Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
And this is Micah: “Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:7).
It is what Mesha, King of Moab, does to get the gods to grant him victory over the Israelites: “When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom – but they failed. Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land” (II Kings 3:26-27).
How can the Torah regard as Abraham’s supreme achievement that he was willing to do what the worst of idolaters do? The fact that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son would seem to make him – in terms of Tanach, considered as a whole – no better than Baal or Molech worshippers or the pagan king of Moab. This cannot be the only possible interpretation.
* * * There is an alternative way of looking at the trial. To do so we must consider an overriding theme of the Torah as a whole. Let us assemble the evidence.
First principle: G-d owns the land of Israel. That is why He can command the return of property to its original owners in the Jubilee year: “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants” (Leviticus 25:23).
Second principle: G-d owns the children of Israel, since He redeemed them from slavery. That is what the Israelites mean when they sing, at the Red Sea: “Until your people pass by, O Lord, until the people you acquired [am zu kanita] pass by.” Therefore they cannot be turned into permanent slaves: “Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves” (Leviticus 25:42).
Third principle: G-d is the ultimate owner of all that exists. That is why we must make a blessing over anything we enjoy:
Rav Judah said in the name of Samuel: To enjoy anything of this world without first reciting a blessing is like making personal use of things consecrated to heaven, since it says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” R. Levi contrasted two texts. It is written, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” and it is also written, “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth hath He given to the children of men!” There is no contradiction: in the one case it is before a blessing has been said, in the other, after a blessing has been said (Berachot 35a).
All things belong to G-d, and we must acknowledge this before we make use of anything. That is what a blessing is: acknowledging that all we enjoy is from G-d.
This is the jurisprudential basis of the whole of Jewish law. G-d rules by right, not by might. G-d created the universe. Therefore G-d is the ultimate owner of the universe. The legal term for this is “eminent domain.” Therefore G-d has the right to prescribe the conditions under which we may benefit from the universe. It is to establish this legal fact – not to tell us about the physics and cosmology of the Big Bang – that the Torah begins with the story of Creation.
This carries a special depth and resonance for the Jewish people, since in their case G-d is not just – as He is for all humankind – Creator and sustainer of the universe. He is also, for Jews, the G-d of history, who redeemed them from slavery and gave them a land that originally belonged to someone else: the “seven nations.” G-d is sovereign of the universe, but in a special sense He is Israel’s only ultimate king, and the sole source of their laws. That is the significance of the book of Exodus.
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Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.
The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.
Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?
Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.
I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.
Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?
For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)
If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.
I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.
Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.
Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”
The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.
The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.
Hamas is still in the mode of “give us a finger and we will take the whole hand.”
The exhibition includes the largest gold medallion with Judaic symbols known in existence.
The soft-glove approach to campus anti-Zionists is more like a pat on the back.
PM Netanyahu has sent out his Rosh HaShana greeting to Jews around the world.
Turkey is not going to be signing any deals for Israeli natural gas exports any time soon, says Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
Netanyahu said that since the Jordanians opposed the bridge, “Of course we agreed.” Of course.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/the-art-of-gratitude/2011/11/12/
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