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Elul A Time for Returning

Elul is a time for returning.  Some return to their offices after summer vacation, to resume their regular work schedule.  Some return to yeshiva after “bein hazemanim”, to begin the Elul semester, much as they would begin any other semester of yeshiva study.  Still others view Rosh Chodesh Elul in an entirely different light, recognizing its true potential as a unique window in time, through which we can e ...

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Parashat Eikev-Remembrance

Remembrance     השמר לך פן תשכח את ה' אלקיך לבלתי שמר מצותיו ומשפטיו וחקתיו אשר אנכי מצוך היום. Guard yourself, lest you forget Hashem your G‑d, and fail to observe the mitzvos, laws and statutes that I command you today.[1]   The warning in this week’s parshah to never forget about Hashem seems redundant in light of an almost identical warning stated in last week’s parshah:   השמר לך פן ...

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Shema Yisrael

Shema Yisrael   שמע ישראל ה' אלהינו ה' אחד   "Hear O Israel, Hashem is our G‑d, Hashem is One."[1]   For many Jews, the recitation of Shema signifies the very essence of their Jewish identity.  In Shema, we proclaim our recognition of Hashem's sole mastery of creation, and renew our vows to serve Him with all our hearts and souls. Another more subtle aspect of Shema is the Unification of Hash ...

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Torah from Tzion

Parashas Devarim Torah from Tzion   יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלוקינו ואלוקי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו ותן חלקנו בתורתך ושם נעבדך ביראה כימי עולם וכשנים קדמניות.   "May it be Your will, our G‑d and G‑d of our fathers, that the Beis HaMikdash be rebuilt soon and in our days, grant us our portion in Your Torah, and there we shall serve You with awe as in days of old and years gone by."   Since the de ...

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Rebuilding the Beis HaMikdash

Rebuilding the Beis HaMikdash   "צום הרביעי וצום החמישי וצום השביעי וצום העשירי יהיה לבית יהודה לששון ולשמחה ולמעדים טובים והאמת והשלום אהבו."     “The fast of the fourth month (17th of Tammuz), the fast of the fifth month (Tisha B’Av), the fast of the seventh month (Tzom Gedalia), and the fast of the tenth month (10th of Teves), will become days of joy and gladness for the House of Israel, a ...

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The Almond Branch of Exile

The Almond Branch of Exile   In the Haftorah read on the first Shabbos of Bein HaMeitzarim, we find the following passage:   ויהי דבר ה' אלי לאמר מה אתה רואה ירמיהו ואומר מקל שקד אני רואה ויאמר ה' אלי היטבת לראות כי שוקד אני על דברי לעשותו   “And Hashem’s word was upon me, asking, ‘What do you see, Yermiyahu?’ ‘I see an almond (shakeid) branch,’ I answered. ‘You have seen well,’ said Hashem, ‘sinc ...

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Parshas Pinchas:The Zealot’s Reward

The Zealot’s Reward   In this week’s parshah, we learn about the reward claimed by Pinchas for his zealotry in defending Hashem’s honor: “Behold, I grant him My covenant of peace.”  Rashi explains that Pinchas justly earned his reward.[1] What does Rashi mean to add?  Is it not obvious that Pinchas deserved reward for fulfilling this important mitzva, in which he sanctified the Name of Heaven, and prev ...

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Parshas Pinchas

  Vengeance and Compassion     פינחס בן אלעזר בן אהרן הכהן השיב את חמתי מעל בני ישראל בקנאו את קנאתי בתוכם ולא כליתי את בני ישראל בקנאתי. לכן אמר הנני נתן לו את בריתי שלום. והיתה לו ולזרעו אחריו ברית כהנת עולם תחת אשר קנא לאלהיו ויכפר על בני ישראל.     Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon the Kohen repelled My wrath from Bnei Yisrael, by exacting vengeance among them on My behalf, ...

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