When G-d said, “I will be what I will be,” He was telling us something not only about G-d but about us when we are open to G-d and have faith in His faith in us.
Genesis is not a hymn to the virtue of families. It is a candid, honest, fully worked-through account of what it is to confront some of the main problems within families, even the best.
Joseph is helping his brothers to revise their memory of the past. In doing so, he is challenging one of our most fundamental assumptions about time, namely its asymmetry. We can change the future. We cannot change the past. But is that entirely true?
Mikketz represents the most sudden and radical transformation in the Torah. Joseph, in a single day, moves from zero to hero, from forgotten, languishing prisoner to viceroy of Egypt, the most powerful man in the land, in control of the nation’s economy.
I know of no comparable passage in the Torah: three verses dedicated to an apparently trivial, eminently forgettable detail of someone having to ask directions from a stranger. Who was this unnamed man? And what conceivable message does the episode hold for future generations, for us?
Note, first, that this is not an adjustment of an existing name by the change or addition of a letter, It is an entirely new name, as if to signal that what it represents is a complete change of character. Second, as we have seen, the name change happened not once but twice. Third – and this is the puzzle of puzzles – having said twice that his name will no longer be Yaakov, the Torah continues to call him Yaakov. G-d Himself does so.
What then are we to make of the phrase, “Pharaoh condemned only the boys to death, but Laban sought to uproot everything”?
Itzchak, having grown up in the household of Avraham and Sarah, had never encountered deception before, and was thus, in his innocence, misled by his son. Rivka, who had grown up in the company of Lavan, recognized it very well, which is why she favored Yaakov,
The answer again is that to understand a death, we have to understand a life.
A pattern is beginning to emerge: Avraham was learning that there is a long and winding road between promise and fulfillment. Not because G-d does not keep His word, but because Avraham and his descendants were charged with bringing something new into the world
Avraham is the father of faith--not as acceptance but as protest
A window to the world.
The Torah is telling us something very powerful. Never think of people as things. Never think of people as types: they are individuals. Never be content with creating systems: care also about relationships.
Keriat haTorah, properly understood, is a performative act. It is a weekly recreation of the revelation at Mount Sinai. It is a covenant ratification ceremony like the one Moshe performed at Sinai:
It is almost as if Sukkot were two festivals, not one.
The moment when all we can say is gevalt. All we can do is cry out. That’s what the shofar was on Rosh Hashanah and will be at the end of Yom Kippur: The sound of our tears... The sound of a heart breaking. No more excuses. No more rationalizations and justifications. Ribbono Shel Olam, forgive us.
When you cannot see Him, it is because you are looking in the wrong direction. When He seems absent, He is there just behind you, but you have to turn to meet Him. Do not treat Him like a stranger. He loves you. He believes in you.
A large part of what Moshe is doing in the book of Devarim is retelling that story to the next generation, reminding them of what G-d had done for their parents and of some of the mistakes their parents had made. Moshe, as well as being the great liberator, is the supreme storyteller. Yet what he does in this week's parsha, Ki Tavo, extends way beyond this.
Animals are part of G-d’s creation. They have their own integrity in the scheme of things. This would not have been news to the heroes of the Bible.
Areligious vision is so important, reminding us that we are not owners of our resources. They belong not to us but to the Eternal and eternity. Hence we may not needlessly destroy-even in war
In a word "JOY"
Israel defies the laws of history because it serves the Author of history. Attached to greatness, it becomes great. Through the Jewish people, G-d is telling humankind that you do not need to be numerous to be great. Nations are judged not by their size but by their contribution to human heritage.
Your life seems to be coming to a tragic end, your destination unreached, your aspirations unfulfilled. What do you do? WWMD?
Moses’ implied rebuke to the tribes of Reuben and Gad is not a minor historical detail but a fundamental statement of Jewish priorities. Property is secondary, children primary.
Dignity is not a privilege of birth. Honor is not confined to those with the right parents. In the world defined and created by Torah, everyone is a potential leader.
Tanach is perhaps the least self-congratulatory national literature in history. Jews chose to record for history their faults, not their virtues.
Why did God choose that Israel be blessed by Bilaam? Surely there is the principl “Good things come about through good people” (Tosefta Yoma 4:12). Why did this good thing come about through a bad man?
What made this trial different? Why did Moshe momentarily lose control? Why then? Why there? He had faced just this challenge before.
The story of Korach remains the classic example of how argument can be dishonored. The Schools of Hillel and Shammai remind us that there is another way.
Whatever the subplots and subsidiary themes of the Chumash, its overarching narrative is the promise of and journey to the land. Jewish history begins with Avraham and Sarah’s journey to it. The four subsequent books of the Torah, from Exodus to Deuteronomy, are taken up with the second journey in the days of Moshe.