnect, to spend weeks engaged with G-d and community on a...
The period of the month of Elul and the Yamim Noraim, known as the High Holiday season, is a great gift, מן הטובות אשר הטיב השי”ת עם ברואיו. Each year we are afforded this opportunity to reflect and to reconnect, to spend weeks engaged with G-d and community on a...
When Adar enters joy increases. When Av enters joy decreases. What is it about these two months that causes joy to fluctuate? There is much discussion in the world of relationships about the ratio of criticism to praise. Marriage researcher John Gottman has found that...
The conflict of the Jewish people and Amalek – central to the story of Purim – is a continuation of the ongoing struggle between their forebears, Yaakov and Eisav. Yaakov and Eisav were twins, but whereas some twins are identical, these twins were opposites. Yaakov...