Lag B’Omer – The 33rd Day of the Omer (5779)

In the first century of the Common Era, the Jewish people experienced a major tragedy during the period of counting the Omer.  The greatest sage of the generation was Rabbi Akivah, who had taught vast numbers of people.  The Talmud relates that 24,000 (!) of Rabbi Akivah’s students, who constituted the primary chain of Torah transmission, died as a result of an epidemic between Passover and Shavuot. The Talmud states ...

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The Land Of Israel

The first commandment God gave to the first Jew was to go to the Land of Israel God spoke to Abraham, and said, "Go for yourself, from your land, from your relatives and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you."[1]   Abraham, Sarah, their family and their retinue all came to Israel, then known as Canaan.  They traveled around the land, engaged in commerce and, of ...

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Israel Independence Day 2019

During the period of the Omer, between Passover and Shavuot two significant events in modern Jewish history also occurred -- the founding of the State of Israel on the 5th of Iyar, 5708 (May 14th 1948) and also the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem by the Israel Defence Forces on the 28th of Iyar, 5727 (June 7th 1967).   The day of founding of the State of Israel (Yom ...

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Countdown to Sinai 5779

The Jewish people’s journey toward nationhood began on Passover.  The Exodus redeemed them from physical slavery and subjugation, but they still lacked a national identity and purpose. This was conferred upon them only later -- when the Jewish people both heard and saw the words of God at Mt. Sinai. In those moments, the newly formed nation obtained its spiritual identity and national calling through the Torah, and the redemption ...

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Some of My Favorite (Seder) Things

The Exodus is mentioned numerous times in the Torah, and our calendar is based on the first month (Nissan) as the month of the Exodus. The Torah tells us not to oppress the stranger because we were strangers in Egypt, do not hurt the downtrodden, do not cheat in business etc. because we were slaves in Egypt. The Ramban (Shmot 12:12) says that the reason there are no names for ...

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