Being Special – VaYeshev 5784

In the Biblical narrative, the word “vayehi” is taken to mean “it was,” from the root meaning “to be.” It often introduces a particular episode which the Rabbis consider woeful (from the combination of “vay” and “hee”). In Genesis 39:2 “vayehi” appears three times in...

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Adapt and Live – VaYishlah 5784

Consumed with worry over the Kishinev Pogrom (1903), the Russo-Japanese War (1904), the Bolshevik Revolution (1917), and World War I, the heads of European yeshivot considered fleeing with their students rather than waiting for the threats to pass. Joe Bobker (To Flee...

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Lighthouses – Toldot 5784

In two Hebrew words the text compresses the years of childhood development into a matter of size: “The youths grew” (Genesis 25:27). Readers gain no insights into the personalities of Esav and Jacob, their hopes and dreams, how their failures or achievements affected...

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Ladies First – Lekh Lekha 5784

Part of biblical scholarship consists of orthography, the study of the conventional spelling of Hebrew words. Since the Hebrew language requires differentiation according to gender and number, departures from the norm become fertile grounds for examination, often...

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A Flood of Chaos- Noah 5784

Michell First considers the three possible roots of the Hebrew word “mabul,” usually translated as “flood.” One possibility is that the word derives from the root b.l.l., meaning “confusion” or “chaos.” Like the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel where the...

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Regrets – Bersehit 5784

In his 2022 book entitled The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward Daniel Pink, a human behavioral scientist, identifies four core categories of regrets: foundation regrets, boldness regrets, moral regrets, and connection regrets.  Foundation regrets...

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Words to Live By

What lies behind you and what lies ahead of you pales in comparison to what lies inside you.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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