Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
Taken collectively, the commands of the Torah are a prescription for the construction of a society with the consciousness of God at its center. God asks the Jewish people to become a role model for humanity by the shape and texture of the society they build, a society characterized by justice and the rule of law, welfare and concern for the poor, the marginal, the vulnerable and the weak, a society in which all would have equal dignity under the sovereignty of God. Such a society would win the admiration, and eventually the emulation, of others:
See, I have taught you decrees and laws … so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of. Observe them carefully, for this will be your wisdom and understanding to the nations who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” … What other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)
A society needs a land, a home, a location in space, where a nation can shape its own destiny in accord with its deepest aspirations and ideals. Jews have been around for a long time, almost four thousand years since Abraham began his journey. During that period they have lived in every country on the face of the earth, under good conditions and bad, freedom and persecution. Yet in all that time there was only one place where they formed a majority and exercised sovereignty, the land of Israel, a tiny country of difficult terrain and all too little rainfall, surrounded by enemies and empires.
Only in Israel is the fulfillment of the commands a society-building exercise, shaping the contours of a culture as a whole.
Only in Israel can we fulfill the commands in a land, a landscape and a language saturated with Jewish memories and hopes.
Only in Israel does the calendar track the rhythms of the Jewish year. In Israel Judaism is part of the public square, not just the private, sequestered space of synagogue, school and home.
Jews need a land because they are a nation charged with bringing the Divine presence down to earth in the shared spaces of our collective life, not least – as the last chapter of Parshat Acharei Mot makes clear – by the way we conduct our most intimate relationships, a society in which marriage is sacrosanct and sexual fidelity the norm.
That contains a message for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. To Christians and Muslims it says: If you believe in the God of Abraham, grant that the children of Abraham have a right to the land that the God in whom you believe promised them, and to which He promised that after exile they would return.
To Jews it says: That very right comes hand-in-hand with a duty to live individually and collectively by the standards of justice and compassion, fidelity and generosity, love of neighbor and of stranger, that alone constitute our mission and destiny: a holy people in the holy land.
Adapted from “Covenant & Conversation,” a collection of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s parshiyot hashavua essays, to be published by Maggid Books, an imprint of Koren Publishers Jerusalem (www.korenpub.com), in conjunction with the Orthodox Union. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth since 1991, is the author of many books of Jewish thought, most recently “The Koren Sacks Rosh HaShana Mahzor” (Koren Publishers Jerusalem).
About the Author: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, is the author of many books of Jewish thought, most recently The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning.
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The Jewish outlook has always been that the physical world with all its beauty and pleasures is great, but only if it’s used to do good and express higher ethical values. Greek culture taught that beauty and pleasure are where it’s at – period – and let’s keep values and meaning out of the picture.
Remember 613 Torah Avenue? Of course you do.
Released in the 1970’s and through the early 1980’s, the 613 Torah Avenue Tapes on the weekly parsha were part and parcel of most frum children’s Torah education during those years, and continue to be used by many teachers and rebbeim.
Just as the moon waxes and wanes and then totally disappears from view before returning to the night sky, so, too, the Jewish people.
In commemoration of 19 Kislev, the anniversary of the release of the Ba’al HaTanya, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, from prison in Russia about 150 years ago, a sale of chassidic sefarim took place in Yerushalayim. Sefarim were sold at a flat rate of 4 for 100 NIS. Sefarim were not sold individually for 25 NIS, but only in sets of four. Discs of chassidic music were also sold. People thronged from all over Israel to take advantage of this opportunity.
At about 4 a.m. on cold and damp autumn mornings in London, Dad would try to wake us in time for Selichot, the pre-Jewish New Year dawn prayers. As we heard Dad’s footsteps mounting the stairs, my brother and I would hide under our covers and mutter our displeasure at being disturbed.
In this week’s parshah Yaakov Avinu takes his entire family down to Mitzrayim. The Torah lists the family members who made this journey. On the list is Shimon’s son, Shaul. The pasuk refers to him as Shaul ben haCanaanis – the son of the Canaanis.
Chapter And Verse?
‘Has The Time For Slaughter Arrived?’
Question: I have noticed that some people stand during the Birkot Keriat Shema. I was always under the impression that one is supposed to sit for Shema and its berachot. Is there a source that allows one to stand during this part of the prayer?
The wedding was going full blast, with the joyful Jewish music playing. The sound of the violin awoke unfulfilled longings and triggered moisture in the eyes.
The family had reached deadlock.
According to the Sefer Yetzirah, each month is associated with a letter of the aleph-beis. Teves was formed by means of the letter ayin, which has a numerical value of seventy – a number that figures prominently in Judaism.
Having come to the conclusion that nobody was more qualified than Yosef to lead Egypt in anticipation of and during the approaching famine, Pharaoh appointed him prime minister. This appointment made Yosef the second most powerful man in Egypt.
Standing up for the truth is by no means an easy feat and Yosef paid for it dearly.
The family had reached deadlock.
A while back I inducted a new rabbi into office. It’s something I do often, and there is a certain predictability to the proceedings. I give the new rabbi my blessings and encouragement. He in reply thanks those who have helped him through the years, and sets out his aspirations as a spiritual leader and his vision for the future of the congregation.
Bad things happen, and when they do, the leader must take the strain so that others can sleep easily in their beds.
The purchase of the Cave of Machpelah is evidently a highly significant event because it is recorded in great detail.
Leaders lead. They don’t conform for the sake of conforming. They don’t do what others do merely because others are doing it. They think outside the box. They march to a different tune.
Could we understand the history of Israel without its prehistory, the stories of Abraham and Sarah and their children?
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/holy-people-in-the-holy-land/2012/05/02/
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